3 · Apr · 2000

Baby Brown

Last week I went to New York on business. It was my first time to visit. I didn't have an agenda of what to do. I've never really been the tourist type. The only thing I really cared to see was the Statue of Liberty. You know why? Because of my dad. My dad was in the US Air Force for 20 years. He worked under Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter. I was a military brat, and I'm not the least bit ashamed. I was very proud of him then and now. I thought about that while I sat on a bench, staring at the Statue of Liberty across the water.

Some of my friends don't even know their fathers. Most people feel like their dads just don't measure up. Being a father must be hard. A mother (in the beginning) gets respect by default - she was the one who went through pregnancy and birth. But it's almost as if dads have to earn our respect.

You think no one prepares a woman for motherhood? Imagine being a dad. What training do these men have, anyway? Especially older men. For so long there was no emphasis on a man being a loving father- showing affection, spending a great deal of time with the children. My grandpa R. is described as a man of few words who worked very hard. Sound familiar? So, somewhere between the age of 12 and 20, we see these people as they really are. Men. Not fortresses of strength and wisdom, but men -- some a little more vulnerable than others. It's a tough transition as a kid.

I remember once, running through a sticker patch in our suburban neighborhood, falling to the ground in agony from the thorns in my little feet. I couldn't bear to pull them out myself, so my friend yelled for help. My dad had just come home from work. Still in uniform, he strolled down the sidewalk to me. The stickers were gently removed, with a little giggle on his part, and I ran on my merry way as if nothing ever happened.

Fast-forward eighteen years to a dinner at my parents’ house after I had been home from Romania for barely a week. It was clear my dad did not understand why his baby girl felt the need to trot off to Eastern Europe, nearly wrecking her career in the process. His exact words were "People need you here in your own country. You could've done that here!" It was the greatest thing I had ever done and he seemed to think I had betrayed him for it. His words fell on me like a storm. Nothing compares to that disconnected feeling I had. He finished his dinner as if nothing ever happened.

Fathers. Dads. My daddy. Where bridges fell, we built new ones. I don't know how, but I suspect it has something to do with my own failures and my own hope that people will see past those flaws to who I really am.

A few years back I was sitting in the living room of my parents’ house, having a conversation with my dad, about life, travel and such. It was a bit strange, both of us adults now, discussing my childhood in matter of fact tones. As he was bent over fiddling with his shoes he said something like "I know I wasn't there for you kids when you were little. I should have been. I really regret that now, but you know I really love you. I thought I was doing what was best at the time, but I was wrong." His voice had cracked a little and I could see the regret on his face.

Every negative story I'd ever been told about a father seemed to come to a screeching halt in my head when my daddy sat there in front of me, apologizing for not being better for me and my brother and sister. For all the toughness, for all the absence, he had still emerged as my hero, providing a security for me - unmatched by any man I have ever known. The apology was accepted, and any thoughts of him "not measuring up", evaporated in that room.

I look at my brother, sister and I, and I know that we are blessed far beyond what we deserve.

Think back to the best memory of your dad. Remember how much you adored him? Now think about a child you love -maybe a niece or nephew, maybe your own kid. Think of how you would do anything for that child, how your love for him/her amazes you. Multiply that love by a million. Know that's how much your dad still loves you. No matter what. ...No matter what.

Penny René

"Baby brown plays with Frankenstein at the top of the stair
Daddy's catching a flight to who knows where
Another kiss and tell on the white house lawn
Give her one kiss and she'll be gone"

Penny René
-From Holiday

Posted by Penny Rene at 02:05 PM | TrackBack

22 · Mar · 2000

The Model

My last weekend in OKC for a while... Since my cats and my parents schedule has been keeping me from sleep, I've had a lot of time to think and watch celebrity bios on TV. You ever wonder what you'd say if you were being interviewed?

You're this big star all the sudden. Teenagers mimick your style, fans hand you carefully crafted portraits of yourself to autograph, groupies scream at you from behind a velvet rope as you attend a friend's movie premier... Katie Couric says So, what do you think is the key to your success?"
Well, for some of you readers, I know that is actually pretty close to the way things already are. But for the rest of us, that's a loaded question.

I'm going to tell you a story I hardly ever tell. When I was about 16 or 17 I got "discovered". Sort of. Back then, I was really skinny. I know, but really, I was a stick. And I had been hearing this same line for about six years "You should go into modeling." I wanted to try it, but it takes a very secure person to demand that someone pay her for looking a certain way. And it took me six years to get the guts to do it.

I went to a John Casablanca's Model Search and they asked me to come back for an interview. My mother and I trotted up there one evening and met with the director of the agency. As we talked, she got more and more excited, pumping me up about what a wonderful career I'd have. I'll never forget this one statement she made: "I think we have found the next Cindy Crawford!" I think my mother thought she was as crazy as I did, but this woman seemed so sure of herself that I wondered if she may be on to something.

So, I took modeling classes. I went into the studio once or twice a week and I listened to lectures, applied make up just so, walked around in heels and let strangers scrutinize every inch of my body. It was horrible. The make-up was harlot-esque. I didn't like the other girls and I didn't like the photographers. The only thing about it that interested me was the equipment and analyzing the mentality of the people who happily participated.

After eleven weeks, I quit. The girl who supposedly had a supermodel career waiting for her, called her incredulous agent and said she didn't want it.
I will never forget that feeling of hanging up the phone knowing I had either just saved myself from a hideous life or I had ruined my greatest opportunity. I have visited that feeling several times since then. For example: Dropping out of college, when I moved to Romania and left Nashville, leaving Caffe Milano and artist management, turning down an opportunity to move to Coventry, England and leaving a great job offer and friendly arts community in OKC in 2000.

See, how do we know which opportunity is the one that will lead us to our personal fame and fortune? Some of my decisions in that area have been perfect. And some... you know. I have walked away from some things in my life that others would have found heavenly. I shake my head and say to myself "I must be crazy."

So, when I am daydreaming of what it might be like to be on the other side of the interviewing table, I discover what I believe my success will be made of: Perseverance, Faith in a God given vision and the willingness to take chances. A friend of mine reminded me of this quote the other day. As I go through my last week of this part of my journey, I pass it on to you... _______________________________________________________

I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. ~Henry David Thoreau

Penny René

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:39 PM

15 · Mar · 2000

Dangerous Days

Sinead O'Conner has a song- it was probably on The Emperor's New Clothes- with a line in it that I love: "These are dangerous days. To say what you feel is to dig your own grave." I think of that line sometimes when I'm at that point of 'do or die'. You know what I'm talking about? Those days when you know if you can just hang on a little while longer, for better or worse, you'll finally get some answers.

Dangerous Days
On Willowbrook Drive I had a window that led to the land of dreams
I watched the trees grow above the telephone wire and my heart burst at the seams
At night I would ride on a vapour of stars and follow the song in my head
As a kid I could go anywhere needed, even the land of the dead

But religion has a way of covering all the mystery that children know
And God has a way of remaining when everything else must go
When you know in your heart all the answers but the fog blurs all the words on the page
beware of the sun that is coming For that is a dangerous day
That is a dangerous day

He found me one day in a side street café and he looked like the picture of peace
He had eyes clam like moonlight and I was a vessel at sea
Through paperless letters he confessed every ache in his soul
though I believed every word it was still not enough just to know
I wanted to see past all of the tales and rescue the child inside
So when he went away, it’s true what they say, a part of me laid down and died

When you know in your heart all the answers but the fog blurs all the words on the page
beware of the sun that is coming For that is a dangerous day
That is a dangerous day

There comes a time in many a life when you’re broken and a choice must be made
When you’ve played your best hand with all of your charm, but feel you are losing the game
Outside of your self the world dances round and hardly pauses for breath
By some’s opinion we’re domed if we stop, but to me, it was all I had left
I could not have known the value of my forest until I examined each tree
I would not have found the love in this town if I’d put all my faith in me
When you know in your heart all the answers but the fog blurs all the words on the page
beware of the sun that is coming
For that is a dangerous day
That is a dangerous day

When you think everyone should go your way
That is a dangerous day

penny rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:24 PM

1 · Mar · 2000

Before You Knew Dido

The reoccurring theme in my life, as of late, has been Appreciativeness. Is that word?

It is now. About 2 weeks ago a friend of mine in Nashville agreed to rent his beautiful home to Larry and me. His house is incredible. And he's a great guy, so I couldn't have asked for a better deal. While we talked on the phone, finalizing the arrangements, he offered to leave furniture that I might need or keep the utilities in his name so I could avoid paying a deposit. Of course I said No, but words cannot describe how thankful I am for his generosity and the quick thinking of our mutual friend who gave us the idea.

On that same theme, yesterday, a friend of mine at work bowed his head and said grace before we all dug into our lunch. And last weekend my parents helped me move for the umpteenth time. My mother's boss is storing my and Larry's belongings in his warehouse for a month – for free.

I have a list of people whom I cannot thank enough. Lately, I've been acutely aware of the good things that came my way, of which I am so undeserving. I lean toward self-pity too often. So much, in fact, that when I came across this song from a new artist I'm interested in, I focused on the pity. But now that I take another look, I think I finally get it.

My tea's gone cold, I wondering why I got out of bed at all
The morning rain clouds up my window and I can't see at all
And even if I could it'd all be grey, but your picture on my wall
It reminds me that it's not so bad, it's not so bad

I drank too much last night, got bills to pay, my head just feels in pain
I missed the bus and there'll be hell today, I'm late for work again
And even if I'm there, they'll all imply that I might not last the day
And then you call me and it's not so bad, it's not so bad and

I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you is having the best day of my life

Push the door, I'm home at last and I'm soaking through and through
Then you handed me a towel and all I see is you
And even if my house falls down now, I wouldn't have a clue
Because you're near me and

I want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life
Oh just to be with you is having the best day of my life.

~written and performed by Dido - a 26 year old Londoner who recently quit her
high paying job as a literary agent to become an artist.

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:13 PM

24 · Feb · 2000

Pack Up the Moon

My roommate and I are preparing to move out of my house on 19th Street to temporary quarters for our last month in Oklahoma. In 28 years, I've moved approximately 20 times in my life. The last few moves, as well as this time, it's been my choice to leave. You would think it gets easier.

But I'm not a person with a hard heart. I'm a person who believes that real friends do last forever, even if the frequency of contact changes. And I believe that one must hunt their dreams down with all the vigor of a piranha.

As Laurie and I were packing one night this week, I had one of those moments where I began remembering all the good times in my house. While pushing back tears I told her that this was going to be really hard to leave. She said "We're facing our demons here." I said, "Well, I need a bigger sword."


Here's my 23rd address change
Pack up the moon I'm starting over
Yeah I've been here before
Leaving comes too soon
And always makes me sober
I know what you are thinking
"It's got to have an effect on a child"
Put your finger on the word
"Is it worse than neglect?
Is she wild?"

I'm hearin' your complaint
(lay it down on the table)
I see your opinion
(point a finger if you're able)
I never said I was a saint
(see the map on my face)
But I'm not chasin' fairytales
(and I won't wear that label)

If you never understood broken dreams
or Rocketman
you don't get me
I walk this line because I can
because I'm free
Running isn't running
if you've got somewhere to go
and a plan
Nashville is Music City
It's not Vegas or LA with a tan.

penny rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 04:05 PM | TrackBack

16 · Feb · 2000

In Between

I was in Nashville over the weekend. Found a place to live. (I think) Still working on that career, though. While I was there, I spent time with some old friends and made some new ones. This week's memo was inspired by three of them.
(Names have been changed to protect the guilty)

I'm sure some of you are familiar with: "Why do we tease? Because we love." To get in the mood of this one, slide down in your chair a bit and think BBKing. (good luck)

In Between

From a previous relationship
Bone has got a hang up with the beer
Unless he makes a fire with the harmful things he desires
his child mocha maiden won't come near
Aww, he's not bad, he's got spirit
Aint it sad she won't hear it

Some are mean
Some are clean
I love all of those who fall somewhere in between
I've got a right to this confession before I die

Billy is found guilty
of being young and having lovely lips
So he's got a thing for leather
Needs rockin' like a baby, but I'd never
They say he breaks a heart with just a kiss

Oh, he's not bad; it's all charm
Don't be sad, he means no harm
Some are mean
Some are clean
I love all of those who fall somewhere in between
Listen to me tell you why

Early on Robert knew
he had a way with a stylish beat
They say never marry a dancer
and the smokes are givin him cancer
but I'd dance with him any day of the week
No, he aint bad, he's got soul
How's it feel, you want to know

Some are mean
Some are clean
I am one of those who fall somewhere in between
I'm sorry, I can't lie

Penny Rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 10:17 PM

9 · Feb · 2000


On Valentines Day, people don't just want to know that they are a friend or a lover. They want to know that they are.... more.


Some times you are so beautiful
and there is nothing I can do
to make you less
to make you what I believe you should be-less

I dangle words over you
and bind my hands from sending real letters
that might matter

I fear one day I might believe you
and there will be nothing I can do
to give you more
to give you what I have already given-more

you leak silence like blood
and harbor confessional newsletters
that won't matter

Today you are so beautiful
nothing you can do
will make you less
will make you what you have never been-less

penny rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 10:15 PM

2 · Feb · 2000

Enough Rocks

I didn't know what to send this week. I looked through my files again and again only to conclude that sometimes I cannot put together a formation of words that feel right. It reminds me of a scene from Forrest Gump when Jenny revisited her childhood home. Do you remember? She threw rocks at the old house, knocking out windows in a fit of anger until, finally, exhausted, she fell to the dirt, crying. Forrest said "Sometimes, there just aren't enough rocks."

When I get like this it is often the result of feeling as though I am very far from home and slightly off course from the path that leads back. As I make my way, I want to see ahead of me so I might plan carefully and I want to go back to fix mistakes. But neither is possible and I become so angry. So, I hope you forgive me as submit someone else's voice in place of my own this time. If you feel a twinge of recognition, I encourage you make effort to locate some of Enya's songs and enjoy them over a cup of coffee this weekend.

Anywhere Is
written by Roma Ryan

I walk the maze of moments
but everywhere I turn to
begins a new beginning
but never finds a finish
I walk to the horizon
and there I find another
it all seems so surprising
and then I find that I know

You go there you're gone forever
I go there I'll lose my way
if we stay here we're not together
Anywhere is

The moon upon the ocean
is swept around in motion
but without ever knowing
the reason for its flowing
in motion on the ocean
the moon still keeps on moving
the waves still keep on waving
and I still keep on going

You go there you're gone forever
I go there I'll lose my way
if we stay here we're not together
Anywhere is

I wonder if the stars sign
the life that is to be mine
and would they let their light shine
enough for me to follow
I look up to the heavens
but night has clouded over
no spark of constellation
no Vela no Orion
The shells upon the warm sands
have taken from their own lands
the echo of their story
but all I hear are low sounds
as pillow words are weaving
and willow waves are leaving
but should I be believing
that I am only dreaming

To leave the thread of all time
and let it make a dark line
in hopes that I can still find
the way back to the moment
I took the turn and turned to
begin a new beginning
still looking for the answer
I cannot find the finish
It's either this or that way
it's one way or the other
it should be one direction
it could be on reflection
the turn I have just taken
the turn that I was making
I might be just beginning
I might be near the end.


"People have no idea how dangerous it is to face reality over hot coffee."

Penny Rene' - Journal quote from 2/9/98.

Posted by Penny Rene at 10:12 PM

26 · Jan · 2000

Kitty Kitty

Sometimes I think we take each other too lightly. We learn early that phrase "Out of sight, out of mind". We skip the details. When someone leaves our daily life, we are always shocked to discover what an impact they had on us.

Now, I don't want to be one of those over-emotional maniacs. But, I also don't want to neglect the importance of people who have and will change my life.
On Monday my niece, Mackenzie Farricker made her debut into my life. I'm trying to schedule my summer holiday around her, figuring up airfare and looking at a present to buy her. We haven't talked in person yet, but I've taken to calling her "Mack" and wonder if she'll mind.
The following poem/song is about the person who introduced me to Mack. This is meant to be read quickly and not to be understood completely!


Honey suckle, Leon's leg, fireflies, school uniforms and nuns
World of Disney, airport waiting, Speed Racer and cap guns
Sitting by the speakers, sleeping in the station wagon
Detailed Christmas wish lists; think of all the fun we're havin'

Lunch boxes, a game of jacks, Keri Cox and Hubba Bubba
Elvis and the Cassidy’s, sweet Chuck Miller and the others

Hey kitty, kitty, come out and play
With the girls from Willowbrook Drive
It’s Alicat girl and her Half Pint sissy
Lets' make up for lost time

Skateland, sweet tarts, Funguns and tight jeans
The Flippo brothers, lip-gloss, feathered hair into the teens
Best friend cheerleaders, brother on the prowl
Moving to the suburb school; though we appreciate it now

Rainbow dances, Jesus Christ, a pastor's son
Summer camp romances, we couldn't be outdone

Hey kitty, kitty, come out and play
With the girls from Willowbrook Drive
It’s Alicat girl and her Half Pint sissy
Lets' make up for lost time

Career tracks and auntie hats, parental wedding and some funerals
Stupid husband bag of tricks, but hope would spring eternal
Sassy-classy photo shoot, a leap to Music City
A nip, a tuck, a wink, wink to keep you looking pretty

A Con-man birth, a mother's worth, Romania, a bomb
Apology, a friendship forged; has it been that long?

Oh kitty, kitty, come out and play
With the girls from Willowbrook Drive
It's Ali Cat girl and her Half Pint Sissy
We got lots of time
We got lots of time

Penny René'

Posted by Penny Rene at 10:07 PM

20 · Jan · 2000

Thanks Frank

Have you ever had those times when you felt so beat that you wished you were a kid again, so you could cry a river and someone would come along and pull you up close and fix your problem? Remember what that was like? You've wrecked your bike, skinned your knee and embarrassed yourself in front of the neighbor kids. You're sitting there on the sidewalk, bawling. Your dad comes along, listens to your sob story. Checks the wounds. Pronounces that you're OK, and takes you to the ice cream shop.

It's like magic. Suddenly, things get better. A friend of mine, last night, did something that no one has done for me in a very long time. He made things better. The magic of his kindness really began to sink in as I drove to work this morning and the lines of this song ran through my head. I wish I had written it myself, because it always makes me think of my friend. When I am with him, I feel like we are Sheryl Crow and Frank Sinatra.

Riverwide (Sheryl Crow)
I spent a year in the mouth of a whale
With a flame and a book of signs
You'll never know how hard I've failed
Trying to make up for lost time

Once I believed in things unseen
I was blinded by the dark
Out of the multitude to me
He came and broke my heart

When the dust in the field has flown
And the youngest of hearts has grown
And you doubt you will ever be free
Don't bail on me

River is wide and oh so deep
And it winds and winds around
I dream we're happy in my sleep
Floating down and down and down

And the tide rushes by where we stand
And the earth underneath turns to sand
And we're waiting for someone to see
Don't bail on me

Tell ma I loved the man
even though I turned and ran
Lovely and fine I could have been
Laying down in the palm of his hand
Laying down in the palm of his hand
Laying there in the palm of his hand
Staying down in the palm of his hand

In the morning you wait for the sun
And secretly hope it won't come
But time washes everyone clean
Honey now, don't bail on me

Walk on water

I wanna walk on water
I wanna part the raging sea
I wanna wrestle down the angels
who think they're too good for me
I wanna make the world believe
in the power that is me
I wanna open up the gates
and set the prisoners free

penny rene

Posted by Penny Rene at 10:04 PM

13 · Jan · 2000

Dear Blue

I was standing in the middle of the dinning room at Caffe Milano. It was June 5,1996, the night before our Grand Opening. Sound check was in progress and things were not going well.

Worried, I let out a sigh of despair. Cei Cei Winans was on stage, and she rolled her eyes in disgust. Laughter erupted (for the third time) from the back of the room. Ready to scold one of the servers, I turned around to look into the bluest eyes wrapped up in a golf shirt and a ball cap. The earth didn't move. Stars didn't fall from the skies. But I remember.

Dear Blue

If I could
I would
For you
Dear Blue

Dust off the small beliefs
Rearrange the mountains
Lay my head in your backyard
Dance in the fountains
Be a real best friend
Learn to read your mind
Howl at all your bad jokes
Show up everywhere on time

If I could
I would
For you
Dear Blue

Brag about your good looks
Be a full time lover
Help you up when you fall down
Make nice with your mother
Open my heart to the fresh air
Let you be a king
Put away the past
Maybe learn to sing

If you would
I would
For you
Dear Blue

Stick around in the hard times
Love with unequaled passion
Fight all the monsters
Wear the latest fashion
Hold your hand in the rainstorm
Stop the cameras flashing
Kiss the babies at sunset
Leave the critics laughing

I would
We could
Dear Blue

- penny rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 09:56 PM

5 · Jan · 2000


For everyone who ever called me a poet, I wrote this today.


tomorrow a new moon rises
my calendar shakes a finger
I falter with my memory
the angelical dead ringer

bring me London
the paste that cakes your shoes
toss me a bone
be the royal muse

sing the anthem loudly
if not proudly
do it just
hold your secrets soundly
tucking words around thee
if you must

nightfall slowly devours
the silence beckons me to come
future days are winking
I am luckier than some

wrap up Rome
with affection and a sigh
throw out the old
bury it alive

penny rene'

Posted by Penny Rene at 09:51 PM

30 · Dec · 1999

In 2000, I resolve to....

listen. Not just to what people are telling me, but what they mean.
move. Confidently, in the direction of my goals.
believe. That God knows what He's doing.

Thank you for reading my memos. I am honored to have such friends. Happy & Safe New Year!

Penny Rene'

Prayer For the 21st Century

May the road be free for the journey,
May it lead where it promised it would,
May the stars that have ancient bearings
Be seen, still be understood.

May every aircraft fly safely,
May every traveler be found,
May sailors in crossing the ocean
Not hear the cries of the drowned.

May gardens be wild like jungles,
May nature never be tamed,
May dangers create of us heros,
May fears always have names.

May the mountains stand to remind us
of what it means to be young,
May we be outlived by our daughters,
May we be outlived by our sons.

May the bombs rust away in the bunkers,
And the doomsday clock not be rewound,
May the solitary scientists working
Remember the holes in the ground.

May the knife remain in the holder,
May the bullet stay in the gun,
May those who lie in the shadows
Be seen by those in the sun.

John Marden

Posted by Penny Rene at 09:47 PM

21 · Dec · 1999

Christmas Benediction

I have struggled for over an hour trying to come up with some explanation of why I decided to send the following lyrics in this memo. I think I am having such trouble because someone pointed out to me today that in sending these memos, it is possible that I am making myself very vulnerable. I agree. But we all have our reasons for being who we are, don't we?

Though it may not be clear to you, these words are about forgiveness. A subject that I believe is directly tied to Christmas. So, well...Merry Christmas. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Ghost Story

I watch the western sky
The sun is sinking
The geese are flying south
It sets me thinking
I did not miss you much
I did not suffer
What did not kill me
Just made me tougher

I feel the winter come
His icy sinews
Now in the firelight
The case continues
Another night in court
The same old trial
The same old question asked
The same denial
The shadows close me round
Like jury members
I look for answers in
The fire's embers
Why was I missing then
That whole December?
I give my usual line
I don't remember

Another winter comes
His icy fingers creep
Into these bones of mine
These memories never sleep
And all these differences
A cloak I borrowed
We kept our distances
Why should it follow that
I must have loved you?

What is the force that binds the stars?
I wore this mask to hide my scars
What is the power that pulls the tide?
Never could find a place to hide
What moves the earth around the sun?
What could I do but run and run and run?
Afraid to love, afraid to fail
A mast without a sail

The moon's a fingernail
And slowly sinking
Another day begins
And now I'm thinking
That this indifference
Was my invention
When everything I did
Sought your attention
You were my compass star
You were my measure
You were a pirate's map
Of buried treasure
If this was all correct
The last thing I'd expect
It's time that I confessed
I must have loved you
I must have loved you



I held my hands
outstretched so far
to a million faces of indifference
'twas handed hope
back to my face
with unending shares of consequence

i pray for silence
i pray for rain
i pray for miracle
to wash me clean again

what i have loved
i held so tight
i watched it suffocate griped in my fingers
what I now have
will lead me on
a small flicker and regret of youth that lingers

i pray for silence
i pray for rain
i pray for miracle
to wash me clean again

i am no longer
the girl in all my photos
who looks for herself
in other people's eyes
enough time has gone
to see my own reflection
and chose a path of truth instead of lies

the waves have risen
the moon has spoken
my struggling words
are more than token

penny rené

(This memo is dedicated to GE Blaney, my grandfather, who taught, by example,that we should never give up on love.)

Posted by Penny Rene at 09:43 PM

17 · Dec · 1999

The Ring

I was sitting in a cabin in Gainsboro, Tennessee, miles from home, not a friend in sight. I had been completely alone for over 24 hours.

Just days before, I had attended the funeral of a 22 year old friend who had died in a plane crash. In struggling with the acceptance of his death, I bought a ring at James Avery Craftsman, styled to represent the four seasons. I figured I could use the reminder that there is a season for everything. Sitting there, music pouring through the living room, watching incense burn, and reading a book called "At the Foot of Heaven", I wrote what has become one of my favorite lyrics. It is a tribute to that moment in time and inspiration that comes from the most unlikely places.

the ring

strawberry smoke circlin' up
with no where to go
at this common moment
it's a vision of my soul
I am in love
intimately in love with your words

seasons blow and rain and breeze and stain
so I wear this ring
to remind me of a day I gave up everything
words on a page
that were angels to my mind
I put on this ring to hear, "Baby, you'll be fine."

blue sounds float around
pulls me to my knees
I fear losing you
more than facing me
I am in love
intimately in love with your words

seasons blow and rain and breeze and stain
so I wear the ring
to remind me of a day I gave up everything
words on a page that were angels to my mind
I put on this ring to hear, "Baby, you'll be fine."

- penny rene'

To learn more about the author of At The Foot of Heaven or if you would like to read his latest work, go here

Posted by Penny Rene at 09:34 PM

1 · Dec · 1999

Dialogue with Chef Michael

Memo #6

Within every organization, among the people that push buttons, shuffle the papers, and cover mistakes, there are artist, musicians, and … poets. In the summer of 1996, I was brought into a company, doomed from the start, but filled to the brim with the most talented, intriguing people. For 60 plus hours, seven days a week, we slaved away to fulfill someone else’s dream. In out minimal spare time, we drank Guinness and slowly, ever so slowly, fostered each other’s plans to do something better.

One day, I had secretly brought a handful of my poetry to the office for a co-worker to read. He wanted to make me a star. I left the papers on his desk with a note that said something like “When you get a minute… These are for you to read. Don’t let anyone else see this!” Later in the day, I asked him what he thought, but he said he never saw the note or the poetry. In a state of panic and anger, I rushed up to our office, which was shared with four other managers and searched the room. Finally, I broke down and began asking people if they had “accidentally” picked up my papers. Our Executive Chef looked at me and said, “Those weren’t for me? I thought you left that for me.” I don’t know who was more embarrassed, but he made good by saying he wanted to talk to me about it later.
After we closed the club that night, with a couple of Pilsner and minds that were too tired to be defensive, Michael Martin and I talked about poetry and our crazy lives… and became friends. The following is part of our conversation in poetry that ended much too soon.
Years after I left Caffe Milano, Michael fulfilled his dream of opening one of the finest dining establishments in Prague, Czech Republic where he lives with his wife and children.


If I could dig, it would b a hole
for us to bury our secrets,
planted… hushed away from noisy street cars
and overwhelming café’s
Demanding sunlight,
that mother who keeps our skins
from cracking
under a man’s frozen charm
Soaking the rain to begin flowers
And when we at last raise our dirty heads
smooth and shaven
begin the pruning and cutting
that teaches us to grow

-Michael Martin 7/96

As you
I believe in what I cannot see
as you
I have fought for permission to breathe
as you
this mind flows with visions unseen
to my naked eyes
as you
bury my secrets in a garden
to keep from telling lies

-penny rené 7/96

I majored in liberal arts. Will that be for here or to go?

The key to a good Guinness is the smirk on the face of the drinker.
–Michael Martin

Posted by Penny Rene at 09:10 PM

16 · Nov · 1999

A Muttered Truth – for Charles

Memo #4

A Muttered Truth – for Charles

In one sentence
one stare
belief of falling walls
brought to the front
of the song

Humor me for a brief moment, oh God
Help me become
for tastes of regret
on my travels
so long
Wrap your hands around the life of me
show not mercy
for my struggle
to be free
Death by fire
to my un-lassoed mind
For only in Your humor will I find
a path into the bluest passion
a streak of desire
in my fashion

penny rene’ – 1995


About fourteen years ago I went to a party wearing baggy pants and a white cotton shirt with a red ribbon hanging from my neck. It was Valentine’s Day, 1985, and I had my eye on Steve Tompkins. We danced the unmistakable dance of teen angst, first crushes and embarrassment. Well, I danced it in my head while he flirted with my friend’s older sister. Later that night, I lay awake in my bed, wondering how I would ever survive a life without him. Torture and slow death! All the things I wanted to say running around in my head. I turned on my lamp, found some paper and a pen, wrote it all down and finally fell asleep. The next morning when I woke, I read the sleepy handwriting that became my very first poem. Since that day, I have written hundreds of poems and though many of them, in the beginning, were about Steve, I never had to pay him a dime for the inspiration. See, I’d be a poet even if we’d never met. I know that, even if he doesn’t. When people ask me why I write, I say, “To breathe.”
What’s poetry mean to me?

what makes?

this is hard to explain, I mean who the man was,
anyhow, it was in a large structure and he sat in
a chair in uniform, red coat and all, his job was
to examine the hand-stamp of those who left the
structure and returned, there was a lamp you put
your hand under and the stamp appeared (god that
was work) anyhow, as I put my hand uner the lamp
the man asked, “listen, what’s you name?”
“Hank,” I answered

“listen Hank,” he asked, “what makes a man a
“well,” I said, “it’s simple, it’s either you
get it down on paper or you jump off a
writers are desperate people and when they stop
being desperate they stop being
“are you desperate?”
“I don’t know…”
I walked on through and as I took the escalator up
I saw him sitting there, probably thinking it was possibly
bullshit, he had wanted me to suggest some special
school, some special way, like some way to get out
of that red coat, it was not an enlightening job
like designing a bridge or batting cleanup for the
Dodgers but
he wasn’t desperate enough, the desperate don’t ask,
they do
and at the top of the escalator, I pushed through the
glass doors and as I did, I thought, son of a bitch,
I should have asked him his name, and then I felt
bad for him and for myself but a few minutes ater
I had forgotten all about him hom
and the other way around
and he watched more hand-stamps under the lamp
and I watched the toteboard and the horses and
the desperate people
desperate in all the wrong
way, in-

-Charles Bukowski-
from “Third Lung Review” – 1992

for more on Bukowski, go HERE

“The world is no longer a romantic place. But some of its people are. Don’t let the world win.”

-John “Biscuit” Cage from Ally McBeal

Posted by Penny Rene at 09:02 PM

8 · Nov · 1999

Old Friend

Two of my favorite poets are Dorothy Parker and WH Auden. Their straightforward ways of saying what we are all thinking and willingness to put in print ALL sides of their writing inspire me -even the little quips that seemed like nothing to them.
The following is a poem I wrote recently. It took all of 10 minutes and, though it will never make it into a book. It sure hit the spot that day.

Memo #3

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly.
It should be thrown aside with great force.”
-Dorothy Parker-

Old friend of fair and warmest eyes
and embrace that frees my feet
to know you, still, on darkest day
I consider quite a treat

Twas long ago I learned my fate
when you spoke with broken smile
of the one who owned your heart
and had claimed you all the while

I didn’t speak my sadness,
but wiped my silent tears
On your wedding day I made my vow
to let friendship fill my years

It’s difficult to crush a hope
and turn upon a dime
To do so is confession
that love was never mine

Your faithfulness and guarded wit-
I will expect nothing less
I take your hand with good intent
and hope you never guess

That rewind the clock
and choice be made
I’d turn my love to you
And thank my lord
for this regret
that I never knew.

I will always cherish the misconceptions I had about you…..

‘Til next time,

Penny Rene’

Posted by Penny Rene at 08:52 PM