Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: Steam-Cleaning Love

Berkeley Fire

Here is a poem from my second collection, Steam-Cleaning Love:

Berkely Fire

for Corbin

 

I know you are reading this poem

I said to Liz I want to understand the trees

I was speaking of eucalyptus in particular

When I met you I said Hello

You said Maybe it will sound ridiculous

but I pray for rain every day here

 

On the television I saw a woman

shaking hard

I watched her forearms

how she tried to hold herself together

by pressing her elbows on her knees

her face in her hands

Everything else was a still photograph

the still hush of smoke

 

You are reading this poem

You are rolling a cigarette, or Sharon is

putting flame against your lips

I meant to ask the names of what grows

I said The vegetation is so different

You said I love thunderstorms

 

Once I passed a burning house

I was safe but I was scared anyway

I didn’t understand

how loud, how hot, how big

Later a woman interviewed

standing in the rubble said

It’s like being dead then coming back

I’m scared now, I said

You are reading this poem in Berkeley

You said Is it raining?

 

You can order Steam-Cleaning Love through Brick Books here.

 

Immaculata: from Lemonhound

JEHblackpaper7

sketch by Jane Eaton Hamilton, 2014

Always fun when old work sees new light. My poem ‘Immaculata’ from my Brick Books collection “Steam-Cleaning Love.”

Lemonhound

The break-up poem. Because, you know, break-ups.

Immaculata

Oh mud lover, oh dirt, oh sewage,

I’ve been wearing April like galoshes,

Stomping your ditch

in a swill of brown water,

nursing your weeds like tits.

 

Well, that’s over, it’s May tomorrow—

no more quicksand for me.

Is this love, this ooze and stain?

Your leeches ride my elbows.

Your scum exhales me.

 

Great exhaust, the monoxide

you call admirable

bubbles up from a low extreme,

up from the muck, up from the wallow,

hissing like a let-go fart.

 

There’s a stink, I’m raw from

this virtue, this clean clean clean rape.

Finger of smiles and lies,

I am on to you. Fecal soup,

your brown scrubbing

 

has a perfectly pious air.

Immaculate of the marsh,

sump pump,

diamond in a quagmire,

how to you rise and rise and rise

 

in your own estimation?

The trick of caress, say, a masturbation

toxic to others.

Never mind. Up you go, away, away,

dirty incandescence through the sun.

 

First appeared in Steam-Cleaning Love, Brick Books

Ladder, a poem

It was the ladder I saw

the raw clop of hammer and nail

the wordless, tedious years between the provinces,

between the scars and who you think I am.

My hunger was unavoidable, though you assailed it.

My laughter was dense, a terrified thing running.

 

It was the placement of rungs too far between

or the six years of mornings

or the miles of provinces.

Your hips, drawing them over and over,

tongue to skin like pencil.

I didn’t know what I wanted.

Love.

A plane ticket away.

I Read for my Brick Books…

You Tube reading from Steam-Cleaning Love by Jane Eaton Hamilton

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