Monday, December 22, 2014

Unsilent Night

Whores and lepers. Sheep shit and fish guts. The real gospel is gritty. The real Jesus is dirty, naked, and unashamed of his great, humiliating sacrifice for those willing to accept such an inglorious, less than glossy delivery, which was not heralded on expensive card stock, which may not have occurred on December 25th. But it was the first Noel.

star twinkling
angels singing
staffs trembling
after 400 years of silent waiting

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

trying my hand at tanka prose for carpe diem: christmastime

Friday, December 19, 2014

Don't be a Scut Farkus . . .

Have a Merry Christmas!

I triple-dog-dare ya.

Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Peace on earth?
Good will toward men?
Your two front teeth?
An Official Red Ryder, Carbine Action, Two-hundred Shot, Range Model Air Rifle?

Whatever it is, I hope you get it.

Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

I took these photos this past summer in Hammond, Indiana where my husband's awesome Grandma and Aunt live (and where he spent many summers growing up). A Christmas Story was based on Jean Shepherd's book of short stories based on his experiences growing up in Hammond (fictionalized as “Hohman” in the film). Grandma and Grandpa were friends of the real-life “Flick,” who got his tongue stuck to the pole in Shepherd's story. Grandma says it really happened. Today is her 90th birthday.

Enjoy the Christmas holiday, all . . . and be sure to drink your Ovaltine!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grandma, Mickey and Me

“It forks in and out a little like the tongue   
Of that frightened garter snake we caught   
At Cloverfield, you and me, Jenny   
So long ago.”  -- To the Muse, JAMES WRIGHT

Grandma killed many snakes
in her yard by the tavern
when she had to.

She could do anything
and she wasn’t afraid
of anything.
Or maybe she was
afraid of everything
and she’d just done
what she’d had to do.

She wore a cowgirl hat
with a feather roach clip
and earrings with sayings on them
like, “No” and “Well, maybe.”
She wore tight animal print pants,
read The National Enquirer
and swore the pig-boy was real.

Her little trailer sat
just off the road
and we would stay the night
with her when we were young
and play board and card games
and watch TV.

She would sneak over to the
tavern and bring us special treats
like fried tater tots
with ham and cheese inside.

I’d get to sleep
with Grandma
in her “big” bed
and my cousin would sleep
on the couch in front of her old TV,
the bust of JFK,
and her framed photo
of the son she never got to see.

During the day
we’d go off to explore,
especially the train tracks
where we’d imagine hobos
hitching rides.

She’d told me,
“the bees are out,
thicker than molasses.”
And to “be careful. 
Just be still
when they come near you.”

And I was,
except when
my cousin distracted me
by making me laugh
and I swatted my arm
and got my first bee sting.

It hurt
but I knew Grandma
could take care of it.

We wove our way back
to Grandma’s where she
plucked a leaf from her
aloe vera plant and squeezed
some of the gel out onto the sting.
It was better than new.
She could do anything, like I said.

Pig-boy might have even been real.
You never know.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

A couple of days ago Grace presented us with the work of James Wright.  She said we can use a “line of verse as a jumping board” and to “feel free to explore where your muse takes you.”  My poem isn’t the same subject as the one of Wright’s that I springboarded from, but it’s where my muse lead.  I think I went autobiographical because of Wright’s simple family roots and of course, “Jenny.”

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Arctic Wolf, Winter's Moon

photo by Jeremy Weber

A blood-painted sky,
a huntscape
in white,

burn bright, burn bright.

Sickle and slice,
sickle and slice.

A blood-painted sky,
a huntscape
in white,

burn bright, burn bright.

Wolf, howl, find
your prey,
make ghosts tonight,
ghosts tonight.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

for my seven-year-old, who loves arctic wolves
and for Poets U