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, July 31, 2012

Poem: Assignment, Posting for DVerse Open Link Night and Beyond....


“Let’s draw your pain together; that should help.” 
--An anonymous  psychologist.

They said that healing trauma begins with the book
of trauma.  That she should draw the horse being

kicked against the shed that went down on her knees,
the foal stuck.  She drew this in the dust, with her fists,

her mouth full of ruin.  But healing is about cloud cover
ever-moving away from the sun, away.  She would not

draw the cars bearing down on her cat,  nor would she
draw a cartoon bubble for her screams that day. That

the cat had been trying to reach them and kept running
until the second car, that she put her small hands over

her brother’s eyes when its back legs were crushed.   
She would not draw the shape of a broken mother,

that she was a one woman ambulance for all the years. 
She could not.  She could not sing or write of it because

her hands would burn, her mouth bleed. She could not
say how it was that day to find the great dog in a pool

of  blood from the stitched pouch in his stomach,
where they took out the shards of fiberglass fence.

She would sing of the barn swallows because that is
tolerable but she would not sing of the fallen great dog

she loved called Fanfare. She would not write of the day
she foolishly sliced into her own wrists; she feels

like a fuel about to ignite when she thinks of it. She does
not like this assignment. We are out of crayons here.  I

need some of that milk, in the small carton with a straw. 
I remember the slipping of the cool milk down my throat,

where I hid under the kindergarten coats.  I remember. 
That is the problem.  If you can’t bake a cake of amnesia

and give it to me, I won’t cooperate.  I am the charter
 uncooperator; I refuse for a living.  Life has withheld

its golden fleeces from me and I withhold myself from it. 
Perhaps a cup of latte di mandorla then.  Perhaps a chat

with the young Eva Braun on the hillside when I was
innocent of what a man was. She remembers innocence,

and that is the problem.  She cannot remember angels. 
She remembers Oz, and her companion Quiberon, in

the emerald waters on the emerald day, the jade city
in the distance. She remembers the Von Trapp family

and the edelweiss-covered hills.  She saw the Allied
planes swoop through the Brenner pass, targeting

Allemagne.  She is Charlemagne, on a bay stallion
in the wind.  She is not her trauma.  She is not the dark

although she loves the dark and wears it as a cloak,
or turns it inside out to shake out its light. She loves

the vibrant starlight.  What touches seared skin
more tenderly than the light of the stars. 


copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012


Maureen said...

Reading this poem, I can't help but think of Muriel Rukeyser's statement, "I do believe that the forces in us wish to share something of our experience by turning it into something and giving it to somebody: that is poetry. That is some kind of saving thing, and as far as my life is concerned, poetry has saved me again and again."

The images seem to explode from every couplet, they are so vivid and see-able, imaginable and felt. And just when we think their power is exhausted, when we think we could feel or take no more, we come to those final wonderful lines that restore it all: "... She loves// the vibrant starlight. What touches seared skin/ more tenderly than the light of the stars." Hope still rests deep.

Brian Miller said...

this made me so sad jen...the golden fleeces withheld...and If you can’t bake a cake of amnesia

and give it to me, I won’t cooperate...i have known kids like that of the ones i worked with...so much they have taken on...all too real to me...

Anonymous said...

Oh I liked this.... To draw ones pain....and you painted such a picture here....full of melancholy....but from a perspective of the child (crayons) and the adult viewer - very clever, poignant and thought provoking

Mama Zen said...

This is so powerful it shook me.

jen revved said...

so moved by your comments. I hope that the third person with the monologue in the child's voice works-- couldn't post it until I made those changes. Also still learning the art of couplet-making and find this form extremely liberating, forcing the poem to cascade down the page without making an issue of the form...thank you for your sustaining words-- in your own wonderful work, and in response to mine. love, j

Manicddaily said...

Yes, a very sad and powerful poem. Such an interesting mixture of child and adult, and adult mourning child, and child trying to salvage herself, as we all do and are. Very vivid images and progression and such an interesting mix of allusions too, from Eva Braun to Von Trapps, though of course, similarities too.

I stumbled a bit over the last line - which is beautiful, but I wasn't sure whether to read it as a question. I don't think it's exactly a continuation of the thought before, though that refers to starlight.

I am someone who gets stuck on punctuation but I wonder do you mean it as a question - what touches seared skin more tenderly than the light of stars? Is it too obvious to have question mark? I don't know - this was a stumbling point for me - but again, I am a very literal reader.

Wonderful poem. k.

Semaphore said...

With every image that she refuses to draw, with every memory indelible in her heart, you pull the knot of pain ever tighter until we cannot move, held tight in the bonds of your words... and then that inward flight, leading to a blissful relief from all that memory. As ever, masterful.

ayala said...

A sad and powerful write.

Laura said...

"If you can’t bake a cake of amnesia

and give it to me, I won’t cooperate." I can taste the strength and depth of this pain.