Jess Taylor

Montreal-based publishing entity Metatron is guest editing Everyday Genius this month. We'll be featuring excerpts from our new fall catalog as well as Canadian writers we like. Today's author is award-winning Toronto-based writer Jess Taylor.

Never Stop (excerpt)
I had a nightmare and it was dark and moved
thousands of split atoms
on tricolour maps

I was outside my body and looked
different, nothing belonged to me
I swallowed my privilege
white Russians though milk is disgusting

I had a nightmare so I signed
a petition, didn’t even need to be
handwritten, was asked to sign thousands
more but deleted the emails from my inbox

I knelt beside my bed and prayed:

“Tactile tactile tactile let me be
reveal life through touch
my hands don’t work
and someone’s caught my words”

I imagined that everyone I ever knew
was incredibly tall and had roots
that penetrated the earth’s core
and the roots were constantly on fire

          Don’t you think we’re all on fire too?

It was Mat that taught me about gaps
                                                              and I was learning
how to create white noise with sound
and he said, “poetry too”

           Caught in a nightmare loop, I couldn’t break
through to lucid dreaming
                                               sometimes I get sick
of being attacked and then still living

Is this the worst part?

                                   and it was Kenny
who rescued me from that apartment at the top of a staircase

             I imagined everyone I ever knew –
part of an immaculate robotic sculpture
and we weren’t allowed to move

This is like that part of the Kanye song
where he yells then pants with fear

Learn how to breathe because friends will teach you
by touching

Does it get easier with practice?

I imagined that
                                   when I closed my eyes

there was a room
                   and in that room
was another room
             and in that room
                       was another room
and in that room
           was another room
Jess Taylor's work has appeared in Little Brother Magazine, Little Fiction, Great Lakes Review and many more. She is the founder of the Emerging Writers Reading Series and was awarded the Gold National Magazine Award in Fiction in 2013. Her chapbook Never Stop was just published by Anstruther Press and her debut short story collection, Pauls, will be released by BookThug next year. She lives in Toronto.    

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