A Holiday Toast

“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”

— JANE KENYON —

Happy Holidays & Heartfelt
Best Wishes for the New Year!

19 – Odds Are…Odd

No doubt,
if he had a phone,
he would have called
a friend (or two):

Hey, I just got dropped off.
Corner of Short Beach
and Maple.

Maybe someone
would have picked him up.
He could have walked —
it’s less than a mile,
as the crow flies.

But neither
crows nor rats
have phones,
don’t cha know.
What would be the need?

The probability
of slipping out
of a dumpster from
the back of a semi like that?
Slim to none, I’d think.

But I’m no rat,
now am I?
Maybe it happens
all the time?

IMAGE: White Rats, Shibata Zeshin. Poem ©2018, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month 2018, #19. For more little poems like this, pick up a copy of EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND! Purchased your signed copy today! CLICK HERE

14 – Interloper

In the thicket
of tall red oaks
set among
the human
complex,
five deer
walk silent
up the path,
fearless and
unhurried here,
their Eden.

Poem ©2018, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month 2018, #14. If you like this poem, you’ll find 80 more the book EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND! Purchased your signed copy today! CLICK HERE

10 – In the Company of Spiders

A

spider

dropped

from

the

ceiling

this

morning.

Dropped and bounced on a fine line
between fear and fortitude.
We have been interacting ever since —
she to my left while I lean ever so slight to my right;
she out of sight so I step to the kitchen for a spell;
she now along the wall and towards the window,
and I with a cautious eye.
I do not know how long we will play at this —
living in the company of our fears.
If I spoke spider, I would offer her quid pro quo
I will not murder you today if you stay

just

so

far

away.

Photo: Long-bodied Cellar Spider, Pholcus phalangioides. Photo and Poem ©2018, Jen Payne. National Poetry Month 2018, #10. If you like this poem, then pick up a copy of my new book EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND today! CLICK HERE

7 – On the Discovery of an Owl Pellet by a Poet

This absurd amalgamation
of bone white memories,
what once was
now something
wholly other!

Holy other,
this reliquary of
god’s creation,
every moving part —
what made it tick —
left here for time.

On bended knee,
the witness poet
should whisper
some ancient prayer
of gratitude.

Yes, gratitude…
for this is poetry incarnate,
the muscle and bone
of our experience,
how we ingest
and re-create,

How we take
what was…
make it new,
make it sacred

bone of my bone
and flesh of my flesh

A pellet, in ornithology, is the mass of undigested parts of a bird’s food that some bird species occasionally regurgitate. The contents of a bird’s pellet depend on its diet, but can include the exoskeletons of insects, indigestible plant matter, bones, fur, feathers, bills, claws, and teeth. Photo & Poem, National Poetry Month 2018, #7, ©2018, Jen Payne. For more poems like this, order a copy of Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind today! CLICK HERE

BOOK REVIEW by Juliana Lightle

Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind provides an unexpected metaphor for individual life, culture, and so much more. Nearly all the poems are accompanied with a photograph, often of trash in which lays a dental flosser (yes, one of those instruments with which you floss your teeth) with date and location. Flossing is supposed to prevent anything from being left behind. Hence, the title brings up an unusual play on words.” – Juliana Lightle

>> CLICK HERE to read the full review.


This review is part of a month-long, nationwide blog tour for my new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, hosted by Wow! Women on Writing. Buy the book today!

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BOOK REVIEW: Nicole Pyles Reviews Evidence of Flossing

“I was so impressed with this book. It conveyed a beauty and yet sadness at the same time. I could sense the spiritual struggle within the poetry and a reflection of the world around (and the masks society often puts forward). This book is definitely a conversation piece and I can’t wait to share it with others.” — Nicole Pyles, World of My Imagination

>> Click Here to read the full review!


This post is part of a month-long, nationwide blog tour for my new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, hosted by Wow! Women on Writing. Buy the book today!

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Words, Crazy Words Reviews Evidence of Flossing

“Payne’s other work as an essayist is evident in many of the narrative poems. Strong sense of place and point of view carry the individual poems as a cohesive whole. This collection is one I will turn to again and again. I anticipate greater appreciation for this thoughtful collection each time.” — Tara Huck, Words, Crazy Words

CLICK HERE to read the full review!

This post is part of a month-long, nationwide blog tour for my new book Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, hosted by Wow! Women on Writing. Buy the book today!

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Chatham’s South Beach Shrine

We walk along an outermost spot – one of those remote and seemingly isolated spaces that exist scant miles from the 216,000 residents of Cape Cod. This, Chatham’s South Beach, is a breathtaking expanse of shoreline watched over by the famed Chatham Lighthouse and, more recently, Great Whites.

It looks different than the first time I saw it years ago, but such is the fate of the outer shore of the Cape—its profile forever carved by the ebb and flow of the Atlantic and her whims (and whorls).

On this visit, there is more water, less beach, the walk from the upper parking lot down to the shore is noticeably shorter. And still, the fishing boats pass, the seals bob, a kite soars, a dog wanders. In the distance, you cannot miss the distinct and dramatic sound of the ocean surf pounding against what remains of “the bar”—the last vestige of calm before the deep and wild beyond.

These days, a quarter-mile walk down the beach brings you to the South Beach Shrine, a makeshift homage to all things flotsam and jetsam. The literal “what we leave behind.”

It is many things, this shrine — part protest and part art project, part community rallying cry and part curiosity. Its irony reminds me of Prada Marfa, its whimsy like a roadside attraction, its message disheartening. Thankfully, it is big and bold enough to hold all of our interpretations, and strong enough to withstand the ever-changing landscape of coast and culture.

 

Story and Photos ©2017, Jen Payne. For more, see Occupy Chatham South Beach on Facebook.

NOW ON SALE: Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, a collection of poetry and photographs illustrating how changing the world begins with you and me.