Rumpus Original Poetry: Three Poems by Alex Jane Cope


trick of the tongue

See there you go speaking
to the salamander
in my throat

slick heat in the near rain.

The present trembles
as you open it

and you were up all night,
your moth breath flickering
at the tip of a lighter

blue flames sucked in the wind.

I’ve told you
there are no guarantees in weather reports
but see there you go

speaking to the salamander in my throat again.



snake oil

There was a time when I, too, sloughed the salt veins
off my wrists, aurora borealis.

To speak of the shame is to speak of him
and his bed of lichen and his green
ribbon fastened around my throat.

A little something to quiet
     the excitation
          of a solar mind
he cooed,
pressing a blue pill to my lips.

The sea swallows heard me drifting in the whirlpool,
our rhyming vocalizations skipped ache to egg
over that sky full of ice and slakeless fury.

Green ribbon in the gull,
my protons
gaping as I slid
          out of myself, Cassandra, dappled snakeskin on glass.


cum on earth

Cassandra, hot curve to the wheel, shouts “jesus christ! i’m driving through a book!” as quick stops cum ‘n go and urban legends sprawl. In this episode of Unsolved Lesbian Apocrypha, “Give Me One Reason to Stay Here” delivers us from Devils Gate into a season wrung from spring to winter, yes, we are talking about global

collapse again but

I think about the beautiful sad gasping sex of disaster movies and wonder why I always look back and

          a friend pulls the card which starts
                                  like a crack in a pavement wet
                                                                                   with dandelions


Author photo courtesy of Alex Jane Cope



Alex Jane Cope is a writer and translator based in Chicago. Their work has appeared in publications by Voicemail Poems, Pilot Press London, Hooligan Magazine, and Upstairs at Duroc. They also host occasional community writing workshops and artist meetups online and through the PO Box Collective in Rogers Park. More from this author →