Dance! I say. Dance!


I told him once it was a dance,
and I hyphenated
the push – pull – go – come
like a tormented poet might.
How clever the analogy!

(And how could he not love clever?)

Watch me pirouet, I said.
Put a spin on this
so the song doesn’t end,
and the routine goes on forever.

(Did you see that? Clever again.)

It’s the same old song and dance, love.
We can’t side-step the family dance-step,
it’s in our genes, and I don’t mean Kelly, so…

I’d like to shake things up a bit,
you know, move with the times…
Why not dance this year’s dance to—
the pachenga.

WORDS ©2015, Jen Payne
QUOTE from Dirty Dancing

Sixth Day


The preacher wore a stole of ducks,
stood proud and tall as marsh reed,
in a cassock of sport designed
to twist truth and mask intention.

A valiant champion,
pro-faith, pro-God, pro-life,
no doubt preached Genesis
side-by-side with Exodus
in Sunday sermons to the masses.

Two elegant wood ducks,
male and female, mother, father
hung stretched-thin with eyes closed,
in perpetual prayer for the sanctity of life.

Words ©2015, Jen Payne
Image: Duck, Salvador Dali

A Turtle Prayer


The Turtle Prayer
by Travis Bowman

Great Turtle spirit,
I invite you into my life.
I seek your lessons of tremendous patience.
I seek your lessons of stability.
I seek your lessons of the shore.
Lead me along that place
where water touches earth,
the space between movement and stillness.
Remind me that I carry all I need
with me at all times.
Awaken my senses
so that I am prepared for
opportunities as they arrive.
Help me trust that all happens
when and how it should.
Shield me from harm, and share your primal wisdom.
Please, help me remember that my home is with me
wherever I go.
Mother Turtle,
I call to you.

Photo ©2015, Jen Payne



Writing, I chose a word and re-choose, over and over.
Its spelling, meaning, intention……..derivation……..critical.
I want the one word that will feed you the epic battle,
let you taste blood and fire and heartache.

I am more careless when I speak words.
Toss them at you like pebbles into streams,
as if they’ll only skip across the surface.
How frightening to see ashes on the sheets, smoke rising.

Words ©2015, Jen Payne

The Yin and Yang of the Father


I am the best of you

and the worst of you.

Your glass-half-full perception,

deviled humor, and gift of gab

distribute equal weight against

the dogged pursuits of work, ego, and vice.

There are days neither you nor I

would recognize the reflection in my mirror,

and days when all I see is you —

the best and worst of you —

staring back.

©2015, Jen Payne