Tag Archives: Rhode Island

“Summer Haiku”

Summer Haiku

Awakened before sun’s rise
A sound inside my dream
Crashing ocean on distant shore
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
(c)7.23.17 Jessan Dunn Otis

“Dirty Money”

“Dirty Money” 

Think of all the things you’ve done to “make money”.  That, in itself, is a ridiculous concept.  We don’t “make money”, the government does.  We, you and I, earn money.

I started earning money as a girl – granted an allowance for accomplishing certain chores.  Chores done, allowance paid.  No chores done, no allowance.  Some chores completed, partial payment.


Time passed.

At 19 I landed my first “adult” job as a clerk-typist at a social service in Providence, Rhode Island.  Paid weekly.  Still living at home with my parents in Warwick, RI.  Within a few months I fledged myself.  Time to go out on my own.  One room apartment on the East Side, shared bath, no parking.  Independent. Earning money. Paying my own bills.

Time passed.

Many changes.

Some time later I began to see and understand better about what money, as a thing, did to folks.  The earning of it, who had more of it, who had less of it and how those two conditions stratified and segregated people from and against each other.  Judgements.  “Better than” because one had more money.  “Less than” because of having not so much money.

This is nothing to say about how the getting of that money perverted folks – what one did to get more, as if the flash and bling and apparent “power” that all that money was had made a person, somehow, superior or more influential, ultimately.

I still earn money and appreciate what it allows me to do – support a household, buy food, purchase something beautiful, share it to support a charitable cause or new initiative.  There are times, however, when I think about the earlier tradition of barter – I have something you want, you have something I want, we determine a fair value, make the deal and each of us walks away satisfied and happy.  Simple.  Neverthemore, in most Westernized societies, barter has faded and it’s the dollar that rules.

Next time you think about money, think about what it really is – a coin or a decorated piece of paper – and, what it takes to earn it, how the having or not having it creates false and devastating divisions between us (as people and as nations); and, what’s the true value and human cost of “earning money”.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(c) 6/8/ 2017

written by:  Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer

Happy Birthday ~ poem

Happy Birthday

Can you remember;

or, is it only a story

told and told until it becomes

what you believe is your reality


That day you mysteriously passed

from one realm into the next,

having floated in that seawomb

of oblivion


Yelping, speechless, totally dependent –

one year later a celebration of one year

passed; and, on and on until there are

no more


Some I’ve known have come and gone so fast

it took my breath away and, to this day,

their sudden loss is felt


Others stayed for many years, celebration

after celebration until, finally, all the

vital parts slowed down, faded, failing, slipping

into Rest


Loved short or long (some unknown, but

told of or heard on the evening news)     It is

the way we all must go — from flesh to flesh

and dust to dust, we do not know the number

of our days


(In this dark, still night I think about these things)


The coming in

The going out


It is the Spirit that survives, lives on


Only for a moment or two (however short

or long that is) does Spirit take body and is



Happy Birthday

Birth Day







A new spin on K.I.S.S. ~ essay

A new spin on K.I.S.S. ~ essay

Sitting in my science class in junior high school, my desk was at the back of the room, situated to look down one of those long hall ways.

Someone was out of class and shouted out, “You’re stupid!” to someone I couldn’t see. That echoed ’round that long, empty hallway and smacked me right in my gut.  What an ugly word to shout at someone.

Years later someone shared K.I.S.S. with me and there was that ugly word again.  Despicable.

I’d have none of that.

From that time forward I changed that last “S” to “Sweetie”.  So much better.

Words have power.  They can heal or they hurt.

Mind what flows through your lips.  You are responsible for what you speak and what you don’t speak.

K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(weetie).




May 1, 2017 – #poem

May 1, 2017 – #poem 

So much to say

So much Silence in between

Solitude is my constant companion






Balance in all things


Letting thoughts and breath

run out and back


Sun on skin

Joy-filled hoot from behind

that hedge


Mating calls of this bird and that


Distant roar of plane pushing into

brilliant blue of this afternoon’s air


One mourning dove lowing

soft and close






Thank You for this life

This one I’m living at this moment…

…this moment   …this moment


Each of us is in service to someone or



Who do you serve?


…this moment

…this moment

…only this moment.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

(c) 5.1.17 – Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer



Fresh Night Air ~ #poem



There are moments that will always twang a heart –

like the sound of a plucked steel string guitar

echoing far beyond the resonance in a

    fresh night air


That was one of those moments,

embraced by winds of an oncoming tropical blow –

day filled with bluest sky, dancing clouds and

dancing crowds     When, unexpectedly, an

invitation is extended and accepted


That rhythm that thrums through all of us was

thrumming through a quiet, gentle, loving tenderness

in that fresh night air, as a whisper

    whispered close and low


(Time to go     

              Time to go)


Steel string echo plucks a heart

  in this fresh night air


I am there.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

© Jessan Dunn Otis/September 7, 2016

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Many thanks to Johnny Nicholas, Rhythm and Roots Festival, Charlestown, Rhode Island, Sunday, September 4, 2016 – “…circle is unbroken”.

6:41 AM ~ poem


Early AM Light - Providence, RI - August, 2016 - photo credit - Jessan Dunn Otis, Writer\





6:41 AM ~ poem

In this early morning, break-of-a-new day light

In this cooling, new-day air

I could live



(c) poem and photo credit – Jessan Dunn Otis|Writer – August 30, 2016