Two Poems by Joseph Hargraves


When I told you I was working
on a new poem- you asked: “Is it
about me?” Antecedent receding.
Jesus cursed the fig tree when
it didn’t bear him fruit. This is
a threat. Foregone conclusions
of your status change daily. I’m
a crooked and crazy behaviorist,
with a nihilist bent. You want the
word made flesh. As a doctor, I
will no longer count your T-cells
or ambivalence. You’ve mis-
calculated figures, with me as a
constant value. This is basic
math; because you refuse to hear
the colloquial phrase: “Get lost.”


We whistle violent tunes,
eat spotted crab-meat, savor
the burn of Wild Turkey.
Timid Shirley twitches as
wincing tweezers start
pulling back the skin of her
coded, antiseptic silence.
Stunned: bones, sinew, tendons
snap and tear in syncopation
with our angry pulses.

We hot-wire a banged-up
Corvette with a crooked
engine and flaked paint.
She drives. I’m here for
the ride; until the silver
highway ends in a desert.

Loaded, we climb out
of the wreck. Feet push
hot sand. Silent, we
notice the alcohol
has stolen our clothes.
Naked, we shake to rhythmic
waves of heat. Taut skin
goose-bumps to the beat
of pounding eardrums.

Without having moved,
rivulets of sweat run
between us. Her weight
starts the motion. No
smiles. Bodies shift.
Hesitant lips glide up
my neck. Fingertips trace
the arch of her spine.
Brines mix and drip from
joyous wool. Nothing
depends on this moment.


waiting for hope said...

Wow! I liked both of them, nicely done!

Travis said...

A true written Bukowski here. Nah, screw that. A self identifed work of self regret coupled with the honest worth of a one finger solute that screams, "I no longer have regret because I just am". What better can this writer here do than etch himself along the side of greats while others gaze on to ask who he was? Someone get this guy a prize for being one of the only original writers on the page.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Deep and strong pieces!

Anonymous said...

You touch my inner crooked and crazy behaviorist child, Joseph.

And as for Heat, no truer words have been spoken... nothing can touch that moment.

G. xox

Anonymous said...

Here are two pretty poems that make very few mistakes and that no one will remember beyond this window.

Aleathia Drehmer said...

"Nothing depends on this moment" is an amazing ending line that uses simple words but loads the rifle with so much meaning. It lets the reader contemplate whether the moment they are in matters. It struck me hard because I spend so much time wondering if those seemingly important moments change the course of existence.

Nice work.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful and honest work.

Tim Irish said...

The rhythms with which these pieces are constructed stun me, as does the imagery evoked... The thing becomes language; language becomes the thing--this is what Joyce, Pound, so many others were scratching after...C'est bon, c'est bon...

lasayona said...

hi joe! .. you are great for showing the everyday versed in letters, is so easy to see oneself reflected in your poems for the simple fact of being anecdotes that can happen to anyone. Oh! the divinity of being, with its good and bad!. Once it was me that "0" of the 1x1 poem: 0 and I did not understand this: "get lost", as once it was me that said, "get lost" ...
Heat, like me for that invitation to go along with the fever
Heat, I like it for that invitation to let oneself go along with the fever of the moment .. Let a shirley take us into the desert in that Corvette ... to the nothing, to just feel ...
The two poems together show contrary positions, 1x1, 0; to be alone and beat someone and the warmth of being with someone and melt with him or her. I like the presentation of the two together!.
Peace! :)

Karen said...

love your basic math and your wit in 1x1=0.

the vivid imagery and rawness in heat are fantastic.

Always enjoy reading your work ;]

bertman said...

Yes!! Very good stuff.


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