GUEST BLOG POST: Finding Inspiration

Today, I’m a guest blogger on CMash Reads, sharing my thoughts on… FINDING INSPIRATION When I told a friend last spring that I was writing a poem a day for National Poetry Month, she asked me how I found the inspiration for 30 poems. “It’s like rummaging around in a junk drawer,” I told her.… Continue reading GUEST BLOG POST: Finding Inspiration

You Made Your Bed

Waking up beside a mistake
one has little choice but to make the bed
tear off the sheets and start fresh —
hospital-corner fresh —
pillows creased with a firm hand


with a broad arc and breath
reset the sheets askew, awry
as if that was the intention all along
messy, made, come what may

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month, 30. Image: Bed Making, Stanley Spencer.

and then there were eight

After Adam and Eve upgraded,
do you think they longed
for the unencumbered days?
Those quiet times before
buttons and zippers
and technologies requiring
such labored maintenance,
such frequent attention?
Did they think, often,
that it would be much simpler
to move about this world
without needing to
dress for success
dress up
dress down
dress to kill
dress for dinner
Were they ever-seduced
by the need, the speed, the ease?
Or did they Think Different,
see past the bill of goods —
understand the lure, the hook, the catch
for exactly what it was:
the shiny object,
the pretty distraction,
another Apple, another sin.

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month, 26. Image: Man And Woman (Adam And Eve), Pavel Filonov.

338 Arch Street

My duck lived
under the back porch
of my grandparents’ house
at the top of the hill
on Arch Street,
surrounded by privet
and a bowered
maze of azaleas.
The screen door creaked
and slammed into
the kitchen where
the middle drawer
had a secret panel
your finger could
push-pull for Wonder.
The rooms smelled of
eucalyptus and river
and whiskey.
In the living room,
too thin for a couch,
three chairs angled
to face the television
and the gun cabinet,
dusted and polished daily.
The deer head
didn’t have a name,
the duck did—
perhaps that’s why
we let him go.
Set loose by a bridge,
spared or sacrificed,
no one knows.

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month, 25. Image: Duckling, David Burliuk.