j  e  n  h  o  f  e  r

American Paper Company: Puebla, Mexico

A landscape divided by meticulous labor, a patchwork massacre officially commemorated.

Lidded in mists and folds the sky layered over and above.

A blue-necked peacock in greeting.


The footprint very quietly resides, crowded into non-existence.

The missing landscape on the other side of the eye. The gloss.

Here it’s later at the same time.

How you might contract into a conditional.

How the lights indicate the lives.


The windows frosted against gaze.

Unremedied, what is not seen. Passing beyond the scuffed painted line.

Small lakes of light and haze in the haze.

Single skies, curved, over abandoned stone houses.

Rains, bit by bit, until we scatter.

No coincidence.

Happenstance simultaneously alongside the tracks.

At the side of the road, an unprotected death.

Just a moment, please, just a moment.

Paying tribute through traffic.

What is left is a body, corrugated, undermined, tripped, which is.

An optimist’s challenge.

a thought. or two. on reflection. or two. state lines. states. rooms. rentals.  


“for every pleasure money is useless.” 


an endeavor (and endeavor) as saplings
mines or substances (planted (thus found)
blur conversely blood flowering in bursts
steadily day by shaky relentless day no dancing
a wallflower’s fidelity in adversity gaze
with or without walls constantly this world
in the sky a field (no meadow) a vapor a bloody word a sky


at the paradise motel there was a fist-
shaped indentation in the wall above
the bed. plaster dusts suggestion. and
covers. we began again. at paradise. 


the reflection languishes
the light reflecting looks
as a hand yet no hand
is there proffered flustered
in the reflected street sounds

“playorama fruit market: not responsible for accidents”


without them all dispersed
shot from the air (in the air)
an attempt or run or rail
the likes of it              a star
                                                    a sun
                                   a body of                    exhibition         (reflective glass) 

to lean further     into       a depth
(i wanted        that       red)              (to be)             (good)               (darker red


laid out                            first night                         then night (after)
would not be disturbed          from land to land
(beam to beam)                mire to mire             (laid out)



nude: boxes into boxes through exactitude
are mistakes glorified. for every pleasure
useless. we still have our hands. trimmed
elm, eucalyptus, hellion tree of heaven.
divinity at bay, dam to divert, so restrain



crowds loudly in
the head space station
in shattered stilted enamel
strips raising (an objection
(blisters) wrinkled then gone 



     measured    in      billions
                                               is unmeasured         unmentionable

(bitter)            (nothing to say)                                 repeatedly erased
                                                                       uniformed yet singular

each to each                (billions)      (inspirations)               better bent (and thought better)

unsung                  unsung for they had nothing to say 


“prayer is the study of art.
praise is the practice of art.”


alternating panes of glass
(something slips in)
alternating panes of glass
with panes of light


you could walk there 




color changes in the white.
a void luminously impressed upon
pearlescent skin. there are no corners.
to turn.
the edge is a line
contrast shadow or imagination.
(contraindication.) is not a line, rather a sight. 

fierce defense of what or who.
the reconfigured how.
to stay. say. stay. 


and crickets! 

libreta de tránsito:
sweet sound of silver
bone on silver bone


morir soñando (by any other name)
to disappear in an art of disappearance

“imagine the demolishers on the horizon of hope.
i am trying to empathize with the demolishers.”


horizontal language (in rows)
small technique          sonic technique
the legend suggested by a line
a pair of eyeglasses     glassed in
a hidden instance (a street corner in memoir)


“sincerity        :              it is thought which is remembering.”

a diamond. a sparkle. a scale. fish. a continent at its edges. a gleam no gem nor jewel. during. a shard. exactly into. why we are. a thought’s wake. why we watch. watching.

reined in two birds threaded in wiry want. (two birds). rain, raining so as to shine. or point. directions in a road two  rains to verge each to each. fallen, sullen, pressed, filtered, a foil, as a bone smooth, as a light gathered, held. against. grown (apart together) inclined leaning, leaning into this utterly toward

elongated what was said (in a frame) was said (lining up) on a sidewalk. broken or held together or posturing to make a claim. in a blink as rain. to lighten, look just. in drops, blinks, rapid timeless tempered. spell sadness for a spell astride a temporary filament having glowed (glared) again in lit tilt

buds beaks a sheltering mind (a sidelong glance repeats) a spine worn evokes a sweetness in a hand a tender cup (two birds) requests a nicely a prettier portion

tipped slight whimsy plenty.
(plenty.) beacon lent to tiny
curtsy, very much

angled the sun a string angled not the sun the city and in it we. more than mostly (so as to begin to know). sights. to now, right now. of two companionably also missing as a horizon line around its equator warping fondly tightens in the telling. lightens (a reflected suggestion. a breath. in the throat.) balanced or in (a small imperfection). color as if to shed tears instead rightfully

instead in the dark light flapping opening blown to the side open in a manmade light rained, slant a little sweetly, actually

a reason why  crossed wires in waves a sonic tremens (is a bird asking or telling or unruly numbers tied with ribbon) (sharp provenance) wires or strings twisted toward detonation. shards. diamntine (shapes). a bird in an instant. where here would want a far trade

things in fact spark (in fact) a still sentence fogs.  hovers  sense  or  the  fact of a window is no fact but favor. a favor

if it becomes a question in light, well then
truly true and truly when


Yellow through the trees, in rows, implants, false parallels.

In this photograph you are lion-like, toothless, fraudulent. 

How a bird’s eye hones to know at what point on post of fence to perch. 

Not knowing. 

In this photograph you are dead naked, dead wrong, dead meat. 

Sound invests the scene with a watery levity. 

Made to look like trees. 

Scissoring blankly through the disordered index of days.

Photography has yet to be invented.

When we say “the eye” it is implied to be human.

Volleys of shots an overture to the copter’s glaring musicless rounds.

The spent saguaro a hollow shell smooth, spent, bony like the bones of a bird nearly extinct.

What cannot be said in spokes radiating across the shiny dance floor of the wind.

The bone knuckled at one end like a fist.

The surface of which, mindfully, is reflective and slick.

The sky an inked gauze gone saturate, an amphitheater waiting for its audience.

Muscled or elbowed, as when a place does not fit quite right.

Situated in time yet spat out unseasonably, not bereft on the curb, yet left.

The wild applause which does not sound.

The appropriate behavior which is a seeming reflex.

«±  ±»

JEN HOFER edited and translated Sin puertas visibles: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by Mexican Women (University of Pittsburgh Press and Ediciones Sin Nombre, 2003). Her recent books of poetry include the chapbook lawless (Seeing Eye Books, 2003), slide rule (subpress, 2002), and The 3:15 Experiment (with Lee Ann Brown, Danika Dinsmore, and Bernadette Mayer, The Owl Press, 2001). She is co-editor, with Rod Smith, of Aerial #10, a forthcoming critical volume on the work of the poet Lyn Hejinian. Her writings against the war in Iraq and the war on terror can be found in the special anti-war issue of A.BACUS, and in the anthology Enough (O Books, 2003); other poems, prose texts and translations appear in recent issues of 26, Aufgabe, Conundrum, kenning, kiosk, NO: A Magazine of the Arts, and in the books Surfact Tension: The problematics of Site (Errant Bodies Press, 2003) and Strange Place (Never Die Books, 2005). She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches and translates.