“Highway Turkey Crime, Film at 11” by Jesse Weiner

Jesse Weiner


so, the last time I did an actual
thanksgiving is when I lived
in huntington, and now I read
about a bunch of kids from huntington
who threw a 20 lb frozen turkey
through some lady’s windshield
on the highway. I didn’t really write
about huntington, but one of the kids
was from northport and I wrote
about a house in northport I almost
bought. patient, a white female in
her early 30s, is in critical condition
with multiple lacerations and abrasions
about the face, the shoulders and the hands.
surgery is indicated, bleeding must be
controlled, vital signs are lacking in
vitality. I wrote the tin ceilings in that house but
neglected to mention the setting. it stood
about four stories above the street, a garage
built into the near cliff at its bottom, a steep
stairway up, passing growth and untidy
gardens in a few flat places near the top,
nearly terraced. the youths involved
are said to have used a stolen
credit card at waldbaum’s. I wrote
about waldbaum’s. poetry is dangerous,
I knew this, I just never knew how
dangerous. the driver of the vehicle
stated to detectives that he warned
his passenger not to throw the turkey
from the car, but the passenger,
against his expressed wishes, insisted
and threw said turkey, frozen, weighing
20 lbs, out the car window and into traffic,
hitting the victim’s honda and smashing
the windshield. the manager of waldbaum’s
expressed sincere regret that his store
was used in so terrible a crime, pointing
out that he profited not at all, instead
suffering the loss from a charge against
the stolen credit card. all the youths were
charged with assault, grand larceny, reckless
endangerment, forgery and other crimes.
I wrote about forgery. and assault. there’s
risk to poetry. detectives entered a manhasset
motel room, finding the bodies of two women
they learned were a mother and daughter from
deepdale, queens. I spent a night in that motel,
with a girlfriend on her birthday, which that year
was on thanksgiving. one had a history of kidney
disease, the other had a history of emotional
problems. they were found in separate
beds having overdosed on prescription
medication. I’ve written about kidneys
and about pills. I’ve written about deepdale.
they ate the pills with ice cream. detectives
say a receipt for ice cream, which was ben and
jerry’s vanilla, was found from waldbaum’s. well,
I wrote about vanilla somewhere and I wrote
about ice cream too. subjects, two white females,
exhibit no external signs of struggle, death
likely due to the presence of large quantities
of kidney medication found in the blood
of both. I wrote about a woman in boston
with the same name as mine. the name of
the dead mother was judith wiener, the
daughter’s name was jessie. they lived
two blocks away from me. poetry
is about nothing if it’s not about risk.

from Rattle #23, Summer 2005
Tribute to Lawyer Poets


Jessie Weiner: “I published my first poem in the PS 187 PTA newsletter when I was in kindergarten, but I don’t remember this. My mother told me about it when I got my first real pub some forty years later, so that’s not why I write poetry. Practicing law uses up the same energy poems come from, so being a lawyer isn’t why I write poetry. I’ve been ill for about five years and unable to work, but I’ve written almost nothing about having MS, so that’s not why either. I know I came back to poetry after a long hiatus coincident with getting divorced, but the divorce ended and I’m still writing poetry, so that’s not the reason. I could offer up a bunch of bullshit about trying to understand the ineluctable or needing to own the ineffable or something even deeper and more mysterious sounding, but I’d see right through it. And seeing right through it also isn’t why I write. It looks like I have no idea why I write poetry. This is probably for the best.”

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