Issue a5 · 2012



from The Buttress


by Jen Besemer







context shifts thickly around the feet : bundles of leaflets on the curb : speak slowly into the microphone so the transcriptionist can work effectively


context shifts with the rain : the audience waits for notes to be collected : context shifts at the beginning : at the feet two crows fighting over a baguette : their cries are transcribed as punctuation come to life


punctuation turns to context : breadcrumbs in rain : polite applause : the speaker  shifts : context stays behind





drops the crockery


the other origin of species : a dial  on a monitor : calibrating the meter and the detector : the chronology of emergence :


the observation is the catalyst : a triple-doctorate drops the crockery and everything changes :


wait until tomorrow : they can backtrack from there : toe to heel  across the years of limit :


the other origin of species is error : the  terror of interpretation : mistranslation : standard deviation : copying error : copying error :


then we become something else : put a stone under the tongue and walk : into something else







scales run up the sides of the house beneath the ivy : glistening  and changeable jewel stories :  holographic and cold


my key does not fit the reptile door :  my key is basted with rust and grease : the thought of entry makes it molt a commodity that damages its traders : light, more light the magpies call : and are blinded





the choice is pain, or pain


fragments of tooth in a jar : your dark phantom in the tired pulp : a dream of city time and things to collect : damp wings of fear: the expansion of song : inside your chest the drum of knowing : take a breath and begin :


give  in : dream of city time and the song silenced : the choice is pain, or pain : in the jar the memory of teeth before breaking : in the jar the beginning : the bad collection







under and within, under until.  loam in a heap, dogs ducking, sunflower verge and trembling timothy.  a seed in a name takes root and dives.  under and within, under until.  you point down with one hand, toward the earth.  the other shows the sky.  grass floats.  timothy.  pull and squeak, nibble tip, spit.  down pasture, growth roar.








Jen Besemer works with words, actions and images to expose hidden relationships (and discover new ones) between and within those media.  “Misusing” text, processes and products to create camouflaged or hybrid forms, Jen comments on the entrenched systems of contemporary life and the unresolved contradictions they generate.  Recent work has appeared or will appear in Jellyroll, PANK, REM magazine, Otoliths, Right Hand Pointing, Sentence and ARTIFICE and at The Fridge in Washington, D.C.  Her website and blog are at