Tender Hallucination

♥ Poetry By Jessica Taylor ♠ Art by Tony Citelli ♥


Maybe I attempt
to impress you with my wit
in disembodied lines via text message

because I cannot speak
such clever dialogue naturally.

Maybe I post more frequently
on social media
to imply to you that
I clean up well:
military red lipstick,
my hair in curls,
I’ll even wear a skirt
so you can see
the strength of my thighs.

I specifically want you to know
that I suture skin seamlessly
and reassemble noses flawlessly
because every fighting man
could use a woman who can sew.
Bone by bone
I would contentedly reduce
your dislocated fingers
and kiss each tip
after the click signaling

Perhaps I’ve considered fudging
the year of my birth
in the places you might see it written.
I would just dial it up a few years
to the mid 1980s.
My photographs
can still pass.

In all these ways
I want you to know that
I think myself hilarious, intelligent,
I want you to think
that I smoke cigars and can blindly
identify with my tongue
Balvanie Carribean Cask Scotch
from Laphroaig Quarter Cask
and that it still matters to me.

Maybe the only reason
I want you to know I write erotica
is so you will think
I am easy.



Your funny accent is far louder
in my mind, your drawl expansive
and most certainly from some place acceptably exotic
such as New Orleans, the French Quarter,
the corner of Burgundy and Ursulines.
It is surely not the dialect
of a mundane locus
like Houston, the suburbs,
white and sprawling.

Here are the facts I am certain of:
You were reared in the Vieux Carré by a feminist mother
who also taught you about Southern gentility.
Your flat abutted a courtyard
of flowering banana trees.
The fruit hung purple and heavy
above you in the fast moments
before their eruption into swollen
magenta flowers.
From your mossy street-side balcony
you threw glass marbles
at the vampire tours parading
down the cobbled streets below.
Each All Hallows Eve you left
hand rolled cigarillos at the foot
of the Voodoo Queen’s bismuth
colored tomb.


The Truth of the Matter

I haven’t told you

that driving down the stoney roads
alone I erupt with tears
over cracked armadillos
who tried to make like chickens,
their soft intestines mushrooming out
over their plates and shields.

I haven’t told you that when I’ve had a bad day
it’s because I incidentally diagnosed
three cancers in one shift
in the Emergency Department

or, that for my income bracket,
I spend unreasonable sums of money
on facial serums and Chanel

that I am easy

that I had to quit drinking
and now longingly read reviews
of the notes of single malt whiskeys.

I’ve presented to you the electronic silhouette of myself
instead of my skin, bones, spit, and heart.
And I relish you, my assembled collage,
my tender hallucination.



I am magnificent at invention.
You are my masterpiece
of the moment.

Even I am a story
I’ve written for you.

Together, they’re indestructible.



tonyRead more Jessica Taylor writing at

See more art from Tony Citelli at i.make.faces


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Global artists and writers dedicated to sharing creativity around the world.

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