Posts by Janele Johnson

Taking Up Space

For a basic (one might suppose       inherently neutral) law of physics, the phrase has nevertheless garnered a lion’s share of unfriendly users       in the low-rent back roads of the vernacular. Many among us, in truth, would far prefer the       virulent lash of a “Bitch!” or a “Bastard!” to being leveled by the contemptuous (and worse,       dismissive) charge of taking up space. How did this bland and

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Hurricane Irma, From a Distance

You look so awesome from this angle, the cosmic one our local meteorologists, always eager to be the first to send us news of imminent devastation, have helpfully digitized and rendered ceaselessly uploadable. Did the satellite shutter- bug catch you at your best? Would you have preferred just one more quick take, maybe to tweak that stray stratus just escaping your otherwise tightly wound coiffure or to alter your catapultingly

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The End, Beginning

All of my getting-me-to-here years, plus the place in which those years went by, have left no trace upon your memory. You even casually mused recently how we would ferry your ashes one day to England where, you said, Dad lay alone in a cemetery plot for two. As if a man who had never traveled farther than California had on a whim hoisted himself from his hospice bed years

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First-Born

Fourteen years this month since she first took note of Capricorn wheeling his ancient cryptogram again and again across winter skies and ushering her child into the world. He never seemed to mind sharing his show with Christmas, probably felt in his younger years a jolly Jesus-camaraderie, a knowing unalloyed by age and sophistication that his coming too was heralded by all the glitter and fanfare of late November on.

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Invocation

Make me cool and silent as the black cat that glides through the night beyond my open window. Pour down on my satiny skin a moon plump with Easter’s ancient promise, cascading like a string of pearls her numinous vernal generations. Settle on to my limber restless shadow just enough knowing to shake off the languid morning, never to grow too fond of comfort and cream. Send me serene across

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Cheyenne Cañon: Tanka Suite

Jun Fujita, Japanese-American photographer and poet of the mid-20th century, might have been the first to introduce the rest of us Americans to the tanka, an elegant form comprised of 31 syllables across a handful of lines. It’s similar to the haiku, but it provides a little more flexibility and, somehow, may seem more user-friendly. I thought the form might be conducive to a seasonal snapshot of a favorite place—hence,

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