Three Poems: Panic and Work, Gutting Trout, Silence


Panic and Work

Buicks and Chevys stand parked
in the Goodyear factory parking lot
though their restless atoms whiz;

the bushes don’t care, snagged
as they are on junk-- rotting insulation 
like awkward bolts of flesh;

hobos pace the fence 
between the railway tracks and the trucks,
walking in the leaves’ mulch and their
smell --

inside the factory, punchcards hold on a moment
in the teeth of the machine
in sexual noise, a joy;

but flustered by mental nonsense 
one machinist drove home at high speed
with the Maritime salt-marshes calling in gibberish,
wanting to veer into the snowbank on either side of the road
and hide under his bed.

His work ethic offered no comfort:

no one inside the factory would accept
"Buicks parked at senseless angles"
for signs of ‘team spirit’;

nor would the parking lot
contain his obvious struggle--
neatly parked in their defining spaces
Buicks and Chevys stand row on row.

gutting trout author joelle hann.gif

Gutting Trout

Roughly the flesh resists
then the head pops open
a silver-red rose forced to flower.

I’m glad you are dead.
Your deflated fins lay against my palm
like a hushed-up baby;
each of your speckles
once part of the black and yellow lake
flash like codes.

Killing was like a game, but it wasn’t.
The bolted handle of the knife
clubbed you dead. I used to watch his expert hands.
I learned to kill 
by splitting myself in two-- 
one shrieking, as the blade 
shrank into the skin,
the other standing back in a smirk--

Your filmy lake-water back
slaps the sink,
my father’s knife seems to know you.
              --here’s the white bucket for your innards
              the silver tap to flush you out.

"Intestine," my mother says. "Digestion. Waste." 
I scratch your black intestine with my thumbnail
'til each vertebrae is articulate.

Then I open you 
without disgust, adult-like:
lost are all the organs that propelled you towards me; 
I relate to you perfectly. Your scoured inside
is my ideal self, gutted and clean

no mess in my all-reflecting eyes.


Let there be silence in the overmind,
exhaust the stigmas, the busy enigma 
of being, as it's silenced
In the closed handwriting of some mad women.

Others may mark their way like dogs,
trickling piss from their excited hearts 
over city shrubs and parking meters.

Q: How does a life unfold? 
A: Each day without a security guard.

Initial life questions hit across the throat 
and give birth to more questions.

(As I write this, wasps crawl in and out of the light socket
so above me is the sound of struggle.)

To prevent more questions I've transferred my life
into photographs. I look like a medium-brown woman (summer)
with drooping eyes. (She of all people looks like she is posing.)

But it isn't summer yet it is spring (I'm rushing)
lilacs on my desk perfume with a mauve flourish
like little groups of microphones
that would not be photographed.

The trees in the photos of the trees
seemed farther away than when I saw them out the window.
I miss them, turned back
to a living wild and without me.

Q: why me?
A: no particular reason