Monday, January 23, 2012

Christopher Hivner- Three Poems

I don’t know
was my stock answer
when she asked
a question.
Sometimes I did know
but didn’t care,
other times
I wasn’t really
listening to her.
She peppered me
with inquiries
about the world,
a place that had
left my insides
as sharp
as shattered glass.
On and on
her tongue
formed words
and the breath
in her lungs
pushed them out
for the nitrogen-rich air
to carry
into my ears.
I don’t know
was always
my answer
between puffs
of generic cigarettes.
One day
I would break,
I felt it
in the pit
of my stomach.
One day
I would answer
all of the questions
and then I would
cease to matter
to her.
I lit another cig
inhaling deeply,
preparing my
heart and lungs
for the day
she walks away.
Classic Rock
I waited in the car
through the Rolling Stones,
Neil Young,
American Pie and the Beatles,
I waited through
three in a row
from The Who
and a request
for Pink Floyd,
the 17 minute one,
I waited for her
to leave his apartment,
straightening her dress,
fussing with her hair.
I waited to see it
before I hated her,
had to experience it
so I could
let go of what
I held in.
I waited until
she drove away
to shed the tears
that had been living
under my skin,
to acknowledge the sick
that was eating
my stomach.
I waited through
Cheap Trick, Zeppelin
and until
the street was empty
to get out
of my car
and walk to
the apartment
where my wife’s
presence lingered
in the air
and on the bed sheets.
I hummed Ziggy Stardust
while I waited
for him
to answer the door
and sang
“Welcome to the Jungle”
as I put
a bullet in his brain.
My head
was full of static
as I walked
back to the car,
interference from somewhere
wiped my thoughts
to white.
I drove home
through weather reports,
traffic updates
and ticket give-aways,
all getting lost
in the noise
my mind
found soothing.
I waited in my driveway
through my
muttered prayer,
the neighbor’s dog barking
and the
chambering of a bullet
inside my gun.
As I turned off
the car,
the DJ
put on the blues.

As Secret Writing Flourishes
The news plays in the background,
CNN talking heads 24 hours nonstop.
I hear about the bombs that went off
and the bombs that didn’t.
4 a.m. and the pretty blond
is telling me the same things
that the pretty brunette told me
12 hours earlier.
4 a.m. and I still don’t sleep,
three days and counting.
I watch the images
and read the headlines
but turn the sound down
so I can hear what remains
of your voice trapped
in the cracks of the plaster.
The Sun rises behind the house
while the overseas stock markets gain
and you tell me again
why I’m an asshole.
A fire in Cleveland rages out of control
while I wait for the apology
that always came, but this time
it sounds insincere
because your voice is fading,
the remnants too slender to register.
Your old letters are spread out
on the floor, trapping me
on the couch
so I don’t step on them,
but I can’t read your words anymore,
written in French or Gaelic
or some secret code.
What were you trying to tell me?
A man breathless and sweating,
speaking frantically
of his daughter wandering off
in a crowded Wal-Mart.
Under his impassioned face
CNN is trying to tell me something
with scrolling words
but I can’t read them.
I pick up your letters
and I know
her name is Missy, and she’s 4 years old.
I look at the TV screen
and it says
I am all you need.
Missy is wearing red shorts
and a white top.
You wish I understood
when you cry.
Missy was last seen
looking at the fish tanks.
It might be a mistake,
but you need to leave.
I drop your letters and turn off the TV,
sad realizations driving me.
If I find Missy
maybe I’ll find you,
but I’m a thousand miles away
from Indiana
and if you were standing next to me
I wouldn’t know where you were.

No comments:

Post a Comment