This is a Guest Post from D.S. Hoffman. Daniel Hoffman studied with Charles Simic at the University of New Hampshire. He was co-founder and co-editor of the literary journal Durak. Daniel also wrote several chap books of poetry, including the classic Whisker Kisses. Daniel has been a luthier for the past 25 years. He currently resides and practices his craft near Santander, Spain, where he makes cellos. You can find him on the web at:
Mikey & Me
You think this is the first go-round
we’ve been tag-team mates on?????????
Gonzo the Great,
who chews his beer glass
after drafting it whole …
the phased out Whacky little Pud
who bump jumps from the ropes
just in the nick of time
to Back-Hand Swat
with a folding chair
Been There …
Done It, Seen It, Played It …
D.S. Hoffman 2011
“Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house, she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not fly away.”
Hesiod – 7th Century B.C.
The Earth is quaking, roiling, shaking,
churning, spewing ash and belching fire.
Her core is bleeding, leaking. We are waging endless war.
Someone let the genie out of the bottle.
Someone opened Pandora’s Box,
let loose darkness that swirls
out from the deep and won’t stop
until it covers the whole world.
I ponder the fragility of life,
curse our ridiculous vanity and conceit,
bless the frailty and resilience of the human race,
pray to the angels and call in my guides.
I do what any reasonable man must do
in the face of such chaos, insanity and disorder.
I confront the pile of laundry head on,
folding underwear, hanging shirts and matching socks.
I take the dogs, jump in the car, and go speeding
down country roads, all windows down,
wind buffeting my head, music blasting
black lab hanging out the window, ears flapping
on my way to no particular destination,
past horses and cows grazing in fields,
yellow dandelion and purple clover,
lilacs in full bloom, bobbing madly in the breeze.
Going nowhere, somewhere, anywhere, everywhere
on my way to places
I’ve never been
and may never be again.
So here’s what happened,
this is how it all went down…..
It all began
with a single intention,
something we might call thought,
a spark of light,
a vibration that hummed
until it became a steady tone.
Before there was matter,
or what we call
for that is a human construct,
a boundary against which we push,
to try to mark and to measure,
Universes were born ~
from the center
all at once
in every direction ~
galaxies, star systems, planets, suns,
space, light, atoms, molecular structure,
celestial bodies without name or description, cosmic dust….
In the beginning, there was
It all started just like that.
I’m serious … that’s the way it happened.
At least that’s the way
I remember it….
When I die you have my permission
to have me stuffed and mounted
over the mantel of your fireplace,
next to that portrait of Ernest Hemingway
you are so fond of.
You know the one ~
next to an 8 foot marlin,
glistening in the sun.
When I die you can use my ashes
to glaze a stoneware bowl,
and display it on the mantel
under that black and white photograph
you like so much.
The one of the huge fish
hanging by its tail
next to the old man
by the sea.
When I die I could be a scarecrow
in your flower garden,
between the dogwoods and delphiniums.
Dressed like the Great White Hunter
to frighten away the crows and magpies.
But then again,
just about any outfit
When I die I could be a weathervane
in the shape of a marlin
spinning in the wind
on top of a lightening rod
on the gable of your roof.
Although it probably makes more sense
to simply have my photograph
hung over your mantel
next to that other portrait
you are so fond of.
I’m slowly climbing a hill, when a Dodge Caravan
drives right up my tail and blows past me
going about 80 miles per hour in a no passing zone.
“Baby on Board” is fixed to the rear window.
I wonder if baby is driving.
I used to think “Baby on Board”
was an admonition to the rest of us
to drive with tender, loving care
out of respect for baby.
I now understand
the real intent of the message is to indicate
where a young child is located in the vehicle
should there be an accident or breakdown.
Signs that tell me what to do
just make me want to do
all the things
I was taught not to do ~
drive fast – take a lot of chances, stick my fingers in the fan,
run with scissors, touch a hot stove, lick a frozen flag pole,
walk under ladders, step on cracks on the sidewalk,
go swimming right after eating, play in traffic with a sharp stick.
While we’re at it, let’s talk
about messages on bumper stickers.
There are common ones with political or religious content.
I even have one on my own car, but I think they’re really boring.
My favorite bumper stickers convey a message
that is irreverent or contains at least some a sense of irony,
not the annoying: “I brake for unicorns”
but messages with more hair and teeth ~
“Rugby Players Eat Their Dead”
“Dial 911- Make a Cop Come” – or –
the mother of all politically incorrect:
“Nuke the Gay Whales for Jesus”
Anyway, I think bumper stickers are dangerous.
You have to tailgate in order to read them,
and now you’re reading, when you should be driving
with tender, loving care, in case the car in front of you
has a baby on board.
Honk if you love Elvis!
This Guest Post is from Lawrence Kessenich. Lawrence’s most recent Chapbook is titled “Strange News” by Puddinghouse Publications
No one gets lost anymore. If they don’t
have GPS, they have a MapQuest printout,
thick blue line indelibly marking the way.
Lacking those, there is the inevitable
cell phone link to someone with a better
sense of direction. No one gets lost anymore.
They may not know who they are, but,
by God, they know where they are. Even if
it’s nowhere in particular, they can
tell you exactly how far it is from here.
Even if they’ve no idea what they’ll do there,
they can tell you—to the minute—how long
it will take to arrive. No one gets lost
anymore. Travel is predictable as
California weather, and as unrelated
to life’s vicissitudes. We all get lost,
lose our way in love, career or spiritual
seeking. There is no GPS to calmly
guide us down the side roads of the
human heart, no MapQuest for career paths,
no guru on speed dial to direct us through
the dark night of the soul. We need to
practice getting lost again, learn to meander
and cope with uncertainty, to trust
dead reckoning to get us from here to there,
from where we are to where we want to be.
Lawrence Kessenich 2011