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About Literature / Artist Jesslyn Skillman RoebuckFemale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 12 Years
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For M.E.B.
Her eyes wide and crisp,
Brighten in the sunlight
And a hat, lilac-colored,
And bundled around her
The bulb shining with thought.
Look closely
And her head is dizzying
There is so much! To look at.
Look then to her father –
How pride barrels
Itself around his chest,
Here, too, vim – the heart
And even more
Her  tiny hand forms a fist,
And then like petals,
Her fingers unfurl, grasp
At the delicate things,
poppies, hibiscus, iris
And her eyes dart about,
Settle on the colors.
At the start, this is all we do,
There yellow… there blue.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 3 3
A shift happens
That is, things slightly
Askew, I ask you,
“Where’d you find
the time?” In minutiae
it begins.  Akin
to a thin shaft of bright;
light slipping through the
slats in the blinds or the
knock knock of the rain
when it comes with
its tiny silver feet shrouded
in sheets and then there is the slightest
Nod forward toward silence,
The warmth tunneling into
The pits of our stomachs;
Cold air.
We may be still
As solidly fragile as the frozen lake.
As the dog-whelk, the porkweed,
As the icicle’s stem.
The winter’s still beating.
But still we may try,
There is still laughter,
Still the in-out thrum of the heart.
Still the blackness of night
And the unceasing notion
We call progress:
That is to say, there is
still the dream.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 4 8
Join the Club
Eat it and we’ll let you up.
You have to or you can’t come up.
It’s just stupid water with leaves and pine needles.
Well that’s the magic potion people have to drink in order to enter through the gates. If they die after they eat it, it means they weren’t strong enough.
I’m not going to.
Suit yourself.  Just don’t ask if you can play in the tree-house again.
“Whether we fess up to it or not, much of how we act relies on camaraderie,” Neil boomed to the class of young soldiers.   
Neil, down to the very grains from which he was comprised, grains as Germanic and calculating as science itself, truly believed that the footholds of camaraderie reached deep into the bowels of evolutionary theory.  And while he’d spent the last fourteen years of his life studying and implementing his theories among various members of society, he couldn’t help but consider the implications of those few aberrant indivi
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 0 1
Lying about Smiling
There was no sun but the wind
Carried the morning on her back
And came in through the window.
I was lying
Smiling, and then I half-opened
A lazy-lidded eye to see you
Smiling, too.
It would have been too difficult
To explain why I was when you asked.
If I’d said, for example’s sake, go-carts,
Bruno the Brazilian, high-moused helium
Voices, said Birthday or Balloons,
To say I arrived at the smile through
Naming conventions, the first name,
then the last… to say, while lying there,
I was smiling about the waspy flavor
of your last name. And then swelled
back into exoticism, hence Bruno.
Anything other than “smiling at you”
would sound somehow unromantic.  
Childish, even – the place of big-lipped,
Toothy grins. So I lie there.
And I close the slotted lazy-lidded eye
And fall back inside, half-dreaming,
Thinking, this must be what happy means.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 3 11
a study of science
First let me tell you about the chiggers.  That they are insect larvae invisible to the naked eye.  That they feed on animal and human flesh, when they can find it.  That they live in low-lying swampy areas, in woodlands and along streambeds. That the only way you know you’ve been bitten by a chigger, aside from avoiding damp areas all together, is when red bumps appear at the point of contact. That these bumps itch worse than a mosquito bite, worse even than poison ivy is a sure sign.
Now, let me tell you about Jake. Jake lived in the room next door at McKalney He had my old room from junior year with two big windows and a Chinese roommate.  The year before, I had lived alone. My room the following year was circular and dubbed, appropriately so, “the circle room.” The room itself lived in the turret of the house, for the house was a mansion and of the severe Victorian style. But, this is not when I met Jake.
I met him at the end
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 1 7
Chasing Gulls
There she was. Sitting on the flotsam – all the brush and tinder the mighty Pacific had taken in its throes and then retched up back along the shoreline in a bundle of thatch, plastic bags, soda cans and all slick as an oil-slicked branch, and smelling of salt. Seaweed pooled in bunches and tanned itself up, then crackled and blew away with the breezes.  She didn’t seem to mind the wreckage, but just sat there, looking at each wave crashing its energy against the sand, and then swallowing back pieces of the earth.  Therese stared out beyond the breaking, and her eyes misted up, almost imperceptibly.  
We didn’t speak for what seemed the longest time.  
I met Therese on my first year of work out of college. We both worked for a company neither one of us wanted to be working for.  Therese wanted to be a writer, but one always has doubts about those sorts of characters. I planned to work for a year and then apply to medical
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 1 0
A Lesson in Stones
A Lesson in Stones
After the boy’s mother died, the man drove the boy to a place on the banks of the Wallkill River to skip stones. At this spot, the riverbank was low to the edge of the water and not steep. The boy turned nine three weeks before and the boy’s mother died two weeks before that. The man knew she was going to, and it is likely the boy also knew. They did not talk about it. Now it was just him and the boy. The man felt a deep welling up inside of him. He did not know what to call it, but it connected with the water. Fear, maybe.
It’s important to look for stones that are flat and circular, Eli told the boy. This one here is a good example.
The stone sat at the edge of the embankment. It had a silver luster and part of it rested where the gentle waves of the river could barely kiss it. Where the water
could touch it, the stone was a darker gray.
When you throw the stone against the river, use your wrist, he told the boy.
The boy looked at his father and nodd
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 86 76
She said
it feels like
giant bags
of sand are tied
to my wrists
and ankles.
At the dinner,
We drew straws
To figure who’d
Sit next to her,
Who’d listen,
One ear glued
To the floor
For a sound
Of a train,
Its unbearable
Whistle plowing
Down the tracks.
Who’d listen
To the gloom
Of the sloth,
Pitying itself.
The weight
Like sandbags.
No, like shovels
Digging, deeper,
Deeper, where
What we’d used
In the past for
Ballast, became
And then
Soon, cross.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 3 2
Sorbet and Simians
Sorbet, being made with more sugar, less cream
And fruits: oranges, mangos, bananas
(the parrot to the thrush)
containing qualities worthy of melt.
Scientists take core samples. The earth,
Is warming.  There is no doubt.”
There is talk that looses the tongue
From its taste buds.  The way of eyesight.
(Once bitter is now lessened.
Sweetness mitigated as if offense.)
There are still orangutans
Throbbing in the forests.
They eat bananas and sugarcane,
And sometimes, the green rind of the mango
Appears bursting oblong
Out of the bush.
If we worry, we worry about disappearances.
About speech, the loss of the tongue sifted through melt water.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 3 5
Your juice is a cacao pod
Strained through a sieve
Into that giddy soporific
Of childhood
Those multi-colored sugar
Stick that stain my tastebuds,
Seeping into its capillaries,
And turning my tongue
Into flower petals I’ll use
To play, “he loves me,
He love me not.”
Your nectar is the elixir
For the honeybees’ swarm,
Dancing with their knees
Brimming with pollen,
And all sorts of other spells.
Which brings this topic to witches,
Which I did not care to bring up
But now that we’re talking
About boiled toads and frog princes,
Of poison apples and old wives’ tales.
Yes, and a superstitious nature
Is a surety of longevity. I go to sleep
Nightmaring about finding a fish
Lizarding in my lap.
My fists clench,
As though wringing out every drop
Of your nectar still soaked inside.
I awake to the sluice.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 0 4
These days, you
Ball yourself into
The covers
Such are the nest
And those that
Nest within, a sign
Of the mood.
You huddle
The crouch of
Broken-winged bird
And sleep
The shades are drawn
Excluding the window,
All shades of leaves
For there are many.
I bring you things
In the afternoons.
A satchel of chestnuts.
An orange newt I’d found
Squalling out of the mud
On the pavement.  Sequins.
Sometimes, I traipse through
Your room with mudlogged boots
Leaving traces of the earth else
You would surely forget
The scent. How to speak it.
The way you used to hold me tight
With your legs until I’d gasp.
To make sure, I was alive.
It was tiresome.
You were. Bringing
Pieces of the earth
To you.
Now your eyes are wide
As a fawn’s and glassier
Than I remember.
Remember how we’d
leave the bedroom
To collect beetroot,
Mushrooms, lavender. When
We’d find outside all the old
Spaces in the town  --- what
No one ever kissed anymore.
That was when, you tol
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 4 6
Shiny fishnets knead out the salsa dance.
Thread tighter pieces of orange, mango and lemon –
Grass, as though painting the mesmerizing and vulgar
Forces of the hacksaw: how its prideful head elongates the dust
Between Poland and Guantanamara. It speaks no blahs, breathes
No haze of damn apostrophe, but always wills itself to the   --ooooh
Damn, how it frustrates the pelican’s toenail, caffeinates the otter.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 0 2
Ode to the Prostitutes
Ode to the Prostitutes in Yangon
They gave you the woman, yes. For always,
Out of your death, they give this woman –
Give light from the lack of desire
That goes always when sustenance is
Killed in the heart. Go.
Understand in clear Spanish why
She had gone here,
Where she was when you heard her;
Why she’d gone riding a yellow and shining
Racecar; why she’d gone to poverty, and why
Afterward she’d been a prostitute in the country.
This is, after she was a rider.  
Why she nearly froze in a donated coat –
Odd for this space where it never gets hot.
Why she called herself, Petra,
So you would not be confused. And that is
Her name.  And why she culled it up,
In Spanish, into your book, as far away
As she could from the securely-fastened bird
Nestled on the front page. And how she took you
And your friends for this walk only one time,
To where she could be, momentarily:
“On the corner, across from the Summit Parkview Hotel”
which serve
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 1 0
In curiosity of the window
In curiosity of the window pane:
     How it drips. How
It melts into
a glass pool
Viscous and
     A good word for this:
     The will be of persistence.
     The sparrow that taps again  
     And again at the window.
     Another word: deliverance.  
     And could it be the pane feels this
     Slight Alteration?  As I also feel the  
     Smallest sense of rearrangement?
     My brain is a room filled with
     Thousands of photographs:
     And yet, you, perhaps are here
     For intelligent redesign. No,
     Not the ocean here. Put Sargasso
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 3 3
An Envy About the Body
The idea:
That I may write
A poem about
The body: about
A girl
In a pale blue dress
Is foreign to me:
As foreign as those alien sea-dwellers
On the cover of National Geographic
Whose snouts tip out
With lures aglow
Headlights, flashlights
Spelunkers of their depths.
About what it might be like if they were
In their grottoes,
And over cords of ale,
In the frail sheen of the lures,
Scribing about envy,
Having it come plumbing out
Of their mouths – agape,
Of walking: about
Those two feet of the compass
And the hook being…
Look! There she is, lifting the
Pale blue dress above her knees.
It mushrooms: in what
Atomic age, we fear for the future
Of her bare legs,
But she is
Only lifting
The dress
(that it may not be soiled) by the waves
who have come to praise
her toes
with kisses.
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 1 2
Maybe Very Happy
We sleep the sleep of the newly cocooned,
wrapped in gossamer strings spun
by the moon, while outside the crows
are tuning their wings; the squirrels are itching
the bark of the birch. And the blue gray waves
beyond the bedroom, are lulling, and then
:iconpearlingrain:pearlingrain 3 7

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Jesslyn Skillman Roebuck
Artist | Literature
United States
Current Residence: United States
Operating System: fully operational
Shell of choice: naked
Skin of choice: weathered
Stephanie: great email. i love everything about it
me: haha. it's not supposed to be loved
Stephanie: i think everything is supposed to be loved ;)
me: oh wow. i see you've started on the pot
Stephanie: hahahah....actually it's more of a Molly statement. She was in love with so many people and things...that I was trying to see if I felt that way...and sometimes…as in the email...i do and have learned you can love a lot more than you thought…and it doesn't have to be only specific people...I can "love" Andy for example, but not like we normally think...instead I could love him for his conversation, but not necessarily be in love. It could be the pot or crack I have been combining lately)
me: haha or the yoga. Same thing.
Stephanie: hahaha. Perhaps.
me: so.... yes.  I think you can love many things in many different ways
agreed. I suppose the thing about it is not to conflate "love" with various emotions if other words can be used to more succinctly define what you claim to "love" in other words, i appreciate the candid nature of your emails, but this appreciation is not necessarily "love," but rather "appreciation."
Stephanie: I agree to disagree. Hahah.
me: or I enjoy the companionship of my friend, but to say I "love" spending time with him is not the best description of feeling. But yes, we can do that
agree to disagree
Stephanie: why limit love to just a person or a something...why put a cap on what you can love...because for us who are not in love, I think to feel full we must find love in other places...therefore I love your email :)
me: but what about a love hierarchy?
Stephanie: okay I can do the hierarchy, cause i guess i love my family more than ur email
me: i agree there but I also think you wouldn't say you "love my email" as much as you "love" your Mom, say. So to use "love" suggests a "love relativism" which could dilute the meaning of love when you do say it. If you love everything, you could just as easily love nothing because the word can be rendered meaningless. It's sort of like a "little boy who cried wolf" effect. But to find contentment and appreciation in the seemingly most mundane things is, of course, the way to live one's life (i.e. the email).
Stephanie: I like the conclusion :) That will suffice.
  • Reading: Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer"
  • Playing: Trivial Pursuit
  • Eating: Oranges
  • Drinking: Wine, Red.


Add a Comment:
GeneratingHype Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2008
Thank you kindly for the :+devwatch:! The support really means a lot.
b1gfan Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2008  Student Writer
Thinking about the hummingbird in your voice ..flitting above the flowers of your words.
pearlingrain Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2008   Writer
What a kind thing to say. Thank you.
b1gfan Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2009  Student Writer
But of course :glomp: How delicious is it to wander around, looking for nothing in particular, and end up back in places you'd loved being before :)

RobShields Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2008
thanks jess :)
colourmeblue Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2007
Your writing is astounding.

I must say, I am moved!
alvenom Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2007
Thanks for the :+fav:
cubstock Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2007
why thanks a lot for the :+fav: on my field of dreams pic [link] its muchly appreciated hope you can use it for inspiration for your artwork :hug:
mobbyrules Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the :+fav:.
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