Poetry – “Anne, I Understand”

annesexton

 

“Anne, I Understand” // by Jennifer Patino

for Anne Sexton

 

1.

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?

 

2.

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.

 

3.

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.

 

 

Poem – “Useless”

womb

 

Useless // by Jennifer Patino

 

There’s a lot I know I’ll never have the heart to say. That phrase doesn’t make much sense to me. “I don’t have the heart…” It’s always said before something terrible. If one indeed had a heart, wouldn’t they feel no need to commit such deeds,

that would warrant a hard heart, a lack there of,
some terrible need?

There’s a lot I let lie there, be it as it may. I let some things rot. Reek of decay. Eventually dust, bones, a stain. There’s a lot you can cover up if you finish before it rains. The Earth sees all secrets.

Will you search blindly, through every pile of fresh
new dirt, with an edge that finally doesn’t hurt?

There’s a lot that can grow from the infertile. Anger. Loss of what you never had in the first place. Silly little girl, there’s stones inside your sacred space. Wipe the hope from your face. It’s in–

–the way we go about this is pretend we don’t want it
in the first place,–

my way. A quiet day. A lot can die in a short time with

No sunlight.
No legacies. No grace.
No little socks with lace.

There’s a lot I know I won’t let my own mouth say. It makes perfect sense to me. “I have some bad parts…” I know I have a heart because it struggles against feeling useless. Useless longings. Useless woman. It’s useless to repeat the things that shred me. I’m already torn apart.

 

 

Poem – “It Washes Away”

rain

 

It Washes Away // by Jennifer Patino

 

What would we talk of, if we were
suddenly unashamed
of what we say
to our faces
in the ceiling
formed by rain spots
from our leaking roof?

How damp is this room?
Underground, like the
basements up north, cold
catacombs, no windows,
or low windows,
imagining walking
in the shoes of passerby

Will we see through
the hole to the sky
through different eyes?
The one that forms
over the passing of
that non existent
cage called time

What would we hear
in the silence that
comes after the dawn
of the new year?
The rain?: a foreign sound,
drying up before it hits
the ground, way down here

 

 

Poem – “Umbilical”

wanderer

 

Umbilical // by Jennifer Patino

 

Refrain from slurred speech,
its wispy timbre is upsetting

While you’re aiding and abetting
all that makes me nauseous

Sitting in the corner, a silent stone
of a mother, a slab of skin and bone

I wanted to be fine in the silence,
walking in the darkness of truth alone

But a longing tugs at heart strings,
music buried in my marrow, out of my control

An uprising in my bloodstream,
begging to retrieve everything you stole

So I run far away, following the wind to the west
with the end of your last fraying seam

clutched in my childlike fingers

 

 

Poem – “Shock”

eyes

 

Shock // by Jennifer Patino

 

Will you plug this in for me?
An electric hum muffles your reply,
a distracting symphony.
What of madness and
feminine energy? Your labels
and judgments have over-
affected me.

A spark of synchronicity,
underlying electricity,
lightning in a heart-shaped
bottle, empty. Shattered
chartreuse sea-glass
tossed into tourmaline infinity.

The stars shine for me.
I notice them when they fall,
when they’re escaping, when
they’re free.

They say their way is a cure
for me. I turn a blind eye
to conformity,
and then I finally see
there is no such thing as
finality, when things
change, in a flash, so
quickly.

I’m powered on
under a fog, discreetly.
In one flick of a switch,
I’ll be transformed completely.

 

 

Poem – “Mix It Up”

partyedit

 

Mix It Up // by Jennifer Patino

 

he said something about

mixing alcohol and antibiotics

and how it might not be a good idea,

 

so she counts pills

like counting how many ways

she can fuck her day up

 

there’s enough sweetness there

to put you into a diabetic coma

and a sea of glass and hard liquor surrounds you

as you drown

 

life is hard,

so death must be easy, right?

think about it:

you close your eyes and then open them again

 

how bad can it be?

 

the stores close way too early

and everyone’s asleep

but you

 

how lonely it is out on that limb

of knowing way too much,

yet knowing nothing at all

 

she says “forget it“,

and has another drink

 

she smiles thinking,

give me something to live for

 

– October 28, 2007

 

Note: I said I would share some old work I was going through so here’s a little poem. I remember I wrote this while I was recovering from a kidney infection, interlaced with snippets of scenes & conversation from a party. I find I like the writing of my twenties best when it doesn’t rhyme (I seriously rhymed waaaay too much back in the day, and pretty badly I feel), & the weirder the poem, the better. I didn’t have nearly as many insecurities as I do now about writing or anything really. Which is probably strange because as you get older you’re probably supposed to care less about what other people think about you, right? Hmm. Circumstances. Anyway, hope you enjoy a glimpse of my memory lane.