Read: Jules Rapp

Jules Rapp is a poet from the Washington DC area. She organizes the Liquid Arts Writer’s workshop in Busan, where she regularly performs spoken word. She is an MFA Poetry candidate at St. Mary’s College of California. Her work has appeared in Foreign Lit magazine and now Angle magazine. She is passionate about mental health, education, and feminist issues. When she’s not writing, she can be found running or discovering new music.


Love Be A Pineapple

I used to think pineapples grew on trees
rubbing elbows with palm leaves on some

south pacific island drizzled in sun & honey
mooners who whisper to fruit branches

in search of good flesh to straw-punch
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⁣⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀& sip nectar.

I’m told that’s not how pineapples work-
they’re not hung from branches,
they bloom in the dirt.

Young plants bumps lines of Miracle Gro
from soil beds & poke mealybugs

with their bracts, their mess of green,
their needled skin crowned in spines

leaf swords slit out their cores, their cores
spool tang under a pulp of raindrops

until they erupt in a golden blast
a riot of ripe splashing the fields

& the pickers at Dole decide it’s time
to haul the juicy blokes to headquarters.

 

Bird Boy

I LOVE YOU AND I’M AN EAGLE SO WE
MUST FRENCH KISS
he cawed over our

stone swatted heads as we sped downhill
in mulched up shoes and bloated coats

boom-racketed over slides and swings
my best girl in her pinked face sang out

how she’d never never love a boy eagle

I saw his talons lined like pretty sharktooth
necklaces in a nest of granite shrapnel

his wings draped in dark, odd promises
but pinky linked to my best girl, sang out

how I’d never never love a boy eagle

we’d scooter-zip to her house of live
animals to feed heaps of fur and scales

we’d share bowls of rice snacks on papasan
cushions left from her parent’s hippie days

we’d throw quilts and dive into soft middles
lay in a stack of feet-to-face, shimmers

of midnight winked over things we left
in a lump of quiet strange hopes rise

& a boy eagle glides under a moon
to snap gravel at our heads.

 

Rest

I studied fauna on my fake toenails
while the man’s neck lulled & bobbed
from station to station before landing
on the conviction of my shoulder,
red-hooded & smelling like oatmeal
& soap. His breath was a child
on a tire swing, swelling dips & waves
from his mouth’s gentle o. When I sleep
with a man, I keep my baby blanket
under two pillows and turn away from
his radial heat to the laptop’s glow,
people quip across screen & I listen
to laundry’s clang & hum until my lids
slump like groceries released from tired
hands & I unwrap sleep mask from wrist
& wedge a plush cat between piled bodies.
Morning stirs bodies on the monorail
like leaves in recycled air, blurs of closed
clacking shoes retreat to my open feet
with green nails pinched on eight toes
& sandal bands embrace ankles
while a stranger makes a bed
of my shoulder.

 

Memory Foam

Mid-run a taxi bent my wrist into skin licorice
and I was thinking in infinities

of mattress shops and beds that crawl
from strip malls to fornicate on town corners
kingpins of the sleep biz have cocaine

filled body pillows: it’s time we woke up.
I told you this as we spun limp legs

by the river’s lip you sucked a rubber straw
from a hydration pack and said maybe
it’s not like that maybe mattress shops

meet a real public need and their inventory
is diverse like swimming pool suppliers
who sell pool tables in winter

we passed under a tunnel, calves numb
from dodging a traffic of conspiracies
when a cab ran the red straight into my wrist

and there’s a truth that needs to be
uncovered from all this.

 

Off the Beaten Pathogens

I’m in the hospital, trying to give back
all the bacteria you gave me
a generous crack-spackling
for terrible skin, these are
gifts of wrapped staph.

Or, excuse me-
Folliculitis.

Sidelong with fatalism and
whiners with bloated feet,
TV we didn’t choose and
Salt & Vinegar chips,
beeps next to a flat
Diet Dr. Pepper.

Nurse says bathe in bleach,
so I load a tub with peroxide

& soak from the neck down,
drown my ulcers angry pink
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀until they shrink

like the dry pale of your face
flaring warm when I say,
even when I’m yours I’m not clean
but nothing grows without dirt.