Jennifer Jean’s “Poetry”


by Jennifer Jean

Sometimes a poem says it first. Says: “The Pacific 
Coast boardwalk cyclists 
will pedal, churn, charge
mobile carbon collectors! Stuck above a back tire!
Will vacuum & compress 
breathable particulates! Till, 
each cycler has a diamond (Diamonds!
made of carbon pollution 
collected from awful L.A. air!”
Sometimes a poem is a point in history. 
Is a rendered 
whisper. Long dead innovative folk whisper
in a living ear 
& that bodied soul puts an electrified hand on 

a word, then marries that word
to another—making beauty. Different 
inventors listen too. 
They hear: “COVID cure!”
or “Nanowood!” or “Sawdust water bottle!” 
or “Urine brick house!” or “Bottleless 
bar of shampoo!” or even “Sugarcane flip-flop!
Edible cutlery! Bamboo tampon! 
Solar paint!” But— diamonds! 
Folks would have enough
to cover a chic dress for some graduation 
marking movement from 
one era’s end to the beginning of another. Oh!  
(Poetry likes to dream…)

Writing Prompt:
Poets are innovators of content and form–that is to say we can be future-oriented and therefore hope-oriented. Write a hope-oriented poem that innovates a solution to a practical problem. Or maybe you know of a cool and weird innovation that already exists: so, write a poem which explores (in wonder!) its inception and application (consider: Reusable Notebooks, Algae Powered Lamps, Levitating Light Bulbs, Circular Skates, Headphone Translators, etcetera). If you need a formal constraint for your poem, consider writing it in two fourteen line stanzas. This form really helped reign me in when I was writing my recent eco-poem series–may it serve you too!

Jennifer Jean

Jennifer Jean

Jennifer Jean was born in Venice, California, and lived in foster-care until she was seven. Her ancestors are from the Cape Verde Islands. Her poetry collections include: THE FOOL (Big Table) and OBJECT LESSON–which is forthcoming from Lily Books in 2021. Jennifer’s awards include: a Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Fellowship; a Disquiet FLAD Fellowship to write and study poetry in Portugal; a “Her Story Is” Residency—where she worked with Iraqi women artists in Dubai; and, an Ambassador for Peace Award for her activism in the arts. Jennifer’s poems and co-translations have appeared in, or are forthcoming in: Poetry Magazine, Rattle Magazine, Waxwing Journal, Crab Creek Review, Green Mountains Review, Salamander, DMQ Review, The Common, and more. She’s the translations editor for Talking Writing Magazine and lives in Massachusetts with her husband and children. For more info, visit: