Here is a new feature on this website. As well as posting readings and events you can attend, I will be posting texts and audio-recordings of my poems and stories, so you can read/listen in the comfort of home. The first entry is “Night Lights of Kansas,” a fictionalized story about an event from my own childhood. Anyone who has read Jane Rule’s 1964 novel Desert of the Heart, or seen Donna Deitch’s 1985 film Desert Hearts, based on the book, will recognize the setting. The story is from a child’s point of view, however. (and, for those interested in the transition from memoir to fiction, I have created the character of Danny. The birds in the hotel lobby are real, but the mysterious bird in the jungle is taken from The Book of Beasts: Being a Translation from a Latin Bestiary of the Twelfth Century by T.H. White — this bird has fascinated me for years, and was first the subject of a story I wrote in 1968; now he has flown over here.
Listen to Ellen reciting poetry.
“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today.” White Queen to Alice, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, by Lewis Carroll.
peach and gooseberry
sweet-tart on the tongue
spread on toast, muffins,
bagel with raisins
and cinnamon –
spice of the sabbath
now her body is jamming
itself, cells stuck and clogged
blocking the vital
flowers jam in the garden,
jazz musicians gone wild,
cacophony of tulips
trill of daffodil
violin tones of violets
and weeping redbud,
one gooseberry bush
bursting into flower
to be picked.
Ellen S. Jaffe, 2016
for Sharon H. Nelson (2 January 1948 – 12 June 2016)
published in Persimmon Tree, Summer 2017
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