Sugar and Spice

No. I won’t BE NICE.
Don’t for a moment think
it’s not my right to ask the questions.

Do not speak to my protest
with that patronizing tone.

No. I will not quell my laugh.
Do not think your CONVICTION
changes my outrage.

No. I will not stop.
No. I will not stop.
No. I will not stop.

That’s what little girls are made of.

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne. Photo of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke being an ass courtesy of Huffington Post.
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Gallery Show & Sneak Peek!

Want a preview of our upcoming book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind? Then come to the Opening Reception for Where the Whole Universe Dwells, an exhibit at Perspectives…The Gallery at Whitney Center, on Saturday, May 20 from 3-5pm.

The exhibit, presented by the Arts Council of Greater New Haven and curated by Debbie Hesse, will include photographs from Evidence of Flossing, and features work by Jennifer Davies, Nancy Eisenfeld, Anne-Doris Eisner, and Peter Konsterlie. It will be in view at the gallery from May 17 – August 27.

Perspectives…The Gallery at Whitney Center is located at 200 Leeder Hill Drive, south entrance, Hamden, Connecticut, (203) 281-6745. Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4-7 p.m., and Saturdays 1-4 p.m. Click here for more information.

(Chinese Food)

The note says (Chinese Food)
but it is random
out of context on a piece of paper
in a stack of papers
at least 2 months passed

my past included (Chinese Food)

but what?
and with whom?
and what is the purpose
of this little clue
set out for me to follow
too early even for General Tso,
though I never met him personally

rumor has it, he was a press man…

as a proponent of the written word
do you think he rose early
to consider form and function,
rhyme, reason and rice —
like this poet now hungry
for the pork fried variety at 6?

Poem & Photo ©2017, Jen Payne.

New Haven, Circa 1971

That she would consider it
“the amazing city”
is about as ironic
as the wry half smile
on her 5-year-old face.

She didn’t see the
protests, trials, riots.
(She never does.)
Only the possibilities.
The lofty towers
and filigreed intentions
of a something that
seemed larger than life.
Of a something that indeed
seemed “amazing.”

But what’s in a word?
the poet asks
with a similar smile:
half…..not wholly true

Poem ©2017, Jen Payne

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.