Together at the Poles

Jeni Booker Senter: Poetry


Jeni Booker Senter is a poet, essayist, and journalist devoted to the advancement of women. She currently teaches English to at-risk teens. Her writing has earned awards in the Duque Wilson Essay Contest and the LaRoche Memorial Poetry Contest, and she is a contributor to NW Florida Business Climate, Blackwater Review Literary Journal, Journal of South Texas Studies, Socialist Women Magazine: International Women’s Day Edition, A&U, and Troubadour. She recently presented papers at the High School Articulation and the Pop-Culture Conferences at Austin, TX.

Please enjoy her poetry below:

[TOC]

Identity

"Manic Depression" by Jeni Booker Senter

“Manic Depression”, Copyright © 2012 Jeni Booker Senter

She speaks with a force
that has developed from a life
few would understand or even believe.
She painfully twists her ear,
grounding herself
while she stands in silence.
Can the proof of her pain be found
in the pages of her book
or in the lines written
on her face?
Will her story be judged
by those who read only
the first chapter?

Hours

Limit our capacity
to fully drink
from the vast sea
of mortality.

Moments,
like riptides,
steal more
of life
than they leave
behind.

In an ocean
of memory,
each droplet
holds a lifetime.

Can you recall
where you were
when each wave
crashed?

Self Preservation

I layer pink rouge
on my pale cheeks,
the bones like a bas relief
jutting from my cold face.

My hands,
once supple
and able,
stiffen to impotence.

I force my limbs
into a pleasant
posture
so as not to offend
those who mourn me.

My heart
I remove and discard,
filling the hole
with handfuls
of sawdust.

My grimace
of despair
I mold into a false
smile,
tucking the straight pins
into my cheeks,
pinning them
into place.

Sea of Madness

My intellect is blue and green
And smells of damp refreshment;
Or so it seems.
In fact, it is a mirage;
A distraction;
Something pretty to be admired
To cover the reality.
The quick and shimmery fish of doubt
Flitting in and out
Of the coral reefs of my mind
Squirming, weaving,
Worming their manic melody into
The grey folds of
My brain.
The waves form an illusion–
Salty spray,
Harmless, fun,
Cool to feet warmed by sand.
But I know the crashing erosion
For what it is–
Eating away at the solidity,
Pulling away pieces of the shore
And putting it in other places
It doesn’t belong.
The beauty of the vast undulating
Liquid womb of Mother Earth
Is what you admire—
Mistakenly.
I know it
For its reality:
Hidden riptides of fear
Pulling me far away from the safety
Of the beach;
Sucking vortexes;
Whirlpools of despair.
I try to float on the surface,
But as time wears me
And I lose strength,
I know it isn’t long
Before I am pulled down
Into the murky depths.
The sea seems a fantasy of mystery and wonder,
But in reality, it is a dark, bone-chilling
Liquid grave—
Not a watery womb from which life
Springs,
But a fluid filled tomb
That demands my return.

Trapped Between Here and There

Standing at the ledge—
at the edge of it all—
I am a small speck
before sea and sky.

The water is blue and refreshing.
I cannot swim.
The sky is clear and open.
I cannot fly.

Remaining even with the horizon,
where the up and down
meet and blur,
I stand inert.

Two Magnolia Buds Almost Kissed Today

Two magnolia buds almost kissed today.
Their rain-soaked heads hung from tender stems
leaning with the wind
bobbing forward and back and forward again,
at times with only a whisper between them—
until a sudden gust from the North
twisted one upon its stem
and dropped it
onto the ground below.

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Daniel Bader, Ph.D., RP (Qualifying), CCC

Daniel Bader, Ph.D., is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and Canadian Certified Counsellor specializing in bipolar disorder, offering in-person psychotherapy in Kitchener, Ontario, and online and telephone psychotherapy within Canada.

To book an appointment with Daniel, please visit his Psychology Today profile.