Categories
Creativity

9 – Seven Degrees of an Active Shooter

One – one active shooter present here in Branford

Two – 2.1 miles from my house, all roads closed

Three – all roads including the ones leading to the library and post office

Four – an active shooter is present inside the salon I went to for 23 years

Five – a video of the scene shows the shop where I bought a mop on Monday

Six – it’s taken from the window of the garden center where I buy plants and flowers and summer herbs in pots

Seven – a good friend is taking photos at the scene, hears gunshots while I call to tell her there is an active shooter here in Branford

Poem ©2021, Jen Payne. Photo by Tara Buckley as seen on Branford Patch.
Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

8 – Night Music

Night Music

The D key
on my neighbor’s piano
sounds like an owl

hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo
hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo

maybe a mourning dove

coo-OO-oo

coo-OO-oo

the bell buoy
off Mermaid Rocks?

doong doong doong
doong doong doong
 
Wrong direction, though
an alarm? my phone?

too low for tinitus
its angel songs

too late for a piano
I thought, but

hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo
hoo-h’HOO-hoo-hoo
 
coo-OO-oo
coo-OO-oo
 
doong doong doong
doong doong doong

That D key had center stage
drowned out the others
in pitch-perfect tones
enough to wake birds
and me, my angels in check

while the Sound rocked on…

Photo and poem ©2021, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

7 – Mindfulness

Mindfulness

Morning

sun

on

tulips

takes

my

breath

away.

Photo and poem ©2021, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

6 – Apple of Discord

Apple of Discord

I had, for years,
chosen words carefully,
like one might apples
in the January bin —
hold, look, turn,
feel for the bruises
beforehand.

And I set them out
carefully
on this paper
we call a screen
so there was time
to savor my meaning —
hold, look, turn,
let down your guard,
love.

But that proved
as elusive as the worms
that burrow in —
making scar tissue
of sweet, soft flesh,
unseen beneath the skin
where bruises bloom
and hearts stay broke.

Poem ©2021, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. Image: Ceci n’est pas une pomme/This is Not an Apple by Rene Magritte. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

5 – Can You Hear Me Now?

Can you hear me now?

If a tree falls in the woods

is it inclined to consider

the possibility that no one hears it?

and does that make its falling

any less monumental?

What about the bear —

does its obvious defecation

negate the very action?

I mean

what is the value of

scat for scat’s sake

for Christ’s sake?

No matter.

It’s probably just

predictable poop.

Poem ©2021, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. Image courtesy of the Yosemite Bear Team. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

4 – Coyote Vision

Coyote Vision

The shot was sharp and specific

so precise and premeditated

the anticipated yelp or howl

silent, never came

but he did, in a vision

said, this way this way quick

and we ran through trees

hidden from the path

to a den deep in the woods

a portal to another moment

he in phantom form now and

I, nothing but a thought

on a wave of breath.

Poem ©2021, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. Image: Wikipedia. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

3 – The Wrong Impression

The Wrong Impression

He ran, he told me,
through the corridors of Heathrow
the framed Monet under a free arm,
it, his grand gesture
to the unrequiting, me

Monet’s water lilies
The Water Lily Pond
(to be precise)
its soft curved bridge
symbolic, perhaps,
of his efforts to cross over
from friends
to something more colorful,
shall we say?

For the untrained eye
it gave the impression of love,
but look closely to see
a thousand random dots,
their missed connections
a terminal romance.

Poem ©2021, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. Image: The Water Lily Pond, Claude Monet. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Memoir Poetry

2 – I prayed he left more than a spoon

I prayed he left more than a spoon

As the sun rose, he whispered,
I’ll come back if I’ve left anything
then packed and went
as quickly as he did that first time
some ten years before.
It was a fishing trip then —
a last chance visit with family
before graduation and grad school —
this time a funeral, his uncle.
No lingering, not like other years,
when we dozed dream-wrapped
late into the morning……..loved.
But with New Jersey such a long ride
from our reverie,
he left before we had a chance to…
……..a chance to say anything more than

Same time next year?
Should I bake a cake?
I’ll come back if I’ve left anything.

I prayed he left more than a spoon,
held my breath in pregnant pause for weeks
until it was clear there was nothing
to come back to……..not even the spoon
which still makes its way into coffee,
stirs up the memory of that morning
and what might have been……..afterall
had he left anything more.

For Cliff. Poem ©2021, Jen Payne. #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month, with a sweet nod to Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn. Image: Lorette with Cup of Coffee, Henri Matisse. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

1 – Morning Haiku

cardinal on my schedule

doesn’t need to notice clocks

sings sweet song at six

Poem and Photo ©2021, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Month. Are you fascinated by time, too? Then order a copy of MANIFEST (zine): It’s About Time today!
Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

7 – Imposter Poet

I am no more fit for the poetic form than I was the 9-to-5 work day

I learned that lesson early…by 27 my own task master

with no rhyme or reason to the days since.

They flow as they will or they should — meant to be

whispers the woman beneath the weight anything else.

Meant to be, too, the poems.

Never sonnet or senryu

villanelle or paradelle

rondeau, rispetto, or ode.

They are short and sweet or long and leggy

begging for edits, or begging for more:

I want some more please.

What, you think a free-verse poem doesn’t beg?

Doesn’t hold itself up and ask you to decide

……….half empty or half full?

……….half-baked or baked to perfection?

But how are you to know, really?

Especially if you dance to the beat

of that different drum and the music is so loud

you can’t hear yourself think

never mind rhyme.

 

So, never mind rhyme.

I don’t, and you don’t mind me.

 

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. Photo by Tasha Kamrowski. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

6 – Star Child

Curled small on the driveway,

only seen for the cruel contrast

black beneath pale pink white skin,

star child, squirrel child no matter

she stayed in the palm of my hand,

nuzzled into the warmth of a thumb

womb, nest, home, heaven

‘til neither of us could bear

that cold, damp morning

that cold, wet pavement

that cold and unforgiving world

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

5 – Sunday Haiku

the day is quiet

save for the slow, soft hum

of a cat snoring

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.

Categories
Books Creativity Poetry

4 – Pandemic Pause

The construct of time

in our pandemic pause

is such that my computer

now tells me the day —

in small letters the date, too —

and the hours move by

so slowly we seem suspended,

teetering here on trust

that the sun begins the day still,

and the dark is when we rest

and dream of crowds of people

— or that one we adore — before

the sun rises on another day as is

but another day closer, too

and find in that somewhere: Joy.


Right before the world shut down, I was working with photographer Joy Bush to promote her new exhibit at City Gallery in New Haven. We had a phone call scheduled, so I set my phone alarm: 8:50AM, Joy. That’s what inspired today’s poem. You can check out Joy’s thoughtful work on her website: www.joybushphotography.com.


©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. If you like this poem, you can read similar in my books, available from Three Chairs Publishing on my ETSY SHOP. They come autographed, with gratitude and a small gift.