Poetry – 2 Poems – “The Lowly Place” & “Prayer”




The Lowly Place // by Jennifer Patino


I have scraped
the bottom of my barrel
to summon strength
to express
the fear I know best,
that one day
my illness will defeat me,
that I will be forced
to retire my pen
to eternal rest


I think of my muses,
my inspirations,
the best ones
who weathered
their own tribulations


I do as any sick poet would do,
submerged in word, struggling
against the ailing, failing body
to create anew,
I write to survive, to have a reason to
stay and play being alive


Giacomo Leopardi,
nearly toppled over,
arm dangling over
a creaky-coiled bed,
wishing he were dead
to end
the suffering
of being held back,
trapped in every aspect
by what the world saw
on his outside,
his true thoughts
on paper he never dared hide


Frida Kahlo, from her sickbed,
masterpieces, her tired head,
Her arms, strong to hold
the details,
Her heart, her pulsing entrails,
on a canvas overhead;
Beauty in suffering,
grace in despair,
life of torture,
breath of art,
return to air


Jackson Pollock painted his
pain on the floor, his
splatter poetry,
his constant cries of
more, more, more!”
and then,
no more!”
His demons banging
on his locked door,
The lowly place,
the floor,
where all poets,
artists, human beings
find themselves


And Edith Piaf,
the little sparrow,
singing to salvage,
and for salvation,
though her voice
did quake,
though her nerves
did shake,
I hear you in
the background,
my hand trembling,
my own blood
slowing at the sound


This is my sickbed,
my lowly place,
beyond the 10th Circle,
through the 9th Gate,

This is the darkened space
beyond the shadow
of my eclipsed face

Here is where it all lies,
surrounded by the voices
of every lamenting artist,
soothing my own cries

The end of the page is near,
my inkwell nearly dry,
All I have is here,
written visions
for a wandering eye




Prayer // by Jennifer Patino



I was taught the body
is equated to a holy vicinity

I can only hope to attain perfection,
a desperate attempt at mimicry

of the life of the Savior,
and His goodness,

I am not worthy to be called
a genuine reflection

of the Blessed Trinity,
Still I cry to Thee,

O, Lord, deliver me
unto Thy protection

as I suffer through hardships
to greet Your glory, Your resurrection



Poetry – “Anne, I Understand”



“Anne, I Understand” // by Jennifer Patino

for Anne Sexton



It’s one of those things. We all go through them.
Our little sufferings. We all have our own
little sufferings.

How many children did you bring? Up-swing.
How was your upbringing? Womanhood
is synonymous with duty.

Oh, I absolutely wanted you here. You complete
the room. Wear green. Blue. No black. No doom
or gloom. And where’s your other better half? Your groom?



They asked me these questions in a different time. They
asked me them on a different day. You changed it all for us.
You showed us suppressed females another way.

You made us see right through them. Their transparency.
You wouldn’t let them hide. You ripped rubber gloves off.
Dug right in. Your voice etched onto vinyl records is now therapy.

Thank you. For the attitude. Thank you. For acknowledgment
of every shade of moon and mood. Thank you for peach lipstick,
and jealousy, and pyrotechnic poems, and accusing eyes.



I imagine it was hard at the end. Harder still in the moments
you were sure it was the end and it wasn’t. You kept pounding along
on a typewriter, on a wooden door, dry skin cracking in winter, bloody knuckled.

I can imagine a smoke filled room with you. You are the smoke. You
blend into the wallpaper because our host says it’s vintage. You make
jokes and I’m your ventriloquist’s dummy speaking in your voice.

I have no choice. You felt that too. You over explained yourself. The worst
and best and gross and beautiful parts of yourself. Your books line the shelf
in the hospital, where I’m surprised you’re not banned. “Anne, I understand.