Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bob Hoeppner

Divorcing the Dead

Three years after my wife died I decided
not to talk to her anymore. No more,
the monologue delivered before dawn
to the drawn dark drapes. No more,
the dialogues with the reflective face
of developed resemblance. My wife left
me her face with a toothbrush in it
mostly, shadowed bags bulging
with what had been seen
too late. My late wife
was never on time.
Even her death missed its prognosis
for a while. Still, so much unsaid.
Three years was long enough.
Not to say it all.
To give up.

© 2008 Bob Hoeppner


I believe in gone.
I believe in the holy cost
of absence making the heart
go wander. I've seen stigmata
like sauce on spaghetti arms
holding up their hands like crosses
to ward off the recognizing hug:
a sign misinterpreted.
I've felt "hello" turn to paste
in the mouth like a wafered host.
I've heard "how've ya been?"
filtered through the anonymous slots
of conscience in a small dark space.
I've tasted a trickle in the back
of the throat that disappointed
like grape juice when wine was expected.
I've smelled the incense of misgivings
censered in the aisle where
two meet where one turned away.

I light a candle for the gone
and expect it to burn behind my back,
forcing the shadow I always walk into,
but I have no fear
except of turning back.
I believe in gone.

© 2005 Bob Hoeppner

Garden Gone By

On this stalk of doubt
fisted thoughts strain
to unclench into blossoming grief,
the lung of each leaf
with an inward sigh
feeds the slow scream of the root
digging ever deeper for a meaning
until it reaches rock,
mistakes that for significance,
turns back
because the answer's just too hard;
meanwhile, the flower's browning,
colors, drab and shed,
leave solid shadow,
husk of sun,
by itself, a period in the snow,
with others, an ellipsis
which the rock knew
was the proper usage
even as it sank into
a stew of senseless grammar.

© 2005 Bob Hoeppner

Statuary Consolation

There is a land
of antique leaves
and recent leave-takings,
where armless statues stand
above unclasping hands
and look with marble eyes
on translucent tears,
the blind observing the invisible.
The sadness in skin
leans against unfeeling stone,
puts ear to chiseled lips
and listens for a whisper
that will not come.
All voice is dust
to hardened hearts.
Better to put one's head
in one's own hands,
hear the blood push the veins around,
the bullying of the pulse inside the body,
a code of cardiac tissue
that says, simply, I'm alive.
That is all you know
and all you need to know
even though it's not enough.

© 2006 Bob Hoeppner

Mountain, About to Fall

The mountain stands inside itself.
"I'll level with you" it says
"in time. I'll leave you snapped-off memories
you can polish in the tumbler of your mind.
Semiprecious, you can't sell them for much,
but they will be good to look at
when I'm gone. They will hurt
the bottoms of your feet
until you pick them up and slip
them in the pouch at the center
of your chest. Never draw
the strings taut on that weighted sack
inside you, no matter how heavy
the gems will bear you down.

When I am nowhere, I will be everywhere,
and you must always take me
where you find me. Like stones
in a wishing well, each moment
you hold close brings water closer
to the brim, where you can drink it,
there refreshed. This is the love I bring you,
that from my broken body you reassemble
in your heart, the river floods sandbagged banks,
overcomes the mortal fears that dam it,
touches roots of flowers,
slakes gardens, pumps
through fuses of food
feeding our whole family.

I'll be with you when I'm not,
more than I ever was. You will see mist
where I stood against the sky,
but feel my weight in your breath,
and never more so, my dearest,
than when you remember
and laugh."

© 2006 Bob Hoeppner


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