Tuesday, February 10, 2015


I want to search your depths
and find veils
and smoke,
that will vanish at last in flame.
           --from Eve's Discourse, by Carilda Oliver Labra

after first frost,
gypsy lips,
to your molten touch, erupt--

ignite the slumbering zest,
exotic scent,
hidden in white ginger flame,

burns us up
and leaves
            to ash
the petal nest
of our broken names.

We'll sleep like murderers
who've saved themselves
by bonding together in incomparable blossoming.
            --from Eve's Discourse, by Carilda Oliver Labra

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

For the Sunday Mini-challenge at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. Grace offered us the work of Cuban poet Carilda Oliver Labra for inspiration.

Mariposa is the national flower of Cuba (white ginger lily, “butterfly”).

Friday, February 6, 2015

Gather Round

Harmonica in hand, fedora tipped,
he sits
on the curb
at Pike Place,
           a glass at his side.

I don't question
what's in it,
I don't judge.

He lifts metal to mouth,
we tune out, but--

like the President
in a State of the Union Address
after tragedy to the nation,

the street
becomes his,
all ears
to the tomcat

and we come,
we come.

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

he forgot the (r) in togethe(r)

i didn't point it out
actually, i didn't even notice
but that's how love is,

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

Poem © 2014 Andrew Romero
Photo © 2014 Jennifer Wagner

My eldest son wrote this concrete poem and put it on the door of my room last Mother's Day (on wide strips of tape, not right on the door itself, ha). I have yet to take it down because, well, why take it down? And it is the month of love!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pacific Northwest

Green winter notes
in January
bleed into February--
scent of pine, lavender,
           honey in my tea.

We slice lemon,
bake salmon, peppery
and warm

           like you,
a wild, wild rose,
no hint of snow--
grow 'round my calves,
up my thighs,
hug my hips
a little tighter,

hold me
to spring.

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Yes, it's a real place, and we stayed near it for a night. Well, almost. We stayed until shots rang out way too close and we packed it up, and packed it in the RV, deciding it may be safer to put some miles between us and some teens or good ol' boys shooting at 'coons and beer cans in the near dark. But, I'm getting ahead of myself. This is about hair. “Tommy's mohawk” in a Ziploc bag hung from the ceiling of the cluttered bar/restaurant, which also served as an office in which to reserve your camping space. It hung there with a whole mix of curios we gaped at and yet, were afraid to see. While, I'll call him “McGruff,” due to the gruff manner in which he lent his aid, instructed us on how to locate our spot near the river. And then I saw the sign just above his bald head, which read: “Show off your rod...fish naked!” And I lost it. I got a case of the 8th grade giggles and could not speak intelligibly. So I let my husband do the talking, while the kids kept asking, “What? Mom, what? What's so funny?” Obviously they had not seen it, and I wasn't about to point it out. I think it was the long drive and the sheer absurdity of the place, but let's just say, at this stage of my life it's good I maintained bladder control (hey, I've had four kids, okay? I was impressed it held). So, long story short, we set up camp, went for a dip, had dinner, roasted marshmallows, it began to rain. . . and then, Boom, Bang, Boom, Bang, Boom. And my husband and I looked at each other, and he said, “We're outta here.” So the moral of this story is:

you don't have to
fish naked
to have a hair-raising time

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

A haibun for Anthony's challenge at dVerse: Excuse, Me, There's a Hair in My Poem!

True story.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Our Birds

Townsend's Warbler,
the Pileated Woodpecker,
Varied Thrush.

Red-breasted Nuthatches,
Black-capped Chickadees,
Chestnut-backed, too.

Pine Siskins,
a Red-winged Blackbird,
the Steller's Jays.

Dark-eyed Juncos,
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds,
Band-tailed Pigeons--yes, it's true!

Northwestern Crows,
crow, crow, crow--
the No-doubt Seahawks
are going to go
go, go!

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

image © 2015 Jennifer Wagner

"No doubt" Seahawks and the 12's return to the Superbowl as defending champs (and the 12th team to do it).

For my boys. A list poem with all the birds we have identified in our yard.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

after the long hours

write me a song
with your eyes
like you do

hang up your helmet,
your axe,


© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

Image © 2015 Jennifer Wagner

Two tenWord poems. Over at dVerse this week we were offered to play with the tenWord form. These two can be read together as one little love poem.

For Ian,
for Poets U,
and for all the spouses of firefighters...may the hours quicken!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Resurgences (2 tenWords)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

winter garden
tiny grave beds
(tu)lips are whispering,
come, spring”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

tracing her scars
like braille, mouthing,


© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

For dVerse, the tenWord, a form created by Brian Miller.

Friday, January 9, 2015

mercy, please

image © 2015 jennifer wagner

a red blossom, bloodied burqa,

stoning hole shadows
awaiting execution
press my heart,
within me

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

For dVerse MTB. Bjorn has invited us to do some blackout poetry. I used a book I am currently reading, Stone Crossings, by L.L. Barkat. This particular page/segment from her book brought to mind the the film The Stoning of Soraya M. If you haven't seen it, it's gut-wrenching. Honestly, I couldn't sit through all of the stoning scene.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I won't play your eggshell game.

It's a drag
and you can't hold me hostage

from who I am,
from who I am meant to be,

from happiness.

Honestly, it's rude,
and you continue to behave childishly,

demanding things
on your own selfish terms.

I am making new loves

and they don't require that I tiptoe,

they say,
give it all you got, girl,

go ahead,

© 2015 Jennifer Wagner

For Poetry Jam: One Word. My word is “Freedom,” written about obliquely.