Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just How Brilliant

“Just how brilliant are you?”
I asked him.
For I'd watched his elegant mind
Open to speak forth amazing science,
Yet his wisdom was always kind.
It invited thought so gently
That, before you really knew,
Your thoughts had joined his and carried
The formulae all the way through
To the twelfth and final derivative,
To a place where you could see the light,
And peace and joy at the understanding
Might cause your faith to be sight.
And yet his words were not pointed.
They would never be ones to bring harm—
Never critical or harsh,
Never any fear or alarm.

And he told me then
That he'd died once.
His body had floated above
To a place where all the answers lived ever,
To a place so filled with love
That his heart had been healed forever,
And he’d seen from a higher plane:
All humans connected as family,
All sprung forth from the same
Living source of eternal life,
And all from no matter what color or creed,
In the same great ship of humanity
And the ship is prone to sink.

But if we can empathize,
Anger will cease.
And if we cooperate,
Jealousy cease,
And if we can rise above ourselves,

And our cheap competitions,
We can have peace,
And the joy of the earth will return.


-jenn long

Where Tears Are Less Common Than Rain

I had twenty dollars
That I wanted to give
To my neighbor’s middle grandkid
For finishing something
That no one believed he could.

And so I gave it,
Though, it wasn't much,
But it was all I had,
And it was more than enough
For him, and just in time
To help him send an application off
To a school where he hoped to get in.

The look in his eye
Was so thankful and sweet,
It brought a tear to mine,
And I turned to my friend
Holding another grandbaby on her hip,
Stirring up a big bunch
Of something in a kitchen pan,
And I asked her,
“Can I hold that sweet baby?”
(Who must’ve been two or three)

And the baby noticed me cry,
And asked her Gaga,
“Mama, why it rain from her eye?”
And as I took her into my arms,
I realized,
This baby had seen it rain
More than she’d ever seen any emotion,
Which is saying something
When you live in West Texas.


-jenn long

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yes, I Am a Loner

Yes, I am a loner.
The Day does not possess enough hours
To give me to myself,
And so I must steal
From the Night's blind eye
And swindle the dawn to help
Me pawn my meager merchandise,
And stash my ill-gotten gains—
Misappropriated moments alone
With my sweet, unattainable dreams.

-jenn long

Mr. Non-Feasability-Report

Mr. Non-Feasibility Report smirks so smugly.
His “never-any-intention-of” dangles
Just there out of reach.
He stretches out tonight
On his bed without a worry,
Forehead as hard as a cornerstone,
Eyes in a quiet clench.
He folds his knuckles together
And twiddles his widdle thumb-kins,
First to progress the play-by-play,
Then, to reel it back in.
But, he knows it's nothing to write home about—
The fragments of shattered idealism
Still clutter, withdrawn and fractal,
Disregarded by the closed grid of his mind,
And dismissed by his coconut head.


-jenn long

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Real Talkin'

I've edited out all the places
Where you go soft,
Or weird,
Or compulsive.
I've backspaced over
Any phrases
That don't make sense to me.
I've deconstructed
The faults and trips,
Airbrushed the guffaws
And Freudian slips,
And sterilized
The dialogue
But I miss you saying
I could cure a hissy fit,
Or ice a cake without touchin’ it,
Or melt the poles with a butterfly kiss,
And some other words that I'd surely miss,
I over analyze the syntax
And sentence structure...
So let me just call ‘em like I see ‘em
And write ‘em down just like I hear ‘em,
And pray,
That alllllllll that sweetness
Comes thru
The self-same way.


-jenn long

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Magic Words

Magic Words


Hoc est corpus meus.
Hoc est corpus meus.
I lie spiritless,

Six feet under you,
In the rigors of mortis.
Do you see there is no pulse?
Do you feel how cold
My body abstains
From deep within
The vault of your
Defunct imagination?

Come and transubstantiate.
Sit in the place where I have sat.
Bring yourself down
To my level.
Then send your words,
The magic words.
The etymology quickens,
"Hoc est corpus meus."
"Hoc est corpus."
"Hocus pocus."
Now we live?


-jenn long

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sighs Matter

Sighs matter.
Inspiratory force pulls
Against the surface tension.
Grippers snap
To allow more breathing room.
“Expand the stakes
Of your tent

Again for me, Dear Jabez.”
Remind me that I have a heart
Buried ‘neath the fruit
Of these looms.

-jenn long

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Throw Him

Night bird sings his throaty chirp.
Waking all the neighbors up,
He declares his swoons
In whirs and peeps and song.

“Trust me,” he croons,
And I stay in my bed,
And pull the covers up over my head,
But now, the neighbors
Have joined his sing-along.
“Trust him,” they sigh.
“Oh, I do,” says I,
(From underneath my pillow)
“About as high
As I can throw him!”
“That might be further 'n you think, Gal.”
He speaks,
While the neighbors chant
Thru their beaks.
“Throw him!
Throw him!
Throw him!”
They lullaby.

-jenn long

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time Warps

There was one occasion
When I cared about time.
Off in a distant zone,
I didn't want to miss my return flight,
But if I'd only known
That one can never go home again,
Maybe I'd have learned to stay,
And to speak the language,
And to eat the food,
And to enjoy the positions feng shui.

-jenn long

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My New Non-existence

I don't exist anymore.
I was a sweet figment
Of your imagination.
You dreamed me up
In your head.
A vision who visited
You in the night,
And soothed,
And comforted.

I told you
Never to speak of me,
Or ever to utter my name,
For now, the verbalization
Denatured my spirit
I’ll never vapor again.


-jenn long

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Put It In Gear, Myrtle! The Fan Belt Won't Pull It

I moved along in jerks and fits—
A headache here, and a whiplash there.
Tried more gas, tapped the breaks,
Nothing got me anywhere,
Til that one day I noticed
I was still in compound.
In limbotic trance, I became
I found second gear,
And Myrtle, it's true!
There's a whole new world out there.


-jenn long

Reverse Osmosis

Another world bustles just beneath
The murky cover of my lake.
Bright colors strike and glimmer
Then are gone.
And some are destined to partake,
Quench the awful thirst of life
With the sirens, as they sing,
And with a troublesome, waterlogged lung.

And some are slated to emerge.
The waterworm who feels the urge
To do the unthinkable,
And creep up her stalk
To leave the safety of the pool
And think of it, breathe air!
Flitting about unrecognized
By other dragonfly larvae
Who stayed in her former lair.

I think that I, myself, prefer
To reverse the course of the polliwog.
Growing gills, now that's the path for me!
But as I lay me down to sleep,
Fetal in my chrysalis,
I care not
How or why the process works,
Nor what it is I shall be.

-jenn long

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Cadaver Wore Plaid

The platitudes have done their job,
Initiated then full blown.
The cascade of surplus white picket
Staked it's shrieking claim,
Aligned themselves upon my chest
And made an honest hole,
Then pierced 'til all myself flowed out.
I perished with a growl.
And will they say I was "so kind,"
Or that I "did my best" ????
My very death absorbed by trite,
Old platitudes, I guess.

-jenn long

Sunday, April 7, 2013


The wicked queen hath spoken.
Her curse hath felled thy tongue:
No more communication,
No more sweet trips from Rome
Where the graceless civility
Gives way to the rolling countryside,

And levels into fertile holdings,
Self-possessed and uninhibited.

Escape, if you can, the brutality
Of the city's seven hills,
Even the barbaric Palatine
And the tyrant's  stone cold will,
For thy punishment is just.
But what, old man, of mine?
Shall I redress and do without
On account of your infraction?


-jenn long

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Gypsy

The gypsy in me wants to buy a van
And sit on the roadside
Selling black velvet
And gaud-awful plush
To wandering souls.
I walk the lush spring grass
And fluffy clover
And watch them barter
Across the street.
I could stay in one place

‘Til the law came to shoo me,
Then hope that one

Of my carpets was magic,
And fly with the dandelion seeds
As the wind blows
And land where the soil was rich and damp.
I would sprout shallow roots
And play my guitar,
“Til the authorities, again with their clubs,
Broke my camp.
-jenn long

The Busybody

She may have been the god of war incarnate,
For I wanted to slap her and pull her hair.
She glowered my way, her greedy heart seething
With a selfish and jealous vacant stare.
And when I’d finally had enough,
I looked into her pitiful eye
And asked her, "What would it take to fulfill you,
To make you happy, you sullen sky?
You empty-threated cloud with no lightning,
You promise of thunder, but never rain!
You don't want the hay, yet you wallow the manger
To try to make him yours again.
Why don't you know yourself? Why don't you learn?
Why won't you find your own way to glory,
And quit your leeching, bottomless bitters,
And write, if you can, a better story?"

And then I smiled, because I have finally learned
Not to let jealous, petty people ruin my day...
And this I learned from Marcus Aurelius himself,
In Meditations, Chapter 2, of course… for… it is always Chapter 2:


“Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busybody, the ungrateful, arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me; not [only] of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in [the same] intelligence and [the same] portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him. For we are made for co-operation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth.[A] To act against one another, then, is contrary to nature; and it is acting against one another to be vexed and to turn away.”—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations Chapter 2.

I Really Don't

I wrote my spelling words ten times,
Incorporated them into my subconscious
Through the kinetic motion of my right hand
And the gentle flow of cursive.
I’ve corralled all your memories
To my frontal lobe—
A harbinger co-valescent.
I disperse them phrenetically, one by one,
By writing it over and over:
I don’t miss him.
I don’t miss him.
I don’t miss him.
I don’t miss him…
-jenn long

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Just when you think
You can roll back over
And pick back up with that incredible dream,
A subset equation opens
And drops you.
A squeeze through the capillaries,
And a sudden tissue exchange,
Leave you flat
As day old carbonic acid,
And all you can hope for
Is to be picked up as lymph,
And a slow ride to recirculation.
I want my car back!
I want my home!
Passive, time drips.
I slump on the bench,
Neutered by public transportation.

And where is that dream now?
Where is that function?
Where the fleeted beauty?
A fluttered heartbeat
And it all changed course,
And bound me up in systemic duty.


-jenn long

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Music with Numbers

My son hates music—
Or, at least, music with "numbers,"
Which means to him, music with words.
He says he hates poetry, too,
Even though he has a way
With the ancient, numerical symbolism of letters.
But I think, what all this means
Is that, even at his young age,
He has a low tolerance for mediocrity.
And, now, that his voice has changed,
He knows how things ought to sound,
And exactly what it is he wants to say
To this wacked-out, emo world.


-jenn long

Idol Words

I sometimes wish I'd never uttered an idle word,
For many things I'd assured myself were so,
We're oh, so wrong,
While other things I'd avoided with an evil eye
Turned out to be not bad at all,
And now I know
How silly it was for me to try to teach
Precepts that only a preacher
Would deign to preach.

So now, though I have nothing of value to say,
I think a lot, and wonder, as I pray.
And I smile when someone asks me what I would do.
I blink three times and say,
"But I'm not you."
Even though, my eyes swallow their deep tears,
And I sigh their self-same sighs,
I breathe easy,
And they think that I'm nice,
For I have no judgment
And no advice.
But somehow we all feel better.
We clear the air,
And enjoy the journey together,
Going nowhere.

-jenn long

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

White River

The better path—
It comes to me.
I make no strides
To strive for it.
My shoulders drop.
Peace exhales.
I sense the brightness
Bit by bit.
The glowing river
Of whitest light—
The yolk of goodness,
Ebbs so tender,
Hesitates, in tidal teasing,
In surface tension surrender,
Upon my toes,
Then over the ankles.

I stand the tickles
And long to wade,
But fight the urge to chase
The wavelets,
Who long, themselves, to lope unafraid.
I fight the urge to run
To my tower,
Where undeniables often
Arrive to fetch me.
I stand the surge,
Waist high and rising.
"Come quick," I say.
Usually unsusceptible,
I allow it to overwhelm
And catch me.

 -jenn long