Blues Harp

featured in the poetry forum July 26, 2012  :: 0 comments

More like a cross between a saxophone
and a five-alarm fire
than a Hohner harmonica
small enough to fit in the palm of her hand
or breast pocket. He was thinking
the fact that she even had breasts
was almost completely beside the point.
Almost. For he had never
heard anyone, much less a woman,
play harp like that. It was
powerful, intelligent, sexy,
downright athletic the way she ran
her tongue up and down it, sucking and blowing
into the bullet mike, Chicago-style,
trading licks with the rhythm guitarist
center-stage, bending the notes into
shapes that conjured up for him the beautiful
catastrophes of train wrecks. He wanted
to get her alone after the set, out behind
the club, and in the darkness whip out his
own harmonica, and play a long train with her,
show her his rhythms by starting out slow,
then building speed underneath her
while she whistled and steamed and moaned
on top, letting her juggle the high notes
like so many birds in the hand, so many
waves upon waves, while he chugged along
steady and low, running like clockwork, letting her
lead, letting her go, letting her, letting her, letting her.

editors note:

Blew it from blues to blue. Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, yesssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! – mh

The Giving Tree

featured in the poetry forum May 5, 2012  :: 0 comments

My Aunt Hannah taught 2nd grade.
And after the first amputation
which was just a couple of toes
on her left foot, she came
to school carrying a silver cane,
and she let the kids use it
as a prop in their little skits,
and as a stickball bat at recess,
and to reach up into the tree
to rescue the kite. And the kids
were happy. But after the second
and third and fourth amputations—
this little piggy and his neighbor,
then the whole damn block, then up to the knee,
and then a year later all over again
on the other side of the street—
the kids had a different teacher.
And my Aunt Hannah came to school
in a silver wheelchair, and she let the kids
push her around in it. And some of them
sat in her lap as she read to them
at reading time. And they asked her
questions, unselfconsciously, the way
only kids will ask: What happened
to your legs? Where are the legs now?
How do you take a shower? How
do you drive a car? It was not unlike
show-and-tell, and my Aunt Hannah
was happy to answer. She even joked a little,
and slapped one stump and then the other,
so it looked like a flam on a pair of bongos,
or a rim shot after the punch line
of a bad joke in the Catskills.

editors note:

If that’s what is, best to embrace it. The kids will accept it and we’ll learn faster how to navigate the shower or drive the car. – mh

The Affair in the Office

featured in the poetry forum February 23, 2012  :: 0 comments

It belonged to all of us in a way
because we all shared
in the surprise
that it existed at all,
and also, privately, in the thrill
of the two lovers
(none more surprised than they)
who’d worked together in the same sad office
with all of us for all
these years, and both of them married,
and both unhappily. It was
a sad office, like so many
sad offices, full of the inexorable sadness
of cubicles, and computers, and empty
of love. Or so we thought. For no one
saw it growing—it must have
gotten in through a high
bit of laughter in the lunchroom,
then a glancing away
and a looking back again, the way
it sometimes will. And when it got out
in whispers around the water cooler
we all drank from it,
we drank it in, and in this way
it refreshed us, and amazed us,
and belonged to us because
we all took it home, took it
with us in the car, or on the train, sat with it
in rush hour, shaking our heads as though
we were listening to music, and in a way
we were listening to music,
shaking our heads and smiling,
looking out the window, fingers drumming.

editors note:

Cubicle monotony turned into RomCom delight for all. Look around, could be happening in an office near you… – mh

Collage

featured in the poetry forum December 30, 2011  :: 0 comments

All of the art students’ hairdos hold together:
a newspaper hat, a pencil barrette,
a paintbrush, the weather, gravity, glue.
Art students hold that the nude is not—
gravity is—what moves us and holds us
glued to her breasts. Her skin is the weather.
That triangle of hair is a newspaper hat
penciled in and folded over, holding together.
Under the moon and a newspaper hat
I make love to a blue-haired student of art
with pencil-breasts, a single paintbrush
miraculously holding all that weather of hair.

editors note:

A downpour is imminent and me without my rubbers. Gravity brings gravitas to my art appreciation! – mh