Jean Rhys

jean rhys
You held the islands in your eyes, where it rained
and rained and then the sun warmed wet to a wafting hiss.
This Jean, you, the feline slink,
filigreed shock, and sinewy comb
of whitelaced waves
ruffling upon
puttied blobs of shore.
Heartsore eyes,
you looked out
when no one was looking,
when the judges had lost sight of you,
and then, daring glee, you’d dive
into the smallest kingdom,
of mudpies and sandcastles,
seafizz kissing the wiggling halfmoons of fresh pink toes,
and you’d laugh and laugh, nymph of the sea,
begging its inheritance and claim
with the involuntary desperation of the meek.
Yet the islands, at the mercy of memory-tides,
flooded regularly, and you, rag doll corseted to a raft,
were carried back back back—
the shabby hotel rooms with vicious mirrors,
brightly lit cafes with trained voices
faring your terrors,
and your heart, o your poor heart,
a ruptured cadenza
consummating tender relations
with all the wrong men,
and out of its brokeneness
flowed the sap and resin
of nursery school blues—
I didn’t know
I didn’t know
I didn’t know.
There was the bottle, gauzy fretted palls,
the milkfingering of wind.
There was also ribbed fringes of prose,
and that was where we found you,
alone, the barest treble,
shipwrecked on a distant island
that was mostly made of mist, and nostalgia, scabbed.
You held the islands in your eyes, Jean, where gashes
came to know the sea’s suture and rhyme, its flicking bluegreen tongues
as balm and frolic upon
the smallest kingdom
to grace.


About John Biscello

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, writer, poet, performer, and playwright, John Biscello, has lived in the high-desert grunge-wonderland of Taos, New Mexico since 2001. He is the author of four novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, Raking the Dust, Nocturne Variations, and No Man’s Brooklyn; a collection of stories, Freeze Tag, two poetry collections, Arclight and Moonglow on Mercy Street; and a fable, The Jackdaw and the Doll, illustrated by Izumi Yokoyama. He also adapted classic fables, which were paired with the vintage illustrations of artist, Paul Bransom, for the collection: Once Upon a Time, Classic Fables Reimagined. His produced, full-length plays include: LOBSTERS ON ICE, ADAGIO FOR STRAYS, THE BEST MEDICINE, ZEITGEIST, U.S.A., and WEREWOLVES DON’T WALTZ.
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