Always Loquacious, Always Interesting…

Welcome! Please scroll down for latest post. This blog has been a work in progress since early 2010. Nearly 30,000 overall views and counting. Here is a wonderful compliment from a friend and blog follower: “Your creative gifts, your activism, and your sharp intellect make this world a better, more transparent, more honest, beautiful place.”  You can read all about me  here. Scroll down for current post.

 

I am especially happy to announce my first collection of poetry in some thirty years, due out next month from Finishing Line Press, Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love; the work in this collection is recent and has received many kudos from the toughest audience of all– my fellow poets.

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Please check out my creative work freely offered to the literate public on line at La Parola Vivace,  A Tu Placer (literary erotica) and my highly praised memoir Nightfall in Verona– all twenty-two chapters.  See page links. Check back here for book reviews and political notes. Note: archives at bottom of page.

Falling Rocks with Some Diamonds

Today I was struck as with a rolling pin between the kitchen and my desk.  I realized that it is the pain between another person and me that crests in me unbidden and when not appropriate, that gets triggered when there is the least misunderstanding or someone and I become “crosswise,” as my husband puts it.  

We had been discussing his vacuuming of the living room which was, naturally, not to my satisfaction, and I am tired and stressed, my health issues plaguing me and under pressure to get a new creation, one of my belcherubini, beautiful cherubs I craft with vinyl kits and acrylic paint, into the mail.

Such is the nature of epiphanies, to sneak up like marauding intruders, compromising one’s state of mind.

Of course it goes back for a long, long way, to the first times when my mother and I went at each other– and earlier, even, when she found fault with me and I was so devastated I would run and hide behind the overcoats in our foyer.  

AA’s Twelve Steps address resentment and fear, but what about the cache of pain in the solar plexus, the tears and hurts, the woundings and the dark hours when all was lost between oneself and another human being?  What about how this pain repeats itself forever more.  

The diamond is this:  now I see what it is that has me by the throat, and that I so often mask w/ my moments of ire.  It is a primal and gut-twisting anguish that sent me to my basement bedroom as a teenager, when love somehow morphed into a travesty so that it was made a mockery of:  she would annihilate me with an insult, when I adored and needed her.  Everything awry, and everyone, then, grabbing the nearest bottle of Dewar’s to numb mind and heart.

How do you rehabilitate a soul?  No wonder I surround myself with belcherubini.  No wonder I self-medicate however I can.

I believe that the only way out is through.  And there is a technique called “mindfulness” that trauma survivors are taught–to hang with terrible feelings and increase one’s “distress tolerance.”

But just a minute:  why should one tolerate distress?  Repeated, cyclical like the rain distress, with its furtive pallor?

What does it take to get free of that pain?  Is it even possible? 

I’ll be back when I have another epiphany.  Feel free to weigh in.  You my cyber friends, you who have seen the damage in me and been able to forgive me and remain my family and friends, thank you.  I love you.  

For Want of a Nail, All Is Lost

What a world we eke out a survival in. We pay lip service to conflict resolution, but in reality, is anything ever resolved, anyone forgiven, any culture or group prepared to examine itself rather than point the finger and shout that it’s the other guy?

I recently sold a beautiful doll I made on e-bay. The buyer was very complimentary about her and as a little gift I enclosed my new book.

But in the past few days, everything that can go south has. She didn’t like the way the doll was painted, so she asked for a refund and said that she was refraining from giving me a feedback rating until she got it.

I felt that she was hypercritical and that nothing was wrong with the doll. Then today, she took her apart and discovered, gasp, that I had weighted the doll with something she believed–and trumpeted to the world of doll crafters–to be rabbit or cat litter pellets!

Wrong: organic, clean wood pellets–perfectly appropriate for the task. There is no right or wrong way to weight these dolls.

She opened a case on e-bay and e-bay has ordered us to work things out. She has herself worked up and over the top, posting huge photographs of the doll and uploading them to Facebook– correction, photos of what was my doll and what she immediately took apart and is repainting and rebuilding to her own taste. What it feels like to me is that this is a scam to get a free kit and win sympathy from other artisans. Since when do you rebuild something you intend undoubtedly to list as for sale, and then demand your money back?

I have stood by my work and refused to refund her money–she has made the doll her own and it is no longer the one I made. I am hopeful that the auction site will see through all of this, but the money from the sale has been put on hold and this unpleasant interaction has bled out into the day, contaminating and complicating everything.

Learning to handle such things is not coming easily to me. I would like to choke the living shit out of the …. But…. I am practicing forbearance.

Forbearance is useful; it doesn’t mean one is caving to maltreatment; it means that one is not retaliating in kind. As far as wishing her well, praying for her and so on…are you kidding?

As any who read my blog know, I am a veteran barricade artist. I go on the barricades and mount the heavy artillery when I am wronged or when I am convinced I’ve been wronged.

Calmly holding my ground in these circumstances is difficult. But that is what I have chosen to do. At first I was hurt– I made something beautiful–that other people praised–and sold it, to get through the month. And now, everything is up for grabs.

Still, this is just a doll. This isn’t about violation of my or anyone’s civil rights, loss of my home, rageful and abusive and lying neighbors and landlords, or any of the usual suspects.

It is about a very unpleasant bump in the road, which calls for remaining calm, curtailing retaliatory impulses and taking the high road.

I used to hate it when others took the high road or refused to join me in the world of ire.

But how great is it that I am able to play wait and see– we both have strong feelings and it will be up to the powers in cyber space to make a decision.
j

Blow Out, Down and Out.

We settled into the study and got ready to be wowed by our home team. It felt good for it to be Superbowl Sunday. I wondered how the Broncos might really feel, behind the warpaint and the dangerous privilege of being favored to win.

Hours later, I wager that all of us out here in Colorado are so very glad it’s over.

To lose by a TD or thereabouts is tolerable. But this! This fiasco, every bad move in the playbook on full display!

We’ve been delirious over Peyton Manning and where he’s taken us. But yesterday’s Peyton is today’s anti-hero.

It doesn’t feel good. I’m sad for our team and for all of us, who counted on the Superbowl to boost our elan vital, on this deep, long, very snowy night. ‘ta luego…. vaya con dios, you the fallen.

Twilight Reverie

We meander on, make our way.

Night is falling now, over the little barn-red modular house along Dry Creek, the 80′s refurbed Fleetwood with real 2 x 6 construction we managed to get over the creek in halves circa ’91.

My kennel is long overgrown; the ghosts of my Goldens dream there and sometimes dive into the creek.

We work. We write. I light the pellet stove and try to comprehend the latest techno device to come our way: a router. I spend two hours trying to install wifi on Jack’s old laptop. Error messages in Romanian.

It takes me two minutes to install it on my laptop; small victory.

We live by small victories, little stumbles toward small achievements. The banana silk pie I invented last night. The doll I painted in acrylic and assembled, asleep for the ages yet with small peering blue eyes that unsettle me. My imagination would strike some kind of fire where a heart would be to bring her to life.

Small victories; we worm Mandy by mixing leftover horse Strongid with peanut butter. She’s better today.

The sky clock of winter turns and turns; poems fall from my mouth and incubate like lacy moths, in the silence.

We dare to love. I am 65, on the very cusp, the brow of the hill; Jack turns 72 in a few days.

We are victorious merely by living a mildly, moderately productive day, without a harsh word or a desperate thought. We love and need and forgive bravely. Soon we will sit together by candlelight in our newest ritual; sipping Martinelli’s from wine glasses, our fingers laced.

We do what you all do; we live on, trying to be good at it.

Poem: These White Curtains

These White Curtains

Tonight, late,
in stealth and fierce beauty,
winter storm comes in
from the mountains.

We cannot hold back the snow,
these white curtains
settling like silk to the fields.
Nor can we stop the sifting down
of hours whose flames
flare in their tallow,
the brave inscriptions of smoke
over household air.

Do they write epitaph
or libretto,
what it is to be slaked
of longing?

For earlier I curled against you;
we gave ourselves to rapture
lying side by side
like sojourners in a capsule
tumbling through space’s milky seas.

Now, misgiving cloaks itself
on the peripheries of night.
and a spider swings in her web
against the frosted pane.

It is my watch: fortified
By your touch
I am at the helm
of being,

peering through my sextant
at the incandescent drapery
of snowy air,
navigating all the dark seas
of dreaming’s tiny bones.

copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews 2014

Publication Announcement!

I proudly announce the appearance of my first collection of poetry in thirty years– Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, now available from  Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky.

The cover is an exquisite mixed media piece by John Sokol called “Mirage.” The small volume contains roughly fifteen lyric poems taking their imagery from my lifelong love for the Rocky Mountain West.

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Blackbirds Dance has its own blog!  And here is a link to my pre-order page at Finishing Line.  If you want to mail in your order, click here for an order form; you can right-click on the form and then  select print.

Of my new collection, the fabulous poet Jim Moore, Invisible Strings, Graywolf Press, writes:

The underlying grace note of this book is love: love of all kinds, for the present body and the lost past, for the wandering surprises in a given moment, for the deep certainties and even deeper questions that both stain and illumine a life in poetry.

And the wonderful poet Samuel Peralta, Sonnets from the Labrador, writes:

“One of the best lyrical poets I have ever had the pleasure to read… If poetry means anything to you, you must have a copy of this book.”

I would be deeply honored by your inclusion of my collection in your library.  jenneandrews2010@gmail.com .

New Poem: Migration

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After the Race – John Sokol – Tar and Varnish

Migration

The heavy-bodied wake at dusk, inching
toward open water. With tensing
flippers long as sand-crane wings,
they knife through riffling phosphor.

They voyage on in an armada
thousands strong,
great shell-houses on their backs.
Desire compels them;
the belly’s load of roe
made weightless in this habitat
impels them.

How is it they travel without rest,
so mutely bobbing in the current,
their heads weaving through light
algae has suffused to a sun-shot
green curtain, their sea-wings parting
the winding sheets
of the fallow deep?

And which one bears a compass
for a heart, or wears a rudder
for the will?

At daybreak they come ashore
as we did decades ago–
in our mortal landfall
at Normandy,
so many of us catapulting
from our shells,
our sorrowing turtle mouths
open, beach stained dark
with blood and silence.

But these are the great mothers
time has wrought, carapaces forged
to undertake the buffeting of the waves
and the journey to the white sand
of a shore memory has marked
in hieroglyph across their
armored backs.

In green garrisons animate
with eagerness, they cross
the great reef of living coral
and on, to an island the wind
making love to the sea
has crafted for their taking.

Here, slowed, yet as undeterred
as allies on the march at dawn,
they dig down in warm sand;
each lays a clutch of membranous,
moon-white eggs
in the tear-shaped channel
of a damp and granular nest.

Here in the aftermath of the surge,
trapped on the return
behind coral-toothed battlements,
they lie in shallow pools
like fallen bells, their clappers
rinsed and laved by the tide’s
long rising,

consummate matriarchs in
volition’s dream-thrall,
intrepid foray
with a beginning and an end.

Jenne’ R. Andrews

Many thanks to the brilliant visual artist and poet John Sokol for permission to reprint his beautiful “After the Race,” which with what I have recently learned about the Hawksbill Tortoise, inspired this poem.

copyright Jenne’ Andrews 2013 All Rights Reserved

April 6, 2013.