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, June 5, 2012

New Poem: The Boys of Juarez, Posting for DVerse Open Link Night and Beyond

The Boys of Juarez

“Or maybe we retell it
So the ashes are still riding around
In that stolen car, coaching life’s desperados;
In any case, the top is down, under
A cargo of stars.’

 “Black Beauty”, Dear Ghosts, Tess Gallagher

Yes some of us do have stories
of our desperado years,
the eating of ripe fruit after curfew,
or the winter we carried someone’s ashes
around in the car,
or collided with desperados themselves,

like the kids from Mexico,
who one summer day,
ate plums on the roof
of the trailer next door--
I had picked cactus spines
from their feet,

and wrapped one in my old comforter
while he shook with a fever
that passed—his lips
so parched and pierced
from sucking fetid juice
from the saguaro, and his sisters

back in Juarez waiting.
Miguel.  Miguelito,
my one, as if back in my love’s arms
in Minnesota, out in the barn,
in the fragrant loose hay,
lifting my hips in rapture

I had conceived a son,
born him in a dream, he had grown
from my arms to take wing
and now come back like his father’s
double, young chulo with olive skin,

dark eyes, a thick crown of black hair,
eating the dark rich plums, spitting their pits
down to the summer grass.

The seeds lodged themselves there
so that one day when a tree brings on
its green and arrowed leaves
and the blizzard of white blossoms
it sheds before the waking of the fruit,

the boys of Juarez will be remembered
for their planting by the half-charred 
moon's light,
that phased and holy
lamp that lights the misbegotten’s way.

They don’t clear their plates
much less rinse them--
they leave the pork chop bones
for the flies that come and settle
thick as unhulled sunflower seeds
on the table of the unrepentant,

and those that live
by  scavenging
for carrion.
And in the tarry air of day’s sweltering,
we pop Coronas and they sing
O Corazon que te vas,

and then the older one Roberto
has sudden tears, tiny diamond rivulets
through the near-soot of desert dust
streaking his face,
making a coal miner’s mask
around his eyes.

They had bathed in the river
and didn’t care if they were clean
or not; jacketed in sweat,
I make chile and carry it to them,
and they sop it up with tortillas.
The candle burns down and now we

celebrate their first days in America
drunk, raunchy jokes about sex
por toda la noche, all night;
I see the wild horses in their eyes,
hunger that flares
when someone is well fed

and I pull back,
before the Carmen in me
gives herself to them,
the harlot in me lifting her red skirt
away from her thighs,

and think then of the INS waiting in the dark,
the unmarked vans and the turncoat Latino cops,
their careful necklines where the razors
have come and gone, the clipped mustaches,

the sunglasses poised on the aquiline nose,
and the aguilar eyes, eyes of the eagle,
scanning the dusk for those
who look like themselves,
so dark and strong and young and full of hope
marching on toward the river, to sleep there

in the arms of its green breathlessness,
and on the latitude
of what they imagine
as a true and ripened
as if they are safe.

copyright Jenne' R. Andrews 2012

*Aye, Corazon, que te vas—
Oh heart, why are you leaving…


Maureen said...

Wonderfully told story in this poem, Jenne. Too many good lines to mention. The imagery, as always, vivid and evocative of scene and feeling. I like how you carry and develop the image of the seed and fruit, making these metaphors for the attainable and the forbidden, for the having and the denying, stand-in for love and county and freedom. I also like the descriptions of the young chulo echoing in the "turncoat Latino cops". Your trademark use of animals to carry meaning remains exceptional.

Brian Miller said...

a bit of a dance with the wild boys...really vivid portrayal of not just hem but their lifestyle...lots of great touches along the way bring them to life jenne

Timoteo said...

Stunning. Again.

PattiKen said...

This is like looking at my preconceived notions from the inside out. It's not a comfortable view, but perhaps an important one. Well done.

Fred Rutherford said...

Really nice piece here. Love the images you painted here. Really enjoyed. Thanks.

Mystic_Mom said...

Wild horses in their eyes.

Brava Jenne, brava! You've done something really amazing with this piece. I love it!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful piece, Jenne - the empathy and the vividness, the miner's mask about the eyes, the cactus, the son that might have had, the red skirt, the tree, the chile, the hunger, the INS with their manicured shaves, on and on, well done. k.