Entries by Jess Dennis

A Letter to Young Writers

The only true voice a writer can speak in—honestly and truly—is hers or his own.  This might seem obvious, when in actuality, most people—the vast majority—never learn to “speak” on paper, in black and white words with their own authentic tone, rhythm, and word choices they employ in day to day contact with friends, family, […]

Plumage and Perfume

Somewhere in the genetic code for human male behavior, there is a whole spiral staircase of double helix information related to uniforms. The desire of human males, of a given tribe, to dress alike might come from the oldest part of the brain, developed before language, when all we had to go on were guttural […]

Barrel of Grunts

We started playing poker in the eighth grade. All things to do with vice and the cravings of adulthood were scattered in the school yard verbally, in a carnival town, where many bets on moral victory were lost. The odds grew short on venial sins, among which gambling might be counted—though the Bible seems to […]

Stealing With Both Eyes

We started playing poker in the private chambers of a legendary woman, Fatima Franklin. Fatima was a former belly dancer from Baghdad, Iraq, imported and naturalized by marriage to an Air Force jet pilot. Divorced after bearing three sons, she was abandoned to her own economic devices. Her DNA and ancestry, rooted as they were […]

A Resolution Rhyme for the New Year

I will run faster to catch up with myself. I will not run away from me.   I promise.   But I might not remember in a month or two so remind me. I might be chasing a new career, enamored of more success, Addicted to work, gathering new possessions. I might fall in love […]

A Poem of Colored Lights

Christmas comes as a regular visit From a magical being in a red suit. A large, white-bearded man Driving a vehicle meant to go in snow, Pulled through space and time By four legged, flying animals with horns.   Pagan celebration Takes over the Earth, All become gift-givers, Love makers, bakers of cookies, Believers in […]

A Thanksgiving Poem for the Road 

I remember having Thanksgiving dinner. Once at a bus station lunch counter. The turkey breast Tasted like tennis shoe rubber. The gray, coagulated Giblet gravy was stiff as jello. The bus station smelled Like cigarettes and bacon grease. I was eighteen years old. It was my first Thanksgiving Away from family. The romance of the […]