Two Poems from Jennifer Patino for our online “Trauma Letters Anthology”

white lined paper

(c) Dim Hou on Unsplash.

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  During the healing,
the green ladies said I could
dance in my dreams
and it would be the same
as dancing in the rain
after the first week
in the new town,
where mud filled the streets
and truth be told,
where it all went down

  Downhill is how I ended
up on this makeshift massage
table     I drank the art of
dancing and closed my eyes
too quickly as the carpet
turned to sand

     The boys just watched,
   were you surprised?
   They're wasting time
   trying to show me
   what makes a man

   Mud, and it can be
washed away     The
healers say I'm purified
They can feel my
organs shrinking
I feel what it is to be
a bubble

(“You girls are nothing but trouble”)

    One of the emeralds looks
like a poet I admire
Her eyes are what I take
from this impromptu session
I promise to dance my way
through all of life's lessons
She knows it will always
be better in my mind

   Now we're out of time
and it's desert dry,
the verdant landscape
is no more     Dancing
shoes replaced with
comfy slippers and
hiding from unexpected
knocks on doors

    Recovery is a journey
with no end in sight,
but you move with its rhythm
because it feels better
even if some things
can never be made right



51 50

Day 1:

There are four strangers in my living room. Their clothing is dark but they look like angels. I call one of them by their first and last name. He's stunned. “I've never met her before in my life.” They strap me to a carriage and I am floating. I can't count the overhead lights because it's off rhythm with the Kesha song cycling through my head. I suddenly fear bombs and feel that this whole thing is terribly wrong. I open my eyes later and see a smiling lawyer on a billboard. I know now I'm not at home anymore. I'm sure I've died.

These sirens for me
I've been lured somehow, floating
Confusing ocean

Day 2:

I'm pacing around the white room away from the white coats. I pace around a table. I sit at a table. I stand up and pace again. I think my movements are fluid. There are white papers on the table and I'm too paranoid to sign them. I black out and the room is full of water. Then it all drains, and it's empty again except for a frazzled doctor. She's out of breath, wide eyed, and staring at me. I don't recognize myself in the mirrors lining the left wall, but I knew even before I fell asleep that there were other me's here. I don't know which one is real or which one is my future ghost.

Too many doorways
They say all are closed to me
But I defy them

Day 3:

I don't remember visitors. I'm supposed to remember them. I don't remember what day it is. I wring my hands and they're scaly. My dead self is flaking off. I am raw. I am given industrial strength soap that tears more of me off. They say a part of me took off days ago. They ask me strange questions. I think I'm there for something else.

“I think you're possessed”
Staff members are scaring me
I will not trust them

Day 4:

The sun is too bright. I pace around the garden wrapped in a blanket. I go in when it is too hot, shuffle around the rec room, and go back out when the ever-pumping AC makes it freezing. Alarms go off because someone tries to escape. I think it's Sunday. Football on the tube tells me it's true. I see my shining star that night. I walk the hallways after hours when he's out of sight and there's an Elton John concert on the TV that me and another insomniac are given special permission to watch. We sing quietly. We hold hands. We are sent to bed.

I'm crying for home
“So goodbye yellow brick road”
Can I go back soon?

Day 5:

The judges are the jury. They say I can't leave early. They don't know what's wrong with me. I start inventing things wrong with me based on prescription drug commercials that trigger us all on the TV. The thing is always on. It's a clearer picture than what's through the barred windows. It's clearer than the fog in everyone's heads. I can't feel my face from whatever they have me on. Another patient slaps me after coming in for a hug. It's a surprise attack. She's been here one day less than me and she's learned nothing. I haven't spake unless spoken to in three days.

I read “Ariel”
I wonder if it's cliché
or just worrying

Day 6:

I recognize my visitor. I've been waiting all day. I feign smiles through arts and crafts. I write a letter home lying about how this experience has made me feel so much better. I think this is what they want. I know they're watching us. What I really want to write is: “There is so much that needs to be done with how mental health is handled here in America and I'm too afraid to speak up. I will be silent about this because they've already put so many stigmas on me that I'm buried in them. I will forever be afraid of this happening again until the day that I die and it will change me.”

 Every single day
“Just be yourself” they tell me
Then I'm locked away

Day 7:

They tell me I'm going home and I'm happy. I'm nervous about screwing it up though. I'm exceptionally good. I chat with nurses like a “normal person” while silently cursing them through my teeth. I still don't sleep fitfully. I read my notebook for the week. They gave me a soft sponge wrapped around a piece of lead to write with to keep me calm. I'm shocked. Someone wrote in my book but I won't recognize myself in those words until later. And even then whoever I was is now long gone.

Making it alive
The goal once I realized
I had nowhere to hide

Day 8:

I finally step into the sunshine with my head down. I continue this practice for all of my days.

It's just
safer
this way


see below for more poetry and interviews/bio from Jennifer.  Thanks

Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jennifer Patino

Audrey Hepburn Challenge: Some Things A Lady Just Wears Well by Jennifer Patino

3 poems by Jennifer Patino : “Postcard” “the Thaw” & “Watching Rosemary’s baby at 6 AM”

Twitter: @thoughtthistles




























The Audrey Hepburn Poetry Challenge

Audrey Hepburn, 60'S Icon, Female Face

Audrey Hepburn Challenge!~

(c) Maggs Vibo Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo
Some Things a Lady Just Wears Well  
Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Jennifer Patino

I am the Audrey
with the pink chucks at the party
wearing oversized shades at night
Scary thin, decked in
dazzling cubic zirconia,
coming down
from a med withdrawal
after my last psychotic episode
involving a Golden Hollywood
delusion & fear of having cancer

Some Gregory Peckerhead
bums my smokes when he
has a full pack in his pocket,
but my sweet meter is high,
like those fools at the makeshift
blackjack table with pixie stick dust
on their upper lips & caked
between their nasal strips
because their vice supplier
never bothered showing up

It should be Halloween, but it's too warm
& there aren't enough demons
on the dance floor
I let the moochy one lead me there
where there's an awkward
exchange of one liners
His Bogart impersonation is the worst,
but I know i'm falling in love
because impulsivity
is the new 'You Can Heal Your Life'
& dammit, he can really move

We're the clean up crew, sober at dawn
I'm Sabrina sweeping up glass
& scrubbing vomit from the floor
He's singing 'Get Me to the Church on Time'
because it's Sunday
& lapsed Catholicism is a topic
we discussed hours ago
before the kisses, before
the Moon River descent,
before the exchange of names

He's driving me home
in a minivan
His mamma's rosary
hangs on the rearview mirror,
catching the sun
causing disco prisms
& paparazzi bulbs
to sting my face
"Hey babe," he says
stroking his stubbly chin,
"How 'bout Breakfast at Taco Bell?"
It's no Roman Holiday,
but I'll call it a win,
except when we get there
it's not open

(c) Maggs Vibo Wolfpack Contributor Bio: Maggs Vibo

Heartbreak by the Seashore by David L O’Nan

We met and departed by that same seashore house.
When you first looked at me, and laughed
in a shy, yet very conversational.
A slight flirtatious touch to my shoulder
and I was in love,  
the sun reflected blades of energy across
where my heart lit on fire, and my soul dropped to 
the sands for you to pickup, and take ownership.
In your ticklish grin, I could do nothing but be mesmerized
by your eyes.
We'd walk the sands, and one Sunday evening
as the glow of the moon shun on the waters
I said "You look just like a movie star from movies I've yet seen"
She said "Yeah, they say I look a little like Audrey, you know Audrey Hepburn?" In the most charming demure laugh I've ever heard.
I wasn't quite sure until I researched, and there they were
just like her,
and her eyes were dancing back to me.   
just like her,
her voice just swayed me away like a fool,
For some reason I felt if nothing was impossible, is this possible?
For hours and days on end
I could hear her music boxes playing
faeries and ballerinas, music notes in the air for me to grab
Was I living a myth?  
Was she the reincarnation of her, sitting by black and white dollhouses aligned by jasmine?
And the Summer faded, and so did the Fall,
the Winter was as gusty as ever, and Spring had its way with the flowers.  Creating new universes and felt bloodless, and used by the sins, and used by the lies, and abused by the skies.
In the rain, I picked the apples from the trees nearby
While in thought the lakes I would walk by were suddenly velvet
with rose petals stuffed in fairy tales, inside the polyphenols.
I would drink them in if I must, to make this last.
I began to chant her eyes in magical chants, offering gifts to the Gods to bring her my love, and her love to me.
I wait as she has married, I want to just see the eyes again.
Days later her reflection whips its way back to my soul.
A walk down the city sidewalk, and "I say hey,
do you remember me from my Summer getaway?"
She says "Of course, you're the one who didn't know about Audrey"
Suddenly I felt lost, dumb, and obviously not the only shy boy who was in love with her eyes.
I sat in love, by myself in thought.  
In my city, lost and wondering if i'd ever see her again.
Will I ever feel that touch to my shoulder, the smile that erased my feeling of failure for just a little while.
I saw her again, after a lover's spat.  She was alone , awaiting a reprieve she felt.  
No longer was she full of energy, but more like me
Depressed, confused and like me, lost.
in rain storms she was dressed more like a woman who left a fashion ball than living without a home under thundercracks.
We went back to my sorry 1-bedroom, and talked for the first real time about her, she spoke of a failed love back home, and 
she finally took the time to understand me, and I pretended not to understand everything about her that i've built up in my mind.
We were spinning jars on the floor, playing Miles Davis as the rain pellets smacked the window.
We were picnics in the park, I'd stare as the strawberry leaves her lips. Entranced by her eyes.
We were hand in hand watching the tiny finches flapping in the puddles.
Leaving soundwaves of songs in the ripples.
Praying hope into our souls.
We were watching the magnolias flatten by the sun rot, as we sat
on stacks of Alfalfa Hay.
I knew she had to get back home after the many days of finally knowing love.  She still had this Golden ring on her finger that began to shine like dishwater yellow to her.
How did the narcissism of the highway man, the traveling heart breaker not fall in love with the eyes, the smile, the gentle walks, the woman inside that fully understood the man I would become?
How did he get so lucky to have his fairy tale become true?
I hope to one day be back by that seashore and see her walk back
in a Holly Golightly divorcee cackle, and have arms ready for mine.
Even in the fog of her leaving, her eyes
The wailing of spirits from the ocean, her eyes
Sitting atop a reflection of an empty wineglass, and her eyes...
The secrecy of love note trails that lead to the top of her stairs,
while he was away.  
The same trails in which her tears would drop when someone wasn't looking as she took walks by herself, like I.
I await with the wind chimes.
I await in the milk white flowers that rest in the wind.
I await sitting the lonely mask in the corner of her eyes.
I plant her a garden, and believe in tomorrow. 
To share our black and white mirrorball.  I'm just a pebble wanting to be picked up to be swept away.
Forever in her palm, 
and forever her eyes.  

Wolfpack Contributor EIC Bios:  David L O’Nan & HilLesha O’Nan

Poem by DMB (Death Metal Buddha) 'Audrey  Hepburn'

An American icon, 
Setting the standard for Hollywood elegance;
Unique beauty and incredible talent 
Accompany her audiences and costars;
Wound and endowed with the resilient nature
Resplendent genus to cultural activity;
The ultimate girl to role model difference 
Fell in love with the Corps de ballet;
Smuggling secret messages in ballet slippers 
There is more than charity in her name;
A desire to make the world more beautiful
Sweet lil Academy Award winner,
And she did. 







Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Jennifer Patino

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Jennifer: I wrote little stories about the squirrels in the front yard of my childhood home at the age of six but began to take writing more seriously at the age of nine. I was really into The Babysitters Club books by Ann M. Martin. I loved reading so much and making up stories to tell my siblings and cousins so it just made sense to me that I should be writing them down. One of my favorite Babysitters Club characters, Mallory Pike, wanted to be an author too and kept a journal so of course I followed suit. It also makes sense that a fictional character was my biggest influence back then as well. I was a very imaginative child and I sought solace in characters from books and TV. Most of my childhood writings were fan fiction.

Q2: Who is your biggest influence today?

Jennifer: I read a lot so it’s very difficult to pinpoint a single influence. I’ve also met a lot of people over my lifetime who have become poems. Some of them were people I only encountered once. I’m influenced by a lot, but for the sake of answering the question I’ll list some writers who have inspired me: Walt Whitman, Anne Sexton, Sylvia Plath, Diane Burns, Sherman Alexie, and Willliam S. Burroughs.

3. Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing/art?

Jennifer: I lived in Detroit, MI until I was thirteen years old and then Springhill, FL until my late twenties. Since my writing now is mostly nostalgic, both of these places and life events I experienced there have heavily influenced my writing. I’m not going to spill my traumas here—my life has never been easy—but both places hold huge signifiance for me on many levels. Michigan will always be home and the place I return to in my mind the most. It’s the only place I’ve lived in that had all four seasons and I’ve come to learn how that cyclic change is very important for my well-being. Times were somewhat easier and simpler then so I associate that place with so much goodness. The desire and hope that I will be able to move back and hopefully die there eventually is all over my writing. Florida is influential for a lot of other reasons. It’s a place I avoid as much as possible, except in my writing, because there’s so much about living there that I really would love to just purge. I grew up in different ways in both places so they’re both definitely in my work.

Q4: Have any travels away from home influenced work & describe?

Jennifer: I have not traveled much in my lifetime for the sole purpose of traveling. The two trips I have taken for vacation purposes were in my twenties. I went to Las Vegas once and when friends fell in love with the place and wanted to live here someday, I told them all they were crazy and I would never even consider it. Well, life had other plans. I currently live in Las Vegas and believe me, I never imagined I’d live here and I’ll admit I’m still not a very big fan of it. It is way too hot for my liking. Living in three different parts of the United States at various stages in my life that are so vastly different from each other is a definite influence. Every new place created a whole new me. I had to grow and adapt to new ages, maturity levels, locations, and worsening chronic illnesses. As I said before, I hope my next and last stop will be home again.

Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist/poet/writer?

When I was nine this old man who ran a neighborhood newsletter asked my friends and I if any of us wrote or drew pictures and wanted to be featured in it. I liked writing creepy stories and had a lot of them so it was perfect that he specifically asked for something spooky because it was October. I wrote a few stories for the newsletter until he ran out of money to keep it going. He gifted me an old typewriter and that was when I knew I would be writing for the rest of my life. I was addicted to that thing. I typed up every thought in my head and annoyed my sister with the clunky sounds it made. It broke beyond repair right before I moved with my family down to Florida, but by then computers were becoming the thing. I learned to type early but I still kept notebooks and that continues today. Sometimes I have better flow with the keyboard, other times I can only write with the pen.

Q6: Favorite activities when not writing/creating to relax?

Jennifer: What is this “relax” thing that you speak of? laughs As I said I love to read. I’ll read just about anything. I prefer darker literature, memoir type stuff, and poetry the most though. I’m also a huge lover of film. I can spend entire days watching movies and due to chronic pain, I often do. I also listen to a lot of different types of music and that can be relaxing too, especially if I’m in the mood to sing along. I’m also a huge fan of phone calls. Most people hate the phone but the rare few I know that I can talk with for hours are treasured by me.

Q7: Any recent or upcoming promotional work?

Jennifer:

I just had a story published in Punk Noir Magazine called “Snapped”. https://punknoirmagazine.com/2021/06/22/snapped-by-jennifer-patino/

Forthcoming, some of my microfiction will be published in a horror anthology. It’s going to be a collection of #horrorprompt tweets from over the years by those who participate in the writing prompt over on Twitter. https://twitter.com/horrorprompt

Q8: One of your favorite lines from one of your poems/songs?

Jennifer:  
 "but I'm certain
  of sounds from the dark
  keeping me awake,
  of navigating postictal
  through tunneled hallways,
  & of the last image
   I recall before the long fall"

I can't ever pick favorites, but this stanza from a poem I wrote called “After the Shock” sticks out in my mind at the moment. My “epilepsy poems” often stand out for me. Some of them I've written while my head is still in that post-seizure, postictal state and that's always a surprise to find while I'm editing. Being diagnosed with epilepsy has changed so much of my life and the way I write. It's something I'll  never escape from because it's my own brain.

Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?

Jennifer: There are two people. My high school drama/English teacher for telling me “Wow, these aren't your typical angsty teen poems” while reading my work. He was a writer himself and he gave me a lot of advice and encouragement to keep learning, writing, and improving. I still remember our talks about writing and I learned more in those conversations than in my entire high school career.

The second was a dear writer/editor friend of mine that I corresponded with for many years who unfortunately passed away in 2013. He helped me break through a lot during discouraged times in my life where I was ready to call it quits when it came to the whole writing thing. I'll never forget either one of them or the advice they so kindly offered to me.

Thank you, Fevers of the Mind, for wanting to interview me.

3 poems by Jennifer Patino : “Postcard” “the Thaw” & “Watching Rosemary’s baby at 6 AM”

Audrey Hepburn Challenge: Some Things A Lady Just Wears Well by Jennifer Patino

http://www.thistlethoughts.com for Jennifer’s webpage

Bio: Jennifer Patino is an enrolled LCO Ojibwe poet residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. When she isn’t writing through the throes of living with chronic illnesses she can be found obsessing over film, devouring a stack of half-read books, or jamming out to an eclectic array of music. She also will put corn on just about anything. She blogs at www.thistlethoughts.com.

Audrey Hepburn Challenge: Some Things A Lady Just Wears Well by Jennifer Patino

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 20210525_094757.jpg
(c)Maggs Vibo for digital poetry artwork

Some Things a Lady Just Wears Well

I am the Audrey
with the pink chucks at the party
wearing oversized shades at night
Scary thin, decked in
dazzling cubic zirconia,
coming down
from a med withdrawal
after my last psychotic episode
involving a Golden Hollywood
delusion & fear of having cancer

Some Gregory Peckerhead
bums my smokes when he
has a full pack in his pocket,
but my sweet meter is high,
like those fools at the makeshift
blackjack table with pixie stick dust
on their upper lips & caked
between their nasal strips
because their vice supplier
never bothered showing up

It should be Halloween, but it's too warm
& there aren't enough demons
on the dance floor
I let the moochy one lead me there
where there's an awkward
exchange of one liners
His Bogart impersonation is the worst,
but I know i'm falling in love
because impulsivity
is the new 'You Can Heal Your Life'
& dammit, he can really move

We're the clean up crew, sober at dawn
I'm Sabrina sweeping up glass
& scrubbing vomit from the floor
He's singing 'Get Me to the Church on Time'
because it's Sunday
& lapsed Catholicism is a topic
we discussed hours ago
before the kisses, before
the Moon River descent,
before the exchange of names

He's driving me home
in a minivan
His mamma's rosary
hangs on the rearview mirror,
catching the sun
causing disco prisms
& paparazzi bulbs
to sting my face
"Hey babe," he says
stroking his stubbly chin,
"How 'bout Breakfast at Taco Bell?"
It's no Roman Holiday,
but I'll call it a win,
except when we get there
it's not open

 
 Bio: Jennifer Patino is an enrolled LCO Ojibwe poet residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. When she isn't writing through the throes of living with chronic illnesses she can be found obsessing over film, devouring a stack of half-read books, or jamming out to an eclectic array of music. She also will put corn on just about anything. She blogs at www.thistlethoughts.com. 

3 poems by Jennifer Patino : “Postcard” “the Thaw” & “Watching Rosemary’s baby at 6 AM”

Postcard, Letters, Antique, Old, Vintage

Postcard

There is no
resolution
or solution
when a ghost
hops time zones

You wrote, "I'm all alone,
but the beauty
of the afterlife
is that everything
is automatic,
and nothing
is problematic
anymore."

A glossy photo
of a golden shore
with angelic scrawl,
in my head,
your voice,
a heavenly southern drawl

Impossibilities
were always
your specialty,
and I'm sorry
I can't reply
                            
                    "You never said
goodbye,"

There is no
return address
for loneliness,
no messenger
to throw
a harpoon through,
only a wind chime,
maybe white noise,
a smoke signal,
to let me know it's from you

The Thaw

sadness serenades
from the rooftops,
slick, post-slush,
kiss goodbye
the winter sky

footsteps fill
with floods,
and I pray
you aren't
swept away

I smell daffodils
already, sweet
scented frills,
man-planted landscape

in this dry desert,
the sage, tough
with age, the rolling
tumbleweed;
I long for hills

but I'm in the valley,
in the weeping of
a decade not enough
to fill these
reservoirs

we've made this land
a piece of ours, at least
in where we've lived
and tread,
where we've rested
our jaded heads

sing softly for the thaw,
the melting, the new
moon season arriving,
for thirsty shrubs
that soon
will be thriving

Watching Rosemary's Baby at 6 AM

1.

Mia sits like a china cup
chipping away at French
manicured nails
Wild printed woman, 30
years her senior,
speaks with a table shaking
voice

2.

it's serene
here
underwater,
familiar scene

wait,
i'm the red clad lamb
being led to slaughter

time ticks,
i reminisce,
what did they give me?

3.

polished & forgiven,
too yellow morning
awakening

accusation lingers on the 
skin,
marked & bitten

tea bag evidence
an open window invitation



Bio: Jennifer Patino is an enrolled LCO Ojibwe poet residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. When she isn't writing through the throes of living with chronic illnesses she can be found obsessing over film, devouring a stack of half-read books, or jamming out to an eclectic array of music. She also will put corn on just about anything. She blogs at www.thistlethoughts.com.