White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Jessica Harman is a writer living in the Boston area. She envies people who can write short bios that send sparks into the air, or make people laugh. However, she will just give you the basics, here, other than saying that she likes store-bought apple pie, wearing black, and reading a lot of self-help books. Her poems have been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Stand, Sanskrit, Spillway Review, Poetry Midwest [pdf link] and Poeisis. In 2008, she won the Cervena Barva Press chapbook competition for her manuscript, “Secrets.” She has a chapbook forthcoming from Propaganda Press, Take Me As I Am, which will be available in October, 2009. She is currently writing her autobiography, which has surprisingly turned out to yield themes of truth vs. lies, whether the structure of the universe can be understood without being able to do the math, and how to tell if someone really loves you or not. She is excited to get a new refrigerator and stove delivered today.

From the Current Issue
Subscribe to RSS     Share

Jessica Harman



1. Potent Pills


Strange desires are encapsulated in my Olanzapine tablets. They’re small

               but powerful, perfectly lozenge-like, a laboratory-made bliss


That’s designed to want to make me

               More like everyone else, less swallowtail and rainbow, less wildflower,

                              More politesse.


The Lily factory swallows me each time I take my dosages,

               Tasting the tartness of chalk in my mouth, the salt, the side-effects like


Chemical names that sound like complications,

               As if they would make me less of something and more of something.


It’s the cure. I swish their happiness

               Into me, and they mix with other pills that pull my mind towards gravitas.






Jessica Harman

2. The Three-Fold Structure Of The Brain Is Just Something I Read About



               And mythological for my three levels of being, my threefold


Mind—they say the reptilian is the earliest, and so prehistory

               Is a lizard sunning itself as


The gecko flicks its tongue at the dog curled up on the porch in the sun

               And then there is the higher


Part that invented God, or that lets us know who invented

               Us, perhaps. Invented us with stained glass, saltwater sunlight


Filtering through

               Images of saints among the bones of cathedrals round as our skulls.






Jessica Harman

3. Beautiful Colors


My hemispheres miscommunicate, making colors into more

               Than they are, as if red were really the ultimate blood,


And orange were those sweet evenings we spent peeling

               Tangerines down to their taste of late afternoon, and yellow


Was the sun dancing on the earth making it look like light

               Could breathe across things, and blue was that color we love


When mystery seems protected from us,

               Somehow, like twinkling stars.


And lapis and ruby were the colors of the cross,

               but green was the color we got when it was autumn,


And we were falling

               Back through summer towards the beginning of spring,


When we were looking forward to evenings of terraces full of dark-green moonlight.

               And white was the light in the morning,



Jessica Harman

When the world hurt our eyes with its heavy sunlight pressing us from all directions,

               And we felt like we were full of grace, and that lavender scent of


Wildflowers, mixing and dancing in the wind,

               And that wind still carried the wildness


Towards us even at the intersection of St. Denis and Mont-Royal, where maroon

               brought the whooshing of the subway station above ground,


Like a thin-sounding prayer. The neon smell of vermilion

               Cities, the blue call of the seagull over the wind scattering paper cups












Copyright © Jessica Harman. White Whale Review, issue 1.2

Previous Author Prev Next Author