Jay Besemer

Trans hybrid artist Jay Besemer is the author of many poetic artifacts including Chelate, Telephone (both Brooklyn Arts Press), A New Territory Sought (Moria), Aster to Daylily (Damask Press), and Object with Man’s Face (Rain Taxi Ohm Editions). He is a contributor to the groundbreaking anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. His performances and video poems have been featured in various live arts festivals and series, including Meekling Press’ TALKS Series; Chicago Calling Arts Festival; Red Rover Series {readings that play with reading}; Absinthe & Zygote; @Salon 2014 and Sunday Circus. Jay also contributes performance texts, poems, and critical essays to numerous publications including Nerve Lantern: Axon of Performance Literature, Barzakh, The Collagist, PANK, Petra, Rain Taxi Review of Books, The VOLTA, and the CCM organs ENTROPY and ENCLAVE. He is a contributing editor with The Operating System, the co-editor of a special digital Yoko Ono tribute issue of Nerve Lantern, and founder of the Intermittent Series in Chicago, where he lives with his partner and a very helpful cat.

P

P

the eye

P

The eye sees inside itself

& falls in love a little.

This is how things happen.

The eye lit fiercely is quiet,

red-orange, a child’s lamp

holding its dinosaur shade.

P

Consider: a glass stains itself

with night, a kind of blood

that makes unimportant things

into jewels

P

& this is no problem. But.

P

If the eye is also a glass stained

with blood—& it is—it is

a deceptive light. See into

yourself, love the smooth

globe so hard to get out of,

P

but know what you’re doing.

P

P

Ishihara Test Plates

(12, 74, 8, 6, 45, 5)

P

12.

Many can see

your small forest.

In winter, you are

unrequited & luminous,

flaky at the edges

yet still dignified.

P

Others find you cheerful;

you are baffled by their clouds

& their birds & their

arrangements.

P

Next to you

there is a knife smeared

with light & called

river.

P

74.

Several hundred tangerines

plummet into the street.

What more can I say?

The simplest things,

the simplest things.

P

8.

No one is any the wiser

as this river doubles back on

its own body. We rotate

the book & skate back

with our lists trailing

behind us in the frost.

P

Some day, another hand

will turn the page.

P

6.

This one is hard to crack:

no matter the intent I can’t

help but feel excluded.

There’s that inner circle

& a definite out.

P

The antidote is unexpected,

unexpected like a low door

in an ivied wall. Did I say

antidote? I meant exit.

The inner circle gapped &

leaking.

P

45.

Looking into this mirror

there appears another mirror

behind it & then a mirror

appears behind me. I can see

through my own body & on

the other side there is

a glass book resting on the chair

where once my flesh contained

me. Where did I go? The book,

the mirror, the number 45 on

the surface of an agitated pond?

P

5.

A hand held up before the eyes

may behave like five things

or like one. The world perceived

with fingertips or between them,

is it the same world or is it many?

P

Out there, in it, I can’t tease

figure from ground.

P

Who can?

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