do it with a heart wide open


by John Mayer

Take all of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all of your so-called problems,
Better put ‘em in quotations

Say what you need to say
Say what you need to say
Say what you need to say

Walking like a one man army
Fighting with the shadows in your head
Living out the same old moment
Knowing you’d be better off instead,
If you could only . . .

Say what you need to say
Say what you need to say
Say what you need to say

Have no fear for giving in
Have no fear for giving over
You’d better know that in the end
Its better to say too much
Then never say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open

Say what you need to say
Say what you need to say
Say what you need to say

WORDS, “Say,” by John Mayer.
IMAGE from Yoga Tree

there are other words for this, not love


I do not think of that night in the gatehouse that overlooked the Sound, salt air moist on my lips, and wine.

You wore a white sweater, the kind mariners wear while they tear hooks from the guts of fish and throw them overboard.

You’d set a fire in the fireplace and sat on the floor next to me with your arm around my shoulder, laughing.

I can still see your face, that smirk of a smile that made my heart swim; feel the spot in my chest where love and anxiety mixed often with you.

There was a white robe in your bathroom, a second toothbrush in a cup—the things a woman leaves behind when she is certain she will not be discarded.

They were not mine.

My things were in a pile on the floor next to your bed where you left me in the dark and alone—the sound of your tires on the driveway, my entrails staining the sheets.

POEM ©2014, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Mess of fish, Paul Klee, 1940.



Chester, 1:00 a.m.

You will always be blue flannel,
a plaid hard crush against skin,
lips on a flute in the dark,
and the taste of unseen spirits.
Your kiss,
the punch-drunk dance
against kitchen counter —
what did you want from me
in that brief romance?
I still wonder.

POEM ©2014, Jen Payne; inspired by one moment and Bourée, by Jethro Tull.
IMAGE: Untitled (Blue Divided by Blue), Mark Rothki, 1966.

what happens to words


what happens to the words
when one is not allowed to speak?
when we sit silent at a table of strangers
who look and feel familiar?

what happens to the words
when one is not allowed a voice?
when we can’t speak our truth,
tell our secret, make our apology?……….to you

what happens to the words
when one speaks and no one listens?
when we talk and talk and talk
and the response is only silence?

what happens to the words?

they catch in your throat,
sit you bolt-upright at 2 a.m.
gasping for breath,
spitting sentences onto sheets.

or they find other ways to speak—
when the surgeon cut me open
did she find paragraphs clinging to ovaries?

what happens to the words?

they bravely show up in poems
and tell you things you don’t want to hear.

WORDS, ©2014, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Song Without Words, Lynd Ward, 1936.

It is all in my head?


“There’s nothing like eavesdropping
to show you that the world outside your head
is different from the world inside your head.”

— Thornton Wilder

Blue night – Edward Hopper, 1914. Edward Hopper was a prominent American realist painter and printmaker. While he was most popularly known for his oil paintings, he was equally proficient as a watercolorist and printmaker in etching.

In Response to the Ghosts in My Dreams


At 4 a.m., after wrestling for hours with ghosts in dreams — and at the foot of my bed — I opened the book of poetry I am reading and found this:

by Hafiz

All your images of winter
I see against your sky.

I understand the wounds
That have not healed in you.

They exist
Because God and love
Have yet to become real enough

To allow you to forgive
The dream.

You still listen to an old alley song
That brings your body pain;

Now chain your ears
To His pacing drum and flute.

Fix your eyes upon
The magnificent arch of His brow

That supports
And allows this universe to expand.

Your hands, feet, and heart are wise
And want to know the warmth
Of a Perfect One’s circle.

A true saint
Is an earth in eternal spring.

Inside the veins of a petal
On a blooming redbud tree

Are hidden worlds
Where Hafiz sometimes

I will spread
A Persian carpet there
Woven with light.

We can drink wine
From a gourd I hollowed
And dried on the roof of my house.

I will bring bread I have kneaded
That contains my own
Divine genes

And cheese from a calf I raised.

My love for your Master is such
You can just lean back
And I will feed you
This truth:

Your wounds of love can only heal
When you can forgive
This dream.

Such Stuff as Dreams are Made on, from The Tempest, Edmund Dulac. Edmund Dulac was a French magazine illustrator, book illustrator and stamp designer. Born in Toulouse he studied law but later turned to the study of art the École des Beaux-Arts.