Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christopher Hivner- Two Poems

I couldn’t give anyone
what they needed,
not in words
or with my hands.
No expression of my faith
gave them solace,
no encouragement
put the color
back in their eyes.
If I walked from here
to there and then back,
the stories I could tell
to strangers
gathered at my feet,
glassy-eyed and open-mouthed,
giving off the odor
of contempt
while licking the sweat
from my ginger skin.
The world reached out
across a sky
streaked with meteors,
blotted with comets
and debris,
satellites from the deep
coming home,
Klaxons blowing,
bells tolling,
bellwhethers bleating,
the world reached out
knowing the danger.
I walked from here
to there and stayed,
told no stories,
reached no conclusions.
The world
gathered at my feet
giving off the odor
of decomposition,
repeating prayers
with tongues
made from pages of the Bible.
When the sun rose,
a washed out blandishment
to the bleeding sky,
I still couldn’t give anyone
what they needed.

Any of Them
He spun the globe
with a tired finger.
Something broke
in the background.
The countries blurred together
in a miasma of ink and imaginary lines.
Glass covered the kitchen floor,
and protruded from a child’s foot.
His hand hovered over the globe,
deciding when to descend.
Screaming filled the house like water
while the mother tried to soothe.
He stopped the globe, Burkina Faso,
spun it again.
The glass came out,
cleanup began.
The globe slid under his finger,
South Bend, Indiana.
The mother is shouting his name
to come and help with the children.
He spun it so hard,
the blue and white sphere wobbled on its axis.
Mother shouting at him, pleading with the children,
children shouting at one another, pleading with him.
His index finger jabbed violently,
southern Portugal shuddered.
The injured child is running with fear,
trailing blood through the house.
His eyes cross painfully
watching the globe spin and spin.
“Why won’t you help me?
Why are you just sitting there?”
Fictional borders disappear
into the greedy oceans.
Why is the TV on when no one is watching it,
why must the kids scream every word they say?
He doesn’t stop it this time,
letting it choose for him.
The din becomes a hum
becomes an epoxy in the folds of his brain.
It stops under his pointing finger,
northern Pennsylvania, home.
Where did the quiet come from,
and why is it building in his ears?
He was pointing to his own house,
to his own beating heart.
He could feel them around him,
their voices fighting to get in.
He ended
where he started.

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