The Nostalgia Tapes #8 – “Released”





The Nostalgia Tapes #8 – “Released” // by Jennifer Patino


Dreams. Dreams of knives being driven into me. I know the faces of my enemies, who wield my failures in front of me. Who taunt me with old lines I fed them to make them stop. I find myself here, at a bus stop. I have a brown paper grocery bag full of clothes, toiletries, & instructions from the hospital. I’ll throw these away when I finally walk to my destination. I don’t need anyone to tell me how to live my life. It started raining as I ran to the coffee shop. Waiting for the bus would have taken way too long.

I meet a couple in love & a lonely old man outside. I think they think I’m homeless, & I suppose I am, technically, since I’m this odd puzzle piece that can’t seem to fit into any mold shaped for me, but for now there is an awning above me so I am sheltered. The sad widower mentions there will be a storm tonight.




I keep my friend awake too long. She’s kind to let me stay, & she understands that some days I just won’t sleep. Some nights I’ll need stars to calm me down. Some nights I’ll need the same song on repeat. Sometimes I’ll wake up bleeding.

From the knives. I avert my gaze from them every time. They’re too tempting. I live to prove to myself that I am not dangerous. I live to prove to others that I am still very much alive. Those who wish me dead are still out there somewhere. I think too much about whether or not they’re thinking too much about me. I close my eyes. Death in a dream is my destiny.


Note: “The Nostalgia Tapes” are a collection of short prose & poetry that I’ve been working on for about three years. Honestly, I don’t know when it will be finished, or how it will be released once I do finish it, but here’s a bit of prose from it. Also, the good folks over at L’ÉPHÉMÈRE REVIEW were kind enough to publish “The Nostalgia Tapes #1 : Joyride” last summer. You can check that out here



This writer is a member of The Literati Mafia.



June Update! – “Books & a Birthday”




I had a very interesting May. It took a few days to come down off of my vacation high that first week, but then I settled into a routine of just devouring books. I can’t believe how many I read, on top of reading all the blog posts I read here, & I hardly read at all during my vacation week. Reading, editing, writing, & working on art projects have been consuming the majority of my time. I’ve had some rough days, but I am pretty proud of myself for managing so well last month. I can’t go on enough about how liberated I feel mentally. I was grieving new changes to my health for way too long, & it feels good to have found a balance that’s working out pretty well for me. This month will be full of appointments & then hopefully I can be done with seeing doctors for awhile. Hopefully a long while.

June is my birthday month, & I can’t believe I’m about to turn 35 on the 15th. My husband & I made plans to have dinner & see a movie so I’m looking forward to that. I’m not sure if I “feel 35” or whatever. I often feel much older than that! 😀 I look forward to whatever this age has in store for me. Time really does fly.


Here are the books I read in May:

The Recovering – Intoxication and Its Aftermath // Leslie Jamison
Adjustment Day // Chuck Palahniuk
Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer // Lisa Pliscou
Darker Than Night // Brian Bowyer
Mean // Myriam Gurba
Jesus’ Son // Denis Johnson
Torment // Lauren Kate
Stray City // Chelsey Johnson
Jesus and the Goddess // Rev. Dr. Claudia Hall
Song of the Beloved: The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene // Lauri Ann Lumby



I Am More Than My Nightmares // Jennae Cecelia
Words From an Unlikely Poet // Charlie Hasler
Our Own Battles // Ashley Rose
curse this blue raincoat and other poems // Paul Robert Mullen
cottontail games: monsters and lovers // Anne Chivon
ghost exhibit // Melissa Atkinson Mercer



All of the poetry I read last month was phenomenal. I’m a huge fan of Melissa Atkinson Mercer’s poetry (Knock is also a great collection of hers!) & Glass Poetry Press puts out some phenomenal work. The June issue of their monthly journal is now live here. I would also like to mention Issue 25 of The Adroit Journal. It’s filled with amazing work & you can read that here.


20180602_192753Ghost Exhibit by Melissa Atkinson Mercer


The only book I really didn’t care for was Adjustment Day. I just haven’t enjoyed anything by Chuck Palahniuk since Invisible Monsters but for some reason, I still give him a chance. It had its moments of good satire, but not enough to make me call it a good book. Myriam Gurba’s Mean was my favorite read for May. It’s a very difficult book & stirred up a lot for me, but I needed it. She doesn’t hold anything back in her writing, & I appreciate that very much. I find it inspiring. Brian Bowyer’s horror stories are graphic & terrifying in Darker Than Night. Definitely not for the faint of heart. I enjoyed them, but I know that others probably would have trouble sleeping after some of them. I didn’t feel like re-reading Pride & Prejudice so I went with a little book about an imagined Austen childhood recommended by a friend of mine so I could still keep to my personal reading ‘Austen Book Club’ for this year. My husband is currently reading P & P as part of the Great American Read & I’m excited to go through the list & read all the classics that I have yet to as well. I’m happy he’s gotten back into reading, & he’s definitely enjoying it. My first from the list will be The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time & I plan on starting it tonight.

How about those Las Vegas Golden Knights? 😀 I’m a bit disappointed because Game 3 just ended & it went according to my prediction of 3-1 NOT in favor of the Knights. The series is now 2-1 Capitals, but there is still time. My husband bought us some Golden Knights tee shirts (mine is a Fleury one!) & it’s so awesome to me that he’s into hockey now. 😀 We’re connecting on all kinds of levels lately & as always we’re super happy in spite of daily struggles.


20180602_192710More Arting


I hope you all have a very happy June. The temps are climbing so I’ll be hiding in my air conditioned fort more often than not. I’m hoping I can still have a steady flow of creative energy this Summer. It really helped carry me through the Spring. Take care, all! Catch you on the flip side! & as always, thank you so much for reading my posts & for all of your encouraging comments! ❤

Friendly Reminder that Half Mystic Journal Issue V: Cadenza is available for pre-order here. This issue includes a prose piece of mine & I can’t wait for its release on June 11th! 




Prose – “Floor”




Floor // by Jennifer Patino


I’d be lying if I said I were comfortable. Someone once said, “You wear pajamas all day, how can you not be comfortable?” Another said, “You’re at home in your room, how are you not comfortable?” My hooded sweatshirt is comfortable. I make sure to wash it correctly so all of its warm fuzziness will stick around for awhile. I love those hospital socks with the skid resistant patches on the bottoms. If I have to run from something, I won’t fall upon the linoleum.

I like pressing my face to that cool, sticky surface when I have a migraine. I turn the lights off, & pray the pain away. I like rubbing my cheek after I fall asleep. I feel the lines & indents coinciding with wherever I’ve finally been able to capture a small reprieve. A cat nap. I hate cats.

There is no being comfortable when your skin doesn’t fit you. There is no being comfortable in a body convinced it has been dying for the past decade. There is no being comfortable when you’re so full after swallowing nothing. There is no being comfortable when you’re constantly hungry, but your belly, your abdomen, & your insides always feel so swollen & full.

I’d be lying if I said there were still good days. I’d be lying if I told you I just liked changing my trash cans daily. That it has nothing to do with the vomiting. It has nothing to do with the gagging. It has nothing to do with how my throat feels like it wants to expel my kidneys from me, but that won’t happen. It will, however, keep constricting & trying. I can feel my organs twisting within me. Pulsing like a planet with foreign invaders. They burst, & alien bodies enter my bloodstream. I cater to a whole galaxy, & they exist only to feed upon me.

Drinking water takes willpower. Leaving the bed is a little miracle. My face is pressed to the floor in defeat. I am conquered today. I pray for sleep.



Prose Poem – “Blue Book”




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.



Prose – “March”



March // by Jennifer Patino


March comes when you least expect it to. You are still recovering from January’s freeze. There are icicles left in your eyelashes from all the crying done in February.

Crows start gathering in the garden below the picture window. The winds blow, but they are no longer howling. There is a tickle in your nose. Spring allergens. They’ve come to roost.

The sun holds on at high noon. It beats down on the suburbanites shuffling to lunch. It pierces your retinas when you head out to the garden for afternoon tea.

Bees buzz, replacing the wood splitters’ saw. March has its own frequency. You feel it just under your skin’s third layer. You can feel change crawling its way out. You can’t stuff anything back now like you did all winter because it’s melting now. Higher temperatures, lower mood. This is how it overtakes you.

It’s always going to be odd to others. Who can be sad in spring and summer when there are so many colors about? When you wear lighter and brighter fabrics? When you can swim and tan and barbecue and socialize and all of these things that so many others like to do? Everyone except for you.

The heat hurts. It stifles you. It makes you feel as if you are encased in needles and there will never be any escape from it. Your eyes are not like others. Yours see so much better in the dark. Yours shine in the cloudy grey of an Autumn day.

Your eyes can often see past that which is right in front of you. Sometimes this sight is fear driven. Sometimes others have convinced you that you’ve imagined some of what you see. Some of what you’ve seen. Other times, you believe God is showing you things. These are the things that make the most sense. These are the things you’ve stopped sharing because the whole world thinks you’re crazy enough.

Your body and mind both go through a transitional phase in March. There is a sense of cocooning that occurs. A shunning of all social graces. A tightening of muscles. A shortness of breath. A farewell to snowfall. A grieving of the longest nights.

You are a bud blooming too. Your brain starts to sprout, its own memory patch becoming overgrown too quickly by sinister and staticky weeds. There are beautiful colors inside your mind as well. Technicolor poms. Fireworks. Sizzling trails that start to manifest in waking life. These streaks of celestial whispers form auras around everything that lives and breathes. They cloud around inanimate objects. Man made luxuries. Rocks. Stones. Streams. You are entombed in a day glo dream but only during daylight. In sleep, you live a different sort of nightmare. You remember too harshly the summers that have passed.

You know you have no control over this. You’ve tried to get your grip on it. You’ve tried to wrestle it away. You’ve tried forcing yourself to feel as others say you should. You have taken every pill. Every potion. Done every breath exercise. Inhaled or ingested every remedy for forgetting recommended by everyone with something to forget. You have tried running but you never get very far.

It is no surprise to you that there are others out there, hiding, just as you are, who feel as you do. It is no surprise that those closest to you can often make you feel the most lonely. It is no surprise that most of your time spent is wishing you were someone else.

Daylight is saved during March. You become lost in March. Parts of you go missing. Parts of you return.

There is no butterfly that emerges at the end of this metamorphosis. There is no prize winning indigo rose emerging from the soil. There is no makeover happening. March is not your prepping time for your summer debut.

March is a signal. A warning sign. There are electric storms on the horizon for you. There are blackout shades on the windows. The crows peck at them from time to time.



Prose – “Where There’s Fire”



Where There’s Fire // by Jennifer Patino


The room could be burning and I’d
hardly notice. I’m glued to shocking
news and a murky vision view
clouding how I want to feel.

It’s raining advice and soon everyone’s
voice blends together. The caring chorus
becomes a repetitive tornado. A cyclone
that picks me up then tosses me among
thorns or jagged rock. After electrical
storms, I am covered in bruises. Beaten.

I smell smoke but I’m so used to skin
singeing that it mixes with my own
smoldering offering. It is a sacred
fragrance. The smell of medicine.
The mouth watering hunger for the
end of suffering that at times can
feel so close. Can fire destroy fire?

By the looks of things, I may find out.



Prose – Moon Mood



Moon Mood // by Jennifer Patino


The moon & circumstances muddling my mind. I am not okay. A sliver of love left. I’ll keep it embedded. I’ll let it dissolve.

Love of poetry, love for my husband, love for my Creator I’m convinced is mad at me, love for every letter I can write, love for 90s indie films & dead philosophers.

None of it will save me. But this is me.

Passion & pain, perhaps one & the same. For me.

Lacrimosa. Trembling. Screaming.

At the end of the damp & withered thread. At the end of the last hair on my head.

Hush now, let me be. Come too close & I’ll drown you, unknowingly.

I am a roaring, toxic sea.