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 .

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A New Poem: Advances of the Sandman, Posted for DVerse OLN

The Advances of the Sandman

It is 4 a.m. and there in the living room
where I come through to get the dog from her crate
is my wheelchair like a dark stork folded into itself
and on the back a sign: Welcome to Your 63rd Year

I had forgotten, in the haze of half-consciousness
the chair was there or even how the singing refrigerator,
loaded with provisions, waits to fortify a body
imperiled merely limping the corridor from bedroom

To kitchen. In fact,  I know little in this moment—only
that I have yet again rejected the advances
of the sandman and the neighbors slumber on
in their cloisters all around me,  self-pleased

Like angels rewarded for good behavior.
How rich a torment, to prod oneself awake again
and again, just as the body veers downward
into deepening canyons of relief.

Each time, even as I let go, troubled past selves
abandon their telephone pole crosses like the ghosts
of Calvary, sail over my head speaking in tongues,
and deep within someone murmurs I want

To go homeWe are home, I say to my own
voice, sipping cold water, parting the curtain. 
Far off, a low-moaning Union Pacific comes in 
like a garrison of tramping elephants, trunk

Hooked to tail, pleased by the fury of
their own cries, one car loaded with
dream-heavy calves from Montana.
Now it comes back that a few hours ago

I saw the flashing sign up: detour here; take not
the back roads that ease your fear of night
with their newly-oiled smoothness.  Has the hour
come down now through the glass?  Is there now

A cooling desert to walk through by fading
moonlight? Did I forget to drink the darkness
someone mixed for me and made to taste like nectar?
Shortly the first bells will ring out for Mass

Down at the corner, from the belfry
in the listing St. Joseph’s spire and the supplicants
will walk in, sleepers waking blessed,
remunerated with energy

And day’s blind eye will open. I summon
my dog; she takes a toy in her mouth and we 
go in once more to the room where the blizzard
of my anguish wore itself to a thin sorrow.

I lumber again into the pale seas of the bed
among the five-dollar pillows. 
Did I ask to carry the songs of the damned
beneath my eyelids? I cannot remember. I say

To the wounds of yearning, red and billowing
around me like the coal-furnace mouths
of district attorneys
Yes, I am prepared to confess, to tell you

Everything: I crave oblivion like oxygen
a few hours of it, if it pleases the Court
and satisfies the demands of the people:
I need it to stay alive.

 Join a number of very fine poets for Dverse Open Link night.


copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011


Maureen said...

Such stand-out images: "my wheelchair like a dark stork folded into itself", "troubled past selves / leave their telephone pole crosses like the ghosts / of Calvary", the description of the Union Pacific, and "coal-furnace mouths/ of district attorneys".

There's a great deal of sustained drama in this poem - I see it acted out as if on a stage - and that culminating stanza gives it the edge of raw need.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks so much for giving me the link to your poetry (which I should have found anyway), as I like the political commentary, but I am more drawn to poetry in general, and yours is very very special. The telephone pole crosses--the coal furnace mouths of District Attorneys--the seas of the bed, the general sense of lumbering and pain and both helplessness against, but somehow cavorting with, wakefulness,--cavorting is not the right word, but there is a fear of the deep even as one craves it--even the dog with the toy and the crate, much less listing bells, worshipper, much less the cross-examination--all adds to that dreamlike but unfortunately not-dreamlike state. Really wonderful poem.

Pat Hatt said...

Great political stabbing and jabbing as you went about your verse, they tend to suck much oxygen away.

Ann Grenier said...

Oh Jen, I feel the truth of these sentiments, the haunting, taunting thoughts that keep us awake. The past, even "I want to go home". I always feel an excited anticipation when I click on your name. I know I will find a deeply resonant poem here.

James Rainsford said...

An extraordinarily accomplished write, full of arresting imagery and clear intelligence. I read it several times and many lines will live long in the storehouse of my poetic memory. Thank you for sharing this masterful poem Jen. Truly appreciated.
Kind regards to you. James.

Brendan said...

I used to hit 4 a.m. at the fag-ends of my drunken boddyseys; now I revel in it from the other way, getting up way too early to read and write before heading in to work. The hour is a strange one, so much of the world dead, so many of the spirits floating about (maybe they're always there, just drowned out by the din of living). Certainly the attunement, as here, is toward a league far under the day, yet is still very much alive -- like noctiluca. And the body's odyssey continues on, through new harrows of trial and labor -- who would believe we have ended up here? The far end is the deep end, though, and we couldn't get to poetry like this without the fall. Great poem. - Brendan

Fred said...

Really some outstanding imagery in here. I've always liked stories about Jin and Sandmen, different yet somewhere in mythology the two do get overlapped. But anyhow, I love how your poem carries the sandman metaphor throughout. Some crazy good lines in here too, a few:

Did I forget to drink the darkness someone mixed for me and made to taste like nectar?

Hooked to tail, pleased by the fury of their own cries...

The entirety of the stanza that begins Like angels-my favorite one in the poem

And of course the last stanza is great, love everything: I crave oblivion like oxygen, a few hours of it, if it pleases the court.

Wonderful write, thanks for the read

Sheila Moore said...

I so enjoy your images especially the "the Union Pacific comes in,
a series of trumpeting elephants, trunk Hooked to tail," - that one made me smile.

Insomnia is a maddening experience for sure. Almost worse than the nightmares that present when I finally give in to the sandman's advances.

"Did I ask to carry the songs of the damned beneath my eyelids?" Awesome line - I ask myself the same thing and I believe the answer is no. For me, sometimes these things exist until they are exorcised (in my case, not by a priest but by a counselor ;)

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment on my post this week. It meant a lot coming from you especially. That poem is the first one I have posted in a long time that was critiqued by a writing group first. Based on your comment, I can tell that like everything in life, getting help from others makes even my writing better :)

luv and hugs,

jen revved said...

Each person commenting on this poem; your presence here in cyber space and your glowing comments are heartening beyond expression. Thank you, many times over. xxxj

The Cello Strings said...

best wishes.

There maybe spiritual team members there, watching and offering hints...

stay calm, bless you.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I'll take a glass of that oblivion too, your honor! Well written!

Mark Kerstetter said...

I don't know where to start, there are so many riches in this poem, although imbued with such weariness! I love sleep, but I also hate wasting my time and so I typically keep myself awake far too late on work-nights (the job "steals" my time). I get up at 4:30AM on workdays. Like Brendan says, it's a strange hour, sometimes the whole world seems dead.

Lines like

"the blizzard/of my anguish wore itself to a thin sorrow"


"Did I ask to carry the songs of the damned
beneath my eyelids? I cannot remember."

carry a world of weariness in a poem that is nevertheless balanced on a high intellectual wire. It's rather futile picking out a favorite part, but I really love the final four stanzas.

seasideauthor said...

A lot of metaphoric used in this write and you really have controlled flow ir the read and focus of the reader as they interpret images as they change throughout the write. Well done. A really different plane here.

Victoria said...

Jenn, this gave me the chills. With the exception of the wheel chair image, I could have written this. I'm in Reno, less than a mile from the Truckee where the trains pass...probably on the way to or from you. My dogs are in the crate as I wander by getting a cup of chamomile with the hopes of catching another hour or so of sleep. But once the old mind is in motion, it's so hard to shut it down again. This is stunning and I'm going back to read it again...and a train is passing as I speak. Long, long, short, long.

jen revved said...

Thanks to Victoria, Mark, everyone, once more. Not an easy write, as we all know when assailed by the ghosts of self in the night... all best to each of you wonderful writers, who took the time to read this. xxxj

Timoteo said...

Well, I will not feel alone as long as I can be touched in that deeply resonant way by your words.