For issue #11 of the Jet Fuel Review, we’ve included a special section that features a sampling of pieces that all share a prevailing theme, with this issue’s special theme being a collection of bouts-rimé poetry.
A bouts-rimé is a literary game in which poets are given a predetermined set of words that they must center their poems around. Literally meaning “rhymed-ends” in French, a bouts-rimé is a type of sonnet, three quatrains and a couplet with an abab cdcd efef gg rhyme scheme. Since the fourteen words that we chose were challenging, we decided that adherence to iambic pentameter would be optional.
The selected fourteen words were required to be used at the end of each line (hence, “rhymed-ends” as the translation) and in the order they were given. All of the Jet Fuel Review editors collaborated in coming up with interesting words to stump poets. Here are the fourteen words we decided on: envelope, orange, telescope, singe; eyelash, wire, mustache, fire; underhand, render, ampersand, tender; photogenic, pomegranate.
Seeing what the poets were in for, we felt that it would only be right for us, the editors, to attempt to write bouts-rimés ourselves. After feeling the frustration firsthand, we could not be more pleased with how many lovely bouts-rimés we received in response to our seemingly impossible task.
— Sam Gennett, Assistant Managing Editor
Presented below are the editors’ attempts at writing poems using our specific bouts-rimé guidelines. These poems have all been written by Jet Fuel Review editors and other Lewis University students/alumni.
To see the poems that made the cut in issue #11, follow the link here.
Scroll through the poems below to read works by the the following poets:
Sarah Elizabeth Ford
Sarah Elizabeth Ford
Sarah Ford is an English professional and creative writing major in her final semester at Lewis. She has also been a part of the Jet Fuel Review staff for the past two and a half years. This semester, she will be working on her 6th issue. Her favorite part of writing poetry is playing with the phonetics of language and twisting the boundaries to their limits without quite busting them.
Pompeii in Dies Irae
Tethered to the spit of an envelope
close—Vesuvius siphons an orange
symphony from its glottal telescope
throat, mouthing the obsidian singe.
Transparency of an amber eyelash—
that ash preserves into primal wire,
that beneath canopy, Naples’s mustache
pumice delicately adopts fire.
Eruption shouts with an underhanded
force, composing a statuesque render
of stiff lips, compressed into ampersand
by the palm of a massive god, tender.
Pompeii never looked so photogenic—
flesh to rust to molten pomegranate.
Keanu Taylor is 20 years old, and she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. She attended Lewis University not only because she was recruited by both cheer and track, but also because she heard great things about the English Department. Upon committing to be an athlete of Lewis University, she declared herself and English major (concentration in creative and professional writing) and later declared two minors in print and online journalism. To Keanu, writing is her release of voice. She describes herself as not having much verbal expression, but writing has opened the door for her to be free. She is free to connect and touch the minds and hearts of her audience. In the future, she hopes that writing will lead her to being a well-known author or sports journalist, but she also wants to motivate and inspire others. Writing is more than just a dream to Keanu, it’s who she is.
Lips sealed with envelope
precision. Clinching protection in this orange
kitchen. Safety viewed from the wrong end of the telescope
So I stay, and I fear life with this singe
of blood and mascara drowning eyelashes,
caking over his barbed-wire
fist. The invasion of his knife-life mustache
across my lips. I made a home in this fire.
The raping of his gripping underhand
I unwillingly surrender
my being into an ampersand.
He invited me into the light with eyes so tender
to be publicly photogenic,
but to secretly stain me pomegranate.
Dominique Dusek graduated from Lewis University with her bachelor’s degree in creative and professional writing. This fall, she excitedly anticipates returning to her alma mater to pursue a graduate degree in education. One day, Dominique hopes to teach high school English and publish her original work. For four semesters, she has served as an editor for the Jet Fuel Review, assuming a variety of roles including Fiction Editor, Non-Fiction Editor, Submissions Manager, and Assistant Managing Editor.
Effigy of Mama
He seals himself into a corset tighter than an envelope
and slips into silks steeped in clove and orange.
Entranced by polished glass, he shrinks through the lens of a telescope.
A flame, he is alive and ready to singe.
Held together by whalebone ribs exquisite as an eyelash.
His silhouette is a thin ghost. With fingertips elegant as gold wire,
he buffs his upper lip examining the beginnings of a mustache,
letting his image consume him like a gas fire.
Pulling his face taught, the boy uses his hands like a sculptor’s to render
a new identity, and act of underhand
as he kneads his flesh until it flushes pink and tender.
Twisting his face, his features curve like an ampersand.
He sucks his cheeks and puckers his lips wishing to be photogenic
Last time daddy caught him in the closet, he bruised him a shade of pomegranate.
Haley Renison is a sophomore at Lewis studying theology and peace studies. She runs for both the cross country and track teams, and is a first-year poetry editor for the Jet Fuel Review. Her short fiction piece, “Sunlight Through an Animal’s Cage,” was recently published in Lewis University’s Window’s Fine Arts Magazine along with her poem, “Pushing Up Daisies.” She hopes to travel the world with Catholic Relief Services and publish some of her poetry some day.
A tribute to the film and novel Wild by Cheryl Strayed.
And then one day, you find yourself enveloped
in velvet sunlight, saturated with orange
wind and pine needles. A patinated telescope
at your hip, and the throbbing of a singed
ego still resonating in your skull from the whiplash
of temper as he tried to unhook your underwire
bra because you mistook his mustache
for manhood. And you remember when you set fire
to that fucking bed while smudging underhand
secrets onto another admirer, rendered
useless even though he traced an ampersand
of freckles down your spine so tenderly.
You recall those days, deem them un-photogenic,
and lick blood from your lips as if it were pomegranate.
Mandy Gieseler is a sophomore at Lewis University, following a major in the English department on the creative and professional writing track, with a minor in Pre-Medical for Biology. She currently loves Stephen King novels and playing video games with her friends. Upon graduation, she hopes to be able to use her writing skills to work on screenplays, video games, and possibly even write songs. If you see Amanda on campus, she will more than likely be working on her homework before she goes to work, but if you talk to her she will make you laugh.
Between Human Edges
A tainted manila envelope
often leads to a lamp’s orange
fading glow & a lite-brite telescope
that endlessly searches for a singe.
While mascara desperately grabs the hanging eyelashes,
her body bound in puppet string wires—
Beholds smiles curled like imperial mustaches
with moon white bones thrown into fire.
A silver skull engraved ring caressed underhand
within a world completely demon rendered.
The rays between the rotting & the whole ampersands
a body so vastly tender.
In ways he wished to look more photogenic,
without skin forcibly bruised like pomegranates.
Sam Gennett is a sophomore creative and professional writing major at Lewis University. She is the assistant managing editor of the Jet Fuel Review and the assistant news editor of the university’s newspaper, The Flyer. She is a hockey fanatic and aspires to write a book of poetry solely on hockey. After graduation, she wants to work in the publishing world, ideally for a journal.
We sit together, you reclined and I upright, enveloped
by the nicotine you transmit. As you inhale, I stare at the orange
glow at your cigarette end. You look at me with a telescopic
grin, shaking your head, not even noticing the ash singeing
a hole through your Nirvana t-shirt, hair resembling elephant eyelashes,
lips shining pizza grease and I cannot think of a way to rewire
your melancholy or find a way to sew a mustache
onto your numb smile. This smoke, strangling our throats—is there a fire?
We sit together in this chain-smoked cloud, I underhand
toss you an aging baseball but your hand cannot render
the shape of catch, instead your body lays contorted like an ampersand
and all I can do is mumble “it’s okay, you’re okay” tenderly.
I have never seen anything less photogenic:
foam bubbles out of your mouth, white as pith of pomegranate.
Rachel Steele is a senior at Lewis University. She is majoring in creative and professional writing, along with a minor in Chinese. She is also a Poetry Editor and Art & Design Editor for the Jet Fuel Review. Her work has been published in the Windows Fine Art Magazine and showcased in Lewis University’s Celebration of Scholarship. She hopes to be a publisher after she graduates, as well as write poetry and short stories in her spare time.
Tip-tap of a pen feathering your name on an envelope
swallowing the notary tinged w/ coffee. Old as the orange
on the sill like the O’s of your name looking out a telescope
that bore into the mail slot & let the wood floor singe.
The edges creased thin as an eyelash,
sealed w/ lipstick the color of copper wire.
I tried to meet my lips w/ yours but my mustache
got in the way. Even my nostrils felt fire
from your brute force lilac perfume. It’s an underhanded
move catching me when I wanted to breathe. But you could render
Manhattans and the concentrated weight of an ampersand.
Does sending discolored hyacinths mean I’m less tender?
The ridges of your fingertips against mine become photogenic,
you caress creased leather & your cheeks turn stains of pomegranate.
Jess Jordan is a senior at Lewis University. Her major is English language arts and literature with a minor in Spanish. Some days she thinks that maybe she should have been an exotic animal veterinarian, but she knows that English is her calling. She is a lover of all types of stories and novels, and she is particularly fond of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his work. Besides reading constantly, she enjoys being active and loves yoga and scary movies. She would love to travel the world one day, particularly South America and Africa. Jess is also a member of Sigma Tau Delta and is undecided about pursuing graduate school, being an ESL teacher, or jumping into the publishing industry following her graduation.
Stinging, like your finger being sliced open by an envelope.
Your eyes brush the room painted burnt orange
and your irises focus, un-focus like a telescope.
ars gratia artis; the best way to describe the singed
edges on all the paintings. Focus – an eyelash
turns and sticks. You no longer care about the burn, like a wire
in your eye. You try blinking: open, close, open. A mustache
appears close to your face, matching eyebrows fire –
colored. Staring into bristles of flame beginning to feel underhanded,
there is more than meets those ocelet eyes. But you do not render
to that center of opal. You, the ink master, hooked with an ampersand.
Despite the needle’s searing, his hand caresses your arm tenderly.
The slowly bruising forearm is anything but photogenic,
with small spots of blood swelling up like pomegranate.
Pedro Lucatero is a senior at Lewis University majoring in transportation administration and double minoring in Spanish and business administration. He is excited to graduate in May and go out into the adult world. In addition, he enjoys playing sports and recently began enjoying reading. He typically does not write, but creative writing has taught him the fun side of writing. He thinks that the bouts-rimé was a challenging yet fun piece to work on. His inspiration came from the first and last word of the list provided by the challenge — envelope and pomegranate.
Red and thick is the irregular sphered envelope.
It sits right beside the bright porous orange.
The eyes recognize discrepancies with its telescope-
eyes, but too much focus will singe
your fragile and billowing eyelashes.
The extended curled telephone wire
dangles just below the Mark Twain mustache,
Your eyes reflect a show of fire-
works. There’s an unsettling urge in your underhand
to grasp it. Its outside will not render
you its gelatinous flesh. You begin to ampersand
the possible ways of consumption. His tender
awe is bright. Under the thick skin is a photogenic
design. Enjoy the deep sweet, slightly tart pomegranate.
Jessica Winterstein is a student at Lewis University studying for her secondary education degree with plans to graduate into the teaching field soon. She dabbles in both poetry and short stories in her spare time and hopes to write more lengthy pieces in the future. She says she finds her inspiration by reading the work of her favorite author, Ray Bradbury.
Dear seldom sealing envelope
eclipsing ever orange
blinding to my telescope
unyielding in its singe.
Reveal a halo thin as eyelash
of flickering filament wire.
A waning solar mustache
scorched by cosmic fire.
Is your plot so underhand
in this embrace you render?
Is this necessary ampersand
worth a charring touch so tender?
So though I deem the sight to be ever photogenic
a waxen seal preserves my view in pressing pomegranate.
Zakiya Cowan is a freshman English major at Lewis from Chicago, Illinois. Due to her passion for reading and writing, she knew that she wanted to devote her life and career to studying literature and becoming a stronger writer. Some of her favorite authors are Rainbow Rowell, Gillian Flynn, Colleen Hoover, and Diana Gabaldon. In the future, she hopes to work for a publishing company, and possibly become an author.
Song of a Child with Divorced Parents
Drops of salty water bounce off of the envelope
that knows not of its contents—acidic smell of an orange.
Like a choir my retina, cornea and lens harmonize. Telescope-
focus on the curvature of your letters, ink burrows in my eyes. They begin to singe.
I am as insignificant as an eyelash,
like family photos suffocating in layers of dust. I become wire
tucked into the wall, forgotten, until it is inflamed, engulfing your moustache.
The fever stricken forehead scent of mac-n-cheese fills nostrils, smoke from the fire.
My eyes hone in on the tar black garbage bag being lifted underhand.
My mother tries to talk but the waves at the edge of eyes make sound difficult to render.
When it is as dark as the bottom of a polluted pond, she and I curl into an ampersand.
The faint click of the door shutting behind you thrashes me in the gut, making it tender
Now, while you sift through stiff, age weathered snapshots most photogenic,
I soak up the puddles with the envelope and bask in the sweet aroma of pomegranate.
Sabrina Parr is currently a junior at Lewis University. She is majoring in English on the professional and creative writing track. In her free time, Sabrina loves to read, watch movies, and watch TV. Sabrina is a Teen Wolf, Stitchers, and Shannara Chronicles enthusiast, but she also loves Once Upon a Time. Sabrina loves almost anything supernatural and one day hopes to write a book about the supernatural. She almost always has a book in her hand and is always on the hunt for a new book to read. Sabrina hopes one day to work in publishing and to have her own work published.
It smelled like your perfume, Seaside Mimosa, the envelope.
Addressed to me, written in orange
ink. I laid it on the table, next to the telescope
on the deck, as I sat outside and waited for my skin to singe.
You use to carefully curl every eyelash
before we went out and complain about the wire
in your bra. I would shave my failed attempt at a mustache
and make sure we had wood for a midnight bonfire.
But you made me feel like a neglected child, an underhand
remark, an actor with an inability to render
a performance and leaving me as an incomplete ampersand.
I squint at the letter in the noonday sun, with too tender
eyes and feel as photogenic
as a four week old rotten pomegranate.
Michael Cotter is a recent graduate of Lewis University who earned his Bachelor of Arts in English studies with a film studies minor. While he’s waiting for his call from the E! Network about his own reality show, he works at American Eagle Outfitters folding jeans. During commercial breaks of re-runs of Will & Grace and Veronica Mars, Michael likes to write poetry and song lyrics, watch movies, stalk Britney Spears on social media, and go on quests for the perfect slice of pizza with his friends. He has recently been published in Windows Literary journal and is thrilled to have been a part of the Jet Fuel Review team on issues 9, 10, and 11.
I lay in wait and pray for wind to envelope
me in the summers of evergreens and oranges.
A wish for a rearview mirror that telescopes
back to days where the sun singed
pavement outside my house. Eyelashes
stick wetly together creating facial barbed wire
when I’d take flight over the mustache
handlebars of that two-wheeler painted like fire
with tires like moons. I never understood the underhand
or the way that I was to surrender
when I’d fall and land like a human ampersand.
With freshly scraped knees and mom’s hands tender,
it’s moments like these I wish someone found photogenic –
instead I’m left with skeletal memories and Polaroids of pomegranates.
Stephanie Raga is an alum of the English department at Lewis University. Currently, she is teaching overseas as a language and literature teacher. Her goal in life is to help others with their own writing, and teaching has allowed her to encourage others to embrace their creativity. She is an avid reader, writer, traveler, and cat lover. She continues to write as much as possible so that she can share with others the travel adventures she embarks on with her two cats.
My veins are sliced open like an envelope,
pouring down my arms like the juice of an orange.
I gawk at my flesh as if I am looking through a telescope
hoping that my internal stardust will begin to singe.
Up and down I flutter each individual eyelash,
as if the lids are puppets hanging from a wire.
I twirl the edges of each minuscule hair like a mustache
and watch as my skin catches fire.
I color my chest, clenching crayons underhand.
I linger over my heart so that I can render
who I used to be, while using an ampersand
to blur the lines all so very tender.
Life can be still and photogenic,
but also can be a lively pomegranate.
Hide me like a classified envelope,
taste me like a cara cara orange,
see through me like a decrepit telescope,
let my decaying carcass singe.
Flutter me like a provocative eyelash,
bend me like a gaunt wire,
caress me like a handlebar mustache,
let my barren, wasteful soul be on fire.
Go and draw my lines underhand,
and with the overlapping of lines as you render,
don’t interrupt with the outline of an ampersand.
Let’s not masquerade the fool by being tender.
Please let the portrayal be not so photogenic,
and let the notorious memory be crushed like a pomegranate.