Poetry Showcase: Jennifer Patino (May 2023)

Bio: Jennifer Patino is a poet who lives for books and film. She has had work featured in Door is A Jar, Punk Noir Magazine, A Cornered Gurl, The Chamber Magazine, Fevers of the Mind, Free Verse Revolution Lit, Windy Knoll Zine, and elsewhere. She lives in Traverse City, Michigan with her husband. Visit her blog at www.thistlethoughts.com.

Heather Donahue in Voice-Over

Sharpening nails for the
final girl battle, scream
queens give stank eye. Pick
apart Heather’s flannel
and question her sexuality.
They want to borrow
her lip shade because
it’s autumnal. Want to
know what happened
when the cameras
were off. Want to know
if they can mimic her

No one offers Heather
a tissue or a bloody
shoulder. No one checks
her for ticks. They just
want the boys’ juicy secrets.
Cool girl Heather. A woodland
princess. Scotch mouthwash
and a last phone call home.
Curious Heather. Scouring
the bottoms of Gucci bags
for weed. Busted.

In this corner, a book of shadows.
In the other, Heather reading
aloud from the folklore,
wide eyed plastic dummies
at her feet. They hear her the
best. They animate for
the purpose of helping
her adjust her pack.
To hold her hand
as she crosses that river
for the eighth time.
To stand in the corners
of her studio apartment
to remind her of what’s

Heather pays no mind.
Heather polishes her own
weapons and smiles, steely-eyed.
She won’t forget the map this time.
Heather paints her face
in camouflage and smells
like a hunt. She flaunts
assertive posture. She
insists she knows her stuff.
Fixes every scattered pile of rocks.
The others primp
and pray to be enough.

Harlequin Frames

while deciphering spatter, I remember
your squinting, your pondering,
& the magnetics of twiddling fingers
longing to outstretch

you said your memories of the 70s
looked a lot like the movies,
the kind you should only watch
while listening through headphones

there’s a lot of crimson in your final scene,
like the red coat of horror, the pranks,
the overreaching, the hyperbole,
the pinprick promise we made

you always said a good film left you
questioning, & I wasn’t the answer
but you painted me as one
just the same

I read nothing between
the lines on your wrists,
or your scrawling in the sand
but the sound of leaky faucet now haunts

if I can collect all this bloodshed,
mold it together, form you back again,
I’d still end up with a thousand piece pie,
an enigmatic anomaly in khaki

a brother in ink who called it quits,
admirer of springtime blushing
& the shape of my muttering lips;
a shining constellation

in the darkness that is mundanity,
a scratch on the negative, a quarter
rubbed on a Polaroid that develops
after death as a blob, a specter

a reason for contemplating insanity
as repetition, as a palindrome,
as a mystery I’ll never solve
that grows cold
the longer I go without seeing you

but I’ll write unsent letters to you
& watch all our favorites on mute
so I can conjure your words out of flickering mouths

Baby, This Ain't Elm Street

In this dream,
I’m in Nancy Thompson’s pajamas

climbing a drain pipe 
toward safety

My best friend’s window
is barred

& she doesn’t live there
anymore but her sticky

glow in the dark stars
have stayed put

In this world,
I have the desire to make it,

to claw my way
across mattresses myself

I plunge the ice pick
into my monsters

& don’t feel any guilt
about it

In real life, I’m bleeding out
in my best friend’s driveway

while she screams & lets
the bad man get away

I don’t go looking on this side
of things, I don’t go chasing

anyone, and revenge is a
foreign concept

We keep quiet about
what we tell each other

while the rest of the slumber
party is asleep

We’re the same, she & I,
with murdered tongues

We’re the undeserving,
wounded & weeping ones

We’re the backstory kills
when the gore is sprayed & done


death's horse
kicks up sand
into an untrained eye,

an onyx vision
while white doves
witness from the parapet

sun shimmers
in the distance,
a twirling medallion
dangling from the wrist
of a hypnotist

dizzying forest, where
black robes gather
& are mistaken for oak trees

the madame of the house
has no wish to be
a victim
of sacrificial mist

she is darting
along with the dusted eye,
between horrific reality
& a need to cry

fearing to die from
nightmare, from bewitched
projectiles, javelin
tree branches
with warnings
carved into them

awake, awake
before it's too late
& the night becomes familiar

smoldering cross branches,
shaped deliberately,
a silhouette of a hand
reaching, desperate to grasp
a last smoke stream of faith

now she is a wraith
reaped for next year's harvest,
a good crop omen
lost to the wood

so good,
so very, very good

I Often Have Nostalgia For Things That Never Happened
(for E.H.)

tonight i learned about the dead boy
who filmed my old stomping ground
in such a way that i felt the comfort
he felt while depressed & savoring nature

while watching      his youtube movie
& my cluttered walls became
the passenger seat view down
US HWY 19   & how the sky

above it looked from the floor mats
& how some people look too young
to be dead     & some people have
aquatic eyes   that look nice

to drown in    & some people
even have ocean waves
in their blue eyes    with flecks
of washed up kelp floating on irises

real beaches are the dirty ones, where i
learned things from & divined options of
detrimental life decisions in the muck,
where i chased the live boy

who ranted about Lou Reed for two
hours & who didn’t even blink when i
mentioned the shooting star,
but i wished for a kiss that never came

this dead boy behind the lens, in the lens,
i kissed him in a dream once
& he’s still a stranger      because
i’ll only know his ghost sickness

i’ll name a certain pain after him
& it will wax & wane as pain does
but he’ll still be gone      living on
in real time memory       uploaded

to my subconsciousness where he first
pressed a thumb to in order to leave
a smudge so i’d find him eventually,
in every palm tree lined reverie

i left my curses there & discovered melancholy
& the dead boy & the live boy
exist simultaneously
in a single body           buried

like the old addresses i never want to
find again       but here is one framed
elegantly        among swamps
& the dead boy is with me

watching me watching what he
was watching
during our shared dark times
& wondering if i’m really alive

                  or are we both just dreaming?

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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