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Writers' Club of Whittier

A Tribute to Marilyn Jensen

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Marilyn JensenHere used to sit Marilyn Jensen
next to her coffee
Shhh! Her pile of papers
occasionally
pushed her coffee over
sometimes she slapped the table
and her cup jumped
oh shuck!
but your dialogues sounded better

Her trademark “who’s your market”
drove your storyplot to target
her mere scribble or two
rid your sentence of woes
Her deft pen looped an awkward phrase
Like a seamstress played with ribbon

Here sits Marilyn Jensen
Always in session
She watches the club members
forces us to remember
That writers, riders of lofty standards
don’t try to dash off the yards
to skip, to fake, bypass
perfection. Be on guard!

Here stay Marilyn’s splatters
On page fifty of my manuscript
Her note: My cat leaped where it matters
Love this sentence. Watch your tenses
why “Memoir”
In your title?

The last of Marilyn I sought
tiny in cotton shorts.
too hot for an autumn day
California writhed in its third year of drought
And writers like Marilyn struggled
to fill the thirst of those parched and wrestled.

But Marilyn, like me, was getting older
And the world of water shortage, gun-filled
The world of emoticons in bytes–illed
blogged, posted. This world of Facebook, Twitter
wasn’t the one Marilyn loved
Yet, she tried
Lone dove against a storm.

“I don’t know what I’ve done
I fear I killed this one.
At first it was a virus
then Windows 8…the Beetlejuice
I’ve created a mess
a jumble tangle of cords
ugly as my spleen
And now they’re useless.”

So I checked

 behind her credenza
an old pencil
A paper clip
hairpins
dust bunnies and spiderwebs
a mix of delight and surprise
to Marilyn

Pencil, paper clip, hairpin
she kept
the rest to the dustbin

I pawed the ball of wires, connecting
DSL, monitor, mouse, keyboard, computer
everything else but her.
They pronged the outlets and blip,
that devil of a machine took power

Word by word, line by line
The last chapters of her historical novel so fine
re-summoned, a marvel of
Eight painful years of sweat combined

her words from blood of love.
Marilyn’s narration of the nation’s VPs
fated to be presidents
of the United States
Words by words in her first-rated
style

built to perfection

Marilyn
Marilyn, normal citizen
cadet nurse , wife, mother, teacher, historian,
and most importantly, writer
sworn to be faithful
to her God and word.

Our Marilyn
wrung her hands
a bit confused
the instant her monitor lit up

How in the world did this thing
dead
so effortlessly quickened

she said.

“Thank God! My work isn’t lost,”
breathless Marilyn sighed, relieved
not knowing, a final plot twist required
her gentle writer’s soul
be woven into her masterpiece
to leave
her body cold.

May peace be with dear Marilyn,
faithful always

Editor’s note: Marilyn Jensen, an integral member of the Writer’s Club of Whittier for over forty years, died October 19, 2014, after a brief illness.

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Author: Hong-My Basrai

Memoirist and author of Behind the Red Curtain, blogger, engineer, manager, mother of three and wife of one, etc. I am a bit of everything.

4 thoughts on “A Tribute to Marilyn Jensen

  1. “… a final plot twist required
    her gentle writer’s soul
    be woven into her masterpiece
    to leave
    her body cold.”

    Hong-My, that’s beautiful. And her soul really is woven into her writing, isn’t it? I’m so glad I had the chance to know her, and so grateful to you for this poem.

  2. Lovely tribute to Marilyn, Hong-My. We will miss her.

  3. Marilyn, dear Marilyn, I still cringe recalling your ubiquitous advice: “Condense! Condense! Condense!”

  4. Pingback: A Tribute to Marilyn Jensen | Writers' Club of Whittier

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