courtesy of Jessica Post
For a number of years before
retiring in 2003, I was an instructor in Anthropology,
Sociology, and Psychology at American River College and Cosumnes
River College. I also worked for the State and edited
newsletters for the California Postsecondary Education
Commission and The Department of Transportation “Caltrans,”
where I wrote the script for a Division of Equipment promotional
Raised in Indiana and Southern California “the valley,” and a
resident of Sacramento since 1960, I have a varied sense of
place. My poems reflect an interest in nature, ritual, myth, and
origins. My work has been published locally—Rattlesnake
Review, Tule Review, Ekphrasis, Poetry Now—and elsewhere, in
Poesy, Trestle Creek Review, Valparaiso Review, and Pegasus.
Besides writing I enjoy the Sierras and Balkan folk dancing.
I find the Sacramento area truly inspiring for poets—the
containment of the valley intercepted by constant movement of
rivers and streams, delta breezes, the Pacific flyway, and then
we have the mountains and the ocean nearby. And, what a great
place for trees—we have planted over 50 in our yard in the past
few years, mostly Japanese maple, pine, and holly.
March of 2008, Jeanine released a littlesnake
broadside entitled Eclipse, now available from
email@example.com or at The Book Collector,
1008 24th St., Sacramento.
Jeanine Stevens Poems
(ending with a line by Robinson Jeffers)
Below a small footbridge, a sun-fed pond, bits of drab
yellow straw, like walking sticks, flit over the surface.
On the sandy bottom, bright shadows, black as licorice,
magnified four times their size, move ahead.
This, only visible in clear water, black jet clusters,
each, like an elegant Victorian broach displayed
on a jeweler’s tray. A closer look, just shadows,
quivering reflections, water striders at their brightest
in the noonday sun. Then, the movie channel,
an old film, a man disfigured in battle, an imperfect
couple, one scarred, one plain. An enchanted cottage,
they step across the threshold, and once inside
become unblemished—though no one else stops, pauses
to see beauty falling outward, love reflecting inward.
She was a dutiful daughter, read Simone de Beauvoir.
Now she rocks, knees thumping out rhythms
on the old treadle machine—impairment of simple
thoughts riding in a blue Buick, blithely rumbling past
heritage oaks that defy auditory attempts to track
their movement. Beautiful machinery, these humans
and oaks, fifty organic chemicals, all the same pattern,
nature’s tendrils reaching too far for plaque to shock,
surprise, disrupt switches. But her tough fibers
are indifferent, new categories destroyed every day.
Few clicks, little sound, tugs and scar tissue here and there
erase fleeting memories. Now, evening branches burrow
under her blanket. She knows bright red apples but not
the jagged jaw of the son who brings them.
Only the night nurse dares to shake her in time for supper.