Categories
Poetry Writing

Wednesday

It was just the other summer day
I wondered if your hair turned gray.

If you loved her still enough to stay.

And then as if in cue today,
I saw your car pass my way.
That telltale glance gave you away,
the smile that always could betray.

And I, with so much left to say,
kept still and let this poem aweigh.

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. Photo by Pedro Figueras from Pexels.
Categories
Poetry Writing

Our Sad Riddle

Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.

My nephew, fresh from the pages of Tolkien,
sees a fish carcass on the beach,
predicts Gollum! though we both wonder.
He considers the waves left from a storm,
the wind that blows us each askew,
thinks with furrowed brow, like me
as I sift through those things I know:
the trespass of raw sewage
and slick film of leached oil,
the change of warming waters,
our persistent lack of rain.
But he’s off on a new adventure now,
throwing boulders with grunts and gasps,
Take that! he yells, a holler into the wind
as loud as mine would be if allowed
to grieve the things he cannot see.

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. One of the riddles of Bilbo and Gollum in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
Categories
Poetry Writing

Found Poem: Eau de Parfum

a deconstructed garden
the secondary scents
or quieter facets of floristry
often overlooked:

freshly cut stems,
crushed leaves,
rich soil

as beautiful and evocative as the flower itself

what lingers

green hyacinth and dewy muguet
mandarin, hyacinth, freesia

molecules
radiance
sensuality

©2020, Jen Payne. Taken from the website description of Malin + Goetz perfume.
Categories
Poetry Writing

When it’s so hard to see…

This morning before dawn I found myself
looking for black pants in the dark.

In the dark before dawn,
I was looking for black pants

and found it apt metaphor
that search in the dark

for hope when it’s so hard to see
as hard to see as black in the dark

that search for hope
that’s hard to see, these days

these days and most days,
black as the dark before dawn

an outstretched hand unseen
in the dark, this morning, with hope.

©2020, Jen Payne.
Categories
Creativity Poetry

Friends 2020

FRIENDS 2020

I miss the taken-for-granted pleasure of soft butter spread on another piece of bread at my favorite restaurant,

how it complements the white wine served in a chilled glass so well I could have a meal of just that: bread, butter, wine.

I miss the face of my friend across the table from me, less than six feet for sure, her uncovered smile,

the back and forth of gestures, nods, hands-in-the-air exclamations about all of those things:

making art! writing! travel!
a heron, hummingbird, bee!
life and love…and that bread, can you believe it!

I miss our slow, slow pace that lasts longer than a meal, almost sometimes longer than a shift,

as we nod our gratitude to the waitress who knows us by smiles and gestures that say

yes, pour more wine
yes, leave more butter, please
yes, yes more bread of course, more bread

when the only thing that covers our face is the brief glance at a menu

or the swipe of a linen napkin to wipe a crumb from a smile never again taken for granted.

©2020, Jen Payne. Photo by Carolyn S. on Yelp. Thanks Mary O’Connor and Friends and Company.
Categories
Creativity Poetry

And so it goes.

And so it goes.

I once left a man because he used my toothbrush.

I was young of course, but it wasn’t the face value indiscretion that caused the sudden severing,

it was the implications: swerving across lines of trust, respect, kindness.

We wonder where love goes, how friendships end, how communities falter and countries fail.

It’s in the small and everyday: the one false move that tips the scale too far, too much.

In the blink of an eye we’re careening across the median, crashing into something hard and unyielding,

spitting what’s left down the drain, and praying the tap still works to wash away the betrayal.

And so it goes. Like that. Just as complicatedly simple as that.

©2020, Jen Payne
Categories
Creativity Poetry

Projecting

Projecting

It’s OK, I reassure her.

You’re alright.

Seemingly all day

I talk out loud

Where are you?

Are you OK?

Yesterday, she startled

when I walked into the room

both of us unaware of the other

It’s OK I reassure her

and You’re alright

but I wonder sometimes

at this grand projection,

is she in possible peril

or am I?

©2020, Jen Payne, with assistance from Lola.
Categories
Creativity Poetry

A Pandemic Reflection

It’s hard to hide from yourself
in a pandemic, day in day out
living without distractions,
your reflection suddenly more real
reveals the things you forgot,
like age
or your grandmother
stooped over the sink too,
her familiar refrain
your familiar refrain
Oh god, you wake one morning
realize this is the same day, again
day in day out day in day out
and not just because of some virus
but because you, YOU have
worn down a path from the bed
to the bath to the sink
where you stoop now
see your reflections in the mirror
as the sun rises and the birds sing
and trickster fox laughs from the yard
laughs at you, your bucket list,
your not-now-someday-maybe,
that wisp of gray descending
so long you can’t ignore.

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. Image: Mirror II, George Tooker. 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
Creativity Poetry

Oh for this company of a cat

She assumes the thin space
between me and the keyboard,
in front of anything I had to do right now,
her tail swooped against my hand resting
on the mouse that does all of the work.

I think to push her away but
her fur is soft and comforting
something to hold and touch,
her breath is purry and hypnotic,
and she is patient in her morning
meditation or prayer, insistence

here, this next day in the series of days
we keep together in this space
she in her routine and I in mine
like yesterday and its day before
or tomorrow and its day after
we assume, god and virus willing,
oh, for the company of this cat

So I just let go of my things to do,
wrap both arms around and
lean into her small warm body
as it expands and contracts
gently against my chest,
snuggle my face into the sweet
spot she loves between her ears
at the top her head, close my eyes
and listen to her breath, and mine
this singular hug of the day.

Photo and Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. 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
Creativity Poetry Travel

Retreat by Proxy

If not the respite
of the ocean now,
the Cape,
her wide wild shore
then this

this
sun rising here
and gulls,
not the same but
still

but still a sky, brilliant
and breeze
maybe even waves
if I wait

and if

if I am quite enough

the buoy offshore
rings

the ocean in a shell
marks time

Photo and Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. 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
Creativity Poetry Travel

30 – It’s a Hell of a Town

She wasn’t my first choice.
noisy, aggressive, imposing.
Arrogant with a funny accent.

I preferred her eastern cousin —
classic New England stock,
refined, not nearly as chaotic.

She was my first home, afterall,
where I earned my degree —
and my love of all things Boston.

But that other City
(spelled with a capital C)
captured my heart and ran with it…

through the corridors of Grand Central,
along the paths in Central Park,
and down old Broadway.

Each visit with her was a moment,
etched in my memory:
the foods, the sounds, the smells,

I remember the museums, the bridge,
the brunch, the parade, the lights
the trains, the crowds,

the people who shared the ride:
best friends, new friends, boyfriends,
my very first trip and my last.

My last for a while,
but not forever, I know.
She’s a tough broad and she’ll be back.

Photo by Photo by Roberto Vivancos. Poem ©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
Creativity Nature Poetry

29 – Getting Out

I’m in the woods.
Grandgirl says
as she steps her
wee self off the trail
and into the leaves
then gallops
ahead to chase
the butterfly
see the meadow
I’m in the woods!

he says, too,
as Nephew leaps
from the inside
breathes the outside
and careens
down a path
in front of us
climbing rocks
light saber at the ready
running
running
running

I’m in the woods!

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. For Max and Lia. 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

28 – There was something I wanted to say but…

my thoughts these days
are like cormorants.

Do you know cormorants?

Now you see ‘em
Now you don’t

Sometimes in reverent prayer
sometimes flying high
then swimming, diving and

GONE!

So you sit back against a rock
and wait for them to resurface
come back

one Mississippi
two Mississippi

three or four or ten Mississippies later
they show back up

rise to the surface
so you can go back to your day.

 

Poem ©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

27 – Little Blessings

She won’t remember
these days I didn’t play,
didn’t get down on the floor
with Abby and Coda
to rock the babies,
didn’t bark like a dog,
hide her from Grandpa lion,
or make the earth quake
Boom Boom Boom!

She’ll forget the missing
hide-and-seek,
the blanket tent,
the book we didn’t read,
the one of us who wasn’t
stealing blocks
or great little hugs
or selfies……….not again

For now she just remembers
to seek the mask-hid smile
to lean hard in for half a hug,
to blow a kiss, six feet big
to sing a See ya later!
as I turn away to leave
this sweetest little blessing
is the memory I get to keep.

 

Image: Poem ©2020, Jen Payne, for Lia with Love. 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

26 – Trickster Dreams

The fox who darted just out of eyesight yesterday morning while I poured coffee is screaming

mid-night screaming

so I half-wake, check for the cat, glance at the clock, tumble back into our trip to New York

a brilliant spring day, sunshine and pink trees, a street cafe/coffee shop amalgamation of people

it’s pungent loud, crazy and beautiful

You’re up ahead buying a hand-knit mask, balancing your coffee and flowered purse

I’m pacing by the India-print tunics, on the phone with the ex-lover only you know about, flirting in that way we do so no one overhears

and before I can say I Love You goodbye again to you there in the City on that wonderful city day or to him again on the phone

I’m riding in a pick-up careening through the copse where the screaming fox lives, smashing head-on into a great old beech

its fox-copper leaves jingle like bells to wake me for the day

 

Image: Poem ©2020, Jen Payne, for Mary Anne Siok on her birthday. 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

25 – Feather Juggler

They never seem heavy
just multiplicitous,
as if she stood
beneath a galaxy
of starlings,
wispy afterthoughts

…………raining

……down

from murmurations

their murmurings
perhaps,
or muses
task masters
EXPECTATIONS…..you say

perhaps

she does
make it look
easy, though
effortless,
effervescent —
bubbling over
like champagne,
watching

….it

……..fall

…………to

……..the

page

giggling

who wouldn’t kiss the rim,
let it tickle
like a feather
against your soul

then juggle
the soft ideas
aloft awhile
until something forms
in midair:

………………ideas

…….dreams

…………a poem

….of feathers

…………….floating

Image: Hand on Feathers, Martial Raysse. Poem ©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

24 – How Do You Know a Heart

To know a heart

you start

at the sweet spot

where two meet

become one,

each fills up with the other

if it’s right, a mirror,

reflection

of fullness

or open arms,

you move closer then

set down new paths

strong enough

to bear the weight,

to hold up

what you’ve set

in motion,

pull in closer

and closer

to get to the point,

the heart of the matter:

it’s the openness

that holds it all together.

Poem ©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

23 – Love thy neighbor as thyself

She worries most, she says
about salvation
— afterlife, eternal life —
rarely this one
this precious one,
except about her
rights and wrongs,
her delicate walk
inside the lines;
says she worries
about me, too,
my wayward path,
its final stop,
but we agree
most days
to disagree,
find comfort in
our common path
of grade school steps
and wonderings,
of nature and of art,
of familiar faces
that look the same —
but probably don’t
now 40 years gone by —
these are the things
that just won’t change
come what may
and never mind.

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne, for Rhonda. 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

22 – Earth Day 2020

Grandmother Maple
at the eastern corner of my yard
blinks with her feathered yellow lids
into the sparkling blue sky day,
embraces a family of Squirrels this year,
once it was an Owl, and long ago Raccoons.

She watches over the lone Chipmunk
who comes up late mornings to sun himself,
grass waist high and eyes alert
for the Red Tail who soars through less
now that the Osprey have returned,
and nested again nearby.

Also nesting are the pack of Jays
who ruckused all winter by the feeder,
and Mama Robin, her brood-to-be
in the Privet — oh how I try not to startle her
on my way to the mailbox,
she flies so low across the street
and I worry for her safety
most days, these days that blend
one to the next and the next.

Do you think they know?
Wonder why we’re so quiet,
not ruckusing ourselves as much?

Did the Spider who fell on my pillow last night
disregard my weighty self out of pity,
leave her to her deep, deep sleep,
her long, thick dreams,

weave a bit of compassion in her web
or leave to party with the Peepers,
dance in the moonlight under
these quiet, clear skies —
hardly missing us at all,
our heavy, unkind footsteps
upon divine Mother Earth.

IMAGE: The Merrymakers, The Merrymakers Uldene Trippe. Poem ©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

21 – The Logic of Greed

And so returns the machine,
its slow metal grind,
its teeth too hungry to wait,
for there are coffers to fill,
coffins, too, but pay no mind,
sacrifice a percent or two
for the Republic,
tithe your blood and breath
for the common good —
for god’s sake a haircut,
and a chance to worship
your false gods once more
on the courts, the screens,
in the checkout line,
at the pulpit, praise the lord,
get down on your knees
in gratitude to the great, bloated men
who saved you with empty words,
wore down your mettle
with false science,
gave up your many
to jerk off the few —
the few who won’t ever notice
your last vassal breath
as it seeps from the machine,
the sad, foul exhaust
that clouds the skies once more.

Poem ©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

20 – Monday Haiku

Spider in deep thought
above the just-cleaned cat box,
considers desert.

Poem ©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

19 – Not much between despair and ecstasy

Pandemic dreams
are epicurean,
dipped in the lush sleep
of slow surrender,
the deep brew of
spice and dirt,
bowls chin high,
steam rising,
she on our small bed
in Shanghai
pressed tightly
together
in the fearless dark
or he, his
whiskered cheek
against my thigh,
tangled sheets
on his knees,
distracted despite
the warning siren,
the impending
firestorm,
the heat
of the sun
too soon
to interrupt
this delicious
reverie.

Image: Photo by Xi Xi from Pexels. Poem ©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 Spirituality

18 – First Teacher

Last name long forgotten
but there at the base
of what I believe
of god and faith
and my place
in the Universe,
sits my first teacher,
fits guru—Al.

We met over
midnight coffees,
swapped donut shop
philosophies
on late night shifts,
asked questions
and tested answers
at the boundary between
martial arts, his,
and liberal arts, mine,
until the sun rose,
on the new day,
each day
that long first summer.

Pulling books from
his backseat library
I learned that
god comes in
different shapes
and different colors,
that there is no one way,
no wrong way,
no right way.
God just is,
and Al just was,

and I just was, too,
until the next summer,
when I sought out his grave
under a sinking sun
there by the long, wide river —
left a rose as thanks
and knew my search
had just begun.

Poem ©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

17 – Moonshadow

Goddess eye winks from
a 6am sky, says
you’re not ready to see
what I have to tell you
,
hides herself behind
spring-bare branches,
laughs at the folly
of technology which can
only see her as a white something
against the grainy dark,
hardly refelctive at all of
her otherworldly glow,
her unseen strength,
her surprising grace
this morning while I drink coffee,
or yesterday above the Sound,
while I washed dishes,
gazed unthinking to the south.

She, a cloud almost
against the midday sky,
translucent as if vapor,
winking then too or
lid half closed in prayer
for what she sees before her,
this sweet, lonely sphere
grown silent in a shadow
not of her making,
but eclipsed instead
by its sick and dying self.
Yes, yes, now I am sure
she was praying…
for us and for you,
and for me, too,
watching her from a window
this morning transformed.

Poem ©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

16 – Pandemic Perspective

The glass is half full.

The glass is half empty.

The glass is about to break into tiny shards,
fall to the floor, cut up your feet,
and incapacitate you
until April, May, or
possibly September,
could also be next year…

We’re positive we’re not sure.

Poem ©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

15 – Quit Giving Me Gray Hair

If it was last year here,

I’d be so this year, dear —

young women dyed for this

a trend not to miss

they thought gray was dope

pushed that envelope

went silver, ash, smoke and ice

totally willing to pay the price

but mine came free, oh yes it did

my stylist and I, we blame COVID

since this year gray is not so big,

I went and bought myself a wig.

 

Image: Pink Twin, Purple Twin, Walasse Ting. Poem ©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

14 – Pandemic Mechanics

I’m trying to imagine
the giant mechanism
my homunculus
must maneuver each morning,
how enormous the
the weights and counterweights,
the mile-thick ropes and pulleys,
necessary to close off this reality

YOU SHALL NOT PASS

close off this reality
just enough so I get out of bed,
do my hair, make coffee
right-side up instead of
upside down like it feels
when I peer through the crack,
one eye closed or cautious squint
knowing I have the privilege to ask

is it safe to come out?

what’s for dinner today?

do I have time for another poem?

 

Poem ©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

13 – Storm in a Pandemic

Spring storm arrives with wind and rain
that rattles windows and pushes against doors,
huffing and puffing I’ll blow your house down it growls,
but we know how this goes, we’ve done this before,
so we set out candles, search for matches, batteries,
hope the giant maple in the yard can persevere again —
check to make sure the basement doesn’t flood too badly,
that the roof in the kitchen doesn’t leak,
that I remembered to close the bedroom window —
it was warm last night…or was I?…
I wake often now, press palm against my forehead
relax when it’s only a flash and not a fever,
breathe deeply and pray when I still can
because we don’t know how that goes —
that other storm that’s still raging
that doesn’t show on the radar map
and won’t blow out to sea anytime soon,
that will still be here when the sun returns tomorrow,
when I put the candles away in the drawer,
when I look out those windows to the yard,
to the giant maple, her leaves in wait,
and my neighbor in her mask in her garden
moving dirt and planting seeds
that will grow despite the storm,
we know they will.

 

Poem ©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

12 – Grave Tenders

She had promised them
and so each Easter
we gather ourselves
and the pots of
sweet Hyacinths,
the cut wire-hanger hooks,
the glass jars of water
and drive together

to Holy Savior first,
where we clear off the old stone
of her mother and father
secure flowers to the iron red earth
for them first and always
and then for her brother;
we bow our heads,
she prays and crosses herself
once for each of them,
touches the stones before leaving
as if to say, Nice to see you,
and I’ll be back.

It’s a slow and somber drive
then to Memorial Park,
past the fireman statue
to her husband’s grave.
She tends and weeds,
seems not to notice her name
carved in stone by his,
remarks at the well-mowed grass
before we leave,

drive by the place where my Dad
played cowboys and Indians,
riding the headstone
shaped like a stagecoach,
where he left toys guns in the grass
for my grandmother to find
by flashlight and shadows.

We leave hyacinths on his grave, too,
kneel together on the damp ground,
clean red dust from the bronze plaque,
touch-spell his name one more time,
listen to cars passing, and crows,
and weep fresh tears,
for this, the hardest tending.

 

Photo Photo by Brett Sayles. Poem ©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

11 – 2 Cups: An Ode to Bisquick

2 cups
then milk, sugar, egg
for sweet batter and
more with
brown sugar, cinnamon, butter
for sweeter topping
layer one onto the next
and bake until
heavenly scent insists
you make coffee for the cake

2 cups
and chopped parsley
milk, salt, pepper
dropped by heaping spoonfuls
into bubbling hot stew —
my granmother’s recipe of
chicken, carrots, celery,
with onions stuck to the underside
of buoyant dumplings, divine

2 cups
add eggs and milk
mix until smooth
smooth enough to pour
round on a griddle
then wait for bubbles
before you FLIP!
to a golden brown,
stack high and drizzle
pour, engulf, drown
with sweet maple elixir

2 cups
and milk
(yes, only milk)
don’t overmix the mix
then drop one by one
the soft, sticky dough
into rounded domes
and dream of jams,
light, creamy butter,
honey or marmalade,
berries and cream
while they rise to
biscuity perfection
before your hungry eyes

2 cups
in a pandemic make
old school coffee cake
dumplings for stew
pancakes, flapjacks, griddle cakes
(call them what you may)
biscuits, waffles…
makes a person wonder
why so many Bisquicks left on the shelf
as she wipes a crumb
from her mask
with her blue-gloved hand.

 

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. Find coffee cake recipe here. You’re welcome. 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

10 – Like Tinnitus

They call it Angels’ Song,
the ever-present ring,
its high-pitch serenade,
that lulls us to weary sleep,
lulls us too awake at night,
the slow resurface to a day
not yet over, not yet begun

But the company of angels —
these singing angels —
is no more welcome than
the weight of anxious demons
woke by the great pandemic
and dancing on our chests…
……..at three while the angels trill
……..at nine while the angels chant
……..at noon while the angels croon

Demons cast down from the heavens,
their affliction of fearing
like the affliction of hearing,
a gathering of the unseen —
……..at three what we don’t know
……..at nine what we can’t control
……..at noon what we fear comes next
an omnipresent troupe
that dances in the shadows,
hums like a swarm of bees,
and sings their unyielding songs
all the livelong day.

 

Poem ©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. Image: Angel Piping to the Souls in Hell, Evelyn De Morgan. 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
Art Books Creativity Poetry

9 – Mind’s Eye

April

full moon

rises

 

floods

uncertain

landscapes

 

overflows

 

unravels

everything

 

and she alone

sings softly

 

Hmm mmm

Hmm mmm

Hmm Hmm mmm

 

Mind’s Eye

Moon’s Eye

Who Am I?

 

Hmm mmm

Hmm mmm

Hmm Hmm mmm

 

Mixed media collage, Mind’s Eye, and poem ©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

8 – Dream’s Landscape

They were holding umbrellas

made of stone

granite I think, pink

like the kind that seeps

from moss on my walks

by the old quarry.

Umbrellas of stone

but inverted as if

the lion winds of March

caught them off guard,

as if they were vessels now

large stone blossoms

held overhead

in a field of people

frozen in time

and waiting out a storm.

©2020, Jen Payne. National #NaPoWriMo. National Poetry Writing Month. For more about the umbrella art installation pictured above, see “Enchanting Cloud of 1,100 Umbrellas Suspend Above a Grand Hall,” By Kristine Mitchell. 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

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.