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, September 11, 2012

Poem for DVerse Open Link Night: The Insomnia Garden

The Insomnia Garden

It is 4 a.m.; an old man leans toward me
At the coffee counter;
“You need children, hijita—
Go back to New Mexico
Where you were born—
To the Pecos Valley,
To recover your song.”

He is dressed like a renegade
In spangled bravado.
His cuffs are black with grime:
His teeth are gone.
His hands on my cheekbones
Smell like bread.

“You need amor loca, mad love
Amor fuerte, powerful love,”
He says.  “And the mud baths
At the charismatic church
In Chimayo.”

Archangel of insomnia
He discerns my fear of living.
I think of his words the next day
Where I swim.
The old women’s flesh
Hangs in darkened folds
About their stomach and thighs;
They move with bearish grace
From pool to shower, to lockers
Where they oil their skin,
Talk and laugh, rub lotion
Into each others' backs.

I look at them, imagine
Them, braced against a bed
With upraised legs, pushing down,
Crying out
And then the coming in of the milk.

Later, I see a baby with a bisque face
Lowered into the font,
Lifting her hands up to the light
As she is baptized with a sterling shell
Of consecrated water.
“Give her an inquiring and discerning Heart….”
The Book of Common Prayer reads.

The bread in my mouth
Has the sweetness of flesh,
Of the old man’s hands.
It is palpable and good--it is plain.
In the midst of my prayers
I lift my head
To see young children
With their mothers, row on row
Of madonnas with coiffed hair;

In the night, when I cannot rest
I go back to the coffee counter.
The old man has gone away.
Later, in my dream
The fresco of women carrying clay jars
Comes to life; they pour water
Over the bodies of the dead,
Suckle and cradle the young.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012 


Pat Hatt said...

Wow, not even sure what to say, such a powerful and vivid write.

signed...bkm said...

This is beautiful and I seem to be able to relate so well to this dream called living..thank you ....bkm

Frank Watson said...

Fascinating dream story you tell here. I wonder at the meaning of the old man, perhaps a symbol of God (who recommends amor loca :P)

Late one night
I met someone who spoke
Of my true desires
Until I dreamed myself awake
And my wakeful mind
Remembered no more.

Brian Miller said...

i like your old man at the coffee counter...i might have returned to him as well...but he has told you what you need already....

mrs mediocrity said...

this is lovely, universal, heart-wrenching. the heartless passage of time.

C Rose said...

The embedding of the various stages of life speaks with such emotion in your words, lovely ~ Rose

Anonymous said...

Very well done - somehow I felt at the end this great change in the story of Cana - where the water does not become wine but perhaps breast milk -

Your details are so vivid and beautiful = particularly of the old women at the bath - life is long - so many permutations. (But your work is always terrific.) k.

Laurie Kolp said...

Poignant piece, Jenne.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you return to the bread and the water motifs. What a fabulous, image-rich poem.

Ann Grenier said...

A rich,gorgeous poem Jenne. I have missed reading your work over the past several months. Just catching up a bit.