Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Taste of Truth

By Joseph Hesch

I didn't know I needed you
even when I saw you everywhere.
We'd never met, but I was sure
you existed, I'd see you
in the faces of the grocery checkout girl,
that nurse in the ER,
this television newswoman.
They all look, sound like you, yet nothing
like you. They are your pale echoes.

You'd sensed me, too. That breeze
that woke you was my breath
on your cheek, that chill at your neck
my fingertips. That sound, my whistle,
that hum of words harmonizing
with your heartbeat, my hymn in
your angel soul. That's what drew
you toward our inevitable collision
in the cave of the forgotten.

And now we reach for one another
in the dark, beneath a duvet of stars,
upon a mattress of space and time.
And it's real. It's your face, crowned
in gold, I gaze at. As no one has before,
it's me touching you, my Diogenesean tongue
seeking truth in your darkest places,
and finding it wrapped around yours.
You taste of it as we untie our bindings.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lines of Demarcation

By Joseph Hesch

Surrounding us in every direction, limned
in every possible form, these boundaries
and borders, these lines of demarcation.
We can barely step away from them,
they’ve  so entrapped and squeezed our lives.
Do we draw them to keep others away
or to keep our respective enclaves
of body, mind and soul within?

Strokes of natural and man-made
geography, you mountains, oceans,
rivers, borders, colors, words on a page,
the signatures conscribing them against us,
are constructs that have lost their
constricting hold on this lacerated heart,
this freed mind, this scarred but open soul.

Each day, I look into blazing dawn’s
bright smile blurring and erasing
so many margins long marking my reserve,
my captivity. I know I can cross them now,
like they’re maps strewn across the floor,
mere cursive Ts in my notebook.
This syllogism may be false, but I’m a man
of many faults on the run to the next dawn.

We're linking this poem up to dVerse Poets Pub's Open Link Night, hosted by the incomparable Joy Ann Jones (You may know her as @Hedge_witch). Stop by and let Hedge pour you a tall one and mingle with some of the poetic clientele.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


By Joseph Hesch

The Nun said
I'd said none
Of what she called
Good sense.
"Good sense?" said I,
"you wish me to spout
your sense, Nun.
Nun sense!"
"Perhaps you will speak
such sense anon,"
said Nun. Said I,
"Nun sense anon, nun?

A bit of nonsense poetry, of a figurative and literal, prompted by my friend Laurie Kolp.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


By Joseph Hesch

You spied the light of me across Plato’s dark aether--
a comet you said, omen of a coming--
where others rubbed it away as an eye-corner flicker.

My Fire drew in your Air, consuming that breath
with which you make being of sparkle, songs of soul.
This drab Earth resisted the quenching rain,

until Life’s plow broke me and your Water
entered my forgotten softness beneath the crust
others had tread to adamant armor.

We burn brightly now, pushing up flaming blooms,
embracing ivy of connection, the sweetest fruit
of seeds cast from the stars in their aether,

where I sensed a heart-tripped something
between Universe and the Sphere and wondered...

Sunday, January 8, 2012


By Joseph Hesch

Sophie lies there, her face shining
from moisturizer Nurse just applied.
From above, her Sid thinks she looks
like a little doll, eyes closed, like they're
painted on. Sophie’s younger sister, Judy,
born during the Hoover administration,
is led to her bedside and
carries on the one-way conversation,
she always has, mostly about Judy.
Nearby, Nurse thinks Judy's buying in
to a Beatitude, hoping to win valuable prizes
in the hereafter. Sid knows she’s not making up
for lost years when she didn't speak to Sophie.

In twilight haze, Sophie wonders when she can go home.

Nurse half-listens to a story she has heard
so many times before. Who has had it worse,
better, smarter, richer, holier,prettier than anyone else.
"You've got the right idea, honey,"Nurse thinks.
"Go to sleep."
Sophie curls a tiny smile where before was
a tight dash, making all around her happy.
She barely listens to Judy, as if she is one
of these blinking sonorous machines that have
been her cold companions for the past months.
Sophie knows it's only for a little while more.
And now she hears them singing.
In the darkness Sophie sees her Sid's face,
and feels the bright joy of release.
“Hi, doll. Been waiting for you,” he says.

And Sophie, her face radiant, knows she’s home.

Your crabby poet guy Joe tells a semi-true story of very-true love. This was going to be part of a short story. It probably still will. (That's often how it works for me: a poem begets a story.) In this story-poem (or is it a poem-story?), loved ones get together after a long absence from one another. One reunion is not so good, the other is rapturous.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Rivertown Rapture

By Joseph Hesch

With January's ice-scrim mist,
this riverside neighborhood
turns back to photo proof
black, white and gauzy gray.
Holiday colors have faded
like mid-September memories.
Tinder-dry evergreens,
erstwhile harlequin-lit window beacons
for passing ice-breakers,
now lay prostrate on streetside,
snow-dusted Christmas gravestones,
waiting for the herald crash
of the trash collecting Rapture.
And the perennial trees
standing sentinel nearby
at snow-footed attention,
look like lean black guardsmen,
their uniforms on backorder
until a too faraway Spring.

This week I wrote a poem that came from my walks and runs along the Hudson shore over the past 20 years. During the holidays, you could see the gumdrop-lit Christmas trees in windows over in Rensselaer. By early January, they were gone, the snow had come and the ice had choked the river. "Rivertown Rapture" is what I recall and imagine of those days. I've linked it up to dVerse Poets Pub's Open Link Night, where you'll find scores of other such imaginings and remembrances.