Hiram Larew

 

BY WATCHING

I listen to your advice so closely
That mice stop to look back over their shoulders at us
And I read the corner of your eye
Even though it's worrisome as frost
Your hand I remember from years ago
But with age it has become a new enemy
A lovely hill that slowly turns around
As if trains were still with us
Sometimes I think your hair decides my future
It flows freely from a radio I can barely hear

Your feet and ideas are most important to me
They've become more and more like pigeons
Or anything else I can't scare away

Altogether what you've done for me
Looks like a set of spoons
Tastes like towels do at the edge of water
And lasts as long as anything does
In a wide blue frame.

 

NERVOUS AS PENCILS

What's gone by for good waves
And our teeth get worn away
The sudden smell of cleanser as fall comes in
Turns radios to angels
Turns what we wish at windows into broth
Let it just be once.

Let branches lead the way
Let them go on ahead
Quiet as Davey Crockett's eyes
So we can almost see what will happen
So that all at once
When fathers turn fragrant like frost
We won't get nervous as pencils.

We're lucky to know farmers at heart
Their porch lights can be trusted like harvested stars
And their hands make such sense
We're lucky to risk even once
Because whatever we predict
There are always apples waiting.

 



Richard Dana
Oblivion

mixed media on canvas, 20" x 16"(1994)
more of Richard Dana's artwork

 

 

 

FOOLISH AS DAWN

Teenagers should sit here at least once
They deserve this chance early on
Out on the powder road to Kisumu
Up on a tasseled bus as foolish as dawn
When there are just barely people passing on mist
When African trees hum half asleep
And breakfast is somewhere under pillow
Let the window show them.

Growing up requires this tangled calm of waking
This morning's jolt of haze
The hissing sighs of tribesmen
Teenagers need this seat to turn fidgets into dreams
They need this seat behind a postcard's sheen
They should see the day's first rays smeared on buzzards.

At the outset times like this are rare
Wild pups know it lined up against the sunrise, waiting
So do millet seeds furrowed in moonlight, waiting
And even this old road
Dew-lit and toothless
Takes its chances out on crumbling ledges
Roaring, waiting for a bony view.

 

NO, I CAN'T

Even as young as nineteen years old
You'll probably want to have a full beard
A year or more later
When you're in your twenties
You'll be most likely killed at night
Or slip and drown through ice
Until then good predictions are that
People will look at you from behind
And think of cornstalks strongly
Yellow and green and slightly rustling
It's hard to tell
But they may even fall in love
For a minute or two
With the awful way
You do things

What's important of course is that
You're somehow here right now
And are almost as timeless
As fishes' lips

Of the many many many people out there
You've got the hardest mix of promise
Like a peach twig down in weeds
And you don't listen very much either
But the honest truth is
You don't really need to
In fact the two mixed words that
Come to mind about you
Are only and such.

 

SOME JELLY

Seems like not much sky's remembered
Think that what we know may sparkle some
Or flutter now and then
But even so, hardly any storms get whistled at these days
And what points up are cedars.

Most of what happens by
Gets mixed along like sparrows
As noisy and as certain
Most of what makes us jump disappears
Bit by bit to vapors
It's as if beards never mattered
Or that we're more than we should be
Like wind arranging the future.

What sort of snow should we believe in
The younger kind that can't sit still
Or the hoof print kind that reaches
What have we done that's good enough to give away
A brand new moon, some jelly.

 

 

In her review of his first collection of poems, Part Of, (from which work in this issue of Beltway is taken), poet Judith McCombs comments that Hiram Larew's work is "quirky, engaging, [and] sneakily profound" (Potomac Review, Winter 2000 issue). Larew has published in 80 plus journals. He won both the 1999 Artscape Poetry Award and the 1999 washington review Poetry Prize. He lives in Upper Marlboro, MD, and reads widely. He's also very, very tall. He can be contacted at hlarew@juno.com.

Published in Volume 2, Number 1, Winter 2001.