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

 

 

The Las Vegas Strip Trip – Part 2: “Golden Fries…Literally”

Prologue Part 1

Here are some more photos from New York, New York

Part 2 —

I left off after the Baz show at The Palazzo. We had free drink vouchers that could be used at two different bars so we chose one at The Venetian called The Dorsey. I noticed it when we first entered the casino and remarked that it “looked fancy”. We were asked if we would like to sit in the library and he didn’t have to ask twice! There were little booths with comfy sofas, all kinds of books lining the walls (most of them were admittedly boring), and a giant fake fireplace with a screen above it that was displaying trippy designs and mandalas while music I can’t even describe played. There were familiar songs scattered within this odd yet chill music. It fit the vibe of the place. We ordered some drinks and then of course I got hungry. I don’t drink very often but when I do, all I ever seem to want are French fries. They had curly fries on the menu that came with a tasty sounding sauce and something called “gold leaf”. “Oh! That’s edible gold. It’s going to be sprinkled on the fries,” my husband informed us. Sold. That was enough for me. I couldn’t get over it. When they arrived and there really were golden flecks on the top of the fries, I still went on and on about it. They were delicious. I was happy that I was right about how good the sauce was too. We ordered shots before heading out to take on more casino stuff. Of course, I was still going on about the golden fries. 🙂

Golden French Fries & Cool Library Vibes @ The Dorsey (Venetian)

After we hung around The Venetian for a bit, we headed over to Treasure Island (TI). The rest of this night was pretty much a blur of casino related stuff. We played some slots, got some drinks, took photos, walked around. The usual “visiting a Vegas casino” stuff. I got to show my friend the big pirate ship outside of TI for the Sirens show. I remember seeing it when it was just a pirate show. The next casino was the Mirage, and if my memory serves me correctly we didn’t spend too much time in there. We ended the night at the Flamingo. For whatever reason, it’s the casino I always recognize the most from TV and movies. It felt very “fear & loathing” in there. We were hungry again. I’m pretty sure we were all tipsy. So, we went to the cafe at the Flamingo. The waiter even joked with us about not guaranteeing that the food would be edible, and it was an omen because it really wasn’t very good. My friend told me their pretzel and beer cheese were awful, and my turkey bacon and (not golden) fries weren’t very good either. Oh well. I think it soaked up what it needed to soak up so we could head home.

Flamingo

The Flamingo

I didn’t have another good morning. I ended up having another seizure and had bad nerve pain again. I decided that any more places we went to with lots of long-distance walking, I would have to use my wheelchair. I couldn’t keep doing that to my body. Thankfully, by nightfall, I felt pretty good and we decided to stay local and go to Red Rock Casino. I did pretty good on the slots, and we ate at the cafe. We didn’t even head out there until like 3 am, so when we left the sun was up. We took photos around the fountain, and that’s when the vacation haze hit for me. I was like “Whoa, this is surreal. I’m actually out doing things, and I’m making it aside from a few setbacks.” I was extremely happy.

pirateship

The Pirate Ship @ Treasure Island

I took the next day off so I could rest. I had a good sleep after Red Rock. No seizures, same pains as always, and my mood was feeling better. I was getting super frustrated with my body and started lashing out at everyone the day before, and I absolutely hate when I do that. My husband took my friend down to Fremont Street and they hit up all kinds of casinos down there, and saw a little live music. They said the laser show on the street was different than from what I remember and they said it was kind of boring, but they enjoyed themselves. They said it was fun to walk around. I asked them if they were up for visiting another local casino called the Suncoast. Everyone was down, but then my friend got super tired. They said they didn’t mind staying to sleep so my husband and I went out for a little bit. We didn’t do very well at all slot-wise and the place was pretty dead. I wanted to get out while I felt it though. Rarely do we get the opportunity to just go all over and have a good time. I wanted to milk my vacation for all it was worth.

I hope you enjoyed Part 2! Stay tuned for the conclusion!

** Correction: The Cafe with the so-so food was at the Mirage & not the Flamingo.

Happy Mother’s Day — 2 Poems

 

20170623_065439 (1)My Grandmother & I @ The Detroit Zoo circa 1983

 

 

My Mother // by Jennifer Patino

 

My mother,

she taught me love of virtue
& not of wealth,

how to be strong
even in ill health,
& most importantly,
how to mother myself

 

~~ * * ~~

 

Nookomis // by Jennifer Patino

 

I’m sifting through ashes early;
July is on the horizon and I
will miss you again
I can’t blame death
when you taught me
that it doesn’t really exist
I see your spirit too
every time I dare to glance
at my aging eyes
I notice your hair
is growing underneath mine
like crimped crow feathers
I hear your voice
when I speak on things
the Creator whispers to me
Nookomis, can you see me?
I’m here still, hanging on,
alive and dreaming

 

I can’t seem to find any photos of my mother & I. 😦 I think they’re on another drive. Anyways, I wanted to share a couple older poems in honor of Mother’s Day. I spoke to my mom on the phone today & I hope she always knows I love her even though we’re far away from each other. I miss my Grandmother every single day even though she passed years ago. I’m feeling sentimental today. I just miss too many people.

 

 

The Las Vegas Strip Trip – Part 1: “That’s Amore!”

 

KnightsLiberty1The Las Vegas Strip – Outside New York, New York & MGM casinos

 

I need to hurry up & write about my vacation because I’m already really absorbed in another project that just won’t wait. I wrote over 2,000 words last night & I’m glad something new is fresh in my mind & flowing. I don’t want to say too much about it because it seems whenever I do that, whatever it is I’m working on ends up in the “Unfinished” pile & I’m trying to avoid that for this. 🙂 So, on to a recap of my adventures!:

 

After we picked up my friend from the airport, we came back to the apartment & just caught up & ate a wonderful meal of meatballs prepared by my husband. He loves cooking. I don’t. It works out pretty amazingly, & he’s also a very good cook so that’s even more amazing. We talked about places we should visit. We talked about all of our predetermined plans we had for that Friday. I was feeling good & very excited, but slightly anxious over how much I knew I’d be pushing myself. I wanted to though. I wanted this trip to be a blast.

The following evening, we took on the Strip. We started at the Luxor. It’s the Egypt themed hotel/casino. It looks like a pyramid & I can see it’s light from my neighborhood. It’s a huge spotlight aimed at the sky that can be seen for miles around. We had plans to eat at Johnny Rockets & I was a little disappointed to find out it was only a Food Court location, so we didn’t get the experience of the whole staff singing & dancing along to a “jukebox” playing 50s music. (This was compensated by a giant jumbotron in the center of the Food Court, which suddenly switched to a video of a Johnny Rockets staff somewhere in the world performing a song for whichever restaurant they were really at. It’s a Johnny Rockets thing. I was excited about it. I took what I got.) We were tripping out sitting in the Food Court, looking up at the hotel room floors. It was quite the optical illusion being pyramid shaped. People looked like they were dangling above us, & that at any moment they could fall. I have a thing with heights & the whole thing was making me dizzy, but I still thought it would be cool to stay there & see how things looked from above sometime.

Our next stop was the Excalibur. It looks like a giant medieval castle on the outside, but not as exciting vibes on the inside. Some lady cornered us & was trying to sell us package deals to wherever & I wasn’t having it, I just wanted to move on. So, an awkward moment of lost patience ensued. At this point, I was starting to feel all the walking, & it was still early in our night, so I really only had one thing in mind: have a good time.

 

HoudiniShop1Houdini’s Magic Shop @ New York, New York – Las Vegas

 

Our last stop of the night was New York, New York. The Statue of Liberty replica outside of it had a Las Vegas Golden Knights jersey on, & I started to think about Las Vegas as a “hockey town”. I shook my head in disbelief & took a ton of pictures. (I go on about this a lot, but seriously, this is their first year. They’re in the Playoffs. This is seriously unheard of.) I remember doing pretty well slot machine-wise at New York, New York. My husband tells me I actually won a bit that night. We had giant, greasy slices of pizza there. We also visited a Houdini’s Magic Shop. There was a Zoltar machine there so I had to get a fortune, of course. Back at home, I had a rough time with my nerves & had a seizure, but I recovered quickly & upon waking, I felt ready to tackle another night.

 

We had show tickets the following night so I definitely had to go, even if I didn’t feel like it, but thankfully, I totally felt like it. My feet were a little sore but I think I was fueled by excitement because I was more than ready to get going. Of all the casinos I’ve been to, I love the Venetian the most. My first visit to the Strip (14 years ago!) I remember being obsessed with Paris. This time around, I can’t stop thinking about the Venetian & how I want to go visit it again. The Grand Canal Shoppes was a nice little walk, & the giant “Love” display is there. We took some photos & just took in the general splendor before heading to Casanova for dinner. The Shoppes are surrounded by the Canal & we saw the gondolas & I was too excited thinking about how I was finally going to be able to ride in one. I loved the antipasto platter we ordered as an appetizer at Casanova, & for my meal, I had wild mushroom ravioli which was amazing. I loved the vibe in that restaurant. The lighting fixtures especially. Las Vegas is good for my fascination with fancy (& often faux) light fixtures. Every ten minutes I was thinking, “Ooooh, that would be nice in a dining room”, & other things like that. My husband & friend both enjoyed their meals as well. We were now on our way to catch a Gondola ride before the show started.

 

Casanova Restaurant @ The Venetian – Las Vegas (Please forgive my blurry photos, I lack a steady hand, but I do my best!)

 

I loved our Gondolier. She was amazing. Her voice was so beautiful that when she sang “Bella Notte” (it was in Lady & the Tramp) I teared up. It couldn’t be helped. She told me it was fine. “Feelings are better to be let out than kept in!” she bellowed in what was probably a practiced Italian accent. (They have to go to school for this.) She also made some jokes that I thought were pretty funny. She was just a wonderful presence to be in. She sang “That’s Amore” & “Funiculi, Funicula” as well & those were fun & upbeat. It was cute when some tourists on a bridge waved to us. I waved back, of course. There was also a little bridge we passed under & she told my husband & I we would stay together forever if we kissed under it, so of course we did. 🙂 I visited the gondola shop afterwards & got a magnet & a little figurine of a gondolier & gondola to have mementos of the experience.

 

GondolierMy Gondolier Figurine

 

After our little boat ride, we headed over to the Palazzo (another casino connected to the Venetian) Theater to see Baz. We were happy to see that pretty much everyone was in VIP seating, including us. Even the stage had tables on it, & spectators were sitting there! There were runways from the stage all around where we were sitting. It appeared that there would be actors right in front of us based on the layout, & I hoped we could take pictures. I soon found out we could, “take as much video & photos as you want, just make sure you hashtag us!” was in the pre-show speech, also informing us that we had to be careful because actors & actresses were going to be running all over the place, so make sure we keep them safe, etc. The show is a mash up musical of songs from three Baz Luhrmann movies, “William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet”, “Moulin Rouge”, & “The Great Gatsby”. It’s amazing to see the parallels to each story having it laid out for you like that. There was an awesome “Tango de la Roxanne” from Moulin Rouge & Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” from The Great Gatsby soundtrack mash-up that I was super impressed by.

 

Baz @ The Palazzo

 

The actresses & actors had impressive vocal & dance skills & were literally running around everywhere. There were also scenes/lines from the movies (based on literary works), throughout the show being delivered, & everyone was good in that department too. Mercutio’s death scene (as always) made me cry. I captured a lot on video & couldn’t stop filming during the “Like a Virgin” scene because it was just fantastic. I thought the guy who played Romeo was adorable & he was directly in front of us quite a few times. I have many blurry photos of trying to catch performers running by. They’re pretty funny to me. I avoided the couple instances of strobe lights in the show just fine, & also was able to slow my heart during the gun violence scenes. This never used to affect me, & it does now, & I really don’t like it, but that’s another blog post in itself. It was great to sing along to the show & I was laughing out loud at some parts. The man who played Harold Zidler was the best. He was so hilarious. Juliet, Satine, & Daisy had amazing voices. The set, the costumes, everything about this show was perfect. If anyone asks me what’s a good show in Las Vegas to see (I haven’t seen that many, but still) I will definitely tell them to go see Baz. I had to get a souvenir afterward, so I got a cool Baz flask. I am still very sad that there is no show soundtrack that exists, but I did my best to compensate for that by making a playlist of all the songs in the show in some form or another, & I’ve been listening to it on repeat since that night. 🙂

 

ChristianandSatineThis scene with Christian & Satine from Moulin Rouge was right in front of us — This is the best photo I captured from the show!

 

I’m not sure how many parts I’m going to break this trip up into to share here, but that’s enough for right now. I hope you enjoyed Part 1! This is only the first part of this night at the Venetian. The night was still feeling young for us after the show, & we had free drink vouchers. Spoiler alert: We didn’t end the night at the Venetian. 🙂 Stay tuned!

 

 

 

A Whole Other World Exists Just 20 Minutes Away (The Las Vegas Strip Trip Prologue)

Greetings from post-vacation land! My friend flew home yesterday afternoon, & now I’m trying to piece my mush brain together & rest my body. I had such a fantastic time. Sure, I live in Las Vegas, but I have only ever gone to the Strip once when I was 21 (& that was before I even lived here. I vowed to never live here…whoops. 😀 ) Anyways, I will formulate some posts highlighting all of the fun of my trip (20 minutes to the East!) once my head is back on straight. It’s hot here again. It reached 102 today. So, I’m slowed down due to that as well. Of course after not writing for a whole week, I wrote a whole bunch tonight! Full poems, poem notes, trip notes…I’ve been busy jotting it all down before it goes away.

Here’s a few preview photos & a little something I penned after one of our nights out casino hopping. I am happy to say I survived, & only relied on my wheelchair the last leg of the trip. It probably wasn’t the best idea to walk all over for two nights, but it was worth it, even if I did pay for it severely both nights when I got back home. Still, it was worth it, & I’m fine, honestly. I feel no worse than I usually do now that the bad moments are over. I’ll elaborate more on everything but I just wanted to pop in & share a little bit for now. Enjoy!

 

7:02 // by Jennifer Patino

After a certain hour, the tourists emulate the drunk poets.

No one knows this but me. They bob about in metaphors
for deteriorated hamstrings that cause the swagger of inebriation
that is the signature brand of Las Vegas Boulevard.

Scars of soldiers, their war stories, their distant gazes, their
rusty smell of courage and cheap beer.

Everybody’s swimming in this sea of lonely, broken harmony, and
off key, everybody’s singing of childhood memories, of sweet,
sweet love, and of the cruel sting that comes with leaving.

 

Stay tuned because I will definitely give a more detailed recap hopefully within the next few days. I hope you’re all well! I’m settling into my summer swell after kicking it off with a bang. ❤