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A Cut Above

Jen Selinsky

Copyright © 2007 by Jen Selinsky

All rights reserved by the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of the copyright holder.

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Cover Art Copyright © 2004, 2014 by Jen Selinsky and Travis Potts

ISBN: 9781370192298

*Not every poem included in this book is dated in chronological order.  This is not an oversight on my part. Rather, I have made changes and substitutions over the years.


Bliss has come to those

Who waited with anticipation

In their eyes—hits them

Before they realize that

The concept of happiness

Has yet to be written

In their minds.

Standing atop the

Mountain, which you have

Found hard to climb;

God gave you the will

To survive, to last even

Further in the comfort

Of each other’s arms, for

That is the one place that

No man can do harm.

Souls glowing because love

Has seen you through to

Make the world fit

According to your plan.


How much can I actually

Say in the time that’s

Allotted to me

In the little bit of space

Just big enough for me to breathe?

I do not have much

Reason to believe that

Many of these people

Are going to be kind,

Especially when they

Leave me behind to

Rot in the sun.

Hostility only begun

From one who refuses

To spring from her youth.

What do you want; why

Do you find me to be so uncouth?

I’ve tried, Lord knows;

I’ve tried to make you

People satisfied with me.

And that I’ve tried

To be over my tears.

Fears eating me inside

Out with so much as a

Humanly doubt that I

Am all I’m destined to be—

Anything but a neurotic mess.

I confess! Just do what

You will and be quick.

The pain that takes my

Body for granted—

A bruised temple that’s

More than willing to

Waste away if I am

Offered no ultimatum.

You do not see, you

Trusted your judgment,

To which I wish I could

Have lived up to standard

Under the security of lock

And key, if you will.

Dreams cannot fulfill themselves;

They must be escorted

By some kind of human will.

The bitter pill that slides

Down my throat every night

Is supposed to make it all better.

What recent evidence has

There been supporting this claim,

Given out by pharmaceutical companies

And those who only want to

Make money from the weak?

I am here to speak, but it’s as if

My words are not even heard by anyone.

Does a person care who wants to see me thrive,

Or must I still strive through the mud,

On my belly, just like a snake with no purpose

And no limbs?

Whims only satisfied by the dogs who

Created them in the first place—

Those who have nothing better to do

With their time.

Break my rhyme, break my will,

Break my balls (if I had any to spare).

You know what I mean as you speak

Through muted difficulties, just as

Quickly as you’ve tossed my words

To the wayside.

Darken my doorstep, or as you people see it,

The other way around.

I’ve found; I have taken something,

And I shall do my best to protect

It to this day.

Anyway, all these things you make,

My poor mind feels as though it’s already

Dying for a meal of wisdom, of which

It has been deprived ever since I’ve arrived.

Display my pity with blood and the red

That comes from the fury in my eyes.

Circumstance has delivered me here,

By God, I’ve got to stay.

I have not felt this way about any place

Else in the brief period that has been

Allotted to me.

Let it be as it is! What else have I to look

Forward to, except the degradation which, allegedly,

Is supposed to start soon?

Being “the pretty picture” of youth by some

Who assume the impending doom that tracks man

Down, like death looming in the doorway.

See a smile that fades and promises obscurity

To anyone who happens to have part of the

Same mind.

I find that I used to love

The very thing which

Slowly turns to hate;

Save me from this

Damnable fate before

I run myself completely mad

Into circles that are filled

With confusion and delirium.

You find me worthy of

Nothing but a short

Sum of things, which

Barely step over the

Basics of life.

I am tired, so tired of

It all that I must

Now close my eyes to

See what has become

Of my anticipated victory.

I finally had a chance to

Lunge back from what holds

Me back from rushing

Over to their side and

Gouging out their eyes

With my fingernails.

A pretty sight for no one

When they see my temper

Flare, enough to give so

Many a scare.

You claim that I only

Did it to myself, but

The whole world has yet

To hear your claim, and

Who’s to say that many

Would agree with such

Madness, the kind that

Is not even brought on

By me!

Lowering my eyes to this

Cruel defamation…


Don’t you find it hard

To think all these things

In your head, while others

Talk in the background?

Collision, only a certain

Number of minds can

Resist the voices talking

Inside their heads, and

Outside, the world’s all

A chatter.

Does anyone cease to talk—

No sure as not everyone is resting

All at the same time.

How fine, how unique

That these things happen

At one time or another.

The sun never sets on

The whole world at once.

Now you can understand

Why I ponder all these

Things when I am one

Of those who do not

Close their eyes, trying

Desperately to let my

Soul escape for the

Night so that it may

Be free from the thoughts

Which claim me during

The day.

Humans can react in

Any given way, why I

Must choose differently

Is beyond me.

Carpe diem;

Carpe noctem—

Whatever happens to

Work at the time when

I try to blossom and show

The world that I am

Made of a different kind

Of thing.

You’ll see, I’ll try to have

All of you see why I’ve

Fallen out of line to

Pave my own path.

Oh, don’t even try to

Tell me that you’ve

Never been tempted to

Do the same thing.

Hear the tone of my heart,

As it rings for love and

Beauty that had me the

Way that it wanted me.

Have rights to express these

Things that may shock

Or delight anyone living.

In just a small amount

Of distance of space.

My hands are right before my

Eyes to see what appears

This close.

All this has been from a

Great distance before,

But all is going to change—

The beautiful slumber of

The time when we have

To recharge.

Has anyone ever felt

Anything so sweet on

The soil underneath

Their feet?

Growing, trying to have

Its arms reach up to

The brilliant light of

The sun.

Ongoing, everyone has

Something that survives

Them when they leave

Dismal, although all

Is not lost, no one

Should have to despair.

Oh, our bodies were not

Meant to live this long.

Study of human biology;

It’s no wonder that we

Want to keep pressing on

And living, as though we

Shall see no end.—Breaking convention and

Defying the confines that

Trap us within their realm.

Yes, life is too short to

Continue going on, as we


“Woe is man,” some say to

Match the burden of the

Circumstance, but we

Know that there’s always

A way outside.

Get away from all the

Refuse that pollutes our


Concentrate, break away

From the haunting words

Which drag us down and

Try to deal us to death.

We cannot deal with such

Things if we want to

Thrive in the existence of

A world filled with sorrow

And sin, though we can

Make a change to point

In our favor.

The Savior of man

Resides in our hearts

And He has given us,

Oh, such a great reason

To love and accept—

Each joining hands and

Gathering in to hear the

Whispers, which differ from

The harsh words that are

Thrown into our faces and

Have us believe that there

Is nothing that can help

Us mend our ways.

It is wrong, and we have

Only begun to see the

Days echoing into our

Favor and begin to see

These rising things

Begin to bow to the Maker

And His Son.

Days such as these should

Have us rejoice that it

Never does set all at

Once, as maybe we were

Made to think as young


So impressionable, yet so

Innocent in a way we

Wish to replicate or even


It all goes back to the

Matter at hand.

Yes, we have seen the

Very things which brighten

Our dispositions.

If they ever persist, oh,

These weeds don’t cease

To grow again, then we

Must pluck them out

One by one if need be

So that human souls feel

The great power of letting

Themselves be.

See the pretty image that

I try to make for all our

Sake and the importance

Of living life to the


Follow me over hill

And dale to the sweet

Valleys that echo our


Play the celebratory games

That we make because we

Know we have succeeded

In making us a beautiful

Name, and nothing can

Ever take away our claim

That we established when

Nothing even seemed right.

Little did we know that

Such great things can

Happen with a belief, such

A great will to survive.

Hear us as we hold on

To our skin and proclaim

That we are alive!

Greatness to behold that

Makes us want to kick up

Our limbs and have us

Run to any place and then

To the ends of the earth.

How to express all to our own,

But it shall all be leaked

Out in the pages, found

All over the earth—

Preservation as long as

The planet still stands.

No more ludicrous demands

With the need to echo

Any superficial cause.

By large, we know the

Importance of it all in

The grand scheme,

So much to seem that

Things are not so easy

To portray, but they are

Fun to express.

An essential to prove our

Great existence, we can

Get nowhere standing

In one place—the monotony

Of it all!

It’s too hard even to

Imagine, so we should all

Put it out of our minds.

And fill them, yes cram

Them so all these great

Things start to bulge

In our favor.

Though not tangible, we

Can feel it in the places

That are most important,

Which should not so soon

Be rendered obsolete as

We live in the ecstasy

That can be revered.

Should be until there

Is nothing else to say.

Daytime or nighttime

As I have said before—

Measured beyond what

Is seen on the other

Side of the door.

On the green floor, but

We do not have to remain

So close to the ground

To follow the sound of our

Beating hearts in unison.

Don’t let up, see no

Way to find these flaws.

Claimed to reside in fears

And tears that we have

Cried for millennia.

Dried with the healing

Power made by man

To comfort in this time

Of need.

Come, let me gather you

In my embrace, as our

Wild imaginations trace

Lines all over our bodies.

At nirvana because I have

Everything I want within

You, for this song, my



So talented, such an

Eager frame of mind.

I must admire you for

Something; I must remember

That we had a

Chance to meet one

Year ago.

I have not forgotten,

Your most loyal fans

Have not forgotten

Just what you have meant

To them.

Bard of the modern times,

You know that the words

You have sung shall

Never go to waste

Looking for a way to

Expand their energy

They all call on you—

The one who has given

Them a new reason

To live.

And you, oh, you deserve

To live just as a king

Because the selfless joy

That others have been

Able to receive because

Of you.

No lie, one could stare

Into your eyes and see

The beauty that is

Reflected by eternity.

If man had only that

Much time; if only we

Could adore you until

The last cloud reaches

The farthest stretch of

The sky.

Though we cannot quite

Determine why some

Things remain such a

Mystery; we know what

You have done has intrigued

Us not long after

You have made your

Debut to the world.

So many are grateful;

They should be grateful

For all that you have done.

Oh, if people could be more

Like you with a kind smile

Stretched across your face—

Things put into place after

They have been misplaced

For a certain amount of time.

“Come forth,” it seems to

Say after the beckoning

Light goes out to those

Who were led astray.

And there you are at

The end, shining so

Bright that it can’t help

But make us feel happy.

Special as we think

Ourselves to be, we know

That you are here to

Dispel all our fears and

Make the truth stick

Inside our heads.

Just the kind and selfless

Thing that you are—

More than glad to do

We shall never forget

Just how much we love

You and all that you

Have done!

*dedicated to Justin Guarini


I don’t know why my

Mind gets this way, as

If to say I want nothing

To do with you all right now.

Lead me away from these

Actions, these people, so

That I can be myself

For a few more hours

Before having to come

Back to deal with the

Likes of you.

Oh, precious sanity!

You’ve been spread too thin

And far in between.

I can see how you’ve gone

Dealing with these routine

Things; I guess that’s why

I’m not a part of that regime.

Do you dread every day,

Having to get up and

Do the same thing all

Over again?

Nowhere near done, though

You think you’ve already won.

In reality, that’s nowhere

Near the truth.

Only beginning to see the

Burden of such things facing

You every day.

The ugliness of it all,

Though you would

Have a pretty job.

My job would not

Be a pretty job if

I had a situation similar to yours.

Shallow you may call me, as

I laugh inside my head, laugh at all

The lies your society

Tries to feed me.

Since some kind of

A beginning,

We have seen these

Things in movies;

Thank God that I’ve

Never read it

In books!

Good looks, then you throw your life

Down the drain.

Development of a brain,

Then you realize that it’s not all there,

Not even here, I’m already far, far away…


Holding it in, hold it all

‘Til I feel like I am going

To explode.

Overload on the thoughts

Which make me feel grand;

Imagine my bare feet

Running across the sand

On a beach at some

Remote location, where

Most everything else

Exists only in my


My darling creation, come

To greet me where I sit;

Deliver me from this state.


Feel the good, cold, stinging surge,

As I extinguish another

Worthless life that was never

Meant to be.

Hatred as it all burns in my eyes;

Hatred of the thing that I built

Up with my love!

Damn it all, damn the thing

I thought would make me happy,

Only leading me to death.

Words going to get me nowhere,

As people try to contemplate

The stains on the wall.

Why should I bother when I know

That I am only going to be crushed

By the fist of oppression as these tears

Wet the pages on which I write?

This will be my cloister for as long

As I wish to dredge through this

Earthly pain.

Hatred, contempt, all this news

Is brought too late.

Take back the last few months,

Take back any flame besides the

Flame of hate.

Why? Why must I be informed

Of this now, just another sad

Pawn of denial,

Flesh melting in his hand

When he is going to be adored

All over the world.

I hate, all I feel is hate

As the blood flows through my

No-good body, endorphins.

Do not even begin to capture an idea,

So I stay in sleep as long as I can.

Don’t even know what I say

Anymore, as these worthless words

Flow through my undeserving pen;

What is deserving by me anymore?

I don’t know, and word is the monster

I created, but it shall be no more because

It will only fall on deaf ears.

Getting away, no one will quite

Know where.

Contempt, no

Spite, and all the things

That I should not feel.

Termination of the

Rambling brat is the only way

To get anything accomplished.

You don’t understand,

Don’t expect to even attempt

To understand because you

Cannot feel a greater madness

Than mine consuming me inside,

As the burning rage actually

Makes me feel good.

Misunderstood, just like my dear

*Elliott, what he had and I crave

Did not make him happy.

Such a pity that pathetic souls

Cannot find their niche.

In a pinch I can twist this flesh

And make it appear as if it’s bone.

Bone, as I bite my thumb to the world

And the surrounding communities

And the rivers of madness that invade

My head as the empty cavity never has been

So fulfilled before.

Lousy whore, with teeth and things

Protruding out of my skin.

Devastation takes many forms,

And I hate the way that its taken me

Prisoner tonight—

In a fight of strugglers and meaningless


Yes, I would like to believe that

You are proud, but I scream inside myself

To drown out any opposing noise.

I take no stance, as I want to starve myself,

Squeeze out my insides or wither away

From nothing; I feel like a jilted lover

Or one who had not come off a natural high

This way.

Any day you see the thing of which

I used to be proud, but now I am beginning

To think that I hate them all!

Hate. Hate. Hate burning, just as the pity blood

That is spilled all over the world.

Things just had to

Go and fuck with me all at once.

Fond had nothing to do with it,

So just let me wallow in the blood.

Almost as if it gives me delight

How dark and sinister,

But that is the way things do feel

Because I was supposed to be the one.

Tossed away, and I don’t even care

Where they have landed.

Just get them out of my sight;

Get everything out of my sight.

Condemnation of all the good feelings

That I used to have before—

Let them perish with

These things I used to cherish

Because nothing means anything


Melancholy dominance,

Just how did **Paul feel

Before he thought he was going

To set himself apart from the

Rest of the world?

Walking the semi-familiar streets

But waving to none of the passersby;

They should not even have to see

Me in the first place.

Words of pure hate, but why should you care,

Why do you wish to censor my thoughts

And speech, when some of you may

Have even felt the same thing before?

Give you up or further place the knife

Into my heart!

I can only lie awake for so many hours.

This spite should make me sleep,

Thousands of years beyond the legends

Intellectual thought, I’m beginning to

Be a waste of time.

Composed of matter, strewn with tissues,

Without any kind of emotion, what exactly

Are we?

Nothing, I will tell you that I am nothing

Right away as I have been taken out

Of this wretched day and thrown into night.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back—

All the more glad because I now know not to care.

Not to care, but damn it all because I still do!

Such a stupid thing that some mortals do

Some animals, they cannot be like the robots

That exist without emotion—just like it science fiction.

Certain parts of life should not be like that,

Food and water as I live alone

And just any ounce of their presence

Makes me sick—

Sick to what is left of my stomach.

Nothing more to enter this enormous mouth

Of mine, as it drips from my fangs and goes

Longer into my skin and blood that carries

All my worthless traits.

Residing there for so long that no one

Quite knows when it will leave, if at all

Such a small thing inside my soul grows so large

To create the ultimate monster.

Resided in me, now the beast is slain once and for all.

Call of the wild, survival of the unfit will never

Take place.

No, not in this life, not as if anything new

Can be said and done by this mad being,

Droning incessantly to the beat of a

Different drum because it can never be the same

Thing again.

Why, tell me this, why do you hurt when I do?

Just shows the sacrificing nature

Of such a great human being.

How could something as vile as I ever

Come out of you?

Now, you’ll cry these tears and forbid me to

Kick myself when I’m down.

I hate to disappoint you, but I know that I already have

Charts measure my insanity; I should never

Have gotten involved in something of this nature.

You know, I know, but why did I have to get

Knocked down when I thought I was high?

Now I have to face the world that I don’t want to see

All relative as you think you can empathize,

But you cannot;

No one here has that power anymore.

*Elliott Smith

**Paul from Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case”


Pompous intellectual,

Bleeding in the streets,

Though the cooling sweat

Is not enough to make

Her stay awake, confusion

In the heart and a victim

To some kind of deceit.

This person does now know

What it’s like to make a decision,

But so many others do not know

What it’s like to see inside

The soul of another man,

While the world stands back

To observe the fallen incident.



Tholomyés, keeper of gold,

What treasures does your

Happiness hold?

The name of an angel,

The advantage of youth,

Do you know what happened

After you left?

Mind adrift with your comrades,

Why you did not even stay behind

To witness the miracle you

Did create?

Ah, but if you had stayed,

What kind of a miracle would

It be—turning over no stones.

You did not think that you

Were going to help this man

Turn around his life by

Allowing him to help this

Trembling being.

Unforeseen circumstances

Because of your love for a

Certain beauty and wanderlust.

You rushed, running to

Whatever possibly hatched

Itself in your mind, which

Could be why the angels

Repeat your name,


*Felix Tholomyés-the biological father of Coestte from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.

*previously published in Vol 1. Issue 3 of, 2006


They have seen many days,

Though now it is for these

Darlings I pray, who seem

To be lost and trapped within

The walls of every man’s hate.

Dire disease, release them

From this, I beg of you, please!

Good people, Lord, you have

Made some of the finest as

The greatest gift to me, now my

Aching heart cannot let it all be.

Someone has experienced

What they do not want to feel.

Late to come in this existence of man,

And surely no way to live

I hope that I still have the ability

To give to those souls in need.

Grace come to all of God’s angels

As they find themselves scattered

On this earth.

Mirth and all the finer things,

How I wish I could bestow

That kind of radiant glow that

Should be seen on the faces of

Every man.

According to plan and what

Else is supposed to be done

Such good folks should not

Have to be on the run

From this thing that

Should not even happen at all.


Foremost love of my life,

Luckiest man having made you

A loving wife.

It hurts me to think that

Your precious eyes have watered

Because of any pain, and your

Worried voice spoke as if

All hope were entirely slain.

My angel, though you find reason

To despair, I care so much and wish

That I can bring you such delightful mirth

On this day of birth.

One special day, sixty, to be precise,

And I wish that my love song to you

Would suffice, even to bring you

The smallest fraction of joy.

God made you most special

To me—the best person

That I should ever receive.

I wish soon for you to find no reason

To grieve, especially since a celebration

Should be in order,

At least in your heart, where kind

Sentiments play the most important part.

Celebrate one who had so many

Great things to offer the world—

And she who still does because one

Has increased the numbers to

Great length to multiply each great thing

From all the voices that should sing

A song of birth and happiness!

*dedicated to my beloved mother, Toni Selinsky, on her birthday


In the Face of Adversity

Rejection upon rejection

Before many have occurred.

I felt my heart ripped

From this vessel and flung

Against the wall, only to

See it slide down—a trail

Of blood on the untainted white.

Why is that I can never

Do anything right?

This mind has sweat, and

This hand has writ, until

The veins have become

Swollen inside.

Retreat to my tears because

I have no one else in which

To confide.

Mind nearly exhausted its

Last drop, and my poor thoughts

So fast to run out, depleting my ideas,

None of which have suited anyone

To the point they want to take me on.

Lesser a woman starting to become

Less limber in a task so burdensome.

Left my mind by the wayside,

Physical decay soon to take place

Because of the depression, right before

I start to consume myself whole

From the disgusting inner layer

That nobody wishes to see.

I shall starve until my skin is barely

Parched over these bones—

Simply vanished.

No one will recognize my face;

No one will even recall my name

Because it is dying of another day.

“Despair not,” friendly enough advice,

Though neither word of it will ever

Suffice, after I’ve executed my

Very last plan; alone I stand?


Here, but I don’t know

What to say while I try to

Make it through another day.

And I hope tomorrow that

I may wake having much

More confidence—like I can

Go through blindfolded, but

Would that only be so that

I do not have to face what is

Given to me?

Oh, yes, I know grateful, but

Sometimes fear takes the lead—

Needless to say that this has

Happened in many a young heart,

Those who have all taken part

In such a thing…


Pushing me just a little too much,

Pushing me right over the fine line

Between insanity and the sane

I am on the brink, headed

For a meltdown, dying for

Fresh air and stability; I don’t know

How much more I can take that will

Carry me through.

Not having to relate much more

Than you because, honestly, no one

Really enjoys this kind of scene.

Not that it’s particularly mean

I am just not accustomed to this

Kind of thing—

Hard to believe

That thirty-four years ago

You left us without hardly a trace.

Mysterious man, person who

Wanted to be known by the world

And who the world wanted to partake

Of by almost any means.

And your vast following has

Not forgotten you, as they strive

To make the others aware—the

Others remember that you have

Left behind so much.

The sound of your voice makes me

Wish that, sometimes, I had gotten

To know you, though we placed

Ourselves on this earth at

Different times.

Different nights we cried

And held our significant others

In our arms, and we knew that

We identified with each other in a way

That may not have been certain to

Put forth a speculation.

Accusations, we had all become

Too much accustomed

To these things over the years

And precious time that has

Taken our minds for ransom.

You were behind all the controls,

Already maneuvering us in any direction

That you wanted us to go, though you

Have already seen your early days

To a grave to let your body decay in peace.

Let’s hope that your soul has seen itself

To some place comforting, but not too warm,

As to give us the wrong impression!

And those of us who remain behind will hope,

With all our might, that everything is all right.

Pére Lachaise should be filled with the regulars

Who come to say their respects with “hello” or

“Adieu,” depending on their current state of mind.

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(Pages 1-37 show above.)