Herstory

Do you think Cinderella looked up from her ironing and thought “this is going to be a great story someday”? Do you think she could identify the elements of her narrative arc, living in the moment? No doubt the beginning was very clear, it usually is. But what was the inciting incident – was it the first kiss or the first argument? the first time she stopped pretending or the first time he made her cry? If the tensions rose and fell like the tides, how could she ever recognize the climax? And had the ending been foretold—Chekov’s gun-on-the-wall theory come to pass? Had she missed it in the exposition? Or did she choose to ignore it? It would all be explained, of course, in the dénouement, when the fibers of the story are finally woven together. Or untied, as the French word suggests? Untethered?

©2017, Jen Payne. IMAGE: Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, Thomas Sully

Mass, Shooting, God, Guns

At the shopping mall
where she bought the onesie
for her sweet little niece,
five people were shot.
She wondered who would do such a thing
— and why?
Just the day before, she’d walked
by that same cosmetics counter
to the Children’s Department,
spotted the rack of pink,
saw the embroidery,
Lock up your sons, my daddy has guns.
Had it boxed and gift wrapped.
Something was wrong with the world, she thought,
then knelt down to pray.

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne

Nuisance Species

There was an over-population they said

current world population 7,482,331,668

such overabundance can lead to excessive noise

there is absolutely no place on Earth that is completely free from human sound all of the time

and an increased risk of disease

incidence of common cold: 62 million cases per year

DRC-1339 was the antidote,
causing the congestion of major organs
a slow, 12-72 hour “nonviolent” death

but it sounded violent
thud, thud, thud

and it looked violent
dead birds dropping from trees

a galaxy of feathers
shimmering on the pavement
iridescent in the afternoon sun

It’s OK, said the nice man from the USDA, smiling
It’s not harmful to humans…

Just the star-lings
in flight, celestial
their cosmic communal dance,
the breathtaking murmurations
of a species that
communicates
cooperates
connects

But any dead bird can be picked up and thrown in the trash,
just remember to use disposable gloves or plastic bags.

Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide.

Plastic constitutes approximately 90 percent of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

“We recommend…that improved baits and baiting strategies be developed to reduce [such] nuisance populations.”— Managing Vertebrate Invasive Species, National Wildlife Research Center, 2007


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Q-EbX6dso


POEM ©2017, Jen Payne. PHOTO by Tim Felce (Airwolfhound). SOURCES: Worldometers.info; The last place on Earth without human noise, by Rachel Nuwer, BBC; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Center for Disease Control; Journal of Wildlife Management; “Dead birds dropping from a tree in West Springfield causes community unrest,” WGGB/WSHM; Audubon Field Guide; “Starlings,” A Passion for Nature by Jennifer Schlick (https://winterwoman.net/2011/01/29/starlings); Wikipedia; “The Controversy Over Controlled Poisoning Of Starlings ,Here and Now; “22 Facts About Plastic Pollution,” EcoWatch (http://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html); National Wildlife Research Center.

Random Acts: Irmela Schramm

“I’m really concerned by this hate propaganda. And I want to take a stand.…Not just hollow words. But to do something. I could look at that swastika and “Nazi Kiez” graffiti and say ‘oh, that’s awful’ and walk by. But no one would dare to do anything. Well, I don’t want to wait for someone else to do something about it.” — Irmela Schramm

raw-heart-purpleCommit Random Acts of Writing + Art. See “Grandmother uses graffiti to fight hate.”

Ekphrastic Rabbit: An Out of Body Experience

Some might see the artist’s intention.
Cold War Germany via taxidermy—
it rhymes at least.
The rest is explained shorthand in chalk
there beneath my stuffed and stiffened body,
something about the temperature and Eurasia.
It’s difficult for me to see from my vantage point, really,
but better to face forward in perpetuity
than look back with regret on the moment
I paused just long enough to be considered now
“the symbolic representation of the ability to span long distances.”
If I were the artist, naked and tied to these
“painted poles with fat and felt,”
his dick as stiff as my ears,
I’d surely get more than a cursory glance,
a squemish ewwww from the schoolgirl
still wet from the nude across the gallery.

rabbit2

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. Image: Eurasia Siberian Symphony 1963 by Joseph Beuys,
as seen at MOMA, January 2017, artwork © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS)