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, February 8, 2011

A Poem for One Shot Wednesday....

Posted for One Shot Wednesday hosted by the wonderful One Stop Poetry.  

I do think it's appropriate to call this a ballad, however unorthodox the theme and of course it has its personal elements, hopefully eased by use of the second person.  And, it doesn't rhyme-- but to me, a ballad nevertheless...xxj

The Ballad of Highway 14

You were shattered enough
Clawing at your arms in withdrawal
To lie for a scrip of Valium
Buy a gallon of wine
And head down Highway 14

It was raining hard enough in you
For you to stumble to the clerk’s desk
At the Motel 6
Grab a key and check in.

Then you sank into the naugahyde chair 
The ghastly stillness
Against the muffled thrum of semis
Cruising at warp speed along the highway

You’d forgotten how it felt
To feed a cat or boil an egg,
Poured your booze down an ant hill
Detoxed from benzos

Only to have the Fourth of July
Explode in your mind
All those synapses firing
For the first time in years

With it the rolling panic attacks
That drove you out of bed
To doze on the edge of town in your car

AA gave you the snowball’s chance in hell award
And you fled the Serenity Club
With its crowing dilettante women
And their cagey pronouncements
The dark men in ball caps sucking
On cigarettes with their surly tongues

A husband who bore down on you
Like an angry pecking owl
Get well, get well, get well.

How you wanted to believe
You could.
Days passed like a waterfall
Of waking dreams
You came and went from the admonitions
Of one time friends
Bolstering yourself with the Big Book
The Bible, anything

Hugging the dogs
By then half-afraid of you
How you would scream alone in the house
And throw the furniture out into the yard
At midnight

So you thought
It was past time
For a mercy killing
A self-euthanasia, and took
The cheap room on the truck route

And sat in the quiet
Looking out at the blue blue mountains
At the grade wine with its
Taunting gilded label

And the valium valorum, both together
The means to get some sleep

For eternity.
But something in you
You thought had died stirred
With lifting wings
Something that tasted
Like hope, some grateful salt
In your mouth: the mountains called
Over and over to the eye
And the nights of lovemaking in the fields
And the geese keeping on
Heading into the cold

Like your nomadic heart
Or the all-enduring will
of a polar explorer.
You rose and gathered up your things
And left that place to its peeling paint
And its stench of smoke
And lonely masturbating traveling salesmen

Homing, heading west,
Into the welcoming dusk
Your surer self waiting open-armed
For you, at the end
Of  Highway 14.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011
All Rights Deserved....


Maureen said...

Your imagery never fails to create pictures, like watching movie scenes, but doesn't get into the gore. It's the rolling out of the details that cumulatively add the punch, especially in a line like "A husband who bore down on you/ Like an angry pecking owl".

A few lines require stopping and taking a breath: "It was past time/ For a mercy killing".

Then that wonderful turning in the piece that resolves in "Your surer self waiting open-armed / For you", which concludes this so positively.

Brian Miller said...

you can call it whatever you want...i thought it was great...you took us on quite the journey and i was feeling the hopelessness of the moment when it burst in and saved the day...beautiful heart felt...

Anonymous said...

Piffle on rhyme. It need not rhyme to sing, to elicit the creative spirit in the soul. Ballad or no - this is a powerful piece. You build it, line-by-line, this powerful progression of growing hopelessness, the sense of giving up and giving in and encroaching doom, only to, in the last instant, spring forth hope, salvation - a stirring reminder, brought vividly to heart and to mind. Splendid bit of writing, this.

moondustwriter said...

gosh a little Hitchcock, a little Hotel California, and a little fireblossom rolled into one.
Excellent non-rhyming ballad

Thanks for sharing with One Shot

Ami Mattison said...

Really powerful, Jenne'! Your baring of heart and soul makes for one beautiful ballad. Such strong images as usual and this line: "So you thought it was past time for a mercy killing" absolutely stopped me in my tracks.

I can't help but wonder what would happen if you shifted the point of view to first person. Perhaps, it wouldn't be a ballad anymore, something more confessional (post confessional?), but what a song to one's self it might become.

Regardless, it's fine writing.

hedgewitch said...

So glad the ending was what it was--I get so tired of death being the highly dramatized answer when it hurts too bad. A serious and stark delving into chaos, into the power of darkness--how it effects everyone involved,even the dogs--and the unkillable desire to be free...and into what it takes to bring the falling rain of resolution to the storms of the heart.

jen revved said...

Your comments are so very heartening-- thank you! J

Fireblossom said...

I liked the pecking husband get well get well get well.

I'm extra grateful to be sober after reading this today.

jen revved said...

Me too. xj

Claudia said...

think some of us know this highway 14 - a road, no one wants to travel and good if we make it back home again...this was an excellent, breath-taking write jen

Steve Isaak said...

Again, great use of imagery, offbeat lines (or at least different from others' poems).

Steve Isaak said...

GAH, meant to put this comment on the next poem, not this one. Ah well, this one was solid, too.

Shashi said...

Dear Jenne

Your painting with words make me feel involved and being there feeling.. your words like...
'You rose and gathered up your things
And left that place to its peeling paint
And its stench of smoke
And lonely masturbating traveling salesmen'
are so vivid that I could almost be there and travel with you to your highways end.. thanks for sharing..

ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya