The Compression of Time


Lifetimes lived in seconds on a never-ending clock.
Timewarp through faces and moments —

first kiss,
leaving home,
finding love,
losing friends,
building life —
the wild ways unfold…

kiss home love loss life
kiss home love loss life
kiss home love loss life

So fleeting.

Memories overlap now as the years compound.
I hear the sound
of time collapsing in echoes across the water
until there is nothing but a hole in the ground.

• • •

©2013, Jen Payne
Image courtesy of junussyndicate on deviantART.


The Tenacity of Inspiration


Tell me! Tell me!

Where do stories come from?
How do they suddenly appear like this?
Rattling doors and windows,
demanding to be let in —
this storm surge of memory —

Tell me! Tell me!

It’s my turn now!
Like a petulant child,
stomping her feet —
dogged and determined —
she must get her way.

Tell me! Tell me!

And all the muses conspire,
send whispers on winds,
signs in dreams,
coincidence and happenstance.

Tell me! Tell me!

• • •

Poem ©2013, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Head Bombarded with Grains of Wheat (Particle Head Over the Village of Cadaques) – Salvador Dali, 1954


Losing Face


I don’t know that face,
even though
it seeped




lives ago and
peers out at
me often
curtains of

How can it be
I don’t know you

• • •

©2013, Jen Payne
IMAGE: The Face of Genius, Rene Magritte

Sensory Memory

The cracker
in cellophane
from the diner
tastes like age eleven,
and I think of her—
“Grammy” —
sitting next to me
dunking Saltines into
Salada tea with
milk and sugar.
I hear the chirp
of her hearing aid,
smell Vicks
and Vasoline,
feel the softness
of her cheek
against my lips.

• • •

©2013, Jen Payne