Monday, April 29, 2013

Why You Should Love Me (Day 29, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

April's shivering, beryl sky
was washed clean by
the warm barratage
of our lovers' laughter.

Each year--
in the precise spot where you
tied out the line, and
the sun stroked our pillowcases
with his cheek
--the lilacs bloomed.

On the ridge, those ancient sentinels
had the grace to sway
in the wild swathe of my anger,
and then to bend, leaning in
to hear my whispered apology.

Our dented copper kettle hums and
issues a throaty whistle
when you come in,
frost burrs clinging tenaciously
to your rag-wool socks.

Those candles, washed and reused,
somehow remain unchanged in number--
it's the sweet, dimpled face
of your favorite bitter-fudge cake
that somehow appears smaller,
and smaller still...

Even the forced gaiety
and papier-mâché romance
of Paris and Prague
bowed, powerless and meek,
in the presence of two dappled hands,
entwined within
a single red mitten.

In late September,
l'heure bleu shimmers,
citron and apricot,
along the western horizon.

(C) 2013, Hannah Six


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Untitled (Day 28, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

By Hannah Six

Like October's pumpkin,
sliced open and
with a metal spoon,
the inside of
my heart
has been stripped,
scoop by scoop,
of its tender,
and fertile flesh.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Little Hen (Day 27, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

Little Hen
By Hannah Six

Listen, little hen…

Before you take another
peck of the feed
that filthy old
tossed down,
Tell me…

Has that particular brand of
ever tasted
as good
as you thought it would?

Didn’t think so.

So, why don’t you go
find yourself,
a sweet treat
to take your mind off
the infernal heat of
that barnyard
you’ve been around
(more than) a few times?

Or, better yet,
give seed up altogether
and try taking a bet
on worms...
They may not look as tasty,
but they would never
break your


Friday, April 26, 2013

Angels (Day 26, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

By Hannah Six

Vain rocks and mountains,
fall on and hide these words!
Oh, depart, ye cursed everlasting!

All suffered insufficient lack
and rampant consumption,
removed, though,
after the rather haphazard
and imaginative world
began to write fantasies --

miniature adulthood kingdoms of
avid readers
literary ladies
and pilgrims.

The poetry used children’s
creative endeavors
a year after their deaths, when
toy soldiers
a favorite.

Note: Today's poem is an erasure, from Jane Eyre (pg. xvii of the cheapo Barnes & Noble mass-market sized paperback). Click here to learn more about erasures.

Finally, if you enjoyed THIS erasure, you might also enjoy Not Normal (an erasure from the 2013 Mini brochure handed out at the Philadelphia Auto Show) and Biochemical Engineering (another erasure, this time from an amalgam of information about biochemical engineering from Wiki and Duke University).


Beloved Enemy (Day 25, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

Beloved Enemy
By Hannah Six

Your golden hair and glacial eyes
Caught me, at twenty, by surprise.
(Or was I twenty-one or -two?
No Matter.) When I looked at you,
My heart bled fire into my veins.
Though little of me now remains
that, then, was yours--in what amounted
To only hours and days (I counted)--
Still it feels like years to me
My dear, beloved enemy.

My innocence wasn’t sacrificed,
So much as it was sliced and diced
Up on the altar of your dreams--
Fair tribute to your plans and schemes.
The god to which you bowed your head
Reigned over what you left unsaid.
No fatted calf, for you, would do,
But only paper, wood, and glue.
You could be but a friend to me,
My old beloved enemy.

You weren’t first, nor were you last--
The prize you won was for how fast.
Yet, sweetest, throughout all the years
(This is my secret and my fear)
Will ever be that glowing time,
When, in September, you were mine.
If lovers are as lovers do,
I’ll always be half in love with you--
The other half I’ll keep for me,
Dear old beloved enemy.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Harbor (Day 24, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

by Hannah Six

lustrous febrile cloak
confiding in
my treacherous extremity
anchored fast
in swirling gelid dusk
devoid of words
my fingers entangled
in sleek and golden safety
reclining against
a piercing, luminous night


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thirty-three (Day 23, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

By Hannah Six

Twenty-eight are silent in Newtown;
Five more this week in Federal Way.
But you can't look into my background.
Twenty-eight are silent in Newtown.
Don't ask me to put my name down--
My rights are protected by the NRA.
Twenty-eight are silent in Newtown;
Five more this week in Federal Way.

(Today's poem is a triolet.)


Monday, April 22, 2013

Never Too Late (poem for Day 22, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

Never Too Late
By Hannah Six

It is not
a miracle that
are yours.

The miracle
is the energy
that breathes life
into magic
into mystery
into every
precious little thing
under the
big, blue sky.

The time is now.
It is time.
This is
the moment.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Biochemical Engineering (poem for Day 21, NaPoWriMo 2013)

Biochemical Engineering
By Hannah Six

the work  the work
recently emerged, spans
the heart’s fundamental
activity, tools,
hardware, and

a variety of in vitro
and in vivo techniques
       complex methods of deep stimulation
       that disorder the restoration
       of function and design
study singles' activity at
the population's level, to monitor
and treat diseases, activities,
and the organ

the system understands
efficient, dynamic, emotional
decisions and memories
       a close relationship
       between synthetic hearts
common as a new being,
considered in itself

one is, after all, realistic
about computer models
and cardiac muscle


Around the Block (Day 20, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

Around the Block
By Hannah Six

Coffee grown tepid in
the whale-tail handled mug beside me,
my unproductive fingers withdraw,
    shamed and cold,
into the stretched-out sleeves
of a cashmere cardigan—
the precise color of a slice
    of Wonder Bread,
    kneaded back to doughiness
    by grubby little hands
—a badge of honor
from a boy
I no longer consider.

Strings of words, elusive wraiths, billow
    like squandered prayer flags
    around my me,
teasing, mocking, ever beyond reach.
Meanwhile, my wretched muse sulks
    in the corner
    behind my right shoulder,
where the lamp beside
the rose-patterned armchair
is seldom,
these days,
switched on.

A ghost now, at best,
bilious seaweed hair and
almost-there complexion
betray her discontent.
What is it? What is it? I entreat,
willing to
meet her

The coffee? Perhaps, instead,
I should I should bask
in the steam
of a porcelain cup
of hibiscus tea
sweetened with
organic, local blackberry honey.

The daylight? A fat pear-scented
soy-based pillar
might create
a more enticing glow…
But, no.

Pushing away from the desk,
chair legs and floor cry out en masse,
protesting this untimely intimacy.
I rest my favorite aqua pen
on a chopstick holder (bird’s egg blue)
from the Asian store
on Connecticut Avenue where
    many a lazy
        lunch-hour stroll
            led me,

Me thinks I will,
talking to the Muse, I say,
call it a day.

Beyond the fog-rimmed window
    pine boughs nod:
    Yes… yes…
And, suddenly,
the dim, chill, gray-white drizzle
takes on a prospect of delight.
I reach for my umbrella
and the dog’s new, pink leash.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 19 (Day 19, #NaPoWriMo 2013)

April 19
By Hannah Six

My sister's birthday...
Her eyes sparkle, like champagne,
Through reading glasses


Thursday, April 18, 2013

While We Slept (#18, NaPoWriMo 2013)

While We Slept
By Hannah Six

Brave, they say,
when they say,
even though
you were going
to save them
anyway (for the price
of a bed
and a beer).

We waited, here,
for you--
for love, and for fun,
and because
it was right...
You, who ran

They said: "Come home,"
and then, one day,
you did. For you
are brave.

The flickering light
at this end
of the bridge
is part of a broken
system, they say. One
that sends...

Meanwhile, we--
we all slept soundly,
while you saved

Because it was
so easy for you
to be brave.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Was Said (Day 17, NaPoWriMo 2013)

What Was Said
By Hannah Six

What the wheat said--
leaning and nodding
over the fence,
old women, gossiping
amongst themselves--

the foal heard,
gentle hissing, rushing
over pricked ears,
tickling that tender
velvety nose

until, mare nudging,
he rose from the ground
on tremulous chestnut legs
and blinked

not so much at what
was being said,
but at the mere fact
of its being said
at all.


So I can bear this (Day 16, NaPoWriMo 2013)

So I can bear this
By Hannah Six

Morning, you sit with me,
Note in hand--
Didn’t want it to be like that.

Save me from danger
So I can forestall my being alone

I was thinking today,
He went to bed on the side I wanted.
How I’d like to have another day,
For a legacy’s a burden if forgotten.

Until cares lighten,
Make her rare
With us
So I can bear this.

Dear readers:
Today's poem resulted from an interesting prompt offered on the NaPoWriMo website. Here's an abbreviated, paraphrased version:

Choose a foreign (to you) language poem from Poetry International. Cut and paste the original-language version into a document and use the sound and shape of the words and lines to guide you, without worrying too much about whether your translation makes sense.

Click here to link to the lovely Norwegian poem I chose.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Untitled (Day 15, NaPoWriMo 2013)

By Hannah Six

The bright honeyed light of my memory plays
on the emerald pool of my dreams.
When you leave me your scent lingers here for days--
you're still keeping me company, it seems.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

We Cometh (Day 14, NaPoWriMo 2013)

We Cometh
By Hannah Six

If you have it
we don't want it.
If you don't
we want it all!

Hide it from us,
we'll come find you...
Our mistake?
You'll take the fall.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Spring Harbor (Day 13, NaPoWriMo 2013)

a thin, crisp edge on
the March breeze
we lean in toward
each other
soft woolen scarves wound
loosely round our throats

apple blossoms dance
on each gust,
alight on the mill
pond, petals
unfurled, billowing,
like fairy sail boats


Friday, April 12, 2013

"Not Normal" (Day 12, NaPoWriMo 2013)

Not Normal
By Hannah Six

More and more,
each one
(much bigger than expected)
masters the art where
power rises on
the inside--
naturally aspirated.

No matter.
The crowd most certainly remains
defiantly normal,
the purest expression of
an unapologetically aggressive mindset
of gravity:

precise, ultra-stiff,
a direct connection that--while
spectacularly retractable--leaves
no one in

Washington, DC, Spring 2006


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Padded (No. 11, NaPoWriMo 2013)

motherly, tender,
you held out my new jacket,
helped me with the sleeves,
then fastened all those buckles
behind my back, my arms crossed


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"You are not (Hugo Chavez)" [No. 10, NaPoWriMo 2013]

You Are Not (Hugo Chavez)
By Hannah Six

You are.
You are new.
You are cold.
You are poor.
You are weak.
You are ineffective.

You are.
You are abandoned,
       hungry, uncertain.
You are used.
You are helpless.
You are ill.
You are a/lone.

You are.
You are embattled.
You are trapped.
You are (still) ill.
You are destitute. Depleted.
You are broken
      - hearted.
            - open.

You are (yes)
You are old.
You are relieved.
You are    not.

No wonder we imagined
For ourselves
             a heaven
                one must suffer
                   to enter.


Closing Night (No. 9, NaPoWriMo 2013)

Closing Night
By Hannah Six

That's it, show's over.
Curtain closed, lights off,
He tells himself. You fool.
You stupid, lousy optimistic fool.
Disdainful smirk and pitying
Shake of the head, as
He climbs the long, sloping aisle,
Intricately tiled in various colors
Of dust and fog;

His heels, reverberating
In the cavernous space,
Tap-tap-tapping at his back,
Like a bad dream
You just can't shake,
Even hours after
You wake in a cold sweat,
Shrouded in your
Damp, clutching sheets.

The audience's collective gasp--
A few thin cries from
Would-be damsels furtively longing for distress--
Echoes, otherworldly, in his ears.
And he knows without knowing
That, years later,
He will still hear
The body
Hit the stage,
A rolling thunk, like a camel
Falling to its knees.

Later, at closing time,
In a dun-hued haze
Of smoke and Maker's,
He slaps the empty tumbler
Down in a puddle of sour
Bar-rag water,
Swipes at the stains with his fist,
And tries to forget:

The proud straightness
Of her back.
The silver bracelets slicing
The tender, sparrow-flesh
Of her wrists.
("I told you I wasn't worth the effort.")
And his parting glance--
Branded on his mind
With the clarity that tells a man
He'll never stop regretting,
Never be able to forget--
At her name,
Those letters, scattered across
Her dressing room door,
Like fairy dust
Sprinkled by
A vengeful Godmother.


Monday, April 08, 2013

No. 8. (NaPoWriMo 2013)

By Hannah Six

Turn away from the amethyst afternoon sky.
Turn away, turn away, and don't raise your eyes!
My children, your father is gone now, for good,
And we're all alone in this strange neighborhood.
What happened, you ask? Well, you'll hear by and by...
He was eaten by African hippopotami.

Your daddy went swimming, unaware of his fate...
Like black clouds in the river, those beasts lay in wait.
One moment he was there, and then without a sound,
He was gone! A strong swimmer, he'd never have drowned...
So, they dredged through the muck, 'til one man, with a cry,
Held aloft daddy's hat, chewed by hippopotami.

Thank Auntie for the nice green-bean casserole,
And be careful, dear, that you don't drop her red bowl.
Seal it up with that precious, pricey tin foil,
And then fill the kettle--let me know when it boils.
Now, leave us to talk, dear, your Auntie and I,
About money, and daddy, and hippopotami.

No, Mrs. Jones, there won't be a casket.
The pieces they found wouldn't fill a small basket.
Why, yes, little Amy, there will be a grave,
Where we can go visit the parts they could save
From the sluggish brown water flowing tranquilly by
Where my beloved was eaten by hippopotami.

Thank you, Reverend, the service couldn't have been sweeter.
Now, here comes my poor mother; I'd like you to meet her.
The cakes and the punch will be served now, at home,
By some church ladies who think I shouldn't be alone.
But I'm not! My dear children are there by my side,
When I wake screaming, from nightmares of hippopotami.

Sweet dreams now, my dear hearts, your prayers are all said;
You were kind to remember your poor father, who's dead.
Kiss Mama good night, little golden-haired boy.
And my girl, let me help you to tuck in your toys--
Your favorite animals, soft and blue as the sky,
Birthday gifts from your daddy: three hippopotami.


Sunday, April 07, 2013

No. 7 (NaPoWriMo)

By Hannah Six

Around me, and for miles, trees,
Clutching, dark and prickly
Pressing in on every side, standing so
Close at every turn
I haven't seen a sunset
Burn the western sky for years.
Meanwhile, the rain, the clouds,
Pressing down upon my head,
A dreary crown, declaring me
A woman far from home;
A crown I wear haphazardly,
Askew, it still announces me:
This woman, here, so far from home,
This woman is standing,
Fenced in by miles of black-green trees
And ten-thousand foot high
walls of stone.


No. 6 (NaPoWriMo 2013)

Morning Commute, Philadephia 1989
By Hannah Six

In those days, the El was neither
air conditioned, nor carpeted. And
the windows opened, so that, on a
white-hot august morning, the wind,
smelling of electric fires and
third rails and decades of oily, black grime
would (someone must have thought) refresh
the riders. Certainly, being buffeted by
a breath-sucking, subway-car gasp
was marginally better than death by convection.
Which is precisely what would have happened,
as you swayed and dozed
to the heaving lullaby
of rattles and bangs
in those boxy old cars,
had they lacked their thoughtful, fetid airflow.

Upon arrival, dazed and bleary,  
at 8th Street station,
when you tumbled from
that stinking, old, silver centipede of a train—
your slick soles peeling, step by step,
from the gummy ceramic tiles,
the lights dimmed  
as though for six o’clock Mass or 
a rose-scented, romantic dinner, 
replete with crisp white linens and flatware 
polished to a mirror shine—
you were (daily) astonished by 
a dank, reviving breeze,
thin, pale air circulating in perpetuity
through the system’s tubercular tunnels.

The current, despite its eye-stinging grit, 
felt good—though it shamed you 
to admit it, even to yourself.
Charging forth from maws as black as pitch,
that fetid torrent was accompanied  
on its lonely wanderings
by blue-white flashes
illuminating mysterious debris
(What mother was it, whose baby’s dirty diapers always
could be picked out in the distance, deep inside the tunnels?)
standing puddles
of antediluvian water.

Onward you tramped, pushed
and pulled by neighbors whose sweat
intermingled with yours
just moments before. Now, anonymous,
individuals no more,
you moved, instead, as
one immense amoebic being,
hurtling stupidly toward
the jaws—
crushing, grinding, revolving and, finally,
spitting you forth,
into another day.


Saturday, April 06, 2013

No. 5 (NaPoWriMo 2013)

Force of Good
By Hannah Six

plops into 
the pond, causes 
tiny ripples that swell and 
break against the shore in gentle waves


Thursday, April 04, 2013

No. 4 (NaPoWriMo 2013)

Near Seattle, July 2nd
By Hannah Six

"The last warm day," she said,
"was in May or early June..."
No outrage, no high dudgeon.
Just a sigh, a downtrodden glance
at the darkening windows,
the slate sky's lowered brow mirrored in
the slate sky in the trembling water
so shamelessly flaunted
by the patio chairs'
depressed cushions.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

No. 3. (NaPoWriMo 2013)

Safeway, parking lot, 5:25 p.m.
By Hannah Six

An achingly cold January evening--
frigid, though, thankfully,
no ice on the potholed gravel pavement.
The slice and tang of ice in my nose
snaps, like whiplash,
forcing my attention
through a
to that moment when I--
groceries stowed, hatchback firmly latched closed--

A summer-lover by nature, I have,
with some effort (born of a certain brand of seasonal desperation)
trained my eye to forage
for random, tender bits of beauty
among the long, barren, leafless eastern winters...

So that now, glancing up, I am taken
by the way those stark Maple branches, silhouetted in black against
the remnants of sunset,
criss-cross the horizon,
clipping the bruised sky into gradient ribbons 
of magenta, of rose, of clementine,
and (yes) lime green,
through ever-deepening hues of 
velvety Prussian and sapphire blue.

My fingers curl against the
pleasantly scratchy wool mitts I knitted last April.
Venus teases and blinks.
I smile, and hunch my shoulders 
against an onslaught of shivers.

Then, with a premonition of distant nostalgia,
I tuck this moment away for safekeeping,
and turn toward home.


No. 2 (NaPoWriMo 2013)

Chickadees, Starlings, and Jays
By Hannah Six

Outside the house
in which I do not live,
a sycamore is budding, branches festooned
with tight, furled leaves and
chickadees, starlings, and jays.
Fertile, rich-brown, the fields
are plowed and moist,
while, in the distance, a faint lime haze
gently slides winter's drab cloak
from the hills' broad shoulders.

Outside the house
in which I do not live,
an ocher-breasted warbler, small as my thumb, trills,
announcing his return and
the grand opening
of a brand new nest
in the same old spot--
where, yearly, the black snake
invades and eats the eggs--
under the eaves of the porch,
where I spent many a fine day spinning;
for company, a glass of tea
so cold it would leave
a dark, spreading circle
on the ground.

Soon, the cool morning mist,
summoned by, and succumbing to, sunrise,
will hover, protectively,
over the creek-carved valleys.

The afternoons will shimmer with heat and insect songs
and swirls of dust, the rumbling of thunder
mumbling to itself beyond the western ridge.

And a million fireflies,
like fairy-lights, strung among the apple trees,
will flash, in three-quarter time,
in the twilight, the blue hour,
outside the house
in which I do not live.


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

No. 1 (NaPoWriMo 2013)


Coarse surface, cloaked in
Glaze of crystalline water,
Embraces each hue.