Back Under the Covers


It always seems foggy
here on the road
we ride to morning.
Today, even Wednesday,
the equinox of the week,
can open only one eye,
letting the other lid fall
as she tries to crawl
back under the covers
of September.
Meanwhile, we hear
October tapping her foot
with each fallen leaf.
Impatiently, she waits
to crest that autumn horizon,
even though she knows
it’s all downhill
from there.

Photo and poem by Joseph Hesch © 2014

Prelude to Resurrection

The crunch of January ice and snow
gave way to a squish of lawn tartare
in last night’s unseasonable showers.
The snow cover crust of yesterday
dissolved to dilute memory, save for
the tailings of ice crystals remaining from
the mining of pure driveway during the last storm.

In headlight beams, an eerie fog suspended
above the shrinking snow piles,
all melting into their muddy internment,
giving up the ghosts of
temporarily forgotten winter, and
setting us up for resurrection surprises
well before the dawn light of Easter.

You Never Know

He said, she said.

He said, she said. (Photo credit: Henry McLin)

She would always say, “You never know,”
to his come-ons, which is girl code for
“Not in this lifetime, pal, but thanks for playing.
Feel free to use your handy home version of our game.”
It’s a nice bit of camouflage and easily swallowed
obfuscation. Guys do it, too, when we answer
their questions about tomorrows and nows with
“Of course” and “Why would even have to ask?”

Philosophers, psychologists and talk show hosts
have parsed the source of such gauzy observations.
She needs to be tapped into her own and everybody’s
feelings, feelings of need and being needed
by everyone and a Right One. He competes
for whichever That One is there, keeping an eye
on the scoreboards, just to maintain
his guyness ranking among rivals of flesh and straw.

Someday, some reach an age where we realize
feelings can sometimes hide ugliness,
like newly fallen snow on a junk pile,
and rankings are stews of data du jour.
We junkyard philosophers poll ourselves and decide
to leave all that hazy rhetoric to foggy poets like me
and to those who insist on hiding lonely truth
from themselves. All by themselves.

Midnight at Noon

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: pennstatelive)

I remember colors, mostly. Each time the same.
Blacksmith’s bellows roaring in my chest,
running wide-eyed yet blind. Green…whoosh…
white…crash…red…pain… black…nothing.
An Italian flag exhibition
in the darkness I would later require,
like a need to breathe shadows.
Staring on my back into the afternoon sun,
all was black, until came the star
brightly dancing in my night,
searching for me, echoing … calls of
dark’s triumph over the light.

“Here _ am,” I screamed with tongue stilled
in the absence of I. My quarry rose,
crawled atop my vacant warrior body.
I remember his angel face inquiring, inspecting
from deeply burned holes, helmet askew.
I recall thinking, “Good, looka tha’
snot bubble blowing from his top nostril.” Top?
My world tilting and righting, tilting
and righting. Hammer pounding behind my eyes,
I saw the looks of the other hunters.
I had made my kill and, as had they, gladly
left some memory of it where I fell.

No memorial stands today to that tiny death,
no stone, no scars you can see. It was
just another bit of mind I paid for a thrill ride
I barely feel yet still pains me today
when I can’t recall names, faces and sometimes me.
My body is here, crackling as it limps the stairs
from each morning’s darkness, fingers always numb
on the bannisters, tingling but not with
the excitement of all the times I rearranged
the top floor furniture in the green, white, red flashes
and the blackness that overtakes me still
like midnight at noon.

©Joseph Hesch 2012


By Joseph Hesch

Talk to people about the morning fog and
most will don yawning expressions of
But write a poem about the fog…
how it comes in on little burglar feet
or cools some of my savage need for her…
and half the who-carers listen to you
like your words were custom-made for
their souls’ troves of tropes, touching
their aching emotions like misty mythic balm.
The other half don’t even bother
with the who-cares. They will turn and
run from your metaphors
like they’re cannibalistic similes,
leaving you with bare air between you and
the embarrassment of artistic pettifoggery.
But, in the one-half who listens,
who peers through the low-lying vapor
of your words, you realize
being a poet is twice as morning cool
as being a meteorologist.

© 2012 Joseph Hesch