Michelle Hartman: Two Poems

Holiday Newsletter

fifth holiday newsletter arrives
bordered with teddy bears
dressed as Santa
Bill got promoted
Simon on full scholarship
to Yale
installed pool this summer
spent August in Maine
Mother and Father
went to Cannes

when did Christmas become
a pissing contest
literary one-upsmanship
on water-marked stationery

not wanting to disappoint
those eager
to hear of my activities
I ply myself to blank page
Mother died in April
left Howard when I discovered
he was advertising
for sex on the Internet
Suzy still living with her father
his fifth wife in mobile home,
no tattoos yet
car broke down
twice this year
I’m scheduled for layoff
in February

will mail when I find
the right
Christmas stationary


Enlightened Age

Beer gave her diarrhea
so she ate Fritos since corn products
constipated her.
It all balanced as a Sunday
treat, time for retrospection –
to ponder the kid in the break room.
His perfect Hershey toned skin
smooth, sausage link muscle bulges
called to the hollow ache in her gut.

“Well, I believe they’re sinners but homosexuals
                   should be allowed to do whatever they want to.”
What would he say to,
“Well, blacks are never gonna
                 be as smart as us but they deserve to be equal.”

Except she’s not allowed to
it’s not covered in the Bible.
On her third beer she thinks about
how he’d be in bed
as long as she stored the Ben Gay
far enough away from the mint flavored
love gel.  Where was the equality
promised in sixties’ music?
He wouldn’t touch her
not because she was white
but that her breasts
more resembled cantaloupes
in separate plastic grocery bags
than objects etched on Grecian urns.
Not married to the mother of his two children
but he knew sin just like the Pope
whose last edict on women
their place in society
sounded more like it’d been written
by al-Azhar.
She might be fifty-four
but if she took her teeth out
he’d see the God he misquoted so glibly.
None of it made sense
because there would always be
somebody to look down on, to preach to.
All this enlightenment
and she simply wished beer didn’t give her diarrhea.