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 .

Friday, April 15, 2011

Poem for Weekend... Forty Lashes

Forty Lashes

On the night I fled the church before the performance
I threw my music down in the parking lot and drove off
in the truck, to the quiet dark along the river.Someone 
had pulled a switch blade from beneath her vestments

And tried to cut out my tongue.  But she bruised her own hands 
on the keys of the vast organ towering at the back of the nave 
and the choir roiled in like striped smoke, taking its place.   
It was Lent.  The Cross was on its side draped in black netting. 

It was the time of weeping. Punctured, repudiated, I shattered away 
like a breaking plate to the bridge over the river and wondered 
if my friend who lives there year on year at a small campsite had died.  
No flames in the rippling dark.  But I am a veteran of flight—unlicensed.  

I lift off at the sign of trouble, and came back on fire to avenge  
the misdeeds of the babbling peri-menopausal choir,  the red-faced  
priest with the gum of rectitude in his mouth who holds the Gospel 
according to Himself over his head. Gestures signifying drama 

Sans lux perpetua.  The agnus dei dripping with blood,  stigmata 
on the wrists of the fresco angels. Before, I bowed my head 
in the serene light from the stained glass and the priest said 
I was forgiven.  But he said before the day is out you’ll sin again.

Thank you. I am sin incarnate, I often think, when I see that 
I am being observed from the safety of trees near the border.  
I was thrown down a flight of stairs.  I was kicked into a corner,
my hip shattered.  I was fed to the roiling dogs in the backyard 

That were eating each other.  You don’t know what it was.  
You can’t think of it.  But then if you are singing in a choir 
hoping to become  a pain-free  angel and then excoriated, 
cast out, falling down through the air of your own soul blamed, 

Then as Lucifer was, blamed for the Fall of Manif the church 
is named for the Healer and you went down into the water 
cupping your hands to take the Host like everyone not knowing 
you were hated and feared, if another priest said you don’t believe 

You’re loved because you aren’t and if it was proven that night 
of the Rheinberger Requiem you had rehearsed, wood-shedded, 
reaching out to the about to be widowed other soprano next to you, 
the Chippewa who had the heart attack and couldn’t sing above 

A whisper and then were cast out,  blamed and scapegoated 
would you do as I, rising up and blowing fire over 
the sanctimonious there, flaying the hypocrites with your lash?

April 15, 2011

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2011

1 comment:

Claudia said...

tight write jenne..church should be a place for the ones who need healing but unfortunately in some of the churches you feel more sick after the visit or even almost dead...luckily not in all though..