Jason Venner earned his MFA through the Northeast Ohio
Masters of Fine Arts (University of Akron). Currently, he teaches
creative writing and composition at Kent State University (Stark/
East Liverpool) and composition at The University of Akron. He
has two chapbooks published, Opening Up the Trees published in
December of 2009 by Plan B Press, and Oxide Songs, published
by Twin Cranes Press in January of 2010. Some of his work has
appeared in The Naugatuck River Review, Shaking Like a Mountain,
and Glass: an Online Journal of Poetry. In his spare time, he
enjoys making funny voices and sitting in highback chairs and
wearing smoking jackets.

Parables of Old Men

I collect parables at the nursing home,
taste bite marks on the stems of pipes,
and sniff pomade in the brims of hats.
With an eyebrow lifted to closet mirrors,
I fancy ties, what it's like to sit
in the glove of lamplight; in a cherry
pipe smoke hug with threads
of stories spinning like bicycle spindles
true to their edges.

Lake Effect

Plan ahead,
like a frozen lake.
Time will get to it, time will.

Yellow sun, air
and breath.
Something will.

Weather warms,
and your mind becomes
a gull's click;

the earth
will echo back,
echo back.

This is how water talks,
and not so much
in summer:

borrow a book
but do not open it.
It will be there

when discovery is needed;
plant seeds and pour me.
They will.

Cut Them Out

I'll say to my friends
I'd trade my eyes
for an extra ventricle,

and imagine myself blind,
walking in the park with strangers.
Arms linked, synchronized steps,

voices around me
like the harmonics
of sunrise.

I will sing the extravagance
of fingerprints to the passed out
and the blacked out,

sit with people I don't know,
and whisper into ears the way
echoes in stairwells slide.

But most won't remember
my name, and delete me
from cell phones when they wake,

and think it strange,
wanting to love
such an ugly thing.

The History of Firecrackers

Lives are erratic explosions
that smoke into skeletons,
copper ribcages dimmed
like weatherworn stoplights
that twist in the wind,
their strobes floating outward
to mist the living
like the fading of bells.

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