Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ryan Hardgrove- Three Poems

Red light

Idling at a red light
the night weighs down upon
the roof of my car
tail pipe trembling
it coughs its white breath
into the 4:00 a.m. drone
of an empty intersection

a diesel engine sighs
somewhere downtown
and curbside rock salt
twinkles beneath stammering streetlights

my cigarette whispers
in its indecipherable paper language
as I drag deeply
and swallow the smoke

I try to find a reason
in this moment
justification for all this

I want to know
that everything will be okay

my eyes decide to close
there is no protest
and time begins to pass
separate from me
but I can hear the snow
kiss the windshield
and I imagine
the ephemeral crystals
of each flake
each individual flake
unique and fragile and complex
disappearing on my windshield
gone forever
in an instant

the purple curtain
of eyelid
shifts to green
my right foot lifts
and finds the accelerator

I hit the wipers
and drive home

Don’t write it down

on the bed
lost amongst
heavy dunes of blanket
trying to stay warm
as cold air sneaks through
50 year old windows

snow and wind
swirl and howl
up against the siding
while we slither around the bed
reveling in our warmth
an ancient warmth
old as man’s first fire

from somewhere else in bed,
her face blocked by miles of blanketed
winter desert bed-scape,
she tells me tales
from her childhood
as I pull filaments of fabric
out of the blanket
and wrap them around my finger tips

her childhood is a story to me
so I listen

and as I listen
a deep well of crystal clear
silence pours through me
and my soul goes still


our child
grows within her
and soon
our child will grow with us
in a life where so many belong
where so many become trapped
a life which nobody understands
although many pretend to
they are the worst
stay away from them

our hands find each other’s
beneath throngs of fabric
and everything is right here
in this room
under these blankets

everything is right here

but later
I’ll try and write our story
instead of living it

leaving her alone in bed
to reach for a soul that is not there
while I pour it onto these pages
in the next room

soon, I’ll be on empty
so I’ll return to the bedroom
to find her sleeping peacefully

and this will be enough

and I won’t squander it

I’ll sleep

or at least, I’ll try

All that Wind

from my fire escape I can see
spiraling towers of smoke
pouring from Neville Island
the hellish grey island in the Ohio River
ancient smokestacks
leftover somehow by the industrial rustbelt circus
spew innumerable amounts of gas and particulates
day in day out
unknown flames burn through the night
old candles that forgot to go out

I cough on my dry cold cigarette
and stub it out on the frozen brick

on the couch
its winter and I’m poor
Eraserhead is on the screen
with its industrial wind
and incessant infantile screams

she’s somewhere in the background
seed in her own stomach
my seed
and her friend is here
complaining about jobs and guys and all around shortcomings

she still has not asked her
how the pregnancy is coming

and she says my friends don’t care
what a joke

the truth is
nobody cares
about anyone else
unless that someone
provides them with something
they can not provide
for themselves

the wind rattles a gutter
somewhere out in the dark

Ryan Hardgrove lives in a small house in Pittsburgh, PA with his common law wife.  They are expecting a son this summer.  When he is not writing, he bartends downtown or paces in the basement.

No comments:

Post a Comment