Exclusive ‘Jazz’ Excerpt

Continuing our series of exclusive excerpts, we bring you a royal selection of stunning poetry from Jazz by Jéanpaul Ferro. Just to show that poetry doesn’t have to be pretentious or impossible to enjoy, these poems have an honesty about them that we at Honest love. But don’t just take our word for it, click here for an impressive review of Jazz. So, ladies and gentlemen, tuck in…

American Dreaming

In our blue movie you tell me to think harder,
I lift and I lift us all the way up the gray mountaintop,
my muscles bulging with my white T-shirt on,
dressed in my blue jeans and his lovely gray socks,
tick-tock, tick-tock in my head all the way up like
an old mull,

Always for you, I work hardest, I work hardest for you,
bring the food home, the bacon, the Ford Sedan,
our own spec of grass the size of an envelope outside the house,
a white picket fence around it in sublime irony—
you and I: naked and suicidal upstairs in bed.

Cold Suicide

You came undone like the pink rolling waves,
crawled on your stomach all night long,
the cold, cold days on the inside like a fast train,
seven hours of daylight left in this universe,

I did everything I could to put you back together,
return you to innocence like back in Maine,
cooked you dinner for forty straight nights,
steaming white chowder and vegetables bowling in a pot,

Deceptively, each day went past black and gray,
rising to the ocean like a murdered Indian,
cutting our wrists with the prescription right in our hands,
driving down all the abandoned roads until there was
nowhere else to go.

Arrete! C’est ici L’Empire de la Mort—

On that cold October day we escaped the Paris rain
by going down the spiral staircase of seventy-seven steps,
fifty feet below into the graffiti filled Catacombs, into the

deeper and deeper we ran through the revolution of years,
black pools of underground rain collecting on the ceiling,
like years of rain that was suppose to quench and protect us,

you kept smiling, nervously laughing, your hand pulling at
your v-neck shirt, trying to cover over your breasts from the cold,
running and running through the years until we reached the painted
pillars, a doorway between them, where this sign stops you in your

Stop! Here is the Empire of the Dead—

Into the room of the dead we rushed, russet and brown stained
Bones piled atop each other as walls: arm and leg bones, ribs and
shoulders, men and women, the rich and the poor and the young
and the old,

fast death /slow death,

the apple size eyes of their skulls staring out at us as we stood there
together, intricate patterns that are meticulously placed in both
dignity and symmetry, six million dead below the streets of Paris,
France (beating on anyway),

and you held my hand tight and leaned into me; and you whispered
in my ear right then: “I wish I were dead sometimes, too!” you said;
and I knew what you meant, but I was afraid to admit it in fear of
egging you on.

Jéanpaul Ferro’s ‘Jazz‘ is out now, priced £6.99/$10.99.

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