Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

Tag: Relationships


Words or appearances often mask deeper, contradictory currents. Sometimes, as they tangle, each knot becomes an aching triangle.

In the throes of romantic passion, a participant will choose one line of argument over the evidence of another. To call him or her a victim is hardly accurate, no matter the pain, even after the heart and mind conflict.

The poems of Braided Double-Cross arise in such obsession, the white-hot tension rather than in some cool quietude years later – the pursuit of a golden ideal and then falling. Call them love poems if you dare.


For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.


Ants swarm over a sugar maple’s
spigot and sap bucket.

In earth and in air, green spirals

Poem copyright 2015 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full Green Repose collection,
click here.


she was pregnant
but which of the three
brothers was the father

she was all heartbreak
and sorrow


an acid-tripping Lutheran seminarian
argued “religion is for today”
as he walked in on his roommate
still atop Pia


the long-haired blonde with the deep voice
had already been had twice

To continue, click here.
Copyright 2015


What the heart hears and sees may be quite different from what the mind observes and records, much less decides. These may be considered two strands in a braid, into which a third is woven. As for the third? It may be the beloved Other or some Unknown factor or even the undisclosed Rival. Each possibility leads to some distinct  tension in the series of overlapping knots.

The poems of Braided Double-Cross move through sexual attraction and passion into obsession, rejection, even betrayal. In the heated accusations and arguments between lovers, the dialogue – reaching into childhood, history, geography, career aspirations, and the future – invokes an absent, silent third participant, a recognition of the inequality emerging in the core relationship itself. Details of confession mount quietly. Truth becomes unbearable. At times a scream is silent. The braid ultimately becomes a whip. As Diane Wakoski has observed, “Rapunzel and the witch were always one / and the same.”

It’s what Ted Berrigan, in the American sonnets this set emulates, called belly-to-belly white heat.


Braided Double-Cross

Braided Double-Cross

For these poems and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.


“They already were like gods
made in Yahweh’s own image
and didn’t even know it.”

“I could see the Woman would be easier
to convince. She appreciated color and
the bouquet, where the Man noticed
only the fruit’s heft and taste.”

Every snake has its own hole.
Sometimes a snake is just as snake,
Doctor Freud.

And the Serpent went on to make a fortune
developing shopping malls lined with retailers
promising to cover everyone’s nakedness.

* * *

God creates a Helper for the Man
and she helps him, all right:
helps him get into trouble,

helps him to the forbidden fruit,
helps him get ejected from Paradise.
Not only that, but I’d venture

she believed she was doing something
beneficial for him all along,
something for his own good.
(And it was very good)

* * *

Where has Eden gone? Maybe
it’s now ahead of us, down
the road, rather than behind
with its gates shut tight.

As for Original Sin,
life’s not fair.
Some parents gamble
away the mortgage,
their children’s
college tuition.
Others get to be boss
through the injustice
of genetic roulette.
But that’s not really
part of this story.

* * *

Where do the other people come from?
Maybe the question becomes, for us,
where do other people COME FROM?
You! My neighbors! My antagonist,
my friend, my spouse, my children?

Perhaps they come from that other couple
God created, in the first creation story,
just before Eden. Perhaps they, too,
are ejected from their own Eden.

Perhaps there were other gardens
that were also released –
the ones whose stories we’ve forgotten.

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.


I picked up the receiver

“is your wife around?” pause

“what number did you want”

“I’m sorry . I must have the wrong number”

she sounded so married
I wished there was a wife to answer


“God-damn idiots, afraid to dirty their hands”
the old woman reiterated
“real work would kill ’em”


“I want to stop smoking
but I’m a very negative person”

so just recast the proposition
if you really want to stop puffing

To continue, click here.
Copyright 2015


Each seed, each root, each bud
unfurls on schedule. Melting
and rain come together.

In the daylight you open
so slowly you do not hear
their snap. Between pale tendril

and miniature leaves, we will gaze,
then, no longer doubting
our own inward spiraling galaxy.

Poem copyright 2015 by Jnana Hodson
To see the full Green Repose collection,
click here.


from the heart of the building in the night

“I hate your ass!”
countered by
“do I look like somebody who’d put you away”

and then she just screamed


behind the scenes at the fancy restaurant

a cook got shot
the maitre d’ was in the hospital with food poisoning
and the chief dishwasher overdosed on something

how many knives went missing


with all the Freudian potential

“Daddy, I LOVE you!”
drawing the twisted
“I want you out of here”

oh, boy, what a mess

To continue, click here.
Copyright 2015


cardinals singing boisterously, 5 a.m.

a raven or two in our yard
regular visitors
under our bird feeder

corn / cracked corn in the mix

Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson
For more,
click here.


there was something cozy
in Isabel’s phrase

dark roasted coffee
after dinner


North Amigo
South Amigo

– not Americans, but Amigos!
the United States of Amigos!

To continue, click here.
Copyright 2015