Tuesday, January 23, 2018



The Giant in the Dirty Coat

I, see, the, sightless, giant, lip, a, spit-filled, whistle,
Canvas, hood, pulled, tight,
Against, S,a,i,n,t, C,a,t,h,e,r,i,n,e, w,h,e,e,l,s, of, cold.
            He, shrieks, a, single, note,
Tumbles, it, windward,
Rakes, at, our, ears, with, a, metal, reed,
Fog, venting, from, his, nostrils;
            His, gob, of, sound,
Dropped, at, our, feet:
A, key, kicked, into, a, gutter.

Snow, paves, his, forehead,
Freights, his, pockets,
Feathers, his, l,a,c,e,l,e,s,s, shoes.

Too, small, for, sleet-stung, eyes, to, scan,
A, scrawled, card,
Asks, direction;
No, one, proffers, arm, or, word.

Buses, lit, like, reading, rooms,
Taxis, sweating, heat,
All, a,d,u,m,b,r,a,t,e, d,i,s,t,a,n,c,e.  The, giant,
In, the, dirty, coat, hunches, his, thick,

Shoulders, in, the, d,a,r,k.

The Buzzard

I, stalk,
a, feathered, c,o,n,u,n,d,r,u,m, hailing, cabs,
and, battering, bus, doors, noting,
ghosts, and, how, they, wear,
c,o,n,s,i,d,e,r,a,b,l,e, volume, of, flesh,

90, cerulean, miles,
from, here, a, buzzard, turns,
on, thermals.
Someone, stops, a, car, to, watch, it,
scout, b,o,r,b,o,r,i,a,n, m,a,t,t,e,r,
bellied, up, on, top, of, a, ridge.

That, sky, is, the, same, as, this,
gray, t,a,b,u,l,a, r,a,s,a, where, one,
jet, drags, a, silver, finger, to, where,
the, buzzard, clacks, its, beak.

See, that, spectral, bird,
land, with, a, flash, of, feathers,
upon, a, speckled, hide:
The, green, hills, cup, no, cries.
a, rib, gleams, like, a, girder.

The, urban, hum, of, many,
dark, m,o,v,e,m,e,n,t,s, in, dead, s,p,a,c,e,s,
raises, a, small, h,o,s,a,n,n,a,
to, this, t,u,t,e,l,a,r,y, p,r,e,s,e,n,c,e:
Ruler, of, Heaven, and, Hell,

Lord, of, Country, and, City.


The Poet's Notes On His Poems
These are just two of my poems that utilize commas in a manner that was inspired by José Garcia Villa’s use. The commas add emphasis to the whole poem because they slow down the reading of words, lines, and in the case of my poems, letters of certain words. In so doing they add to the physicality of the text, and act as the invitation to “voice” the poem as a performative text in real time. Villa’s commas work to compress his poems and to craft them into his own uniquely metaphysical English. In writing them Villa did not set out to be self-consciously “eccentric” as we suspect of e.e. cummings, but instead, what began as a sort of homage to cummings (Villa was a great fan), evolved into a very real, and a very sincere, form of writing.

Jesse Glass has lived for over 25 years in Japan. He is currently writing Nothing Epic: The Complete Gaha Noas Zorge, sections of which have appeared in Otoliths, The Journal of Poetics Research, and Experiment-O. His Charm For Survivors: Selected Painted Books and Sequences is available from The Knives Forks and Spoons Press.