Janet's Biography

apparation in a scifi landscape

goose crest with canna and ivy

fashion model with elephant skull

the longings of Richard Dadd

orbits of earthly love

dressed but dreaming

of corsetry and natural history

portals of memory and disappearance

links of nature and myth

links of nature and myth



Janet Klein (poetry)


For the United States whose national flower is the rose..
Can it be? The headlines read:
Poison Roses Flourish In Shade from Sidewalk Beds!
Saplike drops hang dangerously from thorny ends.
Perhaps just a few among other hyperbolic beauties
harbor an unhygenic sense of mayhem.

Detached single stems form
vertically linear scrawl
ink-dipped, glass-etched
clay encised stream of jets
upon which rests the heads of nattily powdered
Abraham Lincoln, Majestic, Profound Happiness,
end of all longing roses.

Loss-of-life remains tenuously correctable
by medicines: compounds of chemicals pharmaceutically shaped.
Chain link patterns resembling petals projecting into rays
hover vertiginously over a patch of cement
interrupted by long green tufts
next to scrub vegetation never to be
mistaken for a plot of roses.

The rose of memory whose wish is to live again
recalls a neighboring rose never wishing anything
who rebloomed from its dead brown rose-apple.

A prince who challenges the thorniest travails
to get at the best; breaking off life to
appreciate his prize for up to three days.
Uselessly this feeds the mind of a woman who
chooses to eat only roses.
A woman with romantic ideas about strewing
her bed with roses only to find herself stricken
with terrible pains.

Plantlife sometimes resembles a person
who develops from childhood directly into senility
never completing its business, yet named.
an Othello bud, a Heritage Bloom by virtue of being.

A scientist breeds a carniverous rose
which eats boys and girls.
Frightfully out of control
hypotheses of genetic geometric progression
force authorities to declare the end of all roses.
Purposefully they must stamp out all memory
of the existence of roses from all time.



Blacks,browns, and dark greens
looking down at the skull
innocent faith and kindliness
smooth, reflecting surface of the skull.
Standing against either a dark background or a landscape
smallest details become visible
a strong shaft of light
a kneeling, gesturing figure.
Contours of the form, particularly along its back,
rise in a gentle curve.
As if meditating upon death
As if communicating with God:
A nocturnal landscape.

Scenery within the thickness of night
Diagonal figures
Lying -in-state
Shallow in depth, almost friezelike in arrangement
Amalgamate bedtime
Once unhinged from confining standards of day
Bodies topple somewhere into abstractions
And crash into shards
From impossible leaps of faith

Inanimate as food on the table are
Stationary bodies
Fingers crumpled together
Legs spread apart
The brilliant hues which fill air
Erase sharp lines
Walls melt into floor
A featureless stage
A well
For silent wishes
Verification of miracles
Mangled episodes from life
Supernatural occurances
Ambiguous masterpieces of suspense
Inspired by tension craving joy
And as pressured blood through veins
We plummet, with great calm
Perhaps summoning an eye-twitch.



That Boy who had his arms
torn off reminds me of you Ken.
After business school studying the
hard rules of office management
and sensible meal-eating, you also
proclaimed a love for tractors and camp-outs.
Cal would have laid you out in the tub
while imitating Cleopatra or Huey Long. (pause)
It would have been you in the red water.
What surprisingly fragile threads keep
us breathing, blinking, beating!
What imaginary things can be done
with a Bed, A Cup, Dig,
Drink, Wash, Cook, Lay...
This is. A Wicked. World Unfairly.
Even to. The Sweet.
We must face it.
Theologically speaking or stenographically or otherwise
there will be no code
to pattern things according to your taste.(pause)
The two limbs a cousin carried can
be reconnected. They were. This is
Which numerically corresponds to the most recent
publication from your father's museum of Indian arrowheads
which must be shelved
precisely to the Dewey decimal.(pause)
All things in their proper places
will not. Bring you.
Back from. The dead.
Will not ungrow us from
the garden of which we are unmade.