poetry quarterly

10th anniversary


Jason Venner

Plan B Press published Opening Up the Trees, by Jason Venner, in 2009. Venner came recommended by Robert Miltner, another prose poet writing fantastic pieces. The “hook” of this collection was that Venner had actually been to Prague and spent time in Eastern Europe, where all the action in this collection took place.



Even the doorknobs are angry here. I got locked in a bathroom at the local bar, and had the keys to my room changed twice. I can’t tell if people are looking at me through key holes or not. It rains a lot. Time is the blinded clock-meister here, a groan of collision catching up to itself. The Museum of Communism is one floor above a McDonald’s, but everything is MadeinChina. I have nightmares here, and I’ll confess: when I go home, I will walk into the woods, wait for the sun to let go of the sky, and listen as the crickets open up the trees.


Increase your medicine tonight, eat a whole rotisserie chicken by yourself and drink a six pack of Pilsner Urquell. Remember the smell of tram cars in Prague in the afternoon sunlight and when you saw that old-timer with numbers on his wrist. Throw up in the sink when you look in the mirror. Lie down and feel your skull shutter against the back of your brain. Understand a doctor doesn’t need a gun to convince you of anything, but from now on, only trust people who have earned their face.

Jason Venner earned an MFA through the Northeast Ohio Masters of Fine Arts in Akron, Ohio. He teaches composition
at the University of Akron, and composition and creative writing at Kent State University (Stark/East Liverpool). He is the author of two chapbooks: Oxide Songs (Twin Cranes Press), and Opening Up the Trees (Plan B). Some of his work has been published in 95 Notes, Glass, the Naugatuck River Review, Shaking like a Mountain, and Edgz. He lives with his wife in Norton, OH, and in his spare time enjoys playing guitar with his band, 21 Gun Solution.


Published in Volume 11, Number 3, Summer 2010.