For One Night Only

By Joseph Hesch

She’s finally the star, the honoured one,
first name on the program, the role for which
she tore at the spotlight and her peers
for years,even her sister.
Here on the grandest stage,
she stretches long and luxuriant
in the floral glory of forever-Spring,
every eye on her without her usual
strained performance.
But she doesn’t enjoy that glow,
the audience’s buzz, the glory,
the honour coming with this position,
center-stage, at the front of the house.

Our star can’t appreciate being the jewel
in the mahogany box with all eyes on her.
One night only, in her ultimate role
— SleepingBeauty —
judicious application of cosmetics
and stageccraft have returned
some of her benign youthful allure
for those brought to tears by her final bow.
If she only knew it was so easy
to win this attention, this reverence,
this love.
All she had to do was die.

© 2012 Joseph Hesch

Self-Portraits

By Joseph Hesch

Every day, the poet squeezes
the contents of his heart
over the expression he wears,
and this he imprints
onto the ruled pages
of that notebook or
this window —
his versions of
St. Veronica’s veil.
Then he walks away,
continuing his life’s journey,
leaving behind the image
for you to assess.
It’s not his anymore.
Sometimes it may be hideous,
sometimes almost holy,
but always, it’s his
truth.

© 2012 Joseph Hesch

Mechanicatechists

By Joseph Hesch

Here in the holy grotto of mechanical arts,
miniature suns hang from up-hinged hoods
and dingy wheelwells.
The din of clanging tools fades beneath
the stutter of the pneumatic wrench.
The old mage’s hands wear
an impasto of dirt and motor oil,
while a crescent of indigo and crimson
sits beneath his thumbnail,
a Purple Heart earned during
a battle between a rusted brake
and a slippery screwdriver.

The gloved young priests
bear permanent marks, as well,
though these are inked imaginings
on their arms and bodies, not
the forever stampings of battles lost
between flesh and steel.
They divine the fortunes of man
in the oil-soaked entrails of his beast,
speaking in the cant of youth,
even to the tool-less pilgrims
that have come for healing:
“Front binders are shot, Dude.
New rotors and pads’ll run ya
four-fitty, five ‘n a quarter.”

So it is written; so shall it be.

© 2012 Joseph Hesch