Jamie Townsend

From Our Hearts to Yours

At first he was a character

He was gay and confused at the expectations

In the film too young to die when he was younger and working out

A future Health Ledger would paint on these polaroids with nail polish

He was sort of framing his golden reflection in a pool

Of milk and become something beautiful like an illusion

Crawling inside his skin to release the tension of being alone

Drifting in a rancher’s tan and denim beneath the big sky

Where the rings of Uranus chime like the prayer of a saint in a pit

Just swaying as the surface bends then breaks

As we sway almost mindless to his liturgy



imagining everyone without their clothes

is not as socialist as one may think

there’s something luminous about

the falsity in expectation

the music fades out and the lights dimmed

there’s no need

to determine where each of us overlaps

spray-on tan

pancake factor

on a piece of white paper

we drew a garbage can to hide in

tapped our skull until the cosmetic became


chapstick icestorm

pushed and pulled on the thin slipperiness

for pleasure

mica crushed against our angles



The fruit bowl is empty so we sleep in

The retrograde glow of one’s friends to be

I teased a wet dream about the universe

That oscillates so no worries about completion

I was mad at the certainty, the Big Bang

Baroque hunting scenes, the idea of being Rubenesque

That’s blushing all over a soft swole

Fleshy, connecting the dots to form something empty in the middle

The object of this voyeur whose gaze had strayed

For a moment we called it lovely as an arrangement of produce

Ham, jonquils, heavy scrotum of hosiery and pearls

The romance of mishearing

‘Kiss a sunset pink,’ non-toxic manicure

Julian suggests ‘a cricket on a heap of trash’

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Jamie Townsend is a genderqueer poet and editor living in Oakland. They are half-responsible for Elderly, a publishing experiment and hub of ebullience and disgust. They are the author of several chapbooks including, most recently, “Pyramid Song” (above/ground press, 2018), as well as the full-length collection Shade (Elis Press, 2015). An essay on the history and influence of the literary magazine Soup was published in The Bigness of Things: New Narrative and Visual Culture (Wolfman Books, 2017). They are the editor of "Beautiful Aliens: A Steve Abbott Reader" (Nightboat, 2019) and "Libertines in the Ante-Room of Love: Poets on Punk" (Jet Tone, 2019).