Mining for Reality


Tunnel (Photo credit: wwarby)

Where do I go should the lights
come on, exposing the shadows,
long and short, among which
I ever stand? And when again
they dim, do I find illumination
to stumble upon truths over which
I would inevitably trip anyway?
Within perpetually penumbral walls
of stone, wood or worry,
walls that smother reflection
and passion, I still wield this
inky torch in fingers ever-scorched.
Its ashen glow warms sooty scars
and creaking bones under the land
and flesh, stirs us to burrow deeper
within the stony dark, to a vein
of reality, so shining, sensual…
imagined or otherwise.

The Last Hunt ~ A Story


Dogfight (Photo credit: Lens Envy)

A Five Sentence Fiction

That red aeroplane with a yellow nose and tail whips past Cecil Lewis and I take chase as it twists and dives, heading into the clouds, and I know he can’t shake me. 

I recognize the flash of the setting sun on the pilot’s goggles when he glances fearfully over his shoulder at me, as I fire burst after burst into his scout, watching him drop below me and knowing he’s done. 

The craziness and blood lust that overtakes me at such times ebbs away and I break through the clouds, seeing from my altimeter that we’ve dove to only 200 feet. 

But why are the clouds in the wrong place, still below my wings?

The whirling disk in front of me fades away and I see the top of my propeller blade, vertical like that stalactite church steeple hanging down in front of me, and then…that great noise.

Here’s a Five Sentence Fiction using Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word BLADES. It’s a reworked piece of an old short story I wrote, titled Albert Ball Flies Home.

Leaning Tower


leaning-tower (Photo credit: wwphotos)

The consuming ache has locked
away the keys to my heart and soul.
The door did not close with a bang,
but with a whispered click. This
abandoned church-tower body,
its bricks bulging on one side,
and missing on the other,
plays a tenuous balancing act
not so much of “Will he fall?”
but more “How is he still standing?”

There is duty involved in
a building’s remaining upright.
You might see an oh-so-slightly
canted pile of steel and glass,
wood and brick, muscle and bone.
I see and I feel the pain and strain
of spine waiting for an end.
That is unless I find another way
to break in and rescue the keys
and true-up this imagination again.

Blew out my back and the pain and strain locked away my ability to create and even imagine. I couldn’t allow that to happen after I had released it from its 35-year stint of solitary confinement. This free-write is my first attempt to set it free again.

Bienvenido al Purgatorio

Fresno Couple

Photo © Tom Clark, 2011

When she arrived, I wished
mi cara welcome to Purgatory,
this stopover on our journey
from Hell to Heaven.
It is much like the fable
the black padres taught us about
the comforts of the Afterlife.
A myth, no more. But a myth
is better than nothing. Yes?
Perhaps a Heaven really is just
over that hill where the sun
sleeps with tomorrow.

For tonight, though, I am sleeping
with mi ángel, a gift like
cool rain dropped from the clouds.
She comforts my dreams
with her body as I hold
hers together with mine.
Our coupling is a prayer
for the rest of our journey,
where, without fear, we test
the truths of Purgatorio and Paraiso,
because muerte, death, is just
another fork in our road.

I wrote this free-write poem in response to a prompt from my friend Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday for June 14, 2013. She asked me to look at some dramatic photographs from multi-genre artist Tom Clark. I chose this one and tried to I imagine a simple man lying there with his lover trying to reach their Paradise together…one way or another.

Dawn’s Blazing

Buck Mtn

Buck Mtn (Photo credit: mopar05ram)

This sun yellow pencil lost its great weight
and near-death infirmity overnight.
It arose like dawn from its sickbed
and, come the morning, once again
we hiked around this open space
visiting its mountainous thoughts and questions,
but not so many enshadowed answers.
We leave our blaze marks upon the snowy spirits
of once-towering Adirondack arboreal tribes
to find our way to and from whispered
babblings of sun-flecked streams
of the conscious and the not, so
full of smooth green-slicked rocks and
pin-prick inspirations darting like shiners.
I hear windsongs breathing suggestively
across my woodwind ears. We mark down
their messages and and pray forgiveness
for exposing this sacred place.
Why couldn’t we find it yesterday?
And why, I wonder, would I ever wish
to find my way back to that place
of mere near-life again?

Interview ~ Joe Hesch: The Reluctant Poet

Hi, all! I had the honor recently to speak with Boston-based writer and editor Lynette Benton for an interview on her Website, Polish and Publish~Tools and Tactics for Creative Writers.

Maybe you’d like to take a moment to stop by and learn a little bit more (or even too much) about your reluctant poet guy. You can read the interview here.

I want to thank Lynette, my family and friends, those of you who just like reading my poetry, and those in-between for encouraging me to keep exploring this silly world and heart of mine.

My initial reluctance has waned considerably and I’m proud to own the title of poet now.

To Wander Adrift

English: Washington Park Lake in Albany, New York

Washington Park Lake in Albany, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The leaf-strained sunlight dappled your cheeks
like raindrops falling from the maples,
as we wandered through the park and looped ’round
the green-skimmed pond that had become
a metaphor for the river of my life.
Seldom did I look at you as we complained
our individual existences. There was a discomfort
in our eye-to-eye connection, as if
those sundrops ricocheted from your face
to my eyes, draining them down onto my shoetops.

When I did look up, you would break the connection,
its annoying chemistry stinging on your lashes.
And every noon-time, the tower bells would peal
“Happy Birthday to You,” as that morning died
and the sun passed overhead on its way
to some western demise. We would sometimes
wave goodbye as you buffeted away upon your rapids,
your head tossed back in a smile,
and I slowly puttered in ever-shrinking circles
there in the turgid algae of my torporous eddy.

I shake my head when I think how
each of us escaped those days when
we easily could have pulled the other under.

Slipping the Panther

Green eyes in the dark

I never could hear your low rasp of breath behind me,
nor feel its chill upon my neck, but I sense
your stalking approach this morning,
panther in the darkness.

You wish to catch me with my head low,
as if I’m pondering my path, where I am and
where I’m bound. You’d love deciding that for me,
dragging me back to your desolate hole in midnight gloom.

That’s why I nod – to write my light, exposing your shadow,
to gather myself and spring from your grasp again.
I can sense you now, these scars you engraved in me
ringing your approach, as an old man’s bones foretell the storm.

I must be on my guard, though, because your shadow,
the one receding to its miserable and destructive source,
your shadow looks exactly like mine, and we were one once,
panther in the darkness.