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Creativity

#30 – Vacation

#30 – Vacation

It’s hard to be

come what may

on the last day

this gray area

between here

     and there

 

every movement

with its purpose

with its label of last

 

instead of a careless toss

there is a careful folding

of what we thought to bring

and treasures found

 

the kneel to check for things

that one last time

feels like prayer

 

please, god,

let me have one more day

amen


 

Photo (Cape Cod, MA) & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#29 – What will make a bookmark…

#29 – What will make a bookmark…

 

I have a bookmark box.

(Do you?)

 

In it, a random set

of handmade helpers

who save pages for me,

say YOU WERE HERE

as a reminder.

 

(But I dogear, too, much to their chagrin.)

 

When not nearby

or in a pinch

a gum wrapper maybe or

 

ribbon

feather

fob

 

once, a pressed ginkgo leaf

 

often, a friend’s cross-stitch

 

sometimes, his father’s 3×5 notecards
from New Guinea c. 1936

 

most recently, a note from my host to please remove my shoes before climbing up the ladder to the loft where I read Mary Oliver by moonlight.


Photo (Cape Cod, MA) & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#28 – Camouflage

#28 – Camouflage

A lone spring peeper

disclosed its location

by chorus too soon

then disappeared —

so I hid behind

my walking stick

hoping to mimic a tree,

share in its secret song

one more time.


 

Photo (Cape Cod, MA) & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#27 – I saw a secret to share

#28 – I saw a secret to share

 

it’s my secret

here

this wide beach

this wide, wild ocean

the wind, waves,

white caps

Whales!

 

(shhhhh!)

 

there, at the horizon

 

*p*

f

f

t

!

 

{ applause }

 

shhhh!

 

Whales!


 

Photo (Cape Cod, MA) & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#26 – JOY!

JOY!

 

How does one not

clap for

JOY!

at the sight of

one

whale

breaching?


 

Photo (Cape Cod, MA) & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#25 – Goddess of Mercy & Compassion

GODDESS OF MERCY & COMPASSION

the moon

at 3

whispered

I am here with you

cast its benevolence

danced

with the stars

above the

windowsill goddess

She pointing up

with great compassion

says her mercy

will not wane

together we bear

hardship —

here, let me help you…


 

Photo/Collage & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#24 – Room of Books

ROOM OF BOOKS

I live in a room

          of books

their authors here

          or gone

their final breaths

          on my pages

remembered or

          forgotten

is by luck

          of the draw

their posterity

          (and mine)

feat of might

or feast of mites

          you decide.


Photo & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#23 – chills are a stress response

chills are a stress response

the wave hits
like a surprise
makes me
shiver
hug myself
as it takes
the ground
beneath my feet
leaves me
precarious
balancing

laugh?
cry?

start the day
no matter

there’s a
come and go
to everything
an ebb
and flow

remember?


Photo by Hrvoje Abraham Milićević, Pexels. Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#22 – You Spin Me Right Round (for Earth Day)

You Spin Me Right Round (for Earth Day)
 
From my window
all I need to know of Earth
this morning:
her ombré sky indecisive
her sun bold no matter
glowing green buds of spring /
that flash of red? a cardinal
who was singing just a moment ago
a duet     like a record baby
spider spinning another masterpiece
as shadows fly across the lawn
they bob and weave and somersault
punctuated by
bee     bee     bee    bee
the pond ripples with morning traffic
turtles and ducks and frogs
peep    peep    peep
while the trees in unison sing
Watch Our Here I Come!


 

Photo by Hrvoje Abraham Milićević, Pexels. Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#21 – Surface Tension

Surface Tension

 

what is the surface tension

of water that rises

before a storm

 

that great heave of breath

 

right

at

the

tipping

point

 

before breakwater

and beach

conceded the flood

 

what begets her

saturation point

when enough

is too much to bear?


 

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#20 – Lip Twitch (So Sayeth Dr. Google)

Lip Twitch (So Sayeth Dr. Google)
 
caffeine
specifically: caffeine intoxication
 
mixed brain signals
(i.e. pandemic, politics, Putin)

[insert opening scene from Jaws]
 
STRESS!
 
fight or flight!
fight or flight!
fight or flight!
 
drugs
narcotics
 
potassium deficiency
 
hormone deficiency
(fuck you menopause)
 
parathyroid
(paragliding accident?)
(guilty of too much paraphrasing?)
 
hemifacial spasm
Bell’s palsy
 
Trauma
Tourette Syndrome
Parkinson’s Disease
ALS
 
TUMOR!
 

“Takeaway: Lip twitching is normally harmless.”
 


 

Image: Mouth (Brigitte Bardot’s Lips) by Gerhard Richter. Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#19 – Morning Respite from the Fray

Morning Respite from the Fray

Tempest at 3

with winds that

blew away dreams

but saved the tree

left us writing

by lamplight

and you

wanting to play —

how you love a good shadow

love the tease of a pen

on paper scratching —

until day broke

our moment

the beast arose

chased the tempest

back from the day

its tasks now swollen

and barely as sweet.


 

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity

#18 – One of a Thousand Lives

One of a Thousand Lives

One sea gull drops its catch on the rocks

and I think there’s a poem in that

but only the names have changed

since I last wrote a poem about the

one sea gull, its catch, and those rocks

that can be seen from the house

I thought for sure we’d buy

when it was for sale,

the year I wrote that poem about

the sea gull, its catch, and rocks

There was room there for

his design studio

and my writing space

for my art supplies

and his art collection — mostly Cape Cod,

our shared heart space —

He knew the artists’ names

looked up the owners of our house

they were artists too

and that life   oh that life

was as beautiful then as this morning

the seagull having breakfast on the rocks

and I, in starshine, nostalgic

 


 

Photo by Kunal Baroth/Pexels. Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity

#17 – God: The Anthropocene Interview, Part I

God: The Anthropocene Interview, Part I

 

I will miss

the birds most,

said God

when asked.

 

He, like all of us,

has been wondering

about things.

 

Wondering if a

pandemic

is natural cause

and effect, or

defense mechanism?

 

Wondering if evil

simply becomes itself,

or rises from the ashes

of what could have been?

 

Wondering how He

became the excuse

for so much violence

and unkindness?

 

Wondering what

“act of god” or

“mass destruction”

equates to a

serious reckoning?

 

Wondering why He

gave the most complex brain

to homo sapiens and not,

for example,

the osprey, the robin,

the starling, the crow?


Photo by Kunal Baroth/Pexels. Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#16 – On Easter

ON EASTER

It occurred to me

that an apt solution

might be to go sit

in a daffodil patch —

sink deep into the dirt,

commune with

the immortal blooms

that once grew

in Elysian fields,

become heaven myself,

rise to the occasion

or if not —

just return

again next year

hope a long sleep

yields sun

and sustenance.


 

Photo & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#15 – Ghosts

I’m sleeping with ghosts again —

my shapeshifters life savers

throw me a line in a dream

Here! Here!

they lie down beside me

curl into my spine

rest a hand, lend a shoulder

faces clear as always

voices, laughs

I know you.

They are my familiars

taking shape and form

as Comfort and Consolation

reminders

of love spent and saved

stored in a cupboard

with sheets —

eye holes to see me

clear as always

buoyant

in memories


 

Photo by Ron Lach/Pexels. Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#14 – don’t save me from this morning

don’t save me from this morning

 

birdsong catches

at my hem this morning

pulls me into the light

 

I saw the light,

said the twenty-something

at the diner yesterday

I saw the light and I was saved

 

he used the word 8 times

while I ate my burger

saved from sins of the flesh

 

(irony there)

 

saved from celebrating     too much

saved from loving      too much

saved from seeing god

in the birdsong

that catches at my hem

 

Do you think Jesus was a vegeterian?
Do you think he danced with the disciples?
Made love?     Oh! Holy! Night!

 

It’s sad to be so sure at 20  (so convinced)

leaves little room for magic

on mornings like this

 

and little room to dance


Photo & Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity

#13 – Dream 4.13.22

DREAM 4.13.22

 

I rub his bare belly

like a Buddha

it’s smooth and firm

 

and warm

 

he laughs

as a secret

 

street lights

stop lights

moon light

shows a face

I shouldn’t see

and I wake

hot

and tangled

wondering

if it’s just good fortune

or an explanation

of more than

I can grasp


 

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#12 – Honest Senryū

Dashboard light tells me

tank empty, you’re out of gas

Dashboard light…you’re right


 

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Creativity

#11 – Not Today.

NOT TODAY

 

There isn’t a poem today.

 

My mother bit it off

and chewed on it.

 

She hadn’t had her lunch,

She hadn’t slept well,

She was frustrated and angry,

today, last week, last year

when I was 15,

so she bit down hard

forgetting all of the idioms

the hands

the wolf

the bed

left me to tend to the wound

when I was 15,

last year, last week, today

I’m too tired to write a poem.


 

Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#10 – Meant to Shine

MEANT TO SHINE
For Max

in the yard

the flowers glow at night

you can follow the path of a snail

there’s fairy fire

in the old man’s crook

and sparks in the belly of a whale

in the sky

the sun does yeoman’s work

as it polishes half the moon

and the stars

they glimmer on for us

their facets roughly hewn

good heavens,

all the world’s afire

if we only take the time

to look up from our

whirligigs

and see the vast sublime


Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#9 – Protego Totalum

Protego Totalum

When the healer asked at my illness

I explained

the permeable membrane

that is my heart space —

how compassion

and empathy have

always been allowed

free and unlimited egress

it is the mark of a good girl

a good daughter

a good sister

a good Catholic

to a fault, a good person

to a fault and this time

to a gait hobbled by the weight

by too much give, and not enough take

And so she prescribed for me

a Protego Totalum,

a silent incantation

complete with a swish and a flick

that seals up the leaks,

and saves the good for healing.


Poem ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#8 – Overnight

OVERNIGHT

It rained all night

and I sunk into dreams

so deeply, I left a worn spot

like deer in a meadow,

magic and memory

crushed beneath

a weary soul

weaving milkweed threads

for warmth,

the star a lantern

to light her path

to morning.

 


Poem & Photo ©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#7 – The Muses Kept Knocking

THE MUSES KEPT KNOCKING

 

Not today, I told them

I don’t need what you’re selling.

 

I’ve got no pedigree,

I’m just a worker bee

and I don’t bow to the queen.

 

Not today.

 

But they wouldn’t let up.

 

So I let them in enough

to take a message —

a first line, a title, an idea.

 

Stuffed it all in a folder

and went on to other things.

 

Not today, I told them

I don’t need what you’re selling.

 

I don’t teach

I don’t preach

And I don’t have a voice.

 

Not one that counts.

 

So, not today.

 

But they wouldn’t let up.

 

I’m a fake.

It’s a mistake.

I don’t have what it takes.

 

No, no — not today.

 

But they wouldn’t let up.

Not at all, not once.

 

So I opened the door,

and the windows some more,

and out came my first poem in months.


Poem©2022, Jen Payne. Painting, Open Door, Brittany, by Henri Matisse. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#6 – Untethered

UNTETHERED

I am girl on the moon

present

and accounted for

you even see me       sometimes

half the time

but I lose footing

more often than I should

feel weightless

meaningless

not much holds me fast

keeps me in place

things come       and things go

round and round

round and round

 

but I suppose we’re all spinning

these days

find ourselves on the dark side

watching for something to hold onto


 

Poem©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#5 – Lost Pleasures

LOST PLEASURES

the view from room 217 as the sun rises

her laugh

the longevity of certain conversations

     and certain daydreams

silence

the fact that he knew how to cook (ribs)

     and our Sunday mornings

the nostalgia of comfort foods and ample wine

how she understood me with a nod

the shade of pines after the first hill

(before the storm)

being unreachable, there

      or anywhere

things to believe in

belonging


Poem©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo,  National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#4 – Screen Porch Solo

SCREEN PORCH SOLO

My cat on the screen porch

is meyowling sing-song

with the birds,

a chorus of Cardinal

and Crow and Grackle

Jay, Jay, Jay

and Lola…

 

Meyowwwwl 

Meyowwwwl

Meyowwwwl

 

It’s spring fever on the screen porch

and she in a sunbeam spotlight

plays center stage.


Poem©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo,  National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#3 – Look, up in the sky…

LOOK, UP IN THE SKY…

It was hard to miss,

though I did wonder

if anyone else

saw in awe

the two turkeys

up in a tree

their awkward

balancing act

on the finger-thin

branches,

the safety dance

of neck and wings

the fulcrum legs

as their resting spot

swayed

and they stayed

the night

safe from all

but my curious sight.

 

Poem©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo,  National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#2 – Enchantress

ENCHANTRESS

I have watched her dance

 

watched her lose herself in a song

among the crowd

on a wet city street

 

seen her cry

dream

soar through the clouds

guided by only a voice

the rain

a song

a beat

a heartbeat

 

magic


Poem©2022, Jen Payne. Photo by Heloisa Vecchio on Pexels.com. #NaPoWriMo,  National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

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Creativity

#1 – The Science of Women

THE SCIENCE OF WOMEN

There are small pink marks

softened with age

that only she will recognize,

knows how they adhere to time

and memory and this odd, shared path.

She has seen me as no one else —

vulnerable, prone, afraid —

allowed trust and autonomy

to dance even step with

training and science.

Partners,

she ages with me now

gray for gray and line for line,

our nods of knowing

the flash, the sweat,

the weight of it all,

speak more than we ever have

in these brief encounters

these long precarious years

of waiting and watching

tell-tale scars fade.

 

Poem©2022, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo,  National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books and zines, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.