Other Poems by:

Jennifer VanBuren

spider's versions 1-3


Katydid clings on midnight porch rail
confused by her afternoon-sized shadow
she wonders what happened to the morning
hides in a dark corner
tries to sleep it off 

~11:07 pm spider whispers to poetess~ 

just tell them to go outside
read it for themselves
skip the middle man
poem-hustler who hawks
desiccated translations like flies
wrapped with invisible wire

go on, tell them
the spider has all the juice

~flagstone map~

states mapped in dark slate patterns
of the flagstone porch
Hawaii nestles under Arkansas' arm 
and a concrete river cuts between
Tennessee and Utah

New Hampshire and Vermont remain inseparable
of course
they always fit together
so nicely

A cricket hops in search of a legend
to deliver him to Jersey

Black beetles circle
confused by conflicting signs
to "Wall Drug" and "South of the Border"
which seems to have been moved North

Spider and Katydid look down from white paint heavens
sticky feet above it all

Counter balance

Safety strapped and counter balanced,

the centrifuge spins the dark, densest parts

down to her secured feet.

He pulls the lever until friction 

slows the rotation to a stop

then snaps off each one of her toes.
Like vitamins, he grinds them 
between his teeth.

They taste of kohl and mercury,

copper, almonds, red wine.

Even before the swallow 

blood thins and begins its return

to numb extremities.

With vertigo vision she watches him

straighten up

and return to blank canvas.

He paints her titanuim white.


Sidekick Camille never seemed to mind 

playing dog, pony and the village idiot 

who always winds up 

on the soft side of the pie. 
He finds her in the troupe wagon

under a blanket of black body suits and 

baggy Chaplin pants in sizes of girls past. 

As usual he requires a drumroll introduction
for his record-holding cock that disappears 
like magic into many dark spaces.

Camille knew, despite the choking finger grip 
and cruel disregard for dryness 
it was good he was here. At least here 
he could only pick up the generous gifts

already delivered to her:
itching bugs with sticky white eggs,

aching disease poured down like poison to 

sinful parts in a communal wrath of god.
Yes, better here than in the town's  hunting ground 

with the local push-up slut disguised as  lady 

Beg your pardon, Sir.

But with just a short drive down the river

strings loosen and formalities drop 

like panties in the mud.

Head hanging from passenger door 
she takes his trick cock down her open throat, 
no longer surprised by such intrusion. 

Up on the hood, open wide and pre-primed,

invites him full on plus two fingers. 
Camille submerges into shallow sleep, 
waiting for cramps to signal the inevitable splatter 
of cum-softened stool and retch of gin-flavored bile.
Bucket between her feet, she empties herself of him 

from both ends at once, remembering how mother 

held her hair, rubbed her back. 

Okay Camille, okay baby.

Sun rises,

she paints her best Marcel Marceau face, 

rolls the drum to announce 

 the next greatest thing.


I wait for you to show me
the best rocks for building
a bridge across the creek.

We select the large flat ones
for easy balance and step,
but I know it is a favor, this slip 

that takes my suede into cool water.

Whenever I get homesick
I find a small Piedmont stream to walk through.
They are all pretty much the same,
a shale bottom slippery with sediment
and algae, tadpoles that hide 

among fallen branches, minnows 

that do not know which way to dart 

to escape this stomping creature 

that disturbs the waters. They wind up 

figure eighting in opposite directions
before organizing a dart behind the rocks..

It is pretty much the same everywhere.
Gnats fall into the bright lure of my notebook, 

the fish get bigger and fewer 

as the water deepens.

You must have been in this stream
at some time, its cool waters still sting the fresh

bramble scratches on our legs,

trees hang on with roots
and not much new ever happens.


nothing moves except this river
that defends its borders 

on a relentless patrol

three ferns hold their green
arthritic knees of sycamore bend
around rocks of the eroded river bank
roots gasp for soil

unburied alive, gnarled fingers
claw the air

you don't need a weather man

pass the butter
save the salt for superficial wounds that we groom
like so many   (primates)   before us

slap tack and 
tickle the blue from your sky
don't ask me how I do it
baby don't ask me why

mother was a war funk silent skirt
let's re-invent her, amplified
with girly legs all  

                 and satin 


into this                   hard edged

suit case            with  marimba

mallets &        flame   resistant
brassiere.    She     drives    me

                                      a w  a  y

you know how to find me
stepping out the answer

how do you do what you do when you do that thing to me?

it lies 
hardwood tree rings--
c o u n t    b y    s e v e n t e e n s   



you got your poem

you do not need my needle point

 or wind farm rooster,
just a skyward index finger and                                      


you know when Mary will be back
tapping out the roof top weather report,
spit dry evaporation cooled,

I know you have seen me walk away before
with my svelt side step





eel skin bound

set out, propped up by reputation
he makes a note:

onion skin eyelids filter more 

when open wide. 


pupil slits narrow 
and tongue flicks the air 

for a taste of pressurized jasmine
that sends the masked signal,
there is nothing worth biting here

and certainly, it is a well known fact,

verse bound in eel skin 

stands more of a chance
of being fondled by lady fingers
that linger over perpendicular lines,
upright and leather tight
straight to reptilian brain.

she makes a note:

to thick skin a bite is as good
as a kiss...

maybe better.

his finger holds his place 

as he traces fragrant verse

tattooed on the inside of translucent skin 

stretched tight over the hollow of her back.


With degrees and a former career if science, education and instructional 
technology, Jennifer now does volunteer work while raising her two children 
in addition to writing poetry, creating digital photography and producing 
the web-based journal of visual and literary arts, Mannequin Envy. 

Living in Baltimore, Jennifer takes advantage of the many benefits of city 
life, but also enjoys camping and hiking in the Maryland woods, climbing 
waterfalls, skipping stones and attempting to lure songbirds into her tiny 
yard. She has found many good homes for her poetry and art in print and 
on-line. For more samples, visit http://home.comcast.net/~the_editors/  
Jennifer can be contacted at: jkvanburen@comcast or through www.mannequinenvy.com

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