OPP #3: Kenneth Hart’s Uh-Oh Time

Although I didn’t get to officially meet or work with him at the Getaway last weekend, I was introduced to the work of Kenneth Hart and his book Uh-Oh Time I would have bought it just for the title, I think, but the first poem I happened to open to was the one I will share below. After a summer of running the dogs through the forest preserves, we had many of these “little Hindenburgs” in our house. I love that the poem is, in a way, an ode to something we consider repulsive and yet turns to something larger at the end.

Tick

Little Hindenburg

holding on at the teeth,

its purplish gray body ballooned

to pea-size with dog’s blood.

Wobbly, wartish, flopping, tied

to the skin under black fur,

set to pop if squeezed or yanked wrong:

you part the hair, must pinch the flesh,

lightly, raise it like a rug’s wrinkle,

then pluck with the other finger and thumb.

Slow, beery, drunk on pumped syrup

from the heart of an animal

who seems all heart, now it can rest in your palm –

don’t be afraid; it slowly kicks

its tiny feet as a fat infant

stoned on mother’s milk. It rolls

on the deeply creased tide of your life line

which a shawled reader once told you was long,

and next to that, the heart line, which,

shaking her head curiously in the candle glow, she said,

though also deep, leads away from your head.

Let the little blimp rest there

in the palm’s pink cradle a moment longer

before you flush it – its elastic skin

the color of an ostrich neck; let it not be

anger’s target, fear’s symbol – woozy

on the blood that loves you.

*

If you want to read more:

Kenneth Hart’s Website

*

If you want to write:

1. Try writing a poem that observes, without judgment and perhaps with a little affection, something that normally repels you.

2. Use that wonderful-sounding last line as a jumping off point – “woozy on the blood that loves you.” What else besides “blood” could you put in the phrase to make it your own?

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One thought on “OPP #3: Kenneth Hart’s Uh-Oh Time

  1. Pingback: Poetry Prompts Freeforall: Snow Day | Margo Roby: Wordgathering

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