Greetings! A very busy summer here in Arkansas, but I thought I’d stop by and drop a few poems from my latest batch while I prepare new ones for future blogs/readings. Also, it’s (past) time for the annual Summer Playlist…but better late than never, right? And it IS still summer. So as the members of Modest Mouse sing in their song “Dashboard”: Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh-Oh, now here we go!…
As has happened many times before,
a feral cat materialized
on my doorstep one balmy evening.
He eyed me cautiously,
assessing what type of human
I might be,
then he slinked into the darkness,
a mysterious passing visitor.
The next night, he appeared again,
apparently interested enough
in my being
to have a second look.
He sat for a while in my presence,
easing into a sphinx position,
eventually slipping into a light sleep.
Soon, my new feline friend
was visiting me with regularity.
We shared intimate moments
in each other’s company.
I talked and he listened
as we watched the moon
rise and fall, grow and shrink.
He would strut and charm,
circling and seducing me
as he inched ever closer.
Then came the moment
when he mustered enough courage
to graze my leg,
sliding the length of his body
against the white softness of my calf.
My heart melted, and I decided
to offer him a treat,
the prize he no doubt
sought all along.
Once he was finished
with his meal,
I reached down to stroke his back –
a generous offering of my affection.
He turned and bit me with ferocity,
then darted into the void
and out of my life,
leaving me wounded
and wondering what had happened.
And so it has been with men.
Upon Hearing Two People Having a Conversation About a Siamese Twin Who Attempted to Sever Herself From Her Other Half
I tried to imagine
what misunderstanding or calamity
could cause a person
to attempt such a violent separation,
to reach for the nearest knife
Could they not reach an agreement?
Was the one on the right a Republican
and the left one a Democrat?
Did one sister dream of a cottage
on the rocky northeast coast
while the other wished to set up camp
in the wide-open west?
Did one turn her head –
already so close to the other’s ear –
“I know you are, but what am I?”,
and it was just the one time too many,
the last straw,
the one that broke the bones in the
back they shared?
Or maybe it was the simple truth
that being in the constant company
of the wrong person
feels more lonely than being alone,
more terrifying than
the risk of freedom?
I stand at the edge of a lake
and faintly remember
how I saw it in my youth,
when no body of water was
too cold, polluted, or dangerous
to be enjoyed.
Through the magic lenses
I was able look upon any set of waves
and behold not the grit or the slime,
but the shimmer,
and a trip to the Taj Mahal
couldn’t have held more
beauty or wonder for me.
In the time before my feet
learned to fear the earth,
we were poor, but there was
splendor in everything –
even a stick of chewing gum,
which my brother turned
into a game.
The mission was to stretch the piece
from one end of the trailer to the other
without breaking the sticky string.
I failed at the task,
but my sibling could expertly knead
and pull the polymer
until it resembled a silky pink thread
woven by an otherworldly spider.
As we played our game,
our mother had her own challenge –
that of stretching a budget too tight
for a family of five,
forever doing the math of the desperate:
How many eggs, cans of oats,
and boxes of pancake mix
can we get for twenty dollars?
She set us out into the world,
children with stomachs full
of cheap breakfast foods and
hearts not yet discouraged.
Those were the days before
failure and insecurity
then invited themselves to stay.
Before the years of
You’ll never be chosen,
That’s for others but not for you, and
Time is running out.
How did it happen –
my becoming one of the millions
who were stretched too thin?
Which was the terminal blow
in a long line of disappointments?
Who was the final clumsy, careless person
who strode through
the cobwebs of my heart and
snapped the last delicate
Today, let me look out on the water
and dream that we can repair
what has been frayed.
Let me feel again
that I am enough.
Allow my eyes to once more
see the sparkle,
and not the muck.
Last but not least — many of you have asked about it, and here it is: the 5th annual “Jenn’s Hot Summer Playlist”, the 2016 edition.
DJ Jenn-X has whipped up over an hour of music for you to chill or shake your booty to as summer wraps up and slinks into fall.
This year’s list includes The Ocean Blue, The Clash, Black 47, The Thompson Twins, Django Django, Hammock, Kasabian, Modest Mouse, Peter Bjorn and John, Supertramp, The Sisters of Mercy, Foster the People, Family of the Year, The Killers, and my favorite tune by David Bowie (still can’t believe he’s gone ). I hope you enjoy, and here’s the link…
And so we wrap up a blog and another season. I hope you are all well, and as always, I encourage you to create, create, create…a beautiful cake, a scarf, a photo, a story, a poem, a short film, a beautiful moment with a loved one. Each day is another chance to add to the world and create something uniquely YOU.
Until next time,