Jessica Rogers

from The Ball


A ball and chain—
that’s it!

The model in the photograph wears a ball and chain,
a must-have accessory now

and I’m totally enraptured by it.
Thoughts of:

                        exploitation, immobilization,
            and loads of sex appeal! 
I know someone—a digital

a thin, stylish presence,
a 90s apparition
in the background
of old friends’ photos

now and then
just… to… remind… me…

                        and well,
she has

                                                “ain’t nobody’s
ball and chain”

                        tattooed on
her thin calf

                        to ward off the analogical
ball-and-chain, or

                                    any particular crutch, really, louder at a certain
hours of day or year or many years now on repeat,
to have squeezed the universe into a ball,
                                                            to roll it towards some overwhelming question,
spinning in tight patterns towards a dark
and unknown (dis)appointment;

Well, she has chain smoked cigarettes for as long as I can remember,

and well,
I’ve always wanted to be her(e):

                                                another Debbie
Harry wannabe
reborn Heroin chic
and plotless like
an indy film during
the last decade of
the last century and
feeling special about it,
balls out confidence,
all bleached bones
and eyeliner,

all sharp angles,
still there
to underscore
that I haven’t
changed a bit.
                        Well, not anymore!
                        Cause the ball and chain is in these days!

                                                She’ll have to get one of those

ANTI symbols
over the AIN’T

or cross the whole thing out.

Although well,           
I guess those ANTI symbols
are real hip, too.

You know irony sells well in an age
of (violent) (comfortable) disbelief.

Just like the model in the photograph
selling more by caring less—
but just in case

I carry this battered invitation
in my pocket as proof

I belong inside

even if you saw me
trip once or twice
over what seems
to you nothing,

an entire invisible
mafia of obstacles,

trying, always trying,
to get (t)here; 

you won’t hear
me call this
ball and chain
too heavy,

no sir,
can’t you just
                        imagine my smile?