Tag Archives: poems

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.

   

Sweetbitter, poetry and Stephanie Danler

landscape-1463775925-elle-sweetbitter-index

Hi Hart Beat. Have you read Sweetbitter yet? It’s one of the books I keep seeing on the train in Brooklyn and for good reason. I’m not going to go into a detailed review here but my friend Sarah over at Food52 wrote a great write-up that I stand by. One thing that Sarah pointed out that I too loved about the book was how it read like poetry. And, that is why we’re here.

I started following the author Stephanie Danler on Instagram through a friend of a friend who used to work with her at Buvette. I am so glad I did. What I love about Stephanie’s Instagram is that she screenshots and shares some of the beautiful poetry that she’s reading. Reading these poems I can hear her voice in Sweetbitter and it is such a lovely partner to her novel. It’s such a beautiful respite when scrolling through the usual live envying and mouth watering photos that fill most Instagram pates (mine included).

Here are five of my favorite poems that Stephanie has posted over the year,

Hannah Hart Beat -5

“I Did Think, Let’s Go About This Slowly” from “Felicity” by Mary Oliver

Hannah Hart Beat Sweetbitter

“Letter to my Twenty Three Year Old Shelf” from “Our Andromeda” by Brenda Shaughnessy

Hannah Hart Beat Sweetbitter

“Before Morning in Perugia” by Jack Gilbert

Hannah Hart Beat - 3

Sadness by Dorothea Lasky

Hannah Hart Beat Sweetbitter 4

“The Shampoo” by By Elizabeth Bishop the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry

Top photo via elle.com