Whiskey Sea

September 2, 2013 § Leave a comment


It’s been a while since I’ve posted, well, anything on this site, so here’s a little poem for you all.

Whiskey Sea

I woke up with the taste of alcohol on my tongue

but I hadn’t drank a drop

I spent the night

salivating over dreams

where I swam in seas of whiskey

and drowned in ways you’d never know about

so I got out of bed

and poured myself a glass of wine.

Rolling back and forth towards lovers

with defeated eyes

trying for the first time to stay in one place

and being pushed out of bed without a word

without even getting fucked

without any understanding

without knowing where I am

in a city I’ve never really left.

My dreams were littered with sting rays

that only made you feel better

the more they took the life out of you

and it sizzled,

and disappeared into the seas

as they continued to take

old memories

popping up into sailboats and floating away

You had already left

and never bothered to say goodbye

so it only seemed appropriate

as more and more of me slipped away on the tides

and became strange new dreams

for couples from other shores

trying just as hard stay afloat.

And goddamn,

I’ll wake up this afternoon again

not knowing if I’m seasick or hungover

not knowing if you’re here or if you’re gone

if I’m real or just another siren

singing songs that feel so sweet

vibrations traveling along the water

rocking your boat off to sleep

and tipping you overboard into my whiskey seas

touching your drops

to my drops

wishing we were still on 50th Street

living in bars,

and above them,

knowing when we were drunk

and always

painting the truth until

it looked a lot like a sting ray.

At some point in the dream,

everything was gone

the whiskey sea,

the memories,

the fresh red wounds on my chest

like they had never even happened,

and I was sitting on the front porch

smoking a cigarette.

And you are gone

and my bottle is empty

so I fill it with encrypted messages,

sitting here with the

taste of alcohol on my tongue

chucking life rafts and bottles,

and reeling them back again,

empty bottles,

empty boats,

empty sea

empty bottles,

empty boats,

empty beast

empty bottles,

empty boat,

empty me.



The Writing Process

May 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

“I do not like to write – I like to have written.”

-Gloria Steinem

Maria Atkinson Photography Opening August 10th

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

The Day Sancho Woke the Bear

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sancho was always one of those types that would surprise you

even after you had him figured out.

His shiny dark shoes

dark belt

dark eyes

dark hair

all seemed to slosh around like coffee when he walked

or when he told a story he really believed in

or sometimes when he was drunk.

Nobody told him he had to go

Nobody told him it would be better if he went

Nobody told him he would come home a great man

but he went.

His shoes were quiet

on the street

but his mind is always loud

playing music you can’t understand

but you want to listen to

and the horns swell up everytime he smiles

his coffee eyes spilling over at you

building up to a great chorus

with the pianos banging wildly

and the violins straining their vocal chords,

knowing that if they hit the notes just right,

just the right fuckin way,

they’ll be human too

but you fumble on the rhythm

and Sancho travels on down the road.

The local taverns tossed him all they had

canteens full of rum,






ghosts of confused souls and

expectations drawn to fall short

placed on the heads of children who wish they had bigger imaginations

who want to run barefoot

who want to grow up to be oilfield men and



fighter pilots

who want to see the bear.

Sancho kept walking

in the dry air

until his old map crumbled into bits of colored paper

and he knelt down to the ground

and rearranged them into symbols,

into swirls,

into meanings which Sancho intended to be encouraging

to move those who came after him forward

but after all his work,

the paper just looked like the sea

and the tide flowed out and away,

and away

and away

and the paper blew in the wind,

and so did Sancho.

After a while

the sky forgot the ground

Sancho forgot the road

and the birds became demons

the clouds caught on fire

the stars started to write lies upon the stratosphere

The music in Sancho’s head sounded like someone crying

but it was too far away

and too quiet

to ask what they were crying about

and Sancho knew even if he did,

he couldn’t have stopped the tears


he wondered if they were his own.

When the sun set,

and the winds died down

Sancho touched his feet to the ground

and whispered something of a prayer

to someone he never believed in

and touched his finger to his lips

to make sure that he was still real,

that he was still alive

that he was still a human.

And that’s when Sancho saw the bear.

Curled up in a perfect circle,

she had settled down to hibernate

right in the middle of a patch of sunlight

just enough to keep her heart warm

until the earth thawed with it.

Woven through the hairs of her back

were a million gold bells

and with every heave and exhalation

you could hear tiny jingles,

like spirits fluttering around her dreams

protecting them from nightmares,


and the truth.

Sancho had come for a bell.

He drew his breath

and he drew his knife

and he took a step.

Jingle jingle, in,

jingle jingle, out,

Sancho took a step.

Jingle jingle, in,

jingle jingle, out,

he took another step.

He watched her ears twitch

and thought for a second

that she could hear his thoughts

but dismissed it in a moment

when he saw her big paw move,

scratch a spot behind her left shoulder

and rest again.

He held his breath.

Jingle jingle, in,

jingle jingle, out

another step.

Sancho could practically smell her from this distance

He would have expected it to be raunchy,

but strangely,

the bear’s smell wasn’t unpleasant.

She smelled like a strange mixture of pine needles,




an old book,

sweet milk,

something Sancho couldn’t quite place,



she sort of smelled like the inside of his grandmother’s house,

a smell his nostrils had forgotten since childhood.

Jingle jingle, in,

jingle jingle, out,

Sancho drew his knife

Jingle jingle, in,

his dark hands grasped a tuft of curly nut-gold hair,

jingle jingle, out,

Rainbow glints of light shot off of his blade as he drew it towards the bear,


with one swift motion,

severed each blade of hair between the bear, the bell, and himself

and as the last hair snapped,

so did the air,

so did the earth,

so did Sancho,

so did the bear.

With a great swirling current,

they were all swept away,

colors became sounds,

and sounds became life,

and life became just pictures,

that everyone told you all about,

but no one had really been there,

and the yellow was deafening

as Sancho watched his fingers turn into dots

and the dots into insects,

and they crawled all around him,

became one

mass of everything Sancho had hated about himself,

reared their screaming heads back,

and began to eat his flesh.

And the bear,

the bear became one titanic ball of flame,

consuming the trees,

consuming the forest,

consuming the bugs, and consuming Sancho,

the bells ringing,

their frequencies changing from rhythms to one solid,

steady note,

one deep breath,

one message

of sounds and words and anger and love

of fucking and drinking and lying out of necessity

and lying out of pride

and greed

and pain

of spectrums from great joy

to unabridged heartbreak

every sound of laughter

every note ever sang

every breath

every blade of grass

every fucked up kid

in a shit hole

all alone

every last dime

every desperation both spoken and unspoken

every word you should have said

every word you shouldn’t have

every ignorance

every regret

every last drop of coffee from Sancho’s dark, deep eyes

every ring

from every bell

on every bear

and with the last bits of oxygen consumed

digested by the inferno

growing like a supernova

Sancho knew what was coming

Sancho knew

but what can you do?

In the face of the end of the world,

or the beginning,

anything short of deity becomes spectator,

any illusion of power disappears,

and here lies humanity,

riding on the current of burning bears,

riding on the well-intended hopes we dream up

in our poor little well-intended heads

just riding

until we land.


if I land

next to you,

I hope

you help pick me up


I’ll help pick you up


brush the dirt off of your nose

and you can pull the


out of my hair

we’ll become acqainted with ourselves

just like Adam met Eve

and my parts fit perfectly

into your parts

and help us understand each other

better than words ever could

so I’ll just lay down beside you

and jingle

some sound that’s both an end and a beginning

and generations from now, Sancho,

they’ll tell stories of the day you woke the bear

stories of the day everything ended

and everything began

a story of hate and love and destruction and creation,

simple as a sunrise

we watched together

in more dimensions than we can count

and so complicated

that we’ll both spend the rest of our lives trying to figure it out

never really knowing what it is

but always knowing that

is is

and that it is good

and we are,

if nothing else now,


Hey you guys!

May 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Buy my book!

I could use a little extra cash right now.


Too Long Gone

February 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am posting to let you all know that aliens exist. Some time ago, they abducted me and shot large doses of Novocaine directly into the “writing poetry and shit” portion of my brain. Now back on earth, I have spent many days looking for a cure, and am pleased to announce that Patsy Cline has done the trick, lickity split.

Anywho, what I’m trying to say is, I’ve got this little desk with a window, an ashtray, and a coaster, and it’s time for some shit to pour out. Sorry I’ve been too long gone, but it feels good to be back.

Love and UFOs,

Jessye Mabel (and Patsy Cline)

Don Williams

July 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

It took me 543 miles to appreciate a good Don Williams song

I made a new home where the road ended

and haven’t seen dark pavement again

I marked my body with a love letter to my life,

a promise to the sun,

and she leaned down

and kissed my cheeks and shoulders

until they became the shade of golden I dream in.

Life handed me gifts like it was a bouquet of New Mexican wildflowers

but I miss the grass the most

growing up out of lush red dirt

and the wheat fields where I was born

imitated by the waves around my shoulders

I was created by the prarie winds

and prayers

built out of a pile of rose rocks

and dropped into my mother’s arms

on the front porches of other generations

where they would sit

and watch the storms roll in


and I can’t make it rain in the desert.


3 state lines couldn’t get me a clean slate

but it took me 543 miles to appreciate a good Don Williams song


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