Tag Archives: Poem

Updates & A Few Things

Hola mi Amor. I miss you, Hart Beat! I’m sorry for being so MIA lately. As many of you know, I’m deep in the final edits of the God Damned book I’ve been working on this past year and a half. (If you’re on Instagram I’m sorry for harassing you so much with stories. It can get boring writing all day to an empty room.)

It’s been hard the last year and a half not keeping up with you here on ye old blog. There’s been so much culturally, philosophically, politically, sartorially, and just generally juicy happening this year that it’s driven me a little bananas to not process it here with you.

But you know, writing twice a day here takes time and the G.D. book has taken everything out of me. So I thought I’d pop in here and share with you some of the things I’ve been doing, reading, listening to, and buying lately.

Books & Things I’ve read and loved:
– Dining In by Alison Roman (HOW DID I MISS THIS WHEN IT CAME OUT!?!?)
– Love and Ruin by Paula Mclain
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
– Natalie Shapero’s poems in November’s POETRY Magazine. (Especially “Other Things, If not More Urgent Things”—read it here below. I couldn’t find a link.)
The NY Times profile on Anne Lamott. And her response on Instagram. God, I love her.

Songs I’ve had on repeat:
– NEW ROBYN HIIAAIIII HONEY. More specifically Missing U
– Your Best American Girl from Mitski (that bridge though)

Things I’ve bought:
– A new Outdoor Voices Kit now that they’re back for purchase (!! thank you Ty!)
This kickass t-shirt from Love Yoga in L.A.
– New white eyeshadow from Jane Airedale because I dropped my old one and it shattered 🙄.
This shirt from Madewell which I have yet to take off since its arrival in the mail.

I’m sure there are other things I should share with you (movies I’ve seen, places I’ve been—Portland, ME! Denver, CO! Brooklyn!—but I have to get back to the G.D. book. Talk soon, Hart Beat. xo

Other Things, If Not More Urgent Things
by Natalie Shapero

How to get close without going over.
How to feign lust for whatever’s on offer.
How the largest possible quantity
of anything is a lifetime. A lifetime
of oat bran. A lifetime of timing belts.
A lifetime of saying, SURE, WHY NOT,
I’M ONLY ON EARTH FOR X NUMBER
OF YEARS, and not knowing what
to make x. Sometimes I pick a number
I’ve already passed. I remember
the gambler’s credo— when you only
have fifty bucks left in this world,
you’d better get rid of it fast; the last
thing you want is money around,
reminding you every day of the money
you lost. The recommended
retirement plan is arabesque, then leap
and smash on the seawall. We made
a promise not to catch each other.

Top photo via Gabrielle Thurin

Change

Hola Hart Beat. Can you believe it’s already the end of August? On Friday it will be September and even though Summer doesn’t officially end for a few more weeks I can feel it coming. Living in the Berkshires has given me such a connection to nature, something I never truly felt in New York, and every day the air, the trees, the wind, the bugs remind me that times are changing.

Change—something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The other week in my favorite yoga class, my teacher talked about the idea that our bodies are biologically trained to accept change but that our social construct doesn’t welcome the idea. We don’t freak out when night comes because we know morning is coming right after but it’s our cultural and construction associated with change that gives us anxiety and regrets when we encounter change.

I’ve thought about that idea since she said it to our sangha. For me, this summer has been the cherry on top of this entire last year of freedom and exploration. I’ve never been happier or more fulfilled and it makes me anxious, this change in season. Can this happiness and life continue as the leaves fall, the temperature cools, and the fresh tomatoes in my backyard garden stop producing?

The book I’m writing, the god-damned book, is all about change. It’s about returning to your personhood you might have lost along the way of life. But I’ve been thinking lately, do you really return? Or do you incorporate your old self into your new self while not berating your past person for the time you might have lost or the self you might have pushed away?

People move, relationships progress, friendships ebb and flow, summer ends, fall begins, jobs grow stale, ideas bloom, and so much more—sometimes even all at once. I’ve been trying to embrace the changes and remind myself that it is all okay, that it’s all good even. It’s nature and natural for these things to happen. If we didn’t change what would we even be? Not alive surely and not learning or growing. How boring would that be?

This morning I read through the poem of the day emails I get from The Paris Review and was struck by this one here. It reminds me so much of what I’ve been wrestling with.

Cold
by Gerard Malanga

The young girl is unable to change 
The form of her habitual thinking,
The posture with which she corresponds to 
A feeling of sadness, the flow of her 
Thoughts in which she is looking,
The facial expression, and so on; 
She forgets herself to remember her pain 
In the neck, to remember her problems. 
I’ve said this before, remembering myself in the same 
Situation until she came 
Into my life for the first time 
Remembering herself walking out in the open field 
Of vision with eyes full of tears and smoke 
Slowly coming out of her mouth.

I hope this gives you some comfort, even in just knowing that there’s someone out there who is also thinking about all of this.

Dreaming of Warmer Weather (Three Things)

Hannah Hart Beat

It’s too snowy to drive to any coffee shop to work today (snow storm # one million) so I’m bundled up in my down jacket while the fire in my studio breaks the temperature from freezing to something bearable. Once it’s warm I’m back to the G.D. book but for now let’s distract ourselves with a few things that I’ve been on my mind. Thank Sweet Baby Yeezus in two weeks from today I’ll be surfing and sunning in Costa Rica for a week officially taking a break from the winter and writing. What’s keeping you going in the cold this week, Hart Beat?

This poem from February’s Poetry Magazine by James Brown.

Waiheke

You yearn so much
you could be a yacht.
Your mind has already
set sail. It takes a few days
to arrive

at island pace,
but soon you are barefoot
on the sand,
the slim waves testing
your feet

like health professionals.
You toe shells, sea glass, and odd things
that have drifted for years
and finally
washed up here.

You drop your towel
and step out of
your togs, ungainly,
first
your right foot, then

the other
stepping down
the sand
to stand
in the water.

There is no discernible
difference
in temperature.
You breaststroke in
the lazy blue.

A guy passing in a rowboat
says, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”
And it is. Your body
afloat in salt
as if cured.

This song by Drake that I keep playing while driving around the county, imagining myself instead, running on a beach into salty, warm ocean water.

Drinking as much Six Depot Costa Rica coffee that I can get my hands on. It’s the best coffee in The Berkshires (IMO) and I can’t get enough of it this week. It is currently defrosting my fingers as we speak.

Hannah Hart Beat

The top photo was taken by me three years ago in Costa Rica.

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.

Hannah Hart Beat - Poetry

Three Love Poems for You

Hannah Hart Beat - Poetry

Hi, Hart Beat. Sorry it’s been a few days. The last week in the Berkshires has been a whirlwind, a great whirlwind, with friends, family, outdoor concerts, cookouts, afternoon naps, and swimming at the lake. I’ve also been busy working on my writing project and I’ve found, sadly for both you and me, that I can’t be in the Hart Beat and the other writing mode at the same time. While my other project has grown you have been waiting here! As an apology here are three love poems that I’ve come across in the last month or so that I’ve loved. I hope you love them too, Hart Beat. Summer nights are something magical and maybe you can share one of these with someone you love.

______

The Kiss, by Stephen Dunn, 1939

She pressed her lips to mind.
—a typo.

How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.

She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.

Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?

I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tonge
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,

defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could.

______

Love at First Sight, by Wislawa Szymborska, 1923 – 2012

They’re both convinced
that a sudden passion joined them.
Such certainty is beautiful,
But uncertainty is more beautiful still.

Since they’d never met before, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But what’s the word from the streets, staircases, hallways—
perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?

I want to ask them
if they don’t remember—
a moment far to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps a “sorry” muttered in a crowd?
a curt “wrong number” caught in the receiver?—
but I know the answer.
No, they don’t remember.

They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.

Not quite ready yet
to become their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifling a laugh,
and then leaped aside.

There were signs and signals,
even if they couldn’t read them yet.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain left fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe the ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?

There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch and covered another
beforehand.
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night, perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy by morning.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always halfway through.

______

Galaxy Love, by Gerald Stern, 1925

There’s too little time left to measure
the space between us for that was
long ago—that time—so just lie
under the dark blue quilt and put
the fat pillows with the blue slips
on the great windowsill so we can
look over them and down there
while I turn the light off with the right
hand and gather you in close with the wrong.

   

Hannah Hart Beat - Friday

Friday, As Planned

Hannah Hart Beat - Friday

Hiya Hart Beat! Happy Friday! I won’t pretend that I am living a hard life up here in Maine but that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a good Friday like the rest of the world. To celebrate, let’s turn to Frank O’Hara and see what he has to say about drinking, writing, and life in general. I particularly love the last line of this poem. Get out there dancing tonight, okay Hart Beat?

As Planned by Frank O’Hara

After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even your own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweden
for they are words that you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
or what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don’t you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?

P.S. Another poem by Frank O’Hara that I love.

Photo of Jade Jagger and Kate Moss.

Hannah Hart Beat

A Poem for You this June Saturday

Eugenia Loli - Hannah Hart Beat

Afternoon, Hart Beat. How’s your day going? It’s rainy here on the Island so I’ve spent the morning writing up a storm. As a distraction, I decided to do some catching up on my emails from The Poetry Foundation. I’ve written about it here on Hart Beat before but if you’re new, The Poetry Foundation sends a daily newsletter that you can sign up for where a poem a day is emailed to you. The poems are usually seasonally appropriate and I love finding time in my busy day to sit down and read them. If I don’t like them I usually archive the email but, if the poem does hit me, I’ll save it and re-read them throughout the week.

This morning, this poem by Carmen Ginénez Smith came into my inbox and I knew I wanted to share it here with you, Hart Beat. The poem is from 2009 and, as usual, is about this month. I love it. What do you think, Hart Beat?

Photo of a Girl on a Beach
By Carmen Ginénez Smith

Once when I was harmless
and didn’t know any better,

a mirror to the front of me
and an ocean behind,

I lay wedged in the middle of daylight,
paper-doll thin, dreaming,

then I vanished, I gave the day a fingerprint,
then forgot.

I sat naked on a towel
on a hot June Monday.

The sun etched the inside of my eyelids,
while a boy dozed at my side.

The smell of all oceans was around us—
steamy salt, shell, and sweat,

but I reached for the distant one.
A tide rose while I slept,

and soon I was alone. Try being
a figure in memory. It’s hollow there.

For truth’s sake. I’ll say she was on a beach
and her eyes were closed.

She was bare in the sand, long,
and the hour took her bit by bit.

//

The illustration above is by I think Eugenia Loli. She’s been featured on Hart Beat before and you can read more here.

poetry foundation

Poetry for the fall

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Hi Hart Beat. How’s the start of your month going? This summer I (and it seems like the rest of Brooklyn) read the novel Sweetbitter. One of best parts about the book though, which I wrote about earlier, was the discovery of the author Stephanie Danler on Instagram. The reason? She posts the most beautiful poems.

The poems Stephanie posted got me thinking about how I want to read more poetry but it’s hard! There are so many poems and poets in the world and I never know how to find them. Such good timing because my best friend Samantha forwarded me a poem from the Poetry Foundation last week. The poem was so moving that I started poking around their site and signed up for their Poem of the Day email program. It’s amazing, Hart Beat. Every day the foundation emails you a poem right to your inbox. Getting one poem a day is perfect because it is enough to digest without getting overwhelmed all the while discovering new poets that I’ve never heard of. You can sign up for poem of the day on their site here. Happy reading, Hart Beat.

Late Summer
By Jennifer Grotz
Before the moths have even appeared
to orbit around them, the streetlamps come on,
a long row of them glowing uselessly

along the ring of garden that circles the city center,
where your steps count down the dulling of daylight.
At your feet, a bee crawls in small circles like a toy unwinding.

Summer specializes in time, slows it down almost to dream.
And the noisy day goes so quiet you can hear
the bedraggled man who visits each trash receptacle

mutter in disbelief: Everything in the world is being thrown away!
Summer lingers, but it’s about ending. It’s about how things
redden and ripen and burst and come down. It’s when

city workers cut down trees, demolishing
one limb at a time, spilling the crumbs
of twigs and leaves all over the tablecloth of street.

Sunglasses! the man softly exclaims
while beside him blooms a large gray rose of pigeons
huddled around a dropped piece of bread.

Flower photo by @mansurgavriel.

The Lost Art of Letter Writing

Hi Hart Beat. I hope you had a great weekend. I had the best time and am really wishing that it was another long weekend now. I love reading the New Yorker every week and lately I’ve been combing through the poetry archives. I came across this one and thought of you. I love writing letters and sending mail. You got anything good lately, Hart Beat?

The Lost Art of Letter Writing
by Eavan Boland

The ratio of daylight to handwriting

Was the same as lacemaking to eyesight.

The paper was so thin it skinned air.

The had was fire and the page tinder.

Everything burned away except the one

Place they singled out between fingers

Held over a letter pad they set aside

For the long evenings of their leave-takings,

Always asking after what they kept losing,

Always performingeven when a shadow

Fell across the page and they knew the answer

Was not forthcomingthe same action:

First the leaning down, the pen becoming


A staff to walk fields with as they vanished


Underfoot into memory. Then the letting up,


The lighter stroke, which brought back


Cranesbill and thistle, a bicycle wheel


Rusting: an iron circle hurting the grass


Again and the hedges veiled in hawthorn


Again just in time for the May Novenas


Recited in sweet air on a road leading


To another, then another one, widening


To a motorway with four lanes, ending in


A new town on the edge of a city


They will never see. And if we say


An art is lost when it no longer knows


How to teach a sorrow to speak, come, see

The way we lost it: stacking letters in the attic,

Going downstairs so as not to listen to

The fields stirring at night as they became

Memory and in the morning as they became

Ink; what we did so as not to hear them

Whispering the only question they knew

By heart, the only one they learned from all

Those epistles of air and unreachable distance,

How to ask: is it still there?

The Meaning of Zero: A Love Poem

Hey you. I hope you had a nice weekend. I am so happy that summer is here and that I can spend it in Greenpoint. I’ve been having crazy vivid dreams lately, it must be because of the full moon. I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately and thought of you when I read this one. I hope you like it too.

The Meaning of Zero: A Love Poem
by Amy Uyematsu

      —Is where space ends called death or infinity?
                    Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions

A mere eyelid’s distance between you and me.

It took us a long time to discover the number zero.

John’s brother is afraid to go outside.
He claims he knows
the meaning of zero.

I want to kiss you.

A mathematician once told me you can add infinity
to infinity.

There is a zero vector, which starts and ends
at the same place, its force
and movement is impossible
to record with 
rays or maps or words.
It intersects yet runs parallel
with all others.

A young man I know
wants me to prove
the zero vector exists.
I tell him I can’t,
but nothing in my world
makes sense without it.