Poem – “Skating By”



Skating By // by Jennifer Patino


I understand the fragility
of life

I know the tides change

                                                        in a blink

I know a small blip
in my blueprint
caused all this

I can’t say
I blame the organs

I can’t say they’ve failed me

                                                       not yet, thank God

I understand separation
from the body

                                                        out of the mind

I tell them all
in my head
is a sanctum
and if I can get there,

                                                         if they let me

I can know relief,
however brief

I can trust the thin ice
to hold me

just a little longer

as I convince them all
I’m growing stronger



Poem – “Alaska”



Alaska // by Jennifer Patino


I won’t claim you or call you by name.

You were my last frontier, that’s for sure.

You were the one that didn’t even

have a chance to get away–


before going away

we made so many plans

I waited up for you, did you know that?


–You crossed a frozen pond and showed no fear.

You skated in espadrilles across sand at the run down beach.

You said it was beautiful once. I asked if you’d miss

Florida sunsets. I asked if you’d miss light. You said

you would be more sad about the return of the Sun.

I said I was a night person. You said you knew.


From the bar to that

one girl’s basement, to the top

of the lookout pier


I wrote poems for you after you told me you

couldn’t say goodbye because then you would

have never left. We talked about boyfriends.

So many boyfriends. You too? You asked if you

could put them up on your wall. (The poems

I mean.) I felt like an old fashioned idiot when

I realized they were a digital wall for all to see

and not printed and pinned above your bed

or better yet, copied and written down on stationary

in your loopy script. I only know your handwriting

because you signed my yearbook. I wish

I had a letter from you. I hear you say

I miss you” in that whispery way you said

you have soft lips” after the photo shoot.

Of course I can’t hear you. We have yet

to exchange new numbers. (We never will.)

I just have a gift for hearing texts as if they

are characters of my favorite book in my head.


Magenta type comic sans,

too bright, and this is the pre-emoji

era so I was in less than three with you but you never knew


You started modeling. Pin up poses. Pixie princess.

Peasant skirts. Exposed tan belly. I pictured you

in a frozen castle faraway and there you were

in the sunshine again. In the forest again.

In a dark bar again, hiding from the crowd

in the corner, but this time you’re with someone else.

I told no one I missed you. I forgot about the poems.

The most beautiful things anyone has ever

written for me.” You said. We didn’t talk much

after that. It’s your fault. You displayed us. You

exposed us. You made them look at those

photos a little more closely every time they came up.

You made me re-think Truth or Dare. You disappeared.


Do you ever think about

Aurora Borealis and how

her aura looked just like them?



Poem – “Limits”

Limits Photo by Me



Limits // by Jennifer Patino

I’m getting to know my limits
instead of despising them,
and fighting them

Good morning, failing body
Who has sliced you open,
replaced your insides with lead?

I fall asleep at the peak of day,
I wake up, the sun is dead
My digital clock is too bright

Green glow on my pallid hand,
My green light bulb so I can make
the whole room look sickly

I whimper, my love comes quickly,
I’m his darling burden,
the crumpled spider widow on the floor

My face is familiar with waste bins,
My leg has pieces missing from it,
I am a mosaic of oversensitive nerves

sealed under the numb, the firecrackers,
the movement that echoes through the courtyard,
my ankles, my knees, my neck

“You’re not old yet”
Don’t remind me, youth never graced me
I’m childlike but my eyes are aged

The disease is a restraint
and I am no suffering saint,
I find no joy in this

I’d trade anything
for healthy bliss





#OctPoWriMo – Day 31 – “The Mysteries”



The Mysteries // by Jennifer Patino


I was brought up
and raised on mysteries.
Gitchie Manitou.
Great Mystery.
Who are you,
Heavenly Father?
I ask the same
of my earthly one,
whom I never knew
until I grew.

The Sorrowful Mysteries.
The “whys” of youth,
the sky was simply blue,
you’re wrong in all you do.
Acceptance. Accept this.
My existence alone
was an answer
to all I never knew.

Being alive
was a reminder
of a lost love,
and a Creator
I begged to be kinder.

The Joyful Mysteries.
Why I smile, why the tired
body has a way of waking
up the mind.
The importance of signs.
Patience paying off.
Suffering collecting its tolls.
But a young heart,
pounding like thunder,
running in fear across
the country,
can be forced to slow down,
can grow old.

Love was always waiting
past the Western mountains.
Cold turned into gold.

The Glorious Mysteries.
I meet myself unexpectedly,
in the dirt, in the cracked
mirror, on the table.
There were guides who misdirected
me. I ran in circles and
relived vicious cycles, shaky
and unstable.
I was saved and the why
I’ll never know, and the
forgetting I’ll never do,
and “Glory! Look at you!
The morning sun shines
through beige hospital blinds
and I see you, God,
Love, God, Father,
I hear you.

The only mystery of
faith I can proclaim
is how I held on so
tightly to the fact
I’d see your face someday.

The Luminous Mysteries.
You were the light, dear
Spirit, I speak only through

Little girl, little wondering,
little fright, little truth

Enlightenment and
clarity do not mean
answers. A mind trapped
to Earth can’t hold it.
Thoughts leap and fly,
sometimes Tricksters lie.

My ancestors know,
they’re not bound by time.
Last I checked in,
they were all doing just fine.


It’s over! I can’t believe it! I hope you enjoyed reading my poems each day for October. If you were a poet participating this year, you’ve made it! Awesome! Be sure and check out the OctPoWriMo blog to read many others’ amazing contributions! Thanks so much to all prompters, poets, and readers! Now, I’m going to enjoy my Halloween and REST. One more submission to finish before I take a big break from new writing. (Unless the muse strikes, of course. 😉 )



#OctPoWriMo – Day 30 – “Forbidden”



Forbidden // by Jennifer Patino


Speaking was forbidden
Fighting back, banned

“You’re a girl,
you’re not allowed to do that”

Those discussions
at ten years old,
they had depth

One loose thread
led to the next

and the next time
I wasn’t able to scream
I remembered
how quickly
I could pretend
it was all a dream

This wasn’t helpful
at all as an adult

Tense chested,

“And what do you think?”

The whole room blurred,
and these strangers took on
familiar faces

I’m sorry, I was brought up
to believe there were no
safe spaces

Ridiculed for my tone,
my deep voice,
my inflection

My way with words,
my whispered pleas,
my long winded introspection

I mute myself now
when I feel reactions
of those who feel
I’m a burden, a distraction

I’m a talking doll
shaking at loud noises
with a never ending stream
of incessant inner voices

Hush now, you’ve shared too much
And it’s never going to be enough




#OctPoWriMo – Day 29 – “Symbols”



Symbols // by Jennifer Patino


I gathered up some of this inspiration,
traded empty sheets for these scribbles


the format started forming symbols
of the ancient alien language I can only read in dreams,

now I can say they are coming from somewhere else,
now I can say that a possession of sorts is occurring,

and it’s necessary
for the sake of sanity,
which is art