But Don’t Touch ~ An Erasure Poem

Albany Nights

Albany Nights (Photo credit: HckySo)

I lived in one of the tenements,
so loud and confused, the neighborhood
stretched out, scared, skinny,
squinting payback when I creaked open the door.
I just sit in the back now
and we never talk much of today.

I discovered the dark outside,
its hands covering another lie
when I closed my eyes.

I chase all its changing,
kicked in the gut, blood on my chin.
How could I go back?
I closed myself from me.
The feeling of eyes leaning against the inner door,
it’s my way now. A one-way street. Alone

I didn’t feel anything.

This is a first attempt at an Erasure Poem, as prompted by my friend Anna Montgomery over at dVerse Poets Pub. It has been concocted from snippets of my own (somewhat gritty) short story, But Don’t Touch.


frozen sunrise

frozen sunrise (Photo credit: Grapfinger)

I awoke this morning,
peeked through the curtains
and saw this house had gotten old
its roof gone all salt and pepper,
it’s boards creaking with the cold,
and its chimney steaming some miasma
I’m sure it didn’t yesterday.

The neighborhood’s shoulders wore
some of the fallen silver
and flakes of white, and
the whole tableaux seemed
shrouded in slate-gray clouds
cast in a penumbra
so dark I couldn’t read
that big E from only a few paces.

But then you opened your eyes,
the lids parting a passageway
for a sweet light to escape
the shadows of age, and I saw
in them the reflection of this house,
its roof black and smooth again,
its walls strong and whose windows
I now cast open to call Good Morning.

© Joseph Hesch 2012

The roof really WAS covered in a salt & pepper-like snow this morning. (Unfortunately, no time to take a photo.) My age-obsessed imagination took it from there. 🙂:)

Exit 3

Cohoes Falls - New York

Cohoes Falls – New York (Photo credit: Dougtone)

Some say life is like a river, always moving,
sometimes slow and smooth, snake-like in its
S’ing to a Maybe. Other times it’s rough and rushing,
a cascade over rocks to some mist-hidden secrets below.

Maybe it’s more like being behind the wheel
of a car during the morning rush hour.
One day it’s bright and sunny, or it’s fog-shrouded.
Others days it’s skate-edgy with calamitous icy potential.

And I’m stuck in this middle-lane nightmare,
either creeping along or careening NASCAR-style,
door-handle to door-handle, drafting the bumper and
sharing the over-heated press of the souls around me.

I’m unable to move ahead, go around, or pull to any off-ramp,
unless I decide to gouge my way through them,
a self-destructive wedge scattering harried humanity
on their way to indefinite destinations only they may reach.

Just ahead I see the bridge over the Mohawk, that black eel
sliding past marinas, power plants and a final-rest landfill
until it dives over the Cohoes Falls, where Henry Hudson decided
his ultimate course. Wheel gripped a little tighter, I feel wedgy.

What’s the Point?


shivs (Photo credit: istolethetv)

I guess I’m supposed to appear oh so serious,
because to not be considered serious
is to not BE…

I hear if Writers in their stories, Poets in their verse
don’t appear gravely haloed by Polyhymnia,
bathed in the balm of Calliope,
then they’re just not worth the reading.
Unless, of course, you can appear difficult
or even possess that special fearsome edge.
Something akin to a prison shank-fest
between inky Aryan Brothers and Crips,
viscera and caesura, gore and metaphor
over the heads and covering feet in the library.
That’s why I am never going to make it
in this Big House. Not angry enough,
never felt the need to feed your belly
my edge.

But maybe someday, though I doubt it,
some of the serious, difficult and edgy,
even while they’re looking,
get my point.


Close your Eyes

Close your Eyes (Photo credit: Piccadilly Pink)

Matte and colorless, not black,
nor any shade of gray, is my Dark.
Even without gesture, no nuance other than
its lack of supposed visual,
to touch, taste, or smell within Dark’s embrace
slams sensory experience into me with vitality,
vast and vigorous.
How often needless is Light, the glow of clouds and snow
kissed by Sun, or the angled ray that would allow me
to perceive the hairs rise on your arm at my touch
in the Dark?

Why do you turn your eyes from Light
when it glares into your face? You close them
when you kiss me, when you smell a rose,
taste the finest sustenance. Close them now,
join me where there is no jangle of what may be real,
the Hall of Mirrors reflection of what you perceive
all your Its to be.
Beneath your present gaze exists Life I have created
from that you might curse, as you search,
with candle lit, for something you cannot hold,
if broken by once precious Light,
like silence crashed.

Case of the Drops

Hans von Gersdorff (ca. 1455 - 1529): Feldtbůc...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each day, while the computer wipes
the crusty bits and bytes from its eye,
I sit and ooze ink onto this void of white
in a sort of 21st Century blood letting.
If I’m upset, happy, awed, confused
or even loving, I open up this verscular spigot,
and with a scratch drip drop drip,
I temporarily bring balance back
to my mind and body and provide
a vivid Rorschach splotch for you
to parse my emotional equilibrium.

This scratch drip phlebotomic release
has become more gash gush gush,
a venesective addiction I’ve yet to find
the where and how much to cure.
This worries me not because I am committing
such an unsafe and promiscuous sharing
of a quarter of my humors with you
(though you might find some phlegm
and yellow and black bile on these pages, too).
It’s that I know there’s only one way to stop it.
Stand back, I feel another one coming on.

Did you know Old George Washington
got bled to death, too?


Aerial photos of New Jersey coastline in the a...

It’s a pretty thing I hear, this Hope.
I trust there’s some of it near
for all those folks who lost theirs.
We may not be able to see it,
but its cousin, Faith, tells us it’s there.
No, haven’t really felt it, and
I don’t smell it. I’m told it’s redolent
of vanilla puppies eating sugar cookies
on the laps of guardian angels
in ever-pressed robes of light.

And it’s coming…

That’s the rumor anyway.
I guess that’s Hope for you, though.
Usually late, always dressed to perfection,
but invisible, so it doesn’t matter
what it wears. Even if it’s
only waders and a smile.
Just so it eventually shows up.
Preferably with simple gifts.
Maybe more cookies. Anything’s okay
It is coming, right?