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Janet the Writer

Long before Janet picked up a stick of pastel or paint brush, she was a writer. She holds a Master of Arts in English/Creative Writing from the University of Missouri -- Kansas City.  Her skills as a writer and communicator allowed her to teach and to work for arts agencies, marketing organizations and newspapers.  All the while she continued to write poetry and personal essays. Should you be interested, you can read some of her writing here. 

A Conversation with Edward Abbey



I heard about your death

and thought you’d be pleased to know

the news passed

from hiker to hiker

at the bottom of the world

with the roar of Hermit Rapids

in our ears

and the foaming brown Colorado

numbing our blistered feet.

You would have like it too,

I suppose,

that on the way down

the canyon threatened

to consume me,

swallow me into its bedrock

first at Supai

then Red Rock,

Blue Angel

and finally even at the Vishnu Zhist,

but, I think, you’d also like

how I fought back, Abbey,

in spite of unmistakable

profanities hurled at the earth

and tears which evaporated

before they reached the ground.

And you would have answered

my repeated question:

How in the hell am I ever going to get out of here

quite simply.

Don’t, you’d say.




Previously published in Earth First! Journal. 1999

The Practice of Marriage


I am only seeking redemption

in the silk of your skin

and the whisper of your breath

against my shoulder.

This life, this love we have

is only a practice

not unlike learning

to play the clarinet,

training our fingers

to fall at the right time

on the right keys and

teaching the tongue

to press the wooden reed

with just the right amount

of tension and moisture

so a song erupts instead of a squawk.


This practice of marriage demands

the discipline of a monk,

the tenacity of a yogi

and the patience of saints.

And we, this silly hopeful pair,

are poorly equipped to live

such an ascetic life, being tethered

to these demanding egos.


Unlike birds who are born

with the tools to fly and sing,

lovers aren’t gifted with

a box full of words and gestures

that will let marriage soar

like ravens on a thermal.

We are earthbound,

chained to rock,

pummeling our heads against sandstone

trying to wear it away

into some form, some beautiful form,

that pleases the eye and the heart.

But we lack the wings and the song,

lack the language of love

that could take us

across a cloudless sky

in a straight line.

And so we stumble,

like ducks stepping

on their own feet,

quacking instead of singing,

flightless, imperfect

but mated for life.


                        Janet Buckingham, 2016

May 28, 2023

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