Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Dixit

 

 

 

 

Author’s Statement

 

 

Coveted items are usually nouns: A bigger house, money, a good body, a true love. But one may state that real happiness comes from more elusive words: peace, companionship, adventure, security. I drew inspiration from the card game Dixit, where one has to describe what is going on in a picture using few words or a phrase. All players submit a card from their hands. Then the cards are shuffled. If all of the other players guess your card, you get no points. If no one guesses your card, you get no points. There has to be a mix of correct and incorrect answers. You cannot be obvious in your description but you cannot be too obtuse either. The nouns must be misleading.

 

 

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

 
 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A top

-hatted stoic man ascends horror movie stairs. Decrepit is the new breakfast bar. Chiseled overworked business model mirrors Children of the Corn financial drought. Basement quilts shroud a young/old face. Faxes shred new tech. Clouds at the top of the landing have an asthma attack. No medicine. Mr. Paleface tumbles into the auto repair wait line.
 

 

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A thermometer

melts into a bloodthirsty viper. Hot tongue or cold skin: you decide. An introduction lengthens. The conclusion catches fire: a tipping point body shrivels, rolls portside. Moon cheese is bored, ready to gravitationally pull everyone under. The snake escapes down a wedding dress.

 

 

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A clock

winds open the gold sky. The restaurant chain subsumes itself off camera. A secret of star maps is everyone inflates face lifts, skinny jeans, and VHS exercise tapes.  No infinity caresses: just a quiet time tornado blows calculators around a neighbor’s carport. It doesn’t add up.

 

 

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A cloak

and dagger figure covered in autumn leaves kidnaps The Seventh Seal’s “Death,” hikes up a mountain. The recipe is simple: plant easily influenced men and women like seed pods. Give them a starter kit and a manual for every occasion.  Then float away like a confident architect, a G minor chord, a crumpled grocery list of body parts.

 

 

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A choir

boy drinks Hi-C in quicksand, conducts a zombie orchestra. We all know what’s coming. It’s October. A papier-mâché spider mocks him, palms silver coins in a hairy arm, bears fangs. The zombies play off key, obviously. The freaky legged villain weaves a web in palm fronds eager to get this part over with. He’s on vacation.

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

Black ants

swordfight the red ants. A caterpillar lounges on a pile of fur coats, hoards discounted makeup. Play the lute or eat biscuits: it’s a toss-up. Same Senate dispute as yesterday.

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

The terrarium

is filled with one regret forest, one botanist gas station, one cairn of violins, a blind butterfly, an aloof mother, a stuck-up snake, a desk of disillusioned looseleaf, and the sun’s lost tantrums. The bird is late to bird class, knocks on the glass.

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A Schrödinger’s jewelry model

wears two dangling earrings. One earring is a plastic boy wearing a suit. The other earring is a plastic boy in a sailor uniform. The model chooses to bake. The earrings bang into her neck at the same and different times. It’s a blind date.

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A pair

of pink ballet shoes stand on their own. The sheen is out of this world. A knife slices them in two, into threes, into fours, the blood red center pours out. The mob is shouting. They swarm in for a closer look. They gaze upon the pieces and cry. The shoes are wedding cake with a red velvet center.

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A bug

-sized girl waves her beetlelike antennae. She climbs vapor, chisels a hawk out of a storm cloud. The girl is a brat so this beauty interlude is moot. 

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

Impressionists

throw stones on a pile of ballet dancers or picnic scenes. Pastels melt down manly temples, meet up with coarse writer-like facial hair. The lilies weep as only lilies do. The crows wait for one last funeral. The night sky heaves motion sickness into a swirling yellow stew pot. Buy what you love or sell what you hate? The dancers and writers waltz away on a river boat. Converse, or succumb to the lost and found.

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

white knuckle chapbooks

A monster purse

opens its jaws, spits out all of its belongings: maroon lipstick, a cornhusk doll, gold coins, a leather travel diary, a thrift store sun visor, a monogrammed iron flask, and a crushed bowler hat. It mourns ticket stub shreds. The monster looks for Fiat keys. It’s embarrassed, but still hungry.

 

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, currently lives in the DC area but she is moving back to the Midwest. She works for three science journals. Contrary to popular belief, scientists are not always detail-oriented. She is the author of three full length poetry collections (from Yellow Chair Press, Stalking Horse Press, and Lit Fest Press.) Her most recent chapbooks are She Came Out From Under the Bed, (Poems Inspired by the Films of Guillermo del Toro) from Dancing Girl Press and ROBOT from The Birds We Piled Loosely. Recent work can be seen at Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Inter/rupture, Poor Claudia, Killjoy, and decomP. Visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com.

prose poetry for the people