Poetry: Selections from Erich von Hungen



Joyride

She meant it like a joyride
barefoot on the gas, top down,
turning toward a cocktail colored sky.
 
Pinstripes down her arms,
metallic candy-apple flames shooting from her lips and thighs,
teeth wet and gleaming like a set of chrome crucifixes in the sun.
Roaring, burning, flashing, drinking it,
that fruit-soaked, high proof cocktail colored sky.
 
She meant her kisses to begin
when the black needle reached the odometer’s end.
Leather arms, hand stitched, thick, sweat stained.
Forehead, laughter-burled, hard as a tree.
Smelling new like spearmint gum, like sun-soaked jeans,
like tee shirts from the pack, sleeves rolled back.
 
She meant it sure as steel doors slammed shut,
she meant it volume up, thoughts down
singing, screaming, aching, loud.
She meant it survivors on a raft
cocktails non-stop cloud to cloud.
 
Badass girl with good mascara,
jumper cables, clips, sparks and all.
Aerials up with reservoir tips.
Bad boy tight with steering wheel grips.
 
Rolling like spinners kaleidoscoping the light,
rolling like whitewalls under cocktails hip to hip.
Rolling, cutting up streets.
Terrifying wheels.
Crushing like kisses.
 
Rolling,
speed without limit,
pushing sheets to the floor.
Joyride, glasses up, ‘cause the sky’s pouring out more.



Speechless At The U.N. Plaza in San Francisco

Always before,
I could handle it.
A tug, a yank, a kind of lunge --
still, I could pull it back and turn away.
 
But now, today, the leash broke.
The dog, my heart, turned into a wolf --
all sinew, muscle, bone and will,
all sleek, intent, hard.
 
A gibberish opera of noise and flash
and lust and pomp thrown in its face.
It growled and broke away.
Loosed by the sight of life,
the sight of life lived differently.
 
The tattooed vet turning figure-8s in his wheelchair --
frenzied, head back not looking.
The Thai boy doing cards tricks from a folding TV table.
An onyx David performing a mechanism of muscle movements
to a set of pops and clicks and pings
coming only from his lips.
 
The stands of vegetables, a mob of them.
An ever spreading prism of solid greens and reds.
Displays of meat, of ducks, of chickens with feet,
tables of steel-sleek fish beneath improvised, wind-waving awnings.
 
Performers,
abandoned to a song,
to a dance of paper-like folding arms.
 
Clowns on an inner trampoline,
crack pipes, nodding heads against sculpted stone facades,
away -- far, far away.
 
A balloon man’s whole display
escaped to chase and fight the sun.
And buildings above it all,
playing with the sky.
 
*****
 
And now,
right here, I am
suddenly speechless.
 
No way to say it, to call it back --
the snarl, the show of teeth, the fur, the wolf.
Right now, in this spot, my heart got away,
returning to the wild.
 
The lime of sun on my lips;
that burn, that hint of sweet,
that intimation of so much more,
so much more than words could say.
 
And I am different today.
I only want raw meat --
all this and only this.



Rats?  

In the night
I hear the rustling,
the crumpling, the scratching, the tearing.
I hear the cans clinking,
the scurrying when something falls,
a bottle breaks.
 
The silence then,
strong as vodka.
The silence,
and suddenly I hear it,
that nothing.
 
Then..., then they are back
in the alleys.
How do they get up and in the dumpsters?
On the street too, later.
Right in the light.
Careful, but in full view.
 
Sharing, it looks like,
but not often.
More, there is fighting.
More, I hear running, hiding,
falling, moaning, groaning.
 
Night, but not just --
whenever, really
and wherever they can.
It's been said that
someone is poisoning the garbage,
but still, still they come.
They don't read the papers.
They don't watch TV.
 
Not rats, no,
but men.





Erich von Hungen is a writer from San Francisco, California. He lives under a giant Norfolk pine in a century old house between Golden Gate Park and the Pacific Ocean, where his poetry explores the darker side of life. His writing has appeared in The Colorado QuarterlyCathexis Northwest Press,, The Write Launch, The Ravens Perch,  From Whispers To Roars, Punk Noir, Not Deer Magazine, Sledgehammer, Anti-Heroin Chic and others. He has recently launched  two collections of poems: Witness: 100 Poems For Change and Bleeding Through: 72 Poems Of Man In Nature.

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