Lemons : For A. K. by D.M. Jerman

My sister, Vivi, was killed last year by a truck carrying lemons.

I thought it was intensely beautiful, the state I discovered her in. I broke through the crowd to find her, looking almost as if she was sleeping, peacefully, with compound fractures in her contorted legs.

Her black hair shining wet tangled amongst the features of her face and the thousands upon thousands of lemons made a bright puffy blanket over her and the street. Their thin yellow citrus juices and her thick dark red blood concocted a visceral seeping orange with the street dirt. All these fluids tarnished her yellow dress. Melting her.


Vivi was attempting to cross the street behind the truck, and the driver wasn't looking when he slammed it into reverse to park. The rusty rear door hinge sprung open with a jolt and a thunderous cascading landslide of the vivid sour fruit broke free of their crates to buffet her fragile skull into pieces.

I was 13. Vi was 17.

I adored her. After all this, I became obsessed with the things that destroyed her. Lemons.


I read up on their vast uses. Their supposed killing power in folkloric mythologies.

I began to eat them raw. It seemed as if their tartness came from a kind of poison. Was their purpose really to kill? Each time I tried, bordering suicide, to drink my weight in juice, I could feel the adrenaline from the death wish dashing through my veins.

Lemon milkshakes, lemon slices on my cereal, across my stinging eyes, as rancid perfume, dried rinds stuffed with cloves for ornamentation- they were everywhere.

Soon I could tell I was stung. Scarred, by the very anticipation of the tartness hitting my mouth. Is this how vampires feel when they get another taste of blood?

I felt as if I was committing the ultimate sin by loving the thing that killed my sister.


Now, here it is, one year ago to the day. Not so long ago at all.

And I'm standing in the same spot- across the street from where she took the fall under that dambreak of the many many many many tough and tiny unyielding fruits.


Except now, I'm not waiting for her to cross to meet me. To arrive as if nothing happened and take the past away.

I'm waiting for the same truck to come along again. Bringing me the thing I want most.

Typical Survivor of Low Frustration Tolerance Syndrome - 7 Poems by D.M. Jerman

…Everyone always guesses at the change
But the answer is the same before they even ask.

It's there and plain-
Right where I cut my hair.
In the ring I hide behind the bathroom mirror
For someone else to find

Dust in the sweaters I won't wear again. 
Lyrix I still champion to songs sung at Karaoke-never…

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In Tribute to Mr. Carl Ray Kassel: B. April 2, 1934. D. April 17, 2018. by D.M. Jerman

I obsess about this: I’m not great with time. I have problems with time the way other people have problems with the weather. And death. Probably the only death I’ll be totally fine with will be my own. You feel this way too, right? No one teaches you how to grieve, anyway. And nothing else quite shows you what your made of like loss.

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Existential Doublewide by D.M. Jerman

Back in the Grill Room Cocktail Shop after many years weeks days, a hard cry that left a puddle in my jacket and a long walk downtown with earplugs in listening to myself breathe. 

My favorite trailer park of dread called Chicago is all around me, curdling gently into the early throes of a Friday night in June. A celebrity suicide has kicked it all off and still hangs in the air over my head like an intoxicating smell. A sweet poison tricking me into inhaling more.

I can't yet tell if the man-portion of the couple at the hook is trying to pick up the woman-portion, but I brought along a book and quite soon I don't imagine I'll care about anything but it and my second irish coffee. The bartender calls me "babe" and that's dope because she's really hot.


I shouldn't have aspired to anything today. Should have acted predictable- a good local American idiot cunt. Putting on makeup then never leaving the house like someone who plans on getting their vapid daily attention quota exclusively from social media. Drinks and a twenty gone, I transform into a ghost in dark denim and board a train.

There is buried treasure all over this town. Most of it has been underground so long it will only stand to retain its obvious fate, which is to remain precious garbage. Sometimes I am comrade only to this put-together trash. I blow smoke into my own face and pull muscles in my back. I frown thinking of all my hard work filling my landlord's coffers. Sulking away a beautiful day until I can cheer myself by remembering exhausted boys bodies piled over one another on the floor of the club after the hardcore show.

In one form or another, one man becomes the other. The future borrows from the past to decide how to remake it, only succeeding in impoverishing them both. The present stands in awe of this misuse of time and sobriety and in its wisest moments exudes the levity it once so desperately begged for.


Two petals left on the drooping flower. A plastic water bottle glistens with trapped condensation in the weed bed. Dandelion dust flees across yesterday's air and chokes its puffs with sunlight and pranks of breezes knocked forth from the ice cream cart bells. People adopt dogs and then act insane around them and force them to do dumb shit like sit their warm innocent assholes down on cold rough pavement at stoplights. Just rude.

Flat tires and pistol rapport. Lemon-scented cleaning product like a punch in the nose clearing out something else I will have forgotten to say. Wild mint and sour grapes. Caffeine and misconduct and the reprieve on the fire escape. I'm comfortable in alleyways where it's quieter. I prefer the company of piles of metal and vines. Tattoo parlors make me wish and gloat. I see twins and I am jealous with confusion. I spit on 'For Rent' notices and kick at empty cigarette packs while I pretend the 'No Trespassing' signs mean the opposite.

Congratulations, girl. You've earned this heart like a perpetual garage sale. Those eyes of green tinder with matchhead pupils. Dead boots and the dirty ground when you know you're not around. All the best for walking into that stormy lake, which is your lover, and cooling quick as a gutter in a flood. I'm still looking for what I've unearthed and finding it and losing it everywhere. One retreat into bliss means another day-long episode of apologetic shrugging. The loiterer's refrain in the garden of sighs near the wellspring of smirk and waste.

Here's your fifth star, bitches. Turn your flag-cast neighborhoods from chalk white to coal black. The life-sick dusk sets a hundred hundred thousand books on fire behind me. My booming cackling laughhowl blows out all the skyscraper windows like an atom bomb. Smoke sears my eyes and my hair stinks as it catches in earnest. The heat against my heels is immense. Flames set and arch from the base of my sleeves and onto my elbows like the wings on Mercury's shoes.

I am shot from a cannon and going down, down, down...


Home now. Could read some Peter Sotos or watch a gory movie maybe. Husband endearingly calls me "sweet ennui lady" and I could burst into tears all over again. Wish it was due to humor and not this lugubrious multiplicity of repeating problematic daily world-wide foolishness that coaxes me like a siren of damnation toward the top of the tallest parking garage I can find.

Man oh man. And just when I was coming out of my thirties into being a decent writer...