We are pleased to present our third Poet to Notice: Jay Passer

We hope you enjoy these four poems as much as we did.


he took the stage

and the snarls began

beer tossed

bodies flung

the crowd tightened

a wall of smut

lost a shoe, a shirt,

an ear

Clark Christ at the mic

head like a shark

pitbull sacrifice

the room a vacuum

of planets exploding

electric limbs and semi-automatic


Clark Christ leaps into space

frozen in a dive

hooting with smoke

#1 for the night

penniless by

2 a.m.



foremost aged 14 it was the girl down the street


fat thighs and a fishy scent

then it was a Korean girl

that took me from the American girl

that took me from the heroin addict in the room just down the stairwell

at the Del Rey

wallowing in her dreadlocks and patchouli oil

asleep with the radio on ten decibels

I had to crawl across her unconscious form

sprawled on the bed

after forcing the door

to turn that crap off

out the window, the bank parking lot

the garbage cans and traffic of Broadway

I was a painter then, I painted portraits

the same picture of the same man

being rained on

by love and a city invented

for the inhabitance of shady characters

myself infatuated with

the Chinese girl followed by the Hungarian girl

and then that

Jewess at the bowling alley

the hippie, the harlot, the harelip

oh, I’d take them all to the Kennel Klub

throw darts and shoot pinball and pool

the crusty old men slowly shaking grizzled heads in disbelief

the young pup strikes again


like a disposable lighter

pick your color.



Benny makes the rounds of the hotel room doors

his home girl died in her sleep from alcohol poisoning

a mighty black man like Queequeg from Moby Dick

why is it the bad ass road fighters always seek out the nerd

when administering their grief to the gods and cosmos?

the man owes me $30 but brought along a half-pint

of cinnamon whiskey, offset the other night by

companionship with a street-talking lesbian dope fiend

Benny knocks for entrance into small rooms of martyrdom

sobbing into his sleeve alternated with bouts of fist-pump bravado

I had the same round of obliteration before I left the Emerald City

for this vermin-infested hotel room of bad psychology and life rented weekly

bent to the jazz and the blues and the blunt anvil

I stagger from the job and back to the room to drown incognito

baseball on the plugged-in portable radio, we’re still tight in the race

it is September 4th at 3 o’clock in the morning

I recall a home I created out of gray lakes and fire and stone silence

beckoning to me like some runaway hitchhiking on the interstate

I pull over to see a skull matched to a bright party dress

the smile unmistakable as I realize, too late

the keys have disappeared from the ignition

Benny’s joyriding tonight.



Missy stole my camera

to pawn for junk

I can’t blame her

I let her sleep over

but nothing happened

Missy being a lesbian

Missy sleeps on her back

and snores

I sleep on the floor

through the open window

second hand smoke and

black night stalling

cool apocalypse

I let her go with her acne

slanted eye and feline slouch

her So-Cal gutter accent

she relieved me of

2 pairs of boxer shorts as well

after I lent her my soap

so she could take a shower

Missy was very excited

Your soap’s so minty!

she exclaimed

as if she were 5 years old

I got this soft spot for junkies


Jay Passer‘s work has appeared in print and online since 1988. He lives in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, the city of his birth.



what is a a poet to notice?


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