November 16-22, 1998: Hannah Sassaman and Joan Pond

Week of November 16, 1998-November 22, 1998

Hannah Sassaman and Joan Pond

Hannah Sassaman
hannahjs@sas.upenn.edu

Bio(auto) Color

Hannah Sassaman is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA She is majoring in Theatre Arts and is an editor at CrossConnect.


The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Hannah Sassaman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Breakfast

Remember your response to breakfast,
bedded in the morning frost — the windows
turned to blue and white abstractions
I traced the eggs with olive oil, and dilled
the toast The milk was squeezed through
holes in rubber gloves (attempting to
approximate a cow), the butter scraped
from corners of the softened stick — the
creamiest, you said, the easiest to
spread on scones, delivered from the store
Of course, you had a headache, an aversion
to the dairy in the milk, the yellow in the egg I enjoyed the richness of my labor on a
wooden table, sated and surprised by my
success in food experiment You slept an hour
longer, lingering in dirty sheets, surrounded by
the body smells of man and woman mingled.


Conversation

He didn’t blink when suddenly
I became a cup of tea
Yes, I said, you’re seeing right,
as my steam whorled around
the bland prongs of the ceiling fan
He blotted the corner of his flowered
paper napkin in my porcelain cup
The edges of my me-elixir
spilled over the sides.


Small Talk With Tony Lopez

I falter I talk of small things He listens with one ear pressed to the page
The canal drips with ink
It is all I can do — to hear him listen,
To feel the distance of the gurgle in his throat
I think of Williams and the stories he tells —
In school he met Ezra Pound They tangled over
Hilda Doolittle and made a poet of her
He is writing me now — girl, young, American The words form at the back of his neck Uncertain Rough Thinks someday she will be a poet too.


Lesson

Yah yauh yaugh yaw The difference
An opening, a lift at the back

Of the throat Large enough
To melt a sugar cube, she says
So the back of a spoon could sit
On your tongue and still rim

Your bottom teeth, the voice teacher
Says Or two fingers, she says
So your jaw falls almost slack Yah Yauh Yaugh.

Joan Pond
Boodles1@aol.com

Bio(auto)


Computer nerd by vocation and poet by avocation.


The following work is Copyright © 1998, and owned by
Joan Pond and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.


It’s Bargain Sale Days at K-Mart
as I stand outside
and use the phone When Paul answers
I picture him in the kitchen
Light from the window above the sink
burnishes Formica, 
as a fizgig of Roentgen-rays
illumine zinc white hair
His green eyes
are pellucid in semi-light ŒHello?, he says ŒHello? And I hang the phone,
not wanting to loose
this parhelion
of sun.


Angered,
he tossed my clothes
into Long Island Sound Mendicant,
he wandering round
with the light of Diogenes,
seeking an honest woman Finding none,
he asked me
to return Realizing,
I was merely mortal;
and so easily
burned
by the
lantern
he carried.


He greets me with
a misproportioned smile His yard is unnavigable for
barberry, golden-rod,
and trees touching
powerlines that speak
as cicadas I lived here, once Now
it seems surreal,
as a cat peers
from an abandoned Toyota
with eyes brighter than
the head-light
it replaces.


Pam and I sat in front, clutching cups of coffee Steam fogged the glass
as I followed Bryant’s Pass
and we crossed the double kerthump of track,
headed toward Bridgeport We stopped at Dunkin? Donuts
and saw the dude in the cowboy hat and string tie The restaurant, with its lights and white walls
was sterile as a Hopper And the man in the hat sat facing the street,
balancing his face in his hands;
staring into the night I turned at the light and followed the signs Two blocks to Stillman Medical
One Block to Stillman Take a right at Stillman Strange, 
for a clinic to advertise
as an amusement park It’s as though we were driving,
to South of the Border.


Impatiens of cinnabar
wax bronze,
as Autumn sun
and wind from the lake
variegate and shake cherry tomatoes,
ochreous and wanting It’s an end of the season sale
far better than K-Mart As Fall prepares its winter line,
cloven leaves slip from trees
to the ground Nearing solstice, 
a fawn lifts its vernal head
with the gloss
of novelty.


I bought you a Tibetan prayer wheel,
knowing you don?t pray As if to say I could do something to help
ameliorate your pain,
or make you want to live again
with me
and the dog Tango woofs in her sleep,
as I dream of a time
when you won’t
be near enough
to hear.


The good old days expired
when I sat on the bed
and he said he didnít love me
as much as I loved him Irrecoverable
obsolete,
I was past perfect;
incomplete without him
Once upon a time
I’d found my prince
but he turned me into something
less Weighed
and found wanting
I packed beggardly boxes
and left,
not wanting to lose more
than I could
afford.


Icy water beside the tracks,
has spidery cracks as pudding
left too long in the frig A broken shovel and aerosol cans,
litter a landscape
of sumac and thistle A train goes by
disturbing the man
in his cardboard home He shakes his fist and swears No one cares if he can’t sleep
by the light of day The men on the train
laugh, saying,
“Get a life, buddy “


I never liked the statue of Queen Victoria It was cracked and green with moss,
as something from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ But Matthew said
it was from Buckingham Palace
and he wouldn’t part with it So, when I was in the garden,
I kicked the Queen,
and off came her head It rolled down the hill
and rested in the rosebed I waited for Matt to ask And then I’d say,
Oh yes,
I always did like
Marie Antionette
in the garden.


I
had been obtuse
and thick-skinned You
brought nitrous oxide
to this rhinoceros Revealing a side
I hadn’t shown I was anaesthetized
and dumb,
but you cultivated
what was numb
and had lain
fallow,
so long.