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

Monday, August 4, 2014

recipes for hemlock

recipes for hemlock

Excited to have a poem of mine in the first anthology by Boston Poetry Magazine.  Editor Mike Jewett did an excellent job putting this together.  Click image to get your copy and check out some poetry from the dVerse community as well as the talented voices of some others included in this anthology.

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 .

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rant/Dance/Bleed/Fly…at the Poets Pub

Like a sweaty mosh pit?
Well no,
that’s not it,

Like a rave?
With neon rainbows and ecstasy?
Nope, not that either.

Something a lot more classy—

or less,
depending on what’s on their minds.

Oh I get it,
like classic
rock ‘n’ roll.

Hmmthat’s good, too—
but no, it’s more than that,
more like
a symphony

of nations, tribes and tongues—
to each other,
what they have to offer,
there are many ways to rant/dance/bleed/fly.

Yes, yes
that’s more like it.

you can still
bring your Bic lighter
and bang your head
in the glow
if you want to.

Because whatever your preference,
they’re playing your song.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Bring your crumpled paper, your scribbled on napkins, your laptops, your tablets for the dVerse Poets Pub 3rd Anniversary Celebration!  Brian and Claudia and the whole staff open the doors and invite any poet, anywhere to share their voice and to listen in.  I’m sure I join others in saying that I owe them a debt of gratitude for all the work and love they put into keeping the Pub going.  And to all the poets who gather there, you have enriched, enlightened, inspired—thank you for sharing your words.  Meet you there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Down Deep

a summer rain
a giggle in your sleep

crying, the good kind

the smell of coffee
the first sip

breaking the last of anything
in two
giving away the bigger piece

the end of a good book
the beginning of it





© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

Sunday, July 13, 2014

17 Trillion Is Just a Number

Burst the lock,
release the chain,

we ask for different
but get the same—

save (sell) our souls
in forward exchange.

Our customary currency:
owe the Reserve, owe the Chinese,

bail out you, bail out me,
come one, come all, handouts are “free”!
We’ll see who’ll hold the master key
come the year 20-16

and be the next
to blame the wreck

on the last jalopy

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.  Michael (Grapeling) has provided a list of 10 words for us in which to craft a poem.  I used 5 of the 10 he offered.

and the Poetry Pantry

US Debt Clock:  17 Trillion and Counting

Sunday, July 6, 2014

To a Poet, For a Poem

I listen to the darkness,
the beautiful kind
when the lights are off,
and I close my eyes
and see the last light
burned into my mind.

I sit, in my poetry nook,
in the corner of the room,
in a chair, arms leaning, at rest,
my feet propped.

I listen, listen,
ceiling fan low,
box fan high, pointed toward me
to carry the sound
of the silver crackle
of the millionth star
no less wonderful
than the first.

And it might be yours, the only light
in this dark room tonight.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

For all you beautiful, amazing poets out there.  Thank you.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ordinary summer nights

photo © 2014 jennifer wagner

we’ve been
thirsting for this all year—

when we cut the edges off
with soft flecks
of twilight
that stream
the warm air,
bespeckled with

sprinkler water









to the carefree kiss
of bare toes
that splash and dash

with smiles—
for s’mores,
for watermelon,
for staying up late

but mostly
for each other,

to share
the extra-
sparkle with

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner