Jed Myers

Jed Myers

Jed Myers is a psychiatrist, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and poet. He studied poetry at Tufts University, where he also served as Editor for Tufts Literary Magazine. He was a Finalist in the 2004 Bart Baxter Poetry in Performance competition at Seattle’s Hugo House in 2004, and won 3rd Prize in that contest in 2005. His sonnet won 1st Prize in Writers’ Haven’s 2004 Poetry Contest. He received Honorable Mention for a villanelle in Washington Poets Association’s annual Poetry Contest in 2004, and earned 2nd Place in Seattle’s NE Library Poetry Contest in 2005. His poems have been featured on NPR, and on the web in Friends Journal, Satya Center, Tempozine, PoetsWest, E-ZAAPP, and Gazoobitales. His work has appeared in print in This, Raven Chronicles, Forum, A Shimmering Field, Poetica, Tattoos on Cedar, Drash, Fugue, and Chrysanthemum (for which he also served as Guest Coeditor). He has performed on numerous stages, including Whidbey Island’s Burning Word Poetry Festival, Seattle’s Frye Art Museum, and Seattle City Hall. He served on the Board of Washington Poets Association 2006-07, and he regularly hosts NorthEndForum, a weekly salon-style gathering for poets and musicians. He has produced, hosted, and performed in benefits for a variety of timely causes.

Born in Philadelphia in 1952, he lives now with his wife and children in Seattle, Washington, where he practices psychotherapy and teaches at the University of Washington.

Beasty, poem by Jed Myers

Your lovely head’s willingly lowered inside the wide angle of your laptop’s jaw, identity dipped into the virtual circus lion’s maw once more, but you’re not the lion-tamer—you’re caged, netted, long teeth tugging already at your neck. Like the antelope, throat in the predator’s grip, you’re limp and numb, mercifully anaesthetized for the kill. It’s only seeing it in you I can guess my predicament, symmetrical. We once talked this time of night. We can’t now, sucked in toward the catalytic scintillations inside an etheric sphere, the stomach of a creature slouching toward the Amazon, about to siphon into its vast abdomen our last oxygen, piped in to keep us typing.

You’re in the breakfast nook. I’m here
at the dining room table. We crouch
in chairs we could brandish, poke legs into the lion’s face, keep those ghostly incisors at bay, but our fingers play on the keys, and we say nothing at all to each other for hours, nights, days.
We remember to eat something, brush our teeth, obey our clocks for work, but the ether is sweet, the new creature, our infant monster, delights us more than each other. What we once called love, once we’re consumed, our human children won’t remember.

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March, poem by Jed Myers

At night the dead and wounded march

   in utter silence through our beds,

through our bones and thumping hearts.


They poke us right between the ribs

   with smoky fingers—jabs

and prods to stoke an acid burn,


to scorch the linings of our lungs,

   stir the torture up our throats,

turn our dreams toward ashen earth,


force our spirits’ eyes to look,

   see how these bullets pierced this chest?

this arm got blasted off? this brother’s


lost inside the sudden crater

   where the house was? This mortar

bought this corner of the village


where my daughter wove the blankets

   sold across the world. She walks

with all the other wounded, dead,


the disappeared, the suicided,

   none have gone to paradise,

they wade the atoms of this place,


this planet’s shoals of love and waste,

   they jostle our souls awake,

the silent invisible marchers,


through the waves, across the coasts,

   under the trestled highways,

over lakes, through forests,


through walls, glass plates,

   mountain ridges, steel gates,

industrial blazes, secret installations,


scrap heaps, carnival islands,

   concert halls, reactor shells,

fields of tall grass, corn, stubble,


fields of bog and rubble,

   parking lots, loading docks, markets, concrete clover leafs and malls,


through all these to reach us

   open-souled and silent,

bent on touching one sleeper each,


and if each one of us,

   however deep, unconscious,

feels this final touch of oneness


the mute marcher brings,

   then the wound can speak,

and peace still be the promise.


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The Shape of Peace & Today’s Unrest Summary, poems by Jed Myers

The Shape of Peace

A cast iron horse on a block
of oak serves as bookend
on the top shelf of the pine case
against the wall. The metal
form features a saddle, but no rider.

A fore-hoof, raised in readiness,
never falls to action.
The next battle never begins.
The noble warrior is lost.

I see the shape of peace
in the beast’s stillness, absence
of the human driver.

Today’s Unrest Summary


Midtown irritability index

   midday today

      a new record high,

   nine raised fists,

      compared with yesterday’s

   eight point five.

Today it’s a ten in LA.


Put together with recent levels

   of time squeeze, triggered

      helplessness, and TV

   body image tease pressure,

      we can see how these clouds

   of doubt and anger hover

over the entire metropolis.


Manufactured appetite measures

   also peaking on our meters—

      trend appears associated

   with higher-definition depictions

      in magazines and on most screens.

   Meanwhile, Main Street money hunger

averages seven slashed S’s.


Satellite scans of unpredicted powder

   ignitions, worldwide, last

      twenty-four hours, higher

   than expected by thousands,

      and no national

   holiday here or in China.

We’re at a loss for major factors.


Again, on the local front,

   assaults by strangers along

      busy thoroughfares—our figures

   show today’s rating as

      three flat noses. So,

   be careful out there. Also,

the window and bridge splat count is down.


Blasted corpses, by morgue report,

   surprisingly steady, amid

      conjecture of a calm-before-

   the-storm effect, expecting

      clustered rampages by summer.

   Kids cutting overall holding,

vein-to-artery ratio falling.


Our international desk sends this—

   a note of commentary:

      Global villa-to-hovel continuum

   thinning out in the middle could be

      crucial. Hostility

   fills in where face-to-face

experience hasn’t got a chance.


Our aside: Unlicensed talk

   across familiar rifts recommended

      but unfunded. Parks,

   the banks of rivers, corners

      by crowded crosswalks—these

   are the sorts of prime sites we might watch for evidence of uninvited peace.

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