Jenne' Andrews is an American poet. She has three published chapbooks including the recent Blackbirds Dance in the Empire of Love, Finishing Line Press 2013.

A full-length collection, Reunion, Lynx House Press, was published in 1983; after a long hiatus to raise Golden Retrievers in Colorado, recent work has appeared in The Passionate Transitory, Belletrist Coterie, The Adirondack Review and Vox Populi, a journal of culture, politics and poetry published and edited by the august Michael Simms.

A bilingual collection of "Italiana," Bocca, Voce, Delirio, with translations by Lorenzo Luciani, will be released by Finishing Line at the end of 2016 and her latest collection, And Now, the Road, a finalist for the Autumn House prize in 2014, will be released by Salmon Poetry Ltd, Ireland, a highly regarded international house, Jessie Lendennie, Publisher, circa 2017.

Andrews holds the MFA in Creative Writing/Poetry from Colorado State University, is a literary fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, and was full-time Poet in Residence for the St. Paul Schools from '74-78. She lived in St. Paul from 1971-78 during the first wave of the Twin Cities literary renaissance, and spent the summer of 1973 in Reggio Calabria, Italy.

The poet lives in northern Colorado's Poudre River Valley with her husband, fiction writer Jack Brooks; the couple has recently imported two British Golden Retrievers and expects a litter in June-- see the Ardorgold website for details. Contact: jenneandrews2010@gmail.com .

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Poem

Amanita Verna, The Death Angel mushroom 

The Road to Heaven

This body has torqued to another shape
than the woman's that I knew.   It ships in water, 
it is rudderless, without a keel  

So that it is not even a sea-worthy craft. It is waking as pain
incarnate, a thin stream of fire from the small of the back,
down the leg, someone else's dark dream writing itself on my bones
like Christ's side-wound in the painting in the Prado--

A  wound that leached down his white belly, under the cloth:
sacred blood.  Secret fire. 

I befriend the pain, lifting my leg high up in the night
like a tree, a ghost of flesh and tendon and bone
by the flickering light of the news of the terrorist compound ,
I catch a glimpse of the bodies there, in the contorted code
of death, lips blue and thick, seas of blood behind the heads

And then, rage at the indifferent others. Jihadist blood congeals
like tar: perhaps the blood of betrayal is darker, like Gulf oil
suffocating the tortoise, the pelican. In the channels of pain,
the burning in the marrow, the body folds itself up

Like the amanita verna in the forest,
the death angel mushrooms of our souls sprouting in the loam
we shrink back, like a shroud in the shadows.

And if we are out of reprieves, out of the postulated
matin of the rip cord kicking in at the last moment, give me
a good goodnight... rock me in morphine's arms,
a nun in murmuring solicitous nearness, like a mother.

My father whispered on the telephone that he couldn't go on
and that night I took his breath, thimbles of it.  At last,
the dark sputum in the blue porcelain sink, the working gills
of the spent man hunched over the counter-- occluded.

And I leave you to plant strawberries in the arid ground,
to battle the garrisons of mustard weed choking the garden.
To watch the erupting blue channels in the flesh
little semaphores in a tunnel of fading light: look closely-- this way. 
Come with me, this way.


copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011


James Rainsford said...

Wow Jen, what a powerful and profound piece. There is so much in this poem. It is authentic, intelligent and deeply moving. Thank you for sharing. James.

Anonymous said...

very much enjoyed the opening of this...how true, how a woman's body becomes not her own in age..you've conjured some wonderful images..I'm partial to the dark, ergo, your death angel mushroom is a quiet 'delight' in this piece...love that stanza in which it appears ~ angela

Steve Isaak said...

Perfect, love this.

hedgewitch said...

An exploration of pain and the conundrum of its purpose is never wasted, though it may waste the writer. As always, your immense gift wars with darkness and ends embracing and rejecting it simultaneously, or so it seems; the amanita, the poppy, the worm, all as much children of nature as the butterfly and the heartbreakingly beautiful and indifferent sea.