Poetry: Selections from Erich von Hungen
It is like an engine
full of potential and horsepower,
the pedal pumping, roaring, ready to go.
This polished, shining morning --
it is like that.
I open the door,
French cigarette packet blue,
get in, turn on the wipers,
lift up my visor.
Heat should it be or AC?
I slam it closed
harder than I mean,
screech the minutes,
stretching them out in a stain
on the concrete -- smoking,
break a record for smiling,
aim at the red place the day is proudly showing,
and open a beer with one hand and my thumb.
The sky foams, goes gold.
I am intoxicated,
in love with this big engine --
its willingness, its power.
It will throw me off a cliff above the Pacific,
miles up, maybe. But before that,
it will burn blood at high octane
and take me anywhere I want to go.
Anywhere -- first, before.
And that is worth another beer,
another ridge in my nail
and the pedal hard to the floor.
Damn, isn't life wonderful --
this big, full 24?
1. The bullet of telling
was shot directly through anticipation,
but the small hole it left
closed like the sphincter of a dog with a curled tail.
2. The large, bright, just-sharpened knife of trying
sliced back and forth
but only got the fingernails,
completely missing the winding, white core of anticipation.
3. The poison affected the movement of the feet toward the door
but not the mind
holding firmly to the long line of memory
tied around the wrist of anticipation.
4. The concussive force of insistence
shattered the family,
but let no air into the anticipated space.
5. The drowning and the burning
were so focused on anger that anticipation slipped away
with neither water nor smoke in its lungs.
6. The arduous commitment to good
fed anticipation into a giant on a hill
overlooking a strewing of dice-like little houses
and men with watering cans.
7. The disguise of flagellation, excuse and justification
did not in anyway effect
the skin of anticipation.
8. The pen was no mightier than the sword
nor the word more effective than stones
against the natural and effortless agility of anticipation.
9. The burial of anticipation
in the scabrous tissue of sacrifice
did not actually hide its overwhelming value,
nevertheless no one came to steal it.
10. From a great height,
anticipation grew too sickly to be pushed
over the precipice and into itself.
11. Starving only made anticipation stronger, fatter
as it savored the breath of its tormentors.
12. An accident might be the only way,
but through anticipation
it could not be planned.
Dying is not the easy thing
you would either fear or anticipate.
And so anticipating, even fearing it
might keep you from imaging
an Afterlife that does not wrap you
in its arms, and laughing,
whisper jokes into your ears.
I made arrangements today.
Nothing wrong with me,
but you never know.
Ashes, ashes. We all fall down.
But still, I find I'll have to wear a suit.
Thought I could save my last dollars
for a better glass of wine.
Just go out like I came.
Even the urn I picked,
more of a job than I thought --
metal, ceramic, cardboard.
Elaborate, simple, and then the colors.
I mean, is it for me -- me without consciousness?
Or for the one who will keep
or disburse my dust?
Good question. I never thought.
And what will they do with them,
my leavings, that end-of-fire being?
Keep me? On the mantle, above the gas fire, maybe?
Or would that depress more than elevate?
And if so, the closet to the back then --
where I would not be seen too often?
Or sow me peacefully somewhere sylvan
or filled with deep blue water?
Or put me out, urn and all, on Thursday night
for the morning landfill pickup?
I made arrangements today
to clear things up, make it all eventually
easier, smoother, simple. But I must confess,
I am now, more, far more confused.
All this for a few secrets
and one vacuum bag of dust?