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Jean Fineberg

Cool Reason with a Chaser of Tears

From the day the seedling stirred to the power
of surge, strong enough to split a rock,
I have been seeing through a screen of my own –
cool reason flushed down with a chaser of tears.

I am seen as imagining, as part of my illness,
even the call of the wild turkeys.
Sixteen years of unspeakable hell,
invasion of my home and person,
voices since the beginning of time.
Tooth fillings can conduct radio signals.
The media slip these things in when they can.
All involved are to varying degrees, guilty.

Our bodies give us warnings – the jostling
of people and the rubbing against each other.
I must see to it that there is constant movement.
If permanent estrangement is to be avoided,
we have to be realistic.
When my own survival is involved,
I find it best to be tough, to be tender.
Our words and actions carry us to our
own punishments and crimes.

Do I choose being tough or do I compromise?
So far I have managed not to close any doors.


Source & Method

My aunt, Lilli Tanzer, who suffered from schizophrenia, was an artist, cartographer, painter and editor of the Haiku magazine Frogpond. I recently read all her letters and was struck by many lines. I combined them into this found poem.

Jean Fineberg is a poet and professional jazz saxophonist. Her poems have been published in Modern Poets Magazine, Soliloquies Anthology, Vita Brevis, Dove Tails, Uppagus, Literary Yard, Flagler Review, Riza Press, High Shelf Press, Fibonacci Review, Creativity Webzine, Quillkeepers Press, Lucky Jefferson and Shot Glass Journal.

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Issue 26