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 .

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Touched: A Prose-Poem

Note:  someone recently suggested I stop worrying about how my content affects my readers and fuming over the publish or perish issue.  I think this is good advice.  When I post poems of loss and grief, or that reckon with difficult circumstances, otherwise known as the human condition, I am not looking for psychotherapy or pity.  I am posting imaginative writing, formerly known as creative writing.  So feel to respond poet to poet...xxxj

Today I tackled the dust I never thought one person living alone could make.  Chaff from the unpreserved dried flowers from the bouquet given to me when I traded a golden retriever for a mobility scooter that now sits on my porch, battery dead.  Clumps of fine hair from the golden retriever someone I no longer speak to gave me, she who is mythically beautiful, a gilded swan planted in the midst of my life.  Her fur and my grey hair, ever falling like hints of rain, commingle in the corners. 

Somehow over the weeks I had been sliding back into depression, staring at my own dishabille, consuming things and throwing them aside like a madwoman-- and averting my eyes, turning then to save an overripe banana, churning it up with eggs and sweet milk and baking the whole as a hybrid flan.  Where I took pleasure in nurturing the place that nurtures me I began to resent the demands of the dust, the hair, the chaff, the powdering flowers.

How dare everything decay like this.

Meanwhile the worst of it;  my own teeth and their wearing down, as if they are tired of being teeth.  Terror when I look into my own mouth and see cycle-shaped cavities at the gum line.  And the leg that didn’t heal and deformed and the other leg and knee and their strain.  The infernal house of the aging body.  The demands of the aging body and the rotting of the subflooring beneath the carpet and the wind tearing at everything.

In my bedroom, dolls forever asleep in dust-caked blankets, like little mummies.  The nightstand I stole from the Joder Ranch years ago and painted mauve, next to the bed I bought on Craig’s List because it was from the Denver Mattress Company, that sagged already on one side so that I felt betrayed… the vials I cannot bear to leave out because they take me back to everyone’s illness I fled from.. The painting over my bed of mauve orchids on a dark background given to me by an old lover.. a lover who ages among the fallen plantations of the Pacific.

These things that claimed the eye and heart and that own me and that help me believe I am like anyone entitled to exist—and how quickly the talcum powder I sprinkle over my breasts and belly floats out of the bathroom to coat the lampshade, the dark drape over the window. 

So it is with a lair; I live in this lair, I dream and weep and touch myself to rapture in this place and close its door against any further re-wounding.  Let me count the lovers:  impossible. 

This is not the age of Aquarius but the age of a resurgence of distrust of women and a laying claim to the wombs of women by pale white men.  It is awful.  Too many hands have roamed over this body; I have succored a legion of the undeserving as if I were mother to the world.

The chaff is that which is left.  That which scripts the hours of a life, littering itself along the baseboards, proof that someone of blood and bone dwells here with the soft-voiced radio and the mnemonic television and the blender waiting with its lucent eggs, for my touch.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012


Zoe Francesca said...

Oh Jen, I am weeping. For the cruel twists, for the inevitbality of time, but most of all for the crushing of a soul whose worth cannot be measured.

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

I am taken by the chaff in the corners and by the chaff of the life lived--consuming and then tossing an object, a person, oneself, aside--

such an effective piece of writing--

Timoteo said...

You are not just the poet. You are the poem.

Pat Hatt said...

This was a tough read, you really brought the terrible acts to life.

Brian Miller said...

time catches us all...and in it the remeberance of all that has come before...the turning to not getting hurt or not opening again to it makes me sad a bit...as if we are giving in....

Charles Miller said...

I don't know who told you that you needed psychotherapy but they are wrong about the role that poetry in a person's life. This prose poem reveals someone with both imagination and deep awareness of themselves and how life has molds its imprint into out bodies, our psyches, our selves, whatever the latter might be. I do sadness here, anger, but not resentment. I see intelliegence grappling with what life has dealt it and making a song, not so much of lament as of a map of territory explored, boundaries seen and crossed, new frontiers ahead.

Beachanny said...

I always find a part of me if not all of me lurking in the corners of your poems. Usually the part I keep covered in dust, something only you can make poetic, something I think needs trashing, but as you state here even though it's something small like some mardigras beads that someone tossed me at the end of one sunny St. Pat's, I keep them thinking to give them, wear them, use them another sunny day. This poem speaks of spring and the American spring which politically speaking is feeling repressive. Thank you for the freshness of your words.