Tag Archives: poetry

Swimming Under Water – poem

swimming underwater - woman

Swimming Under Water – poem

 

Walking away from home the macadam is still warm

black and sticky and the air          air          is

feeling the line of day and night as another mystery

 

To the end of the concrete walk

across cooled grass and over the warm stone to

the smell is sweet rotting fish and seaweed that is home, too

 

I leave my clothes on and swim south to the sea-thing

away from shore under water hearing my air rise

to be the ocean holding me all over in phosphorous, as eyeballs

ache, blurring the stones and the crabs scutter away.

 

(c)1983, 1989, 2015 – Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis – 1989 American Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Great Lakes Poetry Press, Chicago, Chuck Kramer, Ed. & Publisher, p. 88.

 

 

Falling Into Your Eyes – for CKW – poem

Big Red Heart

Falling Into Your Eyes

                   for CKW

Two black birds fly together

as if the shadow and the object

were coming to the same place

 

A tongue wags from the stump

as if the song of presence

that lament brings speaks

after so much silence

 

A white star flashes on a dark blue

directly over the heart

and you say

                   who will come to us

                   who will give us solace.

 

(c) 1981, 2015 ~  Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis

Jessan Dunn Otis | Writer

AmeriCymru

“The first step is, simply, everything.” ~ jdo – dedication & poem

Today is Sunday, October 4, 2015; and, I celebrate three (3) birthdays.

My mother – Helen Smith Dunn – who loved me (and continues to do so) more than I knew.  Until we meet again…

My sister-in-law – Rita Verardo.

A young one, SweetBoy, gone too soon – Turul Kaan Cilam.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

“The first step is, simply, everything.” ~ jdo

               To His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

Your raised eyebrow and shy, quizzical half smile     Who

could have known where your boychild would walk and

how far

Circles within circles

High in those isolated, beautiful, brutal mountains

Prayer flags

Meditation

One sought and found

Turning away, finally, from politics to passion, the road

to peace is begun with one step

Turn and turning in a widening gyre, come close in the spiral, into

the center of our truer heart

“It’s as easy to laugh as it is to dance,” she said; as shared laughter

rose up, as if prayers rippling through air as flags, flapping and tethered,

as if we could touch it simultaneously

“Throw sparks.  Create fires.” she said

You said, “Patience and compassion.”

Dream peace

Learn to recreate it within     This is my wish, too     

This moment, this moment,

this moment, only this moment.

Jessan Dunn Otis – (c) 2012 – written at the request of Leon Stuparich, Director, ROAD TO PEACE, with thanks

DISSOLVE – poem

As when you touch yourself for the first

time inside and out

Or when you have left without saying goodbye

for the last time and you do not know it yet

Like walking into a dark room where everything

is known and you are excited that

something alive and beautiful will brush

your face

Or I am the long tree whose branches

move gently wild from the wind

and leave marks on your face

that you will remember when you dream

and you will go back to stare for days

until your eyes ache

Like arms that nobody who has ever loved you

has had before or has held you more strong

than you will ever be held again

And you will weep because you know that

that is true.

(c) Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis – 1985/1987 – CQ, California State Poetry Quarterly, Spring-Summer 1987, Volume 14, Number 1, p.11.

Breaking silence: we have work to do – essay

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty/and frightened….” ~ Rumi

There are days when the world is too much with us – when the news reports are about the terrifying things we continue to do to each other, when an unexpected telephone call too early in the morning changes everything and there’s nothing you can do about it but pray (for a long time) and to show them you love them, when where you were once able to see beauty in that certain slant of light or find solace in the quietude of that sunset or the ocean; or, the enduring love of that person who gently tries to prod you back to your better self falls on your deaf heart.  A long-loved friend dies – you were better than sisters to each other. The drowning of another friend’s 3 year old son strikes another shattering blow.  Like a slug being hit by salt, you curl up, tight.

You know you’re in trouble; but, can’t find your way back.

Slowly, by constancy, grace, force of will and that invisible Love, a small chink finds its way in.  Belly laughs return. Someone you’ve reached out to after your long silence interrupts your conversation, prays for you, and your heart lifts a little – amen.

No one said this life would be easy; and, sometimes it’s not. But, it’s worth it – every time.

Gratitude.

~ Jessan

“…Everything/has to do with loving and not loving/This night will pass./Then we have work to do.” ~ Rumi

Thank You ~ many languages

Thank You ~ many languages

IF WE… For ARO – poem

IF WE…                    

Big Red Heart

Big Red Heart

– For ARO

If we were not able to touch, as we do   If it

was not possible to share in the ways that

only you and I have made with each other

would we still love in the ways we do now?

 

If we had no apparent means of enjoying all our senses have encouraged us to explore

would we, still, love each other, as we do?

 

If we, unexpectedly, found ourselves, inexplicably, dumb-made, incapable to

communicate

the shades and variations and variables of how we love each other   would we continue,

as we have, to grow in it?

 

My reply is, simply, this   Your laughter is my rain, it nourishes me   Your tears, my tears

Your joy, my joy   beyond my breath.

 

(c) 12/3/04  Jessan Dunn Otis

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Happy Anniversary SweetMan ~

Love ( all ways),

~ Jessan

Before All Our Lives Began To Change – poem

BEFORE ALL OUR LIVES BEGAN TO CHANGE

Before all our lives began to change

time was stretched between holidays like

carnavale lights and summer lasted forever

every year until Labor Day mysteriously

arrived again to change living to another circle

 

It seemed we played all the time — hair cuts on

darby horses and watermelon seed fights, building

castles of sand and jelly fish oozing against the

jetties, discovering the nest holes of horseshoe

crabs below the high tide line, and snow forts drifted

three stories every January and February, sledding

hellions down Cooperstown Road, the cold and snowflakes

cutting younger cheeks, with the excruciating pleasure

to do it, again     Playing “I have a little umbrella,”

dragging the chair covers across the sand like dragon tails

or lizards or princesses     Shrieking to begin hide-and-seek,

crouched under the crocheted orange and blue and brown

comforter — dying to be found and hoping that we would

never be discovered, because that discovery always

ended in a serious session of being tickled until we

could not breathe

 

But, then, living changed us into other circles,

other places, other people.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dedicated ~ In Love and Memory to: Barbara Dunn Blossom, Genevieve Dunn, Helen Smith Dunn, Mahlon H. Dunn, Jr., Tacy Dunn SanAntonio

(c) 1997 Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis ~ RHODE ISLAND WOMEN SPEAK: An Anthology of Authors and Artists, The Rhode Island Committee, The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), Ed. Rosemary W. Prisco, p.19.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

White Butterflies

White Butterflies

The Cambridge Poem

T H E  C A M B R I D G E  P O E M ~ #poetry

 

Commencement Address – Class of 1990 – The Cambridge School, Weston, MA

 

Give your regards when you go to the reunion and at the dinner,

say that you were thinking about them     They’ll, eventually, recall

your name; you went to the movies with that one, felt the weight

of their life when they sat next to you – they never said a word

 

All of you are rising friends: one used to play the piano, one once

wrote a play, one even seemed awakened enough to photograph the

fields as the unencumbered with tutored minds and unrehearsed passions

 

Meet them at the door, they’ve brought the souvenirs of time; a seashell

from the Pacific, the nose of a marble saint, and from the field

a spent casing divulged from the flower bed

 

Face a rising world bearing its gifts in its hands, kiss your incidental

dreams – rise, move away, take others

 

Give your regards to the well­-protected; you knew them, you went

to school together     There’s something to bury when you begin

to move away     When you are ready and rich in your wish for the

world, you have a new race to start

 

From the heart of this darkened quadrangle, I hear the library

hum, an immense chorus of writers murmur inside their books along

the unlit, alphabetical shelves; each one stitched into their

own private coat, (you will have to write your own) together forming

a continuous, enormous breath of language

 

I picture a figure in the act of reading, shoes on the desk, head tilted

into the wind, a person in two worlds, holding the nape of their neck

as another’s life saturates the page; or, in the middle of a thesis,

moving from paragraph to verse, touring endless rooms (you will have to  write your own)

 

I hear the voice of my mother and father reading and inside their

voices lie other, distant sounds

 

 

I see us reading ourselves away from ourselves, straining in circles of

light to find more light until the line of words becomes a trail

that we follow across a page and you will have to listen hard to

hear the voices going away (and, you will have to write your own).

 

 

© 1990 Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis

Poetry as Narrative

THE RISK OF REAL GROUND

 

Stepping into air the woman falls

momentarily catching hair and nails

as on a wing or cliff or webs

 

First this, then that

 

Falling is water washing flesh away

it changes everything

begin to learn, again

 

Earth gives up pieces of itself so slowly

breathing passes through ash or oak or bone

amber perfume fills a room

 

A hand touches and moves away

you meet yourself

passing by a shattered glass

 

Say you understand, say you say

stand up, open your mouth

what are you standing on.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

– for Todd Bartel, Joanna Barth, Miguel Calderon, Sean Coel, Jemima Farwell, Lael Jacobs,

Elizabeth Jackson Johnston, Blane Kieng, John McLaughlin, Anna Regnery, Charis SanAntonio,

and Jodi Schwartz

(c) 1986 Jessan Dunn (DeCredico) Otis