Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Tiny Terror

By Joseph Hesch

The skittering chill up my spine
doesn’t come from hoodoos, bogeymen,
bugbears or the night bumpers anymore.
I enjoy the company of darkness
in my bed at night,
and I walk these cracked sidewalks,
head held high, as I pass by 
their cracked denizens daily.
Expressing myself to others,
tens or thousands, no longer shakes me.
I’ve stared down disease, criminal intent,
the uncertainty of parenthood
and the whoosh-by of swift death.
But not much scares me so these days
as sitting with a frozen mind
in front of a snowy-white page.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Eve, the Day, the Joy

By Joseph Hesch

On the Eve and Day of Joy,
the presents were covered
in their smooth and sparkling raiment,
as were the trees and roads
in their fresh-snow greeting card grandeur.
Come the gathering, all those wrappings,
of packages and countryside,
were torn by child and adult,
each in their own way—
hand, scissor, sled, SUV. 
The magic was so quickly broken,
And what was smooth wonder
and sparkling mystery
the night before and at dawn,
had been torn, crumpled, stained
and rendered debris and nuisance
to everyone’s continued joy.
Moms and Dads near-curse the mess
of late-day. Kids ignore or revel in its chaos.
On Boxing Day the broken ugliness
of cold fact will be exposed.
Yet all will be forgotten with the advent
of a new year, a new hope,
a new anticipation
for the sleek magic of the Eve and
the Day we came together
and were joyously unbroken.

Monday, December 19, 2011

This Silent Night

By Joseph Hesch

Standing on the back porch,
11:39 PM on the 24th.
I’m cold and the chill air frosts
my nose and glasses. 
This is nothing new 

for a late December night,
but something’s different.
The wind chimes dingle-ding
just as they do in August. 
The trees sway and creak

as they did last month
and the months before that.
Perception stretching beyond

fading frame of consciousness,
maybe to snare hoped-for revelation,
I realize it isn't what I’m sensing
that's off. It’s what I’m not.

Over behind the big trees,
and the red-brick suburban bedsteads
lightly snoring smoke into the sky,
the normal hum and howl of
late-night on the Interstate
is absent.
I realize it’s because this is
That Night and travelers are safe

with their own, I hope.
And I want to stay here,
not travel another step,
to breathe in all this cold and quiet,
and breathe out crystaline clouds,
silent hymns of joy.
To be one with
this Silent Night.

Here's a little Christmas Eve poem that was inspired by standing on the same back step as my summer poem, "Illuminati." It's a true response I had to standing there waiting for my golden-haired semi-muse Mollie to do her thing (What else is new?) the late evening of December 24, 2009. Consider it my Christmas card to you, in thanks for the support you've given me in this first year of blogging poetry. I've linked "This Silent Night" up to dVerse Poets Pub for the crew's Open Link Night.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


By Joseph Hesch

Walking through the old neighborhood,
full of derelict buildings and derelict souls, 
my head down against the December wind, 
I spied the shiny bit of sidewalk flotsam,
an empty bottle whose ice-blue label read
Crystal Palace Vodka.
Diamonds of ice sparkled within,
survivors of this vessel’s manifest
before it ended up on the rocks
or straight to the bottom.
It reminded me of finding such empties 
of temporary anesthesia in my youth.
More often than not, they were green bottles 
the abandoned shells of Thunderbird wine.
These days it seems even the street alkies,
have gone big time, drinking the same hooch
as higher class drunks, only with no olive.

I kicked the bottle from my path, and found
even more change to these tippling times-- 
the Palace empty wasn’t crystal.
Rather, it was made of plastic.
Of course it was. 
As I and my reverie 
stalked further up the street,
we came upon another empty,
green like those old bottles of T-bird.
This one was a child’s mitten
perched on a snowpile.
I wasn’t sure if it was waving
hello to the new world
or goodbye to the old, 
so I put it in my pocket and 
together we escaped this one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Trip In

By Joseph Hesch

In winter, the commute’s the same,
but the trip is so different.
I drive these glazed donut highways,
clogged commuter arteries
that would give me a heart attack
if I let them, or if I had the heart
for all this anymore.
Headed east to work yesterday I could
barely make out the stop-and-go
chain gang of prisoners in our
four-wheel jail cells because of
the low aspect of Warden Winter's
bloodshot eye, with which I played
the staredown game.
Lost again. I always lose.

I could put the car in neutral
and still make it a couple of miles
before I would have to touch the wheel,
change my course from the
unnatural migration of which I am part.
Some birds are just like me,
they don’t migrate from this chill either.
I see them out my driver’s side window,
chains of starlings, shivering wing-to-wing,
stretching pole-to-pole --
roadside rosaries praying
for bread and a compass
that points south.

And now the final snowy flair
to a winter commute begins.
Flakes so big I can hear them
hit the window and so heavy
the trees will bow to their gravity,
their serious intent to remind me
who's really boss on my trip in.
This snow-light December
will turn into a bully soon enough,
snapping me awake to its will
with all the comfort of a white,
wet blanket whipped towel-like
to my bucket-seated backside.

If you know anything about me--real me and poet me--you know I have this love/hate relationship with winter and my workday world. Put them together and you come up with "The Trip In," this week's effort for dVerse Poets Pub's Open Link Night.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Twelvemonth's Tears

By Joseph Hesch

The December weather has edges
and sharp points, like a star 
atop the Christmas tree. 
When I inhale, the air feels 
of peppermint but the flavor
favors woodsmoke from
my neighbor's fireplace.
It's during these nights, 
under a stardust canopy 
and a searchlight moon,
my eyes sting and water a bit. 
Not sure if it's from the the cold, 
the smoke, or the need to 
sweep the cinders
of another year from them.
Or perhaps this year
it's to wipe the spillings
of an old year away to prepare
for a brighter new one.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Night Vision

By Joseph Hesch 

I sat up in bed last night,
drawing darkness around me
like a comforter.
It's okay, we've been sleeping together
for quite a while now.
There are times it sustained me,
as I pulled ever more of it
over my shoulders, or
greedily spooned it into me
until all of life’s color disappeared.
I wonder if you ever saw
my moon face gazing down on you
from the dark firmament
of your bedroom ceiling,
or maybe from your desk,
burning through your clouds
of doubt and fear. I see
your eyes from these perches,
sometimes fierce, sometimes sad,
always shining, either with spirit
or tears.
But this isn’t my light shining on you.
It’s your light and that of all the others
that I reflect back from a
miraculously polished sense of self.
And when, finally, I fully open my eyes, 
and pronounce myself present here,  
I expect your lights to nourish
this once-dark soul, for good and all.

Posting this poem for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. This week it's being presented by my lovely friend, Natasha Head. Why don't you check out some of the other folks who have come to hear Tasha sing behind the bar tonight?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hiding in Plain Sight II

By Joseph Hesch

I have reached a point at the final crest
of this autobiographic thrill ride,
before the long slow descent to its end,
where I can look back and see
how much of it I’ve missed
by being the close-eyed loner in this seat,
the dust-shrouded outsider,
the look-no-hands clown,
the genderless confidant. 
I realize my pioneering work in camouflaged,
hide-in-plain-sight isolationism
is today’s normal.
And all the other seats appear empty.

These new virtual hermits  
live in their in their cars and cubicles,
behind desks and counters,
and under the covers in thrall of TVs,
computers and smartphones. 
They hide behind avatars, masks and
sullen defenses so the real them
is kept undiscovered –-
a secret for their eyes only. 
If they even open them.

Now on my downhill glide, I’ve started to knock
some of those defenses down – my own and others.
Even if I never make that ultimate connection,
warm form to warm form,
I think the ride will be pretty splendid
in its own right, the bandwidth wind in my hair.
Of course, my greatest fear in this quest
is that I really am alone in this world
of click-to-connect friendships. 
Or worse, I’m just naïve enough
to think I'm not.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Escapees from the Heart

By Joseph Hesch

Why I locked down my emotions
for most of my life, I didn’t know.
Was it because they’re messy beasts
with poor hygiene, splattering
their flammable, caustic juices all over me
and those in my proximity?
These scars and this stiff, charred heart
are forever reminders
of their misadventures.

Or maybe I was just afraid of them
because they look so much
like the guy I once was,
for so short a time.
A time when they ran free,
and I was an abetting joy-rider.
Life got dark when I put them away.
My recent fitting for a grave convinced me
to spring them before it was too late.

It was you saw me trying to dig them out
with a teaspoon and recognized that desperate
mission. You pressed your key into my hand.
Funny, these emotions have gotten older, too.
Their eyes watered in this bright new light.

Nightfall, Another November

By Joseph Hesch

I stepped outside at 5:00 and another November struck me
like a black bolt of ash -- the darkness of early sundown,
the steely chill of snow-threatening clouds,
and a near-deafening din that drowned out the wind.
The colors of October long ago disappeared, 
fallen to the ankles of once brightly outfitted trees
that stood as beacons for weekend leaf peepers.

They now reached skyward in scraggly stick-'em-up 
posture, robbed of their raiment
by frost and frigid currents. Shivering sentinels, 
the skeleton maples, hickories and oaks,
found their bony limbs decorated by hundreds of 
nattering neighbors in jet, keeping with
the dark end of the month’s gray-scale color scheme.

Advent ornaments, lit by sundown, shiny and black,
adorned the branches. Ebony leaves full of cawing cacophony. 
At dawn, these gravity-defying decorations disappear,
falling up and away, shed in an anti-autumn explosion
of feathers, noise, and bad intent,
onyx scavengers crowing their ascendancy
over a napping Nature.

And I feel the bones of another of my years
about to be picked clean.

As I walked from my office to the parking lot the other night, I heard the racket from hundreds of crows festooning the trees surrounding the campus where I work. They are a foul nuisance, but one heck of an inspiration...if I'm mindful enough to use them. They stirred up "Nightfall, Another November."  Linking this poem up to dVerse Poets Pub for its Open Link Night.

Friday, November 18, 2011


By Joseph Hesch

I feared you were going to leave me
alone, empty, without a hope or even
the merest chance that we could fill
these vacant dreams.
Empty, you might also leave yourself,
without the one who harmonizes
with the better angels
in your life’s chorus. 
How hollow our last acts would be
if we didn’t try,
if only once more,
to be more than what we were,
more than I too often still am. 
Someday, I will be there,
ready to embrace the real you
and fill your day with all I have to give.
Time has ensured it will not be
as much as I once had,
but it will be all.
Until I am empty.

Monday, November 14, 2011

This Way Out

By Joseph Hesch

Emerging from the train into the dimness,
I hewed salmon-like to the school
of commuters and day-trippers
crossing the platform and entering
the yellow-tiled tunnel climbing
to the harsh Manhattan sunlight.
As I turned a corner near a flight of stairs,
the crowd slowed, but didn’t stop,
eddying at the small wallside cubby.

A fever dream of a man stood within,
covered in shredded gray –
rags, beard, and life –
as everyone but I erased him
from their narrow realities
and passed him by.
He was huffing into and out of
a harmonica in one hand and
grasping an unloved piece of himself
with the other.
“How can they not care about this?”
I thought. “How can someone fall
like this and not care about himself?”
Rejoining the swirling mass,
I climbed into the whirring city.

Years later, I stood in the dreamless
dark hallway of my life, no visible light
or means of exit in sight,
nor any care to find them.
I had turned into my own sad and
ragged pile of gray,
shouting at the passing callous world
or hiding from its loveless minion.
But you stopped for me, drawn to this pen
and this notebook, upon which I now draw
maps of escape routes from this life
to your light. We haven't touched yet,
but I have a lot of ink in this well of hope,
lots of pages in my journal of possibilities.

This poem emerged from a memory I recently dredged up of a trip I made to Manhattan more than 25 years ago. There was the train to Grand Central Station, there was a tunnel of yellow tile full of surging humanity, and there was a man in shredded rags "performing" for no one but himself. Such memories sneak up on me now that I'm more mindful of my feelings and impressions and happen to keep a log of this new journey. "This Way Out" is just the latest leg of that journey. If you would like to read more such trips, feel free to sail around the blog. And if you're looking more poetic flights of fancy and reality, sail on over to dVerse Poets Pub for Open Link Night. My friend Joy "Hedgewitch" Jones is skipper there tonight.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

C in Penmanship

By Joseph Hesch

The wrist-rapping nun taught me to hold the pen lightly,
because it makes for less stress in the penman’s wrist
and enables “a floating of ink upon the page.”
I don’t think she ever thought I would one day
dreamily skate ink figures onto a lined rink of white,
assaying loops and salchows during which sometimes
my thoughts float above their intended surface.
She couldn’t have known I’d be telling stories
                                             out of school
about how Sister Agnes bounced Dennis’s head
between her shiny and flaccid white paws,
a penguin with the touch of a polar bear.
Who would think I would ever mention
Father Duffy putting his hand on Kevin’s knee
while feeding him breakfast for serving
the lone and lonely 7:00 o’clock Mass?
How could Brother David have a clue I could pen
a description of him perching on Tommy’s
desk-bound thigh, to teach him the vagaries
of another difficult type of equation.
Nope. I'd never amount to anything unless
I practiced my P's and Q's.
And prayed. She said she pray for me.
                                            Good job, sister.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Perfect Angel

By Joseph Hesch

Sally was a girl of exotic beauty
in this gray and barren place.
Her skin as smooth and brown
as a caramel apple, she owned a face
men dreamed to make art about.

She had but three things keeping her
from perfection --
The first was the plain fact that
she was a whore, a prostitute in a world
where she was one of many
who could be declared such,
but she, unfortunately,
was one by definition.

Second, she had that scar at the corner
of her left eye that ran down
and around her cheek, curving back
toward where it began.
The track of a tear she decided
to uncry, perhaps.
It was given to her by the man
who introduced her to this Life
and to that third strike against
her flawlessness.

She used his Mexican and Afghan powders
to quench the other burning pain he gave her,
twining her need for his love
with his need for her to prove it
to him by loving others.
And when it wouldn't deaden the burning
anymore, she used it to snuff the flame,
her flawless soul finally and
serenely leaving the streets
Perfect angel. Ugly world.

Once again, my fiction writing and poetry share a symbiotic relationship. My poem "Tagged" led to a short story of the same name, published by "Foliate Oak Magazine" last year. In the case of "Perfect Angel," Sally began "life" as a character in my first big short story, "But Don't Touch." But the dear was edited out. Sally stayed on the shelf up in my writer's attic for a couple of years, eventually appearing as one of the two major characters in my story "Sunrise, Sunset." I couldn't get her out of my head even after I got her on that page of prose, so here she is in poetic form with a little more emotion and story. I have linked this poem to dVerse Poets Pub's Open Link Night, which provides poets and readers an opportunity to get together and share their passions.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Perchance to Dream

By Joseph Hesch

It’s so dark here each night, waiting for
the memorable flight to fantasy,
the fears or thrills that you may have,
but I almost never do. I lay in this bed
with my itinerary made of today’s regrets
and tomorrow’s dread,
dreaming of being able to dream.
It’s like groping in the dark for a shadow,
something I can’t see or feel,
but I know is there, if only I …

I will slip into the black depths of sleep,
a struggling shipwrecked sailor going under,
only to open my eyes to another awakened darkness
hours later, taunted by a clock that shows
I missed rescue once again.
But last night, before I sank back
to the nothing that is my slumber,
this vacuum of fancy, I once more pleaded
with the universe for colorful release.

As I was about to surrender once again
to the vacant sleeping dark, an angel appeared
and beckoned me to join her,
tucking beneath her wing of white .
“Here,” she whispered in my ear,
“hold me and be mindful of now,
not yesterday, not tomorrow. Feel my warmth,
and drop your baggage. You won’t need it
where we’re going.”

I never knew my gloom could transform
into a world of such light and color,
such sound and feeling, such heart-lifting joy.
But it did.
When I awoke, I saw dawn in a light so new,
it might as well be approaching from the west.
Tonight, I will leave the dreary day at the door,
I will root fearsome tomorrow from under my bed,
and I will prepare for my angel to join me
in our dream.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Over the Top

By Joseph Hesch

She always had a problem 
with how he tended to over-think, 
over-do, over-reach, 
over-react, over-analyze, 
So, because he loved her so very, very much, 
he tried to change, a total make-over.
He tried to become like he saw her, 
accepting things as they came,
not sweating the small stuff. 
Something he wasn't, really.
He beat himself nearly senseless 
to overcome his obsession
to make a big deal over every
little thing in his life. 
he was perplexed by the how or why, he
underestimated how much 
he’d changed to be the guy 
he thought she wanted.
That’s why he never fully
understood what to do, 
when she said,
“We're so over.”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Backstage at The Firmament

By Joseph Hesch

Come the Fall, the sky grows wider,
blacker, starrier as each night
the trees undress and become skinnier,
like movie starlets
trying to make a name for themselves
above some blockbuster's title.
I become smaller now, a bit less significant
against the ever more vast darkness.
If that net of stars should drop
upon the now-drowsy Earth,
I bet I could slip through it and
peek backstage at The Firmament,
catching angels and gods in dishabille,
like the maples and starlets,
their wings and auras hanging from hooks
fashioned from mortal prayers
for another good harvest
or more nights like this.

Image: EQUINOX, by Alison Jardine

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Nodding Dream

By Joseph Hesch.

I used to march these rooms half the night, 
their blackness the only thing holding me 
on an eyeless path I traced, hand outstretched, 
sweeping for walls that I knew were there 
and for barriers that really weren't.
Even counting my steps, I never quite learned 
where to stop before the crash, 
before the sparks would light up my mind 
but never my vision.

Maybe I was searching for you there, 
your brilliance still over the horizon, 
not measured in lumens, but in heartbeats, 
plunked like strings on a violin, 
marking time until you found me, 
stumbling, mumbling through my jagged nights. 

In this darkness you were surer in your steps, 
sure my outstretched hand all that time
was there for you to hold.
And now so connected, where might we go? 
Are the maps already drawn?
Or will we explore the world
carried by the words we let drift 
in streams like ink, running black 
to the oceans of other hearts?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Act of Contrition

By Joseph Hesch

Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
I don't know how long it's been
since my last confession, least to a priest.
I must have sinned, because I feel
so guilty, like I'm a bad person,
despite what my shrink says.
You told me not to tell, that no one
would believe me and, besides,
what you did was an expression of love.
Yeah, that's what you told me.

Don't you remember, Father? I was eleven
and you asked me to serve the 7:00 o’clock
all alone. You said you thought I was ready.
Just you and me. Partners, you said.
Afterwards, you put your arm
around my shoulder and told me
what a good boy I was.
You asked if I would like to get out of class
to help you do those funerals,
ride to the cemetery with you and
hold your Holy Water wand.
Remember? That's what you called it.
Teaching me what you said a young man
without a dad needed to know.

No, wait, I want you to hear my confession
because I got really bad after you told me
you didn't think I needed you
to "mentor" me anymore. You found a new boy.
You left the parish all of a sudden
when they said you got sick and had to go
to New Mexico to get better.
And now you're back. Are you better?
I wish I could get better.

The doctors tell me it'll take a while
to get well, that the pain and guilt and
confusion may go away after I confront
my problems and realize they weren't really
my fault.
My fault.
I was the one who kept coming back,
who did those things you said were okay,
who hurt all those people -- Mom, my girlfriends,
my ex-wife and my kid.

Heads-up, Father, 'cause I've been having
these impure thoughts and I don't want to die
with them on my conscience.
Not that kind of impure. Taking a life impure.
Really? You're absolving me?
Who absolves you?
Is God going to forgive you your sins?
Because I don't.
My name? You mean which one am I?
You'll find out when the cops
come to hose out the confessional
and find the note on my body.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for this sinner and at the hour of my death.


A little late, but I decided to post this lengthy bit of writing I did Saturday night in response to the prompt proffered by Sheila Moore and Kellie Elmore for dVerse Poets Pub's Poetics feature Taboo Subjects: How to be Fearless and Nothing Less. The prompt was to write a poem on a subject without censoring your pen for the sake of status, personal opinion and/or judgment. Not sure why, but this long beast happened. Terrible subject that's gotten closer to the surface of me. Don't wish to represent myself as a survivor. I'm not. But i know a couple, just as i've known (up close) a couple of the perpetrators. Nevertheless, I wrote it and put it away, not editing it, not planning to post it. But I was convinced to do it Monday morning. And now I'll share it with the poets at dVerse's Open Link Night, which I'm hosting this week.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Answer

By Joseph Hesch

Outside, early morning, mid-December
and the howling wind is strumming a
C-chord through the trees.
Even above that din, I hear
the familiar tones overhead.

There, moving in a diagonal,
like a sidewinder snaking south,
or a streamer of mercury sliding across
a wobbly zinc tabletop,
are half a hundred Canada geese.

And I shiver. Not because of the wind
and December's cold, but because
the unspeaking natural world had
once again addressed a question
I hadn't even known I was asking.

The question I couldn't
speak or write is answered across
the December sky in that language
without words, the one that speaks
more truth than that of Man:
It's never too late.

As I was working outside the other day, I heard in the distance something I used to not hear until it was just above my head (if at all). There, in ragged V winging south, was the first company of migrating Canada Geese I'd seen this Fall. I'm not sure why, but that incessant honking sound, some overlapping the others as if they were sound shadows, stirs some visceral response in me. I feel somehow energized and inspired. And so I was this time. Seeing them put me in mind of another group I had seen last year. I write about those travelers here.

This Boy's Life

By Joseph Hesch

I took a walk by myself yesterday
and recalled how much I always loved
just walking and watching. 
"Woolgathering," Grandma called it.
"You're wasting time, little boy," she'd preach.
Years and years of it have reaped me a lot of wool,
or maybe just the dust of memories by now.

An ancient tree in the park caught my attention.
It knew I was coming; its limbs waved me down.
And on the edge of the yawning mouth
in the tree's face—a gash big enough
for a bear to hide in—
rose an impudent squirrel.
He hurled me a lesson full of sound and
fury on behalf of his silent old host,
a fiery flicking tongue testifying there's some life
left in the old boy, and chit-chitting his pride
that he's a big piece of it.

That's when I realized how much I loved my
walks and secret conversations with the world.
I don't feel like I've wasted all of those memories.
I carry their dust in my bones, I'm sure.
They just need to be reconstituted
by fresh perspective and the miracle voices.
Now I collect them, commit them to paper,
and share them with the nascent me,
that fiery, furry—or is it wooly?—
young poem maker who
resides inside this dry old hide. 

Photo by Ruban Phukan

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Haiku and Senryu 1


Rosy eye closing
beneath purple and red lids–
Fall’s bruised horizon.

As the oak leaves turn,
Nature orders, “Curtain up”–
cue this year’s third act.

Blackbirds harry Hawk 
from their leaf-bare maple home.
Hawk humors them though.

Eyes watch in hiding 
as we walk through red forest;
they fear us; we, them. 

The searchlight full moon
wore a veil of windblown cloud—
a November bride

Chains of starlings stretch,
shivering, from pole to pole—
roadside rosaries

Wind carries the cry
 of coyotes' prey brought down:
White doe runs away.


His locked box opened,

she gave flame to his desire—
scarring a true heart.

“I’ll never hurt you,”
Angel carved into his heart –
A promise unkept.

“I’d never do that,”
The angel professed to me –
They all do, in time.

Gratefully, I taste
her Chinese tea and oranges –
Not Suzanne, but close.

In whose image, first,
was the other created—
Man’s god or God’s man?

Hot coffee and gin 
kept him warm every night. 
Anger kept him hot.

Over at dVerse Poets Pub today, my friend Gay Reiser Cannon is discussing poetry forms. She's a treasure house of poetry form knowledge, often beyond my skills. But today she is discussing the form with which I started my journey as what might be called a poet.  That is the Japanese short form style of haiku and senryu.  I've called it writing inside a warm, tight hug. After argued with myself for a while (a frequent exercise that I inevitably lose, one way or another) if I should post any of them on the blog, Gay helped me decide once and for all.  I'll love playing at this form until I can't breathe on a page anymore. That's what they are, my small poetic respirations, how I start each day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


By Joseph Hesch

Too long, I’ve worn delusion as a hood
covering my better judgment, when,
time and again, I tortured myself
with chains of baseless obsessions.
Sense of duty, senseless mooning,
all cloaked in claustrophobic darkness
where, if some small ray of truth leaked in,
I willingly closed my eyes to accept
my next bruising lesson in Life.
I wish I could find that hand,
the one I could trust to lift this hood,
leading me to daylight, instead of
coming down upon it again and again,
beating the emotional daylights out of me.
I’m willing to crack open my eyes
and extend to you my hand in something more
than its defensive or aggressive attitude,
but only if you promise never to use yours
upon me while my back is turned.
Or are you another of my delusions?

Another study of the lonely, those fearful of the light of truth or so deep in the well of depression that all they think they have to comfort them wrapping themselves in more darkness. Heliophobia is my post this week for dVerse Poets Pub's Open Mike Night. Check it out and see what all the joyous noise is about.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dark Lie

By Joseph Hesch

I stopped trying to be who
the world always wanted me to be—
pliant, compliant, the good boy,
and the better man.
With age I see why
I’ve hated the effort I made
to color within everyone else’s lines.
Inside, I’m trying to be
cold and dark and
-- just to be me --
I keep all those beans
we’re supposed to count
in alphabetic order.
This is my life, my obsession,
and I’ll keep it the way that I want.
That’s who I am, for better or worse.
No partners, no bliss, self-service.
Deal with it.

Oh, excuse me, did you drop this?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Island

By Joseph Hesch

The autumn rain lifted overnight,
and in the morning our road
seemed a seascape as I looked East,
a long black beach curving ahead of me.
The puddles were sun-mirrored tidal pools
surrounded by the final tossing
of russet shells from the oaks.
Above, a grand artist,
with wind-blown flourish,
had dry-brushed strokes of gray
over the white impastos He scattered
across a canvas of palest blue infinity.
And I, the sleepy suburban Crusoe,
breathed the sweet breeze of morning.

Oh, I’m as tired of writing sad, breast-beating, introspective poems as you probably are of reading them. So today, I went back to my initial source of inspiration. Pardon the pun, but I went back to Nature. My morning walks with Mollie almost always provided my groggy brain with some poetic fodder--shuffling little old men, honking geese, neon prisms of broken ice—but this one was as simple as it gets. I just looked at the road and sky and sucked in a breath of elation.
I decided to post this little poem for Week 10 of dVersePoet Pub’s Open Link Night. If you like to read poetry from a world-wide cast of verse wranglers, you really should pay a visit to the pub, where my friend and poetic fairy godmother Claudia Schoenfeld is in charge tonight. And don't be afraid to leave a comment here and there. Especially,!