Hannah Hart Beat

Certain Things

Hannah Hart Beat

Hi Hart Beat. How’s you’re freezing January? It’s been hovering around negative four for the past few days and it’s starting to get to me. Thank god I’m going somewhere warm soon or I would be planning my escape from the Berkshires earlier rather than later. Yesterday was a Day, if you can say that as a descriptor. I read a poem that shook me and had me thinking about it all day. Then later last night Oprah gave a speech that gave me the same feeling of empowerment and overwhelming want of the universe.

Here’s the poem that shook me. It’s from the amazing Boneshaker by Jan Beatty which I picked up at my favorite used bookstore in the Berkshires. I had seen it around and am so grateful the universe put it in front of me right now. The poem has now become my New Year’s resolution, and maybe late twenties resolution at that. Don’t skip this poem Hart Beat, get to the last section and then we can talk.

Certain Things
by Jan Beatty

We were looking for kicks between
Pittsburg and L.A.—rolling down
Will Rogers Turnpike in my ’73
metallic blue Chevy Malibu—
when we heard “Kansas City” on the radio
and knew it was a sign. Bobbie and me
shot back up the 69 to Kansas City—Kansas,
not Missouri—so we could sing
Goin to Kansas City… and mean it.
It was the song we wanted, not some
crazy little women, just drinking
and dancing, a way to forget
how scared we were. We ended up
at the Pink Corral with wild cowboys
who two-stepped us, swung us around
until my lucky mother-of-pearl flew
right off my finger and I knew that meant
it was time to go. Three days later
we hit Utah’s saintly boulders and
salty hard ground where I learned
the true nature of Bobbie—she begged
the universe for a rest stop—no answer—
so we stopped by huge rocks and she said:
I can’t pee outside. I shot a look at her
to see if this was real, and she had no clue
about how to, where to—right then I knew
it was over—I instructed: Get up on a slant,
one foot forward, one foot back, and
let it rip—make sure you leave room
for the pee to cut a path between your feet—
how did you get this far not knowing this?

This explained the over-reliance on friends,
the long tearful phone calls—this was a woman
who hadn’t yet felt her own soul
in the foothills of a desert—and liked it.
There’s certain things you’ve got to know:
how to use jumper cables, drive a stick,
never fight with a drunk; you’ve got to speak
from your heart, walk with an attitude, know
the words to “Gimme Shelter”: change a tire on
a dark, rainy highway, say when you’re wrong,
and slam down a shot; you’ve just got to know
how to look someone dead straight in the eye
and tell them to fuck off, stride across the room
and dance hard, want hard, throw down,
wear your jeans low and tight, you’ve got to
send long hot kisses until further notice, in short—
you’ve got to deliver—and you’ve got to pee outside.

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