Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Jay Passer's My Part In The Works

Published by Ten Pages Press, Jay Passer’s collection My Part In The Works ranges from surreal to concrete, metaphorical to literal. I am happy to share a couple of them with you below:


my brother the terrorist
wonders why his car was towed away
parked halfway up the sidewalk
crashed into a power pole.

my brother waits for the latest issue of Guns and Ammo to arrive in the mail
he plans to assassinate the President
on Mother’s Day
or maybe around Christmastime.

my brother was a Little-League All-Star
but these days he rides a bicycle through the rain over the French Alps
I saw it on television.

my brother is stuck in the tunnel
beneath a mountain somewhere in the French Alps
the signal on his cell phone’s gone dead.

my brother
like a wet finger on a light switch
is surprised to see the FBI man.

my brother in the old days
negotiated tightropes stretched across Circus Maximus
he’s a terrorist
whose mother wore white on her wedding day.

my brother waits for the result of the election
pistol in hand.

When I first read it, I couldn’t help but hope/wonder if any of these stanzas were true. What a colorful character to have in the family! I asked Mr. Passer about it and he explained that the poem is meant to be “somewhat metaphorical, referring in a generalized sense to the human family.” That explanation works for me, too. The human family is full of bizarre episodes, trials, and tribulations which the poem reveals stanza by stanza.

In The City

grandiose and greatness with capitals in the city
above it all a stunner on the billboard nighttime drama
gesticulate impresarios imps with invisible fingertips
glass-fragile ego of structural integrity staking claim
lawyers and lynch men snarling in the corners
mongers of catastrophe and battle profiteers
driven to the fanatical pulse-beat of our world

the mad grasping ideals, sentinels of our city
driven by hype and horsepower to awaken the type
of gods you don’t see painted on Sistine ceilings.

I like the pace of the poem, no periods or commas to relieve you just like the fast pace of a city. Mr. Passer pokes and prods at the cynical side of the kinds of men who are found there, “snarling in the corners,” “driven by hype and horsepower.” The last line is a perfect closing, a city awakening “gods you don’t see painted on Sistine ceilings,” or that is to say, mere men who believe they are gods when in fact they are not simply because of the ideals they adopt in a large, bustling city.

If you enjoyed this sample, Jay Passer’s collection, My Part In The Works, you’ll be happy to know it is available on-line through Ten Pages Press in its entirety, check it out at:


Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

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