Jenni Vinson

Emotional Tornadoes

The cloud forms, dark and splintered
           Hovering above
                   For a moment we consider its beauty
                            Respect its power
                                 Fear comes as we recall the danger


                                       The storm comes and settles
                                                                           Among us
                                         It rips through what we know
                                    Seems an eternity
                             Calm comes from within us


                  The debris lies all around
                               It landed
                                       Nothing seems what it used to be
                                              World has changed
                                                      We have lost some, but, we have gained

                                                                 Emotional tornadoes come and go.

Acknowledgement of Terms

Who are you, please? Have we met?

You do seem familiar

You do sound familiar

I’m sorry, I know I’ve met you


Where are you from? Quien es tu familia?

You must be from Alice or maybe San Diego

I may have met you through family or friends

I’m sorry! I just can’t place you


It is uncomfortable for me to watch you

You are waiting for me to acknowledge

That I recognize you

That I am you


Blasted mirror! What are you reflecting?

Porque me estas reflexionando esta mujer?

She is me now

It was a devolution towards this morphing


She is quiet, timid, and overly careful

She is productive, intelligent y de muchos colores

She was oppressed, subjugated, and harassed into this newness

She is not who I used to be


Deep sighs! You ARE me now!

I suppose we should begin with, “hello”

I suppose I should explain that I didn’t recognize you

I suppose I should have you acknowledge ME. I am still HERE—in YOU


Magnetic Blood

Brother, they only made 2 of us
Our mother and father We were
Life happened to them
We were taken in different directions

Our mother took you
You both walked through Hades 
Your small, bare feet harmed
Walking on fiery, broken glass

Our father left Earth
He's had to watch from afar 
Your life went Left
Mine stayed Right

Ama Jilma, Apa Baltazar 
Grandma Elia, Grandpa Manuel
Manuela y Francisco 
And then you and me, Brother

You placed a hand on your door
You fell to your knees
You drew your last breath. Alone.
And your soul went Right

I am the last of the 2. Alone.
It used to be complicated 
Thinking of you
Now the magnetic blood sorts it out

Brother, all I feel for you is Peace
All I want for you is Joy
Brother, I need you to know I remember 
All that is left of YOU is ME and I love US deeply.



......for Frankie, mi hermano.

What of Me Will You Keep?

Children now grown 
All three gone to live 
Their houses made homes
Days, months, and years made lives

Songs, games, thoughts, beliefs
Foods, places, things
Advice, scoldings, reminders
When you were mine to tend to. I gave

Shadows, wisps of other days
Warmth of heart 
Knowing more days are left 
I'll see you and we will make future memories

I've examined what was left 
By those who raised me
I've shared the best of them 
Some of it please toss out

Singing, guitar, cards, music
Long talks, sudden laughter
Harsh truths, wine, crystal
Art, plants, good food, travel

Quiet, peaceful, simple joy
Time to think about what we think
Knowing who we are and were
By their names and deeds

I don't know what each of you
Will keep of me
Keep the best, pass it on
Toss out what didn't make you... You... the best of Me.

       ----For Oscar VinsonVictoria Graves and Kathryn Vinson


This Mother Gig 

I had a great mentor, Ama

But she was bound by a great pairing, Apa

I have waded through this “mother” gig

Sometimes slipping on slimy rocks and getting help from you to get up


I’ve kept the same ringtone for over 20 years

Since it was a midi file it blared from my cell

I learned to switch it off quickly when you were around

Your face twisted at the sound of “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”


The song now grows louder and louder as the caller waits

I want to hear it all

The caller CAN wait. I’ll call back

I need to hear and remember that you are still my child


I would take that cane and all that causes your need for it

I would be you without any hesitation

Absurdly, I would swear by this

Then step away because you would NOT be YOU


 A line in the song that says that if I look at you too long I’ll cry

Tears of joy, happiness, pride in who you are now

Weak and so strong

Damaged and more whole than so many of us could ever be

Pills, infusions, doctors, and complicated medical terms

Slow, steady caned gait

You keep walking, you keep struggling, you keep remembering, my sweet child

You have this “mother” gig too and they are worth every effort you make.

I Define Myself

Born a baby, all humans are children
Grew to be a girl 
Once I was a young lady
By definition, the Virgen

Married, contractually bound
I tended the house, 
I bore children 
By definition, the Kept Covert

I grew old, my lines are creases
I never counted on looks
The mirror helps me see clearly 
By definition I'm not Femme Fetale

The Virgen, Covert and Fetale
Those aspects of me are gone
Left behind 
Decades past and good riddance to some

I broke three spades
Tilling and taming soil 
I'm a Child of the dirt
I play as often as possible

I speak my mind 
I share my heart 
I'd give away the shirt off my back
To cover any needs I find.

I am a Woman on my own
I no longer need any definitions 
I'm comfortable enough knowing
Every day I try just being a good Person

(To the man who used to know me who thinks so little of me.

You don't define me and I don't live in your past anymore.)


I'm NOT Done

Started April 19, 2012-- finished April 19, 2016

I have to believe my love is strong enough to bend the cosmic rules
That death cannot keep me from having you near me
Death cannot keep you from walking through that door again

Your dying cannot possibly be the end...
I'm not done talking.. listening...laughing

The moment past your leaving left me no choice
I'm trying to find the quantum realty-- between the folds of time
There has to be a place where time stands still
Death doesn't have you... I do.. I have all of you still
I have to be unreasonable because I don't how else to be.. without you

Four years later, I have no magic... I have no power
But...Time didn't get the better of me

and I do still have you
Every day I have to believe

my mind is strong enough to find you
Every day I find another piece you left for me...
I put all the pieces together... and I look at you


© 2019 Tapestry, Annual TAMUK Women & Gender Studies Journal

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