Eric Darby performs “Scratch and Dent Dreams” – fantastic!

One of my all-time favorites.

“I’m tired of seeing this whole world bet on going big
or giving up. Only handing out glory to newspaper headlines
and story book endings, ‘cause the truth is
I think we need those swing sets most on the rainy days.”

Backroad Love Story: “Charting a path”

charting

Each night I press

my ear to your

empty pillow

as if it were a

seashell, conch or nautilus

and while your

voice used to echo

each night that we were

forever and anchored

and true

your pillow now only

provides me with the deafening

silence of distant waves

from a now vacant shore

where we once laid with

bodies and words

intertwined in the sand

drawing a map with our fingers

and charting the path

of our journey to

a world of occupied

sheets and pillows

and flesh

where we would be

forever and anchored

and true

Please take a look at my book of poetry and short fiction titled “Songs you can’t dance to”

copyright 2013 Steven Harz

Poem: “Seated at the right hand”

When you finally gained the strength or courage to roll back the stone that had kept me dead to you for three days or years

(I’m not sure) I was missing or hiding from our love

and the bandages that covered my emotional wounds

were not folded neatly because they were still

draped from my head and limbs and fluttered

and whipped during my ascension and ignited

and burned during re-entry peeling away

damaged skin and the pain and despair

of my shame and your disappointment

so that I can once again be

pure and whole and strong

and once again can

claim my seat at

the right hand

of you

Poem: “Franklin’s kite”

franklin kite

Like I suppose Columbus held

while he sailed the ocean blue,

I try to rediscover you with

a brass compass.

Like I’ve seen Gandhi wear,

while nonviolently battling the Brits,

I battle old photos through clear

round gold frames.

Like I learned da Vinci designed,

in between the helicopter and scuba gear,

on my wall waiting for you to return

is a painfully accurate clock.

Like we were taught Hancock wielded

to sweep his name on the Declaration,

on my desk is a pen that I’ve used

to denounce my independence.

Like I know Franklin used

when he discovered electricity,

I have a key and a string and a kite

that I send up daily like a beacon

to let you know that

I’m still here.

Please check out my book of fiction and poetry, “Songs you can’t dance to”: http://www.amazon.com/Songs-You-Cant-Dance-ebook/dp/B00ATQW5XK

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Poem: “An umbrella for the bomb drop”

He had not served in

the European theater

like his grandfather

who battled Hitler

and loved his country

(March 23, 1943)

or in the swampy hell

of Southeast Asia

like his father who’d been

diminished by protestors and

volunteered to return

(August 14, 1968)

He did not commute to

an elevator and a desk

in a now-gone tower

like his lonely mother

each Monday through Friday

(September 11, 2001)

And his brother who saw

the plumes to his west

and flew to the east

to waste two dozen Taliban

before he entered that building

(May 3, 2003)

Instead he waged his own

poorly fought war

holding a bottle in his hand

like an umbrella to

fend off a bomb drop

(TBD)

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Poem: “Torturous”

He’d always been told

(by who?)

the pursuit is more gratifying

than the capture or

(more simplified)

that getting is better

than having and this

(he found)

was accurate because

as difficult as it was

(had been)

to earn her attention

keeping her affection was

(at times)

a clock’s tick

away from torturous

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Flash fiction / “Blue”

Sky blue hardhat under his arm and gnarled hand holding a tin lunchbox he’d walk out the back door and into pre-dawn West Virginia.

Still being small I really didn’t understand what he did between the time the old green Pontiac rolled up the driveway in the morning and when he walked through the same back door, just as my grandmother was setting places on the checkered plastic tablecloth, every afternoon.

As I got older I learned that while I was above the town in a second floor classroom, or was underwater in the Oglebay Park swimming pool, he was a thousand feet underground scraping cave walls for coal and not realizing that the fuel’s by-product was not pollution but cancer.

I remember most of his words, not only because there weren’t many spoken, but those that did cross his lips were necessary and left you wanting more. And as I sit and recall his infrequent wisdom I look up to the shelf that holds a gift from my grandmother – a dusty old hardhat whose color in my fading mind matches the eyes of my grandfather.

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Poem: “Hallowed ground”

To much of the world

hallowed ground

is a grotto under a church in

oh little town.

To others it’s a sacred monolith in Mecca

or along the banks of the river Ganges.

Some feel it’s the killing fields of Gettysburg

or where their hearts are buried South Dakota.

And others find hallowed

two holes in Manhattan

and one in Pennsylvania.

But to me it’s much easier than these

because my holy land begins with

a table and two chairs

and an initial kiss hello

outside of a coffee shop

on a warm November morning.

from my ebook of poetry and short fiction “Songs you can’t dance to” – available on Amazon, B&N, and iTunes.

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Flash fiction: “Harvest”

Every fall rain or shine – shine is better – the trek to a town 30 minutes to the south (is anything in Connecticut really south?) is made by he and his boys and this one-day round trip has been made ten years running and now seems like a reflex rather than a plan. For the kids it’s a way to celebrate the apple harvest by downing fritters then riding the tilt-a-whirl followed by a valiant attempt to retain the fritters. For him it’s a pilgrimage to the town of his youth while trying to recapture a fleeting glimpse of 1974 and if he looked down Main Street and squinted towards the town green he could almost make it out.

Surrounded by the sounds of marching bands and shrieks and giggles with yellow balloons against a cobalt sky and the red brick town in the front and the orange hills in the back he stood in a New England version of an autumnal eye-of -the storm. Suddenly convinced that he was silent and alone while all of October rotated around him in a cool swirl of air and the warm smells of caramel apples and kettle corn he closed his eyes and took a breath and then another.

The boys had grown up with a tradition, but for their father this was a religion, and somewhere between face painting and shaving and red wagons and car keys the two had figured their dad out – today perhaps it was the look on his face or his slower-than-normal gait or that they had been ready to leave for a while and he had not.

As the day began to fade and the car headed north, with headlights joining twilight, they said dad can you drive us by your old house?

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Flash fiction excerpt: “el Adios”

The red brick walls and pea green trim look tired and the rust on the window frames is visible from any distance. This decay is amplified by the beautiful sepia brick replacement being built to its right. As much as you want (need) the building to be there forever, and wonder from your home three hundred miles away why the wrecking ball is necessary, as you actually approach it you see the pain and as you leave you hear a faint voice saying that it’s time. Please, I can’t do this anymore.

The cafeteria looks smaller and our bodies look larger and I suppose that both are the result of a long thirty years that disappear when you see classmates and teammates that commonality and life experience have turned into brothers and sisters with kids of their own. A band plays 80s songs in the gym and we don’t dance now like we did then, but rather struggle to connect today’s faces and golf shirts to yesterday’s yearbook photos and velvet bow ties.

Behind the school our overgrown football field has turned into a parking lot for construction vehicles, with a chain link halo, that shares what’s left of the turf with the ghosts of blue jerseyed boys in front of three thousand fans under the proverbial Friday night lights with horns and flutes and refrains of “Hooray for Bobcats” and we only remember the wins and with memories like that aren’t they all wins?

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Poem: “Songs you can’t dance to”

Title piece from my book of poetry and short fiction – available on Amazon and B&N by searching ‘steven harz’

The cloud that covers me when

I trace the curve of your back

The blindness that overcomes me

when I see the back of your knee

The hangover I fight through

on the morning after we touch

The momentary blackout you cause

as you lean in eyes closed for a kiss

The dense fog that surrounds

when you show me your love

The deafening beat of my heart

as it is pressed onto yours

The numbing buzz of my skin

underneath your fingertips

The frantic swim to the surface

so I don’t drown in my emotion

and our twisted tangled sheets

As I wait for you to come back

from sleep and dreams

these all invade my head

And as with songs you can’t dance to

I am beside you listening to them

in a warm horizontal haze

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Poem: “Disease”

Anything that I’ve done

in the past six months

has been done

perfunctorily

for I am never free

of the thought of

the phone call or

the conversation that

informs me that

‘you’ will not be continuing

your role in ‘us’

We are both in demand and

where I ignore my inbox and

select not to make you aware

as not to upset you

(ever cognizant that you

in all of your outward confidence

are actually quite jealous)

you choose to tell me

of your paramours

making me think that whether it’s

tomorrow or beyond

that perhaps my days

as they say

are numbered

I do not know if this type of thinking

is healthy

(I suppose not)

but it does make me work harder

and be better

(while in the back of my head are

the voices from the past

telling me that

I am of no worth or value and

what the hell happened to you)

so thinking that

despising me is a pandemic

(or at least an epidemic)

I continue to wait for you to be

infected with this disease

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Poem: “Aurora”

The monochromatic grey

of sky, water, and rocky landscape

lays before us

(and beyond)

in strict opposition to

the vibrant aurora that surrounds you

and us

hand in hand

as we walk north

(and away from home)

between worn stones and broken shells

on the beaches of coastal Maine

well before spring and just after

I love you

(too)

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Poem: “I can never”

I can never

seem to get close enough

to you.

Whether me inside of

you or you

surrounding me

the pull is too great and

I cannot seem to

be fulfilled

even though there is

nothing between us

but time.

There is far too much

of you for me to

discover in the short span

of a night

or a life.

copyright 2012 Steven Harz