Coyote, 1

Cyano-coyote | Cyanotype print by Amy Jasek

From the silence of the desert night
someone shook coyote awake
with all his yips and yowls
his eye glinted in the moonlight

Someone shook coyote awake
so she gathered her sisters and came for me
their eyes glinted, seeking moonlight
they roused me with their song

The gathered sisters came for me
beaconing beneath the scattered stars
they roused me with their song
that bore up through me, awake and alive

Beaconing beneath the scattered stars
they welcomed me to join their dance
They bore me along with them, alive
with the scent of the night and musky limbs

They welcomed me to join the dance
that shook coyote wide awake
with the scent of night and musky limbs
our eyes glinted together in the moonlight

Susan Wooldridge, in her amazing book Poemcrazy, has a section on “Awakening Coyote.” That, along with our many camping trips to the deserts of the American Southwest, was the genesis for this pantoum poem. I had a blast writing to that section of the book! I wrote several, which I will share in bits and pieces. . . . .

Paris Postcard

If I sent you a postcard
from the Tuileries
a real old-fashioned lick-stamp affair

(and of course it’s an affair because
what is Paris if not a torrid
attack of all-consuming passion?
a head-over-heels reel into a
May to September ocean of bliss?
a ravishing of the senses, like
a deep ruby pour of Burgundy
scented with chocolate and
truffled roses, the stomach-butterfly
bubble of champagne that comes
with the anticipation of kisses?)

If I sent you this postcard
purchased with francs
I would write about the man
who charmed birds to perch
on his fingertips and shoulders,
the crush of the Louvre,
the echoing holy ring of the
sisters’ voices at Sacre Coeur,
des apéritifs, des escargots,
the bowls of café au lait,
and the time a woman
mistook me for a native –
however that happened! – it was
a little touch of grace
that I would gladly send you
if I could only find a
carte postale big enough
to grip it in its beak
and fly it across the sea

My friends at Shabd Aaweg recently had a month of writing prompts for National Poetry Month. Paris Postcard was one of them. I didn’t manage to share this poem while they had the prompts going for entry, so here it is, now, for you! Who else loves Paris?

Ode, to Coffee

Hipstamatic app shot of the first coffee I was served in an actual mug in a cafe in over a year

Recently, my friend Shawna wrote on her Instagram about how she had to temporarily give up coffee. Shawna has four kiddos, and she homeschools, so you can imagine with what trepidation she was facing this sacrifice. I read her post right about the time I was making my own daily cup, and the combo inspired me to try out the new-to-me ode form in honor of the delectable devilish concoction so many of us adore. Shawna, and everybody, this is for you!

Oh hallowed nectar, rich and capped in white!
Strongest cup of daily refuge,
I love the bright
aroma from the centrifuge
that grinds your beans down fine with motored might.
Your honeyed drip, much anticipated
by old and young alike:
they start the hike
from dawn til dusk with sleep deprived minds abated.
A morning out of whack,
set right by java black,
or servings downright huge.
Mine I take with milk and sugar,
sweetness adding to the deluge
of caffeine’s jolting spur,
but however it might arrive,
we all agree, to some degree,
it helps keep us alive.

Tropical fruit, lovingly picked by hand,
prize of Cancer and Capricorn,
gift of the land,
of the valley or hillside born.
Fair trade helps farmers make a stand
for their commodity so highly sought.
From plant to roaster bound,
then freshly ground,
the whole production battle is a fight well fought.
What kind of brew today?
For here, or take away?
A klatch is gaily formed
where avid fans come together
with music. Hanging out’s the norm
no matter the weather,
in fact, the greyer the better:
we stay all day, we chat and play,
to the cafe tethered.

How we revere the skill of baristas,
turning cups of joe into art.
Mona Lisas,
whose sly smiles always hit the mark.
Students, housewives, even fashionistas
come pay homage at their bar-like altars.
Espresso lovers know
what pressure shows:
a well run machine’s elixir never falters.
The very best of them
become our first-name friends,
tending us, heart to heart,
like doctors with shots of caffeine,
they understand our weaker parts
and what addiction means.
Craftsmen, painting pictures in foam,
they serve us well, and live to tell
customer quirks at home.

Delicious grail of warmth, disguised as fuel,
daily ritual well cherished,
both kind and cruel.
Too much of you is nightmarish,
still we seek you out for our renewal.
The process alone helps get us going:
the anticipation
of elation,
while suspicions of dependency are growing.
The morning starts with haste
for your nostalgic taste,
where the cobwebs perish.
Sure, we could give you up, but why
start the day cranky and bearish
instead of feeling spry?
As long as you can wake us up,
gentle lover, like no other,
with you we’ll fill our cup.

Shoutout to William Wordsworth, whose piece Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood inspired the meter and rhyme scheme for my coffee ode.

First Black-Out Poetry Poem

The physical copy

the room, well-dressed with
tall, thin, angular
eyes like a thunderbird seated

oil and emery prepare
a seal, drilling that it
might be smoothed

The golden glance,
dusty, held high
to visit the design suspect
engagingly far (away)

Low the days for Babylon,
strange as an envoy
of peace seemed

Low, the days

Our local library prepared a number of black-out poetry kits for locals to take and try, in honor of National Poetry Month. I had been meaning to play with this technique for a long time, but it took my daughter noticing the free kits for it to finally happen. I’ve doctored the words a little to help it make sense. . . . I’m still not sure how much it really helps, but I’m sharing the result with you anyway!

Have you tried black-out poetry? Are you a pro at it? I would love to see some examples!

Check out what writer Christopher J. Luna does with this kind of poetry, plus cutting and pasting and collaging and generally making brilliant things with words!

Morning Observations

Central Texas Philharmonic | photo by Amy Jasek (digital)

The song of the morning
is a lot of ecstatic tweets,
high pitched messages,
and low slung motor grindings

All around, in the houses,
people are working,
watching TV, surfing on WiFi,
rejoicing, grieving.

All around, outside,
urban nature goes about
its own business, with all
the seriousness of a concert
pianist responding
to the conductor.

Just a few words made on a recent spring morning out on my patio, with a coffee. Where do you like to write, if you write in the morning?

Thank you for reading!

Evening, after the rain

Caddo Lake State Park, Forest Trail (TX) | Hasselblad 500cm & Portra 800

The backyard glows
like an emerald, the leaves are
gemstones in a dark forest,
reflecting the dying light of the rain,
while the wet wood of bark
and fence posts offers no bite,
just molders away with a
mushroom aura, anticipating
the decaying gloom.

Earlier a rabbit hopped
through the soft marsh of the grass
searching, investigating, hopeful

They aren’t leaves, they are drops
of jade, and peridot, shining above a
glade of malachite blades,
while the topaz sky lowers its skirts
into a sapphire sea

If this poem seems somewhat derivative, it is: a couple of days ago I purposely wrote a poem after Pablo Neruda (whose writing I adore), so I had the names of gemstones still lingering in my brain. These words will be included in my Camp NaNo Project . . . . I *think*. Like everything else in life, it remains a work in progress!

Thank you for reading! If you feel like writing something about how your own little patch of the earth looks in the evening after it rains, I would love to read it!


Medium format film | Ondu pinhole camera

With sunshine and grace
you present your joyful face
to brighten this place

Nourished by autumn
the seeds wait in secret hope
for the coming spring

In storm the showers
of restorative powers:
the earth re-flowers

And bees run the race
a buzz of furious pace
through the garden space

So much more than commonplace
far too wild to be encased
in a vase
Leave them for the wind to chase
til time gathers all
in its sweet embrace

This poem is in response to a prompt from RDW World , who for a year now has had a 365 prompt project going that he then publishes into books. Personally I think what he has been doing is terrific, not only for the community he’s built but also for the opportunity he gives writers to be published in an anthology that you can hold in your hand!

I put the first haiku stanza on my Instagram, and am sharing the entire piece here. Thank you for reading!

Hi, Hello, and How are You?

Photo by Katie Mollon

Hi there! I’m Amy. Some of you reading this probably (hopefully) know me, maybe even in real life! I wear a lot of different hats on a daily basis: I’m a mother, which takes top priority, I’m a photographer, I run a couple of Instagram accounts for groups that I’m passionate about (Film Shooters Collective and World Cyanotype Day), I play the piano, I run, I read, and I write.

For a number of reasons, I decided to start this website for sharing my poetry. I already have a website for photography, and I’ve been blogging there with varying degrees of regularity for a few years. I used to take part in 52 rolls here on WordPress, and recall with fondness how much easier it was to connect with people on that blog because of the platform itself. I’m not satisfied with only sharing my words on Instagram, which is limited, or on Medium, which has lately become plagued by the drive to earn in a way that has – as least temporarily – made me feel hemmed in and put off. What matters to me is putting my work out there, and having the nerve to do it, rather than getting paid for it. This ain’t my first creative rodeo.

So, here I am. I’m planning – loosely – to share a poem a day. I can’t make that a pinky promise, however. I’m also planning – again, loosely – to share inspiration with y’all from wherever I find it, with the hope of passing on the spark. More than likely I’ll share stuff and things about my writing journey, which I laid down for a quite a few years and only picked up again in 2020. I’m wide open, and would love your comments and suggestions.

Here’s to the road ahead, here’s to the adventure, here’s to hope and growth and love.