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, October 30, 2012

New Poem: Love Song of the Virtual Expatriate, for DVerse and Beyond....

Photo: Vidimu che vuoli fari stu tempu...dinnu ca arriva l'invernu...ma ca  n'di nui  c'è u sciroccu ...faci caddu ...e na para i nuvoli grigi fin ora.
laundry drying on Calabrian coast...

Love Song of the Virtual Expatriate

You, stranger on the other side of our knowable
world, tell me a sirocco has spoken
to you of winter;
you have laundered your dresses to blinding white,
cabled them to dry at the lap
of the sea.

All that you do is repeated, the tides of love
going out, coming back, the village
cut  into the cliffs like the facets
of lapis lazuli.

The bright fish sulk in the deep;
your mariner trims his sail, moors
his craft; he shoulders his heavy-bodied catch;
climbs the stone steps, throws it down
touching you on the shoulder.

The pesce spada lies on your wooden table
with its round eyes brimming;
you gut the cold silver body;.
he banks the fire in the oven,
whittles down the roasting sticks.

This is the land where nothing is wasted,
even the sword-bone is sliced up for broth,
sweetened with wild basil hung in the window.
You work tears of lack into the bread.
Donna mia, when you ladle out the soup,
 push the plate before him, does he remark
at the taste of your grief?


I come to your city; you take me
on a long walk into the antiquity
etched into the hills
the siroccos have polished to iridescence,
where the stone-paved streets are narrow
and the doors to the balconies stand open.

I pay for my two room villa
in bronze coins from a ruin.
There is a table in the window, an archway,
one room into the other
for the ceremony of homecoming, 
as I had asked.
The stonemason’s ghost welcomes me;
I put on my long grey dress,
tie my hair back; we string the peppers
together, these annunciations
we will hang
in the doorway.


Night kisses the sea and the seas
lave the disconsolate beach.
Lovers, wake: I have come
to live among you with a valise,
no camera. Only what the pen
will bleed to damp paper.

For a lifetime I have dreamed of you
have I longed for the simplicity
of living these late star-flecked hours
in the ruin where my impasto poppies
gleam from old walls, the stucco ancient
with whispered birthing songs 
and widows’ thumbprints.

I drink a cup of your dialect,
I burn my hand in the flame
of your candle;
yet only now, when I am an old woman,
has a Charon in rebellion
brought me across.  


Surely there is someone
charged with the work of transporting
us to our destinies.
For I tell you that somehow
I am a pariah in my own
I live like a murderess imprisoned,
even though my door is unlocked.
How is it that we call ourselves neighbors?
Not one mothers the other, not one calls out
Are you all right?


It is only by imagining myself there
where you rejoice in the stranger come 
unto you, blown into your midst

in Pentedatillo, in Mosorrofa
as if I had entered the intimate and granular
photograph of a Calabrian wedding party,

that I look out as from a mirror
at myself writing alone
on this side of the world,

contained by my shadowy rooms,
moving my hands among the prolific geraniums,
dreaming myself among you
in the midnight kitchen,  

yeasting old sorrows to an assonant vernacular,
turning rich dough on the board. 

Copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews October 28, 2012


Maureen said...

I'm struck by your use of the word "virtual" in the poem's title, because that longing held in the heart is very real.

What's expressed here is lyrically and beautifully conveyed in vivid visuals. I especially like your use of images of dough, the making of bread, which keep us attached to what is not romanticized. The acknowledgment of the realities of place and existence is moving.

flaubert said...

Jenne, this poem is so gorgeous and your use of Italian sprinkled through-out it makes it all the more so.


Anonymous said...

A beautiful poem, Jenne, throughout. I certainly know the feeling of being more at home as an exile than in one's own "place/neighborhood."

It's one reason I think people gravitate towards a place like New York City.

So many great lines and images here - beautiful the fisherman and wife, and all the way to the exile at the end, writing. We are very much brought into each of these moments. k.

Mystic_Mom said...

Jenne - you leave me speechless and in awe once again. Brava my dear, brava.

Tess Kincaid said...

Gorgeous write, Jen...