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Jen Selinsky

Copyright © 2008 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 © 2000 by Jen Selinsky

ISBN: 9781370096428

*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.


In 1904, when Gertrude Stein was thirty years old, she decided to devote the rest of her life to writing. This realization has also reached me and will continue to stay with me far past the years of my youth, for I will soon reach thirty, myself.

-Jen Selinsky


While otherworldly fools aspire

To feast on our flesh and

Extinguish our desire—

That, mayhap, it be all too late

To regain our sense of folly

Before pounding on the gate.

“Let’s take the best of them,

Screws unhinged,” through

Their foul breaths they cry,

Though no circumstance

Can cover up the lie.

What carries no guilt,

Only in their minds,

Can fold through galaxies

As their tragic film rewinds.

“We want it all!”

Though hunting them down

Will be no good—

Cleansing in some remote portal

As all us mortals should.

Futile efforts because we, ourselves,

Are in the struggle that is

Given to the fact that nothing

Can center on the fizz

Newly forming in our brains,

Though we’ve lost the ability

To call out for special forces

Because only this seething pool

Of liquid remains.

Once what was a great species

Has now collapsed and shall

Hear from us no more

Until we serve as nothing but

Surrogates through the bitter

Conclusion of this tyrant-war.

These fools shall remain high

Aloft on their mountaintops and

Claim victory.

That is, until a stronger life form

Comes along with the end of their reign

Or for me (to be?)


Sister, today is

Your day to celebrate.

Though we seldom talk,

I know that you are

Always there.

A sister is a blessing,

Though not always

Seen that way in


But now we've

Stopped fighting

And stepped back

To reflect upon

What splendid women

We’ve become - guiding

Us to the right path

To lead our best

Lives possible.

*dedicated to Amy Maddalon (her birthday is actually April 7th)


Feeding Young Minds

Eager children,

Coming in by the bounds

To escape the heat.

They’ve already run from the

Pressure of their

Tedious coursework.

So much has changed,

And seeing them so excited

Made me recall the days

That did it for me.


I should have thought

That my presence

Would be special

And that I should have been

Just as excited about learning

As the next brand—

Little Picassos and Hemmingways,

Little Stan Lees to take over

Popular culture.

They said I must have been mad

When I told them I wanted to

Write and draw, with or

Without exploiting myself.

They told me I would get nowhere,

And that I had to prepare myself

For infamous adulthood,

Where rounds of great praise

End shortly after college.

After that’s the first bold step

Into mankind, where berating tongues

And ridicule can make their claims

On our sensitive ears.



Driving to your locations—

Books sliding back and forth

In their boxes whenever

There’s a sharp turn in the road.

Though gas prices are ludicrous,

You do your best to refuel in time

So that our materials can get

Safely to their destinations.

Your strong arms carry them

Through the cold and rain,

After which you are greeted

By smiling faces and eager patrons,

Who are waiting to partake

Of their treasures—the materials

Which we supply.

Back and forth, the cycle

Continues week after week,

And you have never

Once complained,

Though the task is strenuous

Most of the time.

Provided years of great service,

We are very grateful to have you

As our proud courier,

Conquered by none.

May 2008

Happened once,

Though not tonight.

Life escapes my lips

And grinds meaning into time.

Streets reigning and mad laughter

Capture the innocent victim

And lull it to sleep with songs,

Dull and colorless.

You told me once you were

My friend,

Before the whole thing started,

Meat of the grinding arms.

And the wind from the trees

Produced ugly and poisonous lies

That spread all their toxins ‘round

And give fabrications.

False security,

That is how the best of them

Did not make it past the gate

And enriched nothing but

Steaming sacks of unreason,

Fresh with entrails,

And no longer disguised

As something given them through.


The Lonely Librarian

Wicked are the thoughts

That keep me up at night

And pound my head

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