Poetry – “Inkling”

 

inkling

 

Inkling // by Jennifer Patino

 

I caught an inkling
of what’s been going on with you

A blink passed
and soon
blots became blobs
and those became a
drowning downpour
of blackness
and memories,
of thickness,
and fear about your future

I wake up choking
on this, and on dreams
of your brittle little boy body,
cold and lifeless,
and grief’s screams
wreck me,
and I cry,
for the promise of a new morning
is a lie

I will think of you
whenever I have blood drawn,
that it’s your blood too,
your disease too,
vials of bad genes
to be studied

The prick of the pain
of a thousand icy needles
in one stubborn vein,
and I focus
on not passing out
so your face
can’t have an opportunity
to haunt me

I think of you
in the same darkness,
in that different,
distant place,
and I want to shout
the right words to save you,
but you’re too far away,
and you’re too far gone
to listen to me anyway

So I wait,
pinching myself,
for news of your expected fate

I don’t want to,
but I can picture your funeral,
right down to the date

 

 

Poetry – “Komorebi”

 

trees

 

 

Komorebi // by Jennifer Patino

 

So pretty…

the sunlight filtering through the trees…

 

Not for me,

I’m sorry,

A natural strobe light

is still a strobe light

 

I am photosensitive,

I hide my eyes on long car rides,

I can’t be around certain tones,

high-pitched, or rapid beeps

 

I am a nuisance,

I am nauseated

 

In the golden glare,

I see figures of old

wrapped in electric auras

 

I hear an elysium of angels

chanting the original language

 

I think I hear you,

in a panic,

waiting for me to come to

 

 

Poetry – “For A Living”

 

timecoins

 

 

For A Living // by Jennifer Patino

 

What do you do for a living?

Just that.

Okay, what do you for money?

Some might say,

I am paid to be sick,

& it’s a good thing

these programs exist

but I don’t feel entitled,

nor pleased,

just grateful

for the slight ease

in suffering

that a small, monthly sum brings

 

Yes, one can easily

become addicted

to the rush of

living frivolously,

but money won’t feed me,

won’t cure me,

won’t sustain me,

or reassure me

 

It only fuels temporary escapes

from just that, living,

underneath all these layers of pain

 

 

Prose Poem – “Blue Book”

 

blue

 

Blue Book // by Jennifer Patino

 

I read your life story. Of course, the book cover was blue. I remembered the old you. Songs of a dying man belted in smoke filled dive bars. Transient chord progressions. Your E minor love period.

I once told you I loved you at one of your shows. I screamed it from the back row. It ended up on the live recording. Your blush didn’t. I knew it was there, though.

You put the song you wrote for me on my birthday mix tape. A bonus hidden track. “Just like you,” you said. “I recorded it in the bathroom. It sounds excellent. Reminds me of escape.”

You once told me there were 38 cracks on your bathroom ceiling. You counted them while you were drunk. The fluorescent light would flicker every 8 ½ minutes, give or take, and you knew there was meaning in that, and in the water stained porcelain sink with its missing chunk. You spent many a sleepless night searching for meaning in seemingly random things. Of all this, you would sing.

I already mourned the old you. Buried the big, blue book. I wouldn’t recognize the new you whispering through the orange groves even if the words sounded achingly familiar. Even if you sported your post-weekend-haze look.

I’m etched onto your vinyl collection somewhere. I’m a photo in an old guitar magazine. You’re gone to me. Vanished in plain sight. Unseen.

My old car ate your mix tape. I kept it in there, handed off the keys, and wondered if the new owner would be looking for some meaning in that, or would even care.

The old haunts honor the ghost of your squandered talent. Patrons sip your brand of beer and talk about you. All your love. All your hate. I nod and count the ceiling cracks. I always stop at 38.

 

 

Poetry – “You Really Should See This”

 

BoomForRealBasquiatArt by Jean-Michel Basquiat

 

 

You Really Should See This // by Jennifer Patino

 

“Some days I can’t get an idea, and I think, ‘Man, I’m just washed up,’ but it’s just a mood.”  – Jean-Michel Basquiat

 

The lightning bugs living in my
arms demand I write to you.     A storm
is swirling in my brain, & the
smoky blue tourmaline sky looks
like it desperately wants to cry.

I am trapped in a music video.
All of my favorite dead musicians
sing a song about how they
never thought to call the suicide
hotline.     They ran out of time.

Why is it a hotline?
Strangers pull it together to help
their fellow struggling humans douse
their own fires.
They help uncross the wires.

 

Good listeners are hard to find.

 

This message flashes across the
screen.     It is written in Wingdings.

Hold the line as if it were
your last pulse of life.
The dearly departed drummer tells
me everything will be alright.

I reply –

 I can dial for you if you let
     me in, if you’ll let me find
     you

A melancholic guitar riff
shatters the room like thunder,

I just drift, left to wonder
if what I have to send
will go over your head,
or will your mind bend?

Will you succumb to the same end
as the barely living, as the gasping undead?

 

WingDings

 

 

#FlashbackFriday – Poetry – “Kate Winslet”

 

katewinsletPhoto Courtesy of Cosmopolitan UK

 

 

Kate Winslet // by Jennifer Patino

 

i.

You don’t really want to
stay here with the women,
do you?” Loud, obnoxious
pig-laughter. Her eyes
widen in “I-told-you-so”.

The way her head turns
to look him dead in the
eye after he slaps her.

The inflection in her voice
when she screams at her
mother to shut up.

Her tears on the edge
of the boat when she wants
to give up.

 

ii.

A scowl amongst the
rosy faced choir steals
your heart.
Your little tongue behind
the teacher’s back steals hers.
Giggling, gorgeous grand
princess.
Creative, controlling high
priestess.
Your defiance defines you.
You numb your tears with
visions of a magical
world.

Folie à deux— you bring her too.
Frollicking, fancy and free.

 

The way your head turns
the day you leave the hospital
and you kiss her and
then kiss your father. He
appears disgusted.

Your screams of separation,
your murderous ambition,
how you would do anything
for love.

How you straighten your
skirt and put your hair
behind your ears repeatedly.
Nervous. Adrenaline. You would
tear that napkin to shreds
if it weren’t made of thick cloth.

You sing as you bash
that woman’s head
in so you won’t have
to feel just how heavy
that brick is or
just how fucked up this
whole plan is.

Your screams of separation grow louder.

 

iii.

Now you have “come with me
eyes. A bindi on your forehead.
You’ve found yourself,
so your family plans your
kidnapping.

You can cry now and it
isn’t enough for them.

 

Exiting is a precious exercise,” Harvey Keitel says.

 

Embodiment of girl rock.
In a sari.
You oughta know’ that this
is me, mum.

He’ll straighten you out, girlie.”
Your happiness is a threat
and a crime. They strip
you of your garments and
remind you they love you.
You scream family secrets
in response.

The Halfway Hut.
The mind is a rebel.
It is no servant.
This man thinks giving a blowjob
is a cure for
a panic attack.
Keep breathing.

And he breaks you
and you give yourself
to him covered in
your own piss.
This is how you get
your control back:
By dressing him in your dress
and make-up and helping
him see you see him.

Be kind, Kate.
Be kind.

 

iv.

Later on you’re so
abusive toward Jim Carrey
but we give you a pass.
We forgive you
because we see all
you’ve been through. And
your rainbow colored
hair is just too adorable.
We all see who we want
to be in you even when
you’re mean and
terrible.

 

v.

Next, you’re a mother.
Such a good mother you
are too. Your children
throw tantrums after
you die. And that is
what does it, Kate.
After all you’ve lived through,
all you’ve survived,
it’s motherhood that finally kills you.

 

vi.

Then in some futuristic
dystopian afterlife
you’re resurrected.
But you’re so evil
and even more controlling
that we have to keep
hoping that you’ll just
die again already.
How many times will
my love for you live
and die again, Kate
Winslet?      For how
long?

You even yelled at Leo once

(but he deserved it).

He’ll never get you, Kate.
I’ll never get you, Kate.
I’m just watching you
degrade all these leading
men on the side of the
road from the window of
a passing car
with too bright headlights
that you can’t even see.

You do this with your
mere presence.
No one can hold a
spotlight to you.

My head turns this time,
but it can’t turn far
enough
away from
every little thing you do.

 

I made some revisions to one of my favorite poems I’ve ever written. I write a lot about different movies, I’m just not always so obvious about it. This one was originally drafted on June 8, 2016. Special thanks to Kate Winslet, Titanic, Heavenly Creatures, Holy Smoke!, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, Divergent, & Revolutionary Road for providing inspiration.

 

 

 

The Las Vegas Strip Trip – Conclusion – Part 3: “Render Unto Caesar’s”

 

Prologue        Part 1        Part 2

 

StripShot

 

Part 3: “Render Unto Caesar’s” —

 

Our final night on the Strip started at the Bellagio. I was really excited about having gelato and showing my friend the fountain show. We walked through the Conservatory. It was so beautiful. All of the flowers, fountains, and displays were so peaceful looking. I took a lot of photos. Afterwards, we had some excellent gelato at the Gelato Cafe and I also just had to have an Italian cream soda. They’re so awesome. I could easily become addicted to them again. I worked at a coffee shop once that served them and I drank them all day long. We strolled past a huge chocolate fountain too. It wasn’t too tempting since I was already stuffed with sweetness, but it was cool to look at anyway. I was so cold after we finished our frozen treats. The casinos are extra icy in the warm months it seems, and since I wasn’t walking around, I felt the cool blasts more intensely from my wheelchair. My nerves weren’t liking that very much.

 

The Conservatory & Botanical Garden @ The Bellagio

 

The Chocolate Fountain @ Bellagio Patisserie

 

I’m not sure of the order of events, but we ended up going over to a CVS so I could buy a sweater. Now I have a touristy Las Vegas zip up hoodie to add to my collection. I was also much warmer. 🙂 We got a spot at the guardrail for the Bellagio fountain show and I was very shocked to see that instead of doing a long show (every hour or something) they just do one song and have shows every 15 minutes. I really wanted to hear “Time to Say Goodbye” but we caught a Pavorotti song. The show was still beautiful. I could watch those fountains all day, probably.

We moved on to Paris and I love the ceiling in the shopping area. I noticed a little shop called Le Journal so I went in and bought a journal. (Because, yeah.) It’s cute. It has the Eiffel tower on it. Later on, I got a cool picture of my friend standing underneath the tower replica on the Strip. There’s a restaurant in the middle of it and I guess you can go up to the top. If you’re not me, and not deathly afraid. 🙂 My friend loves sushi so I wanted to treat them to some. We ate at an awesome place called Sekushi. My husband and I aren’t fans of seafood but the restaurant also offered an awesome selection of skewered veggies and meats to choose from. I had steak, chicken, tofu (yes, I eat meat and tofu 🙂 ), asparagus, button mushrooms, and scallions. My husband had an assortment of beef and chicken. (He hates vegetables! So strange!) My friend enjoyed their sushi rolls and also ate octopus which I thought was weird, but they enjoyed it. It looked cool, anyway. 🙂

 

SekushiSekushi @ Paris, Las Vegas

 

We hit up some slots but none of us did well. Paris seemed so different from when I visited it last. It wasn’t nearly as exciting to me. I feel like there was less of the pretty ceiling to look at, too. I do want to check out some of the French cuisine there in the future though. The casino connected to Paris is called Bally’s. I stayed there my first visit to Las Vegas (before I lived here). We didn’t spend too much time there and it was pretty lackluster. We decided to head on over to Caesar’s Palace. “Time to go render unto Caesar what is his,” my friend joked. “No,” I laughed. “Caesar’s will render unto me what is mine.” I had to believe that if luck exists, it would fall upon us, so why not on our last night on the Strip?

The walk over to Caesar’s was pretty. There was a nice garden with fountains and benches. Vegas is good for fountains too. Plenty of photo opportunities both inside and outside of the casino. We hit the game floor and just ended up hanging out in this little corner for awhile watching our dollar amounts go up and down. We hung around long enough to have a few drinks before we grew hungry and ran out of gambling money. My friend realized their phone was missing, but thankfully, it was turned in to security and they got it back within 10 minutes of discovering it was lost. That’s some kind of luck right there, eh?

 

Caesar’s Palace

 

None of us really knew what we were hungry for, so we wandered along the Strip and noticed the Taco Bell Cantina. Taco Bell is my fast food weakness. I really wanted to check out a Cantina version, so we ate there. The lure of frozen alcohol was tempting but none of us wanted to throw up. 😀 There are rules on the strip for Uber and Lyft so we had to find a place that was appropriate to be picked up at. We ended up in Planet Hollywood and we were walking through the closed mall looking for a bathroom and where we were supposed to go to hail a ride. After what seemed like forever, we found the bathrooms, but lo and behold, they were locked. Great.

We went back inside to the casino. There’s always a bathroom there. They place them at opposite ends with signs that point in the wrong direction to guarantee you walk past that gaming floor quite a few times so you can throw your money away at the tables and slot machines as you search for them, but they’re there. We spent a lot of time in the hallway where the restrooms were looking at a big picture with all kinds of celebrities in it. We were pointing out who we recognized and I swear a new familiar face would appear every time I looked in another section of that picture. We walked around a bit inside Planet Hollywood before we finally arrived to where we were supposed to be to call a Lyft.

 

More Shots from the Strip

 

We talked about going out to dinner the following evening and going to play some bingo at Red Rock for my friend’s last night in town, but the next day we were all exhausted. We stayed in, ordered some Thai food, and watched The Shape of Water. What a beautiful film. I love Guillermo del Toro. I just found out he has a horror anthology show that got picked up by Netflix. I’m very excited for that.

The next day my husband and I dropped my friend off at the airport. They said they had a great time and I was sad to see them go. I know we’ll see each other again some day. I’ll be getting down to Florida eventually. Now that my husband has vacation days every year it’ll be a little easier to get to places to visit my friends and family. I’m not the biggest fan of flying, but I do it. It’s worth going through to see my loved ones.

This concludes my little Las Vegas Strip trip experience. It was cool to be a tourist in a city I live in, and even more it was great to see my friend. We have known each other since high school. I value that very much. I like getting out even if it’s nearly inevitable that I will run into some bumps along the way. I had a fantastic time and would love to do it again the next time a friend or family member comes to visit. There’s so much this city has to offer and I’m glad to know there’s a lot more I can handle if I just put my pride away and sit in that dang wheelchair. It’s hard. I can walk, ya know? Even if it’s not very well. But walking great distances isn’t something I’m able to do, and I know it. Lesson re-learned.

 

Here’s a little snippet from a poem I’m working on about the trip:

 

‘…gelato at the Bellagio,
and a mediocre fountain show –
in the past, the duration was longer –
more songs – now, it’s all wrong,

Pavarotti instead of Bocelli,
but the floaty sensation
in my waiting belly was the same,

Spouts of thunder, peaceful glow,
magical mist on my face,

I see you leaning
on the faux marble guardrail –
This is now a perfect place…’

 

 

Thanks so much for reading! If you haven’t visited Las Vegas at least once in your life, you should. There’s lots to see and avoiding debauchery is possible, if that’s not your thing. 🙂