Showing posts with label Life Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life Events. Show all posts

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Harold Angels

When I was six
my grandfather, Harold, died--
though I never called him “Grandfather”
and definitely never “Harold.”

Grampa” was a much more suitable term
for a brown cigarette smoking, Hee Haw watching,
on-raw-hamburger-and-eat-it kind of guy.

So when I heard “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,”
I tried to picture it: all the Harold angels
up there,

I loved him,
but if you'd have known Grampa
you'd have had your doubts, too.

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Prince and me, circa 1977

He was puffy and fluffy
and rarely barked.

I was in the car
that ran over him
the night he died. Six years old

and sitting in the backseat
between my mom and Shirley
as we headed out for dinner. Louie’s Chinese.

Shirley’s husband, Harry,
was the driver. A sweet, adorable man.
A diabetic whose foot later developed gangrene.

He felt terrible, of course.

I felt indescribable.

How do you say
how you feel,
your first prince’s yelps
stinging everything?

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Morning Cartoons (with Oreos and Milk)

A father wakes up
before everybody else

and sets the world whistling.

Except on Saturday,
when he's supposed to get to sleep in,
but you jump on his belly
and pry his eyes open
to watch cartoons with you.

He doesn't mind, though,
because you're his.

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

For my daddy.

Dad, remember Oreos and milk for breakfast with Saturday morning cartoons? I do. Good times. :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Never Stop/Taking Me Home

On the train from Chicago
we are all colors, flavors—
caramel, dark, light.

A young couple, clad
all in red and white, waits near us;
soccer fans
heading back from
Liverpool FC v. Olympiacos.

I had noticed them earlier
on the way in—
laughing at photos on his phone,
their tan legs, intertwined.

And across from us now
an even younger couple,
dark chocolate skin, laughing, electric—
their delight in each other
making me feel like grinning silly,
floating too.

Young love
makes a strong point:  never stop flirting
with the one you want to keep.

She grabs his hand, massages,
notices a scar.
I catch a snippet of what
he says, there’s a story behind that.
Let me tell you

And I drift away
to the conductor nearing our seats,
hear you say, I lost our other ticket
blew onto the tracks

Don’t worry about it, he says—
waving your money away
with his face-consuming grin.

And we are on
to East Chicago,
where the roots of you grew—
leaning my head
on your shoulder
that for 16 years
I’ve trusted
to take me home.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

photo © 2014 Ian Wagner

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Our waitress
takes us down
to tour the cellar

added after
they bought the place.

They set it up
for private parties now
at Valentine’s Day.
President Bush (she doesn’t clarify which)
celebrated his birthday here once—she says

—and in
the close space
I contemplate
the smallness
of powerful men.

we walk—
up, up
the staircase
to patrons
clinking glasses
and slicing
into crab encrusted steak.

We imagine
the horses
out back, back in the day,
as lovers
now sit
in the courtyard
sipping cabernet.

we roam
the upper level in quiet,
look out onto the street,
the mist
of history
in the air.

Your voice
a half-whisper of awe,

it must
have been so cool
working out
of a station like this.

We descend
to the door,
to the sidewalk

and rain
greets us, pattering about
like a welcome home.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Enjoyed our trip to the Chicago area, where my husband was born, to visit family and to celebrate our anniversary and birthdays.

Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner
(click link if you want to know more about this historic building)
Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner


Friday, August 1, 2014

Slice (Cinquain)

photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

deep dish
vine ripened plum tomatoes
fresh mozzarella and flaky, buttery crust
fork, knifeMalnati’s is a Chicago-style smile in
a slice

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Poème, 16

The Ad Says:  Spirited. Adventurous. Intuitive.

Don’t change, you say,
inspired by the song of love triumphant
and the scent I wore when you first loved me.

You say you like it,
whatever it is,
when I curse myself
for being too much of this
or not enough of that.

And I guess that does about sum it up.

Even when I don’t,
you love me
as I am.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

In a few days my husband and I will celebrate our 16th Anniversary.  Poème is the fragrance I wore back when we first met and is also the title of a work by Amédée-Ernest Chausson which was originally subtitled The Song of Love Triumphant .

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Last Monday of May

image by deegolden

The weird Y at W Bostian Rd reminds me of the little house we rented when we were young and living on love.  When I drive it I think of our oldest son slicing his thumb with a razor blade in that garage trying to cut into a tennis ball to see the “guts.”  That afternoon I was pushing his little brother in one of those kiddie cars in front of the house when he came out to me, blood dripping from his hand, a brave and amused smile on his face.  I took him inside to survey the damage.  I admit I had to sit because the room was spinning.  And it hasn’t stopped.  I suppose it never will.  We’ve added two more sons and each have gotten cut badly enough to have stitches, but I’ll never get used to seeing them bleed. So on this day of memory and honoring I say a prayer for the mothers who have had to endure so much more.

memorial day
a mother’s heart

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For dVerse:  Meeting the Bar-the haibun, a combination of prose and haiku.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

extra treats,
longer hugs.

laryngeal paralysis
& age
are taking you
the next phase.

we mentally
try to hear
the future

of hefty paws
padding the floor,
and your bones
with the creaking of the stairs.

we say things like:

remember when he stole that entire ham?
we’ll never have another dog
like him.
he’s happy;
he’s had a good life.
i want to be the one to dig his grave,
when you know,

your slow-wag tail,
your chocolate eyes
melt us

and each of us
for how
we can learn to say,

do svidaniya, drug.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

I’ve been working on this one for a while.  Too emotional.  Our big, mellow Labrador, Druke, is 13 years old and the signs are all there.  “Druke” is how we spell his name, pronounced “drug/droogk” meaning “friend” in Russian.

до свидания, друг

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Search & Rescue

The last I heard from you was
at 5:30am

and I turn off the TV now
to rain forecast and reports
of mud to turn to quicksand.

I’m not supposed to worry.

I’m not supposed to worry.

I’m not supposed to worry.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Hearts and prayers and hands continue to go out for the victims and their loved ones of the mudslide in Oso, WA in which 14 have died and many are missing.  My husband is part of the USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team deployed in the rescue and recovery effort.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


i don’t want to be cute!
i hate being adorable!

when you want to
have muscles
and body hair
and drive a car

this is,
to a boy of six
with three older brothers—

a curse.

the curse of cuteness.

what do you
want to be?

with no hesitation,
all gumption and flash,
the reply: 


i laugh, and quickly try to stifle it—

because he really means it
i do

get what he’s saying—

he wants to be taken seriously
around here,

a mustachioed man/ninja/t-rex
to be reckoned with,

even if i do still help him
to put on his belt
and slick down the cowlick
on the back of his head.

i nod,
as somber and intent
as if i am making
a most grave and
solemn vow.

just between you and me—

he’s still so cute

it’s scary.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

shared at poets united poetry pantry

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Haiku Chocolate

lunchtime, snow falls
as we leave the restaurant,
i put my arm through yours
and catch a flake on my tongue

the rich scent of smoking salmon
is carried on the cold, salt air,
as if it were on the ashes
of long-ago village fires
dotting the shore behind us

just a few blocks up from the landing,
and a stroll through the courtyard
past northwest carvings of
lighthouses, natives—
to the red cup café and the perfect cup—
and on to mukilteo chocolate co. for dessert

you pull the door open, and i say
“what do you think i should i get?”
you smile—suggestive,
“you can get whatever you want”

over the counter the owner
overhears, teases— “that’s dangerous
to tell a woman in a chocolate shop”

a seated man hears, too “or smart”
he’s right, we all laugh—together,
strangers in a shared moment

“well, i have to get the haiku
dark chocolate, ginger,
hint of wasabi, candied ginger on top—
“i just made triple wasabi,
it’s in the back, i can get you some
“no thanks, i’ll go easy and try this first”

we select some amazing flavors,
sip coffee, look out at the view of the sound,
savoring them, and each other
and all the little things that become
the best kind of poetry

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Claudia at dVerse has us writing sketchbook poetry.  As she puts it, “poetry that captures a scene — poetry that is immediate and in the moment.”  With my husband’s schedule and the kids off at school we get to take dates midweek, midday sometimes.  It snowed briefly as we left one of our favorite places on Tuesday and it seemed the perfect moment to capture on paper.  And yes, Haiku Chocolate Truffle is delicious!

Monday, January 27, 2014


Like a classic car,
or old school stuff
that never goes out of style,

like when people say, in admiration,
“they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore”


make me grin
and say to myself,

yes, they do.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

An instant classic.   
I know, I know, spoken like a Mom.  But what can I say?  I adore the kid.  He celebrated his 14th birthday this weekend.  
Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Finest Thing

High Angle Rescue Drill, Firefighter Ian Wagner
Photos © 2012 Ian and Jennifer Wagner Family

On the deck
sipping the last of summer
from my glass of iced coffee,
I’m drenched in a moment
of luscious sunshine,
one of the few left before
autumn’s return.

I’m watching our youngest boys
with delight—
plastic swords and shields in their hands,
attacking The Alien, also known as
the small green sprinkler
with four arms
and a mind of its own.

A miniscule, slate blue butterfly
flits by
and then a larger one, white and clumsy—
meanders by too.

Does it know where it’s going? 
I like thinking it doesn’t,
it just floats along, discovering.

But I know as I watch
two crows
wave west over my roof,
looking so purposeful,
that there are jobs to do, of course—
and each one of us has our own.

A neighboring apple tree
is nearly full of green-gold apples,
three Asian pear trees are laden too—

our Polynesian neighbor
will fill sacks full of the succulent fruit soon,
drop them off on our porch,
with his brown-sugar fingers
and white smile, wrinkled.

My contentment spreads,
a drunken, giddy peace
in the listening to leaves rustling—
still clinging, green, to trees.

They will fall soon enough,
as time keeps its own pace.

I’ll savor this good day
with the gray day of remembering looming,
ashy, grating,
for the grief of
New York’s Bravest, Best and Finest
and all who fell too soon.

But real, too, is the spirit
of what is the best of us.

And that has lived on.

I know it
in the browned fingers of giving,
in the bright laugh of the innocent,
and in your mouth on my neck—

like a breeze,
like sunshine.

I am reminded,
here, in this moment,
not eclipsed
by any large, evil scheme,
that come what may,

some will continue to Give,



And that is still The Finest Thing
on any given day.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Monday, July 29, 2013

Meant to Be

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

It only takes a moment
to see the light

as it’s crossing your path,
like quail to the apricot tree.

It only takes a moment—
and fifteen years later you know

it still is.

© 2013 Jennifer Wagner

Tomorrow my husband and I will be celebrating our 15th Anniversary.  I have been absent from the blogging world for a bit…vacationing where there is not much internet connection and will be absent a bit more for celebrating our Anniversary.  I hope summer is treating you all well!