Goodbye and Hello, by John Huey

Goodbye and Hello
by John Huey

That was no way to leave me,
at the start of a year, with heartless
fortitude undressing, dressing and
heading out the door.

Within the disquiet you remain a composite,
more than one person but just one as
only you could have ever been.

In the car, close by you, in the dark, in
January, we took our break and headed
West across the divide that I drove but
once but have never, ever driven again
as even now, as an older man, over the
trips West in the hundreds, yes, hundreds,
sometimes in the air, in my astonishment,
is a remembrance of you.

Flying over the interstates still sometimes
seeing you sleeping next to me on the back
seat all the way out, your breath on my ear
but in separate rooms, intimate but fleeting
as you, for a while, could never
stray far from me.

A presence, you even came to the mountains
when your father died and I tried to empathize
but you, an orphan twice, were inconsolable
and there threw yourself, like we all did, to
hedonism as a diversion and made my
life hell for a while.

But beast that I am I recovered and made it
down to Boston and the student nurses and
ran a rampant mile or two up one end of
Boylston and down the other until we found
ourselves meeting at your sisters’ place, she
your twin but more sensible, and there,
finally reconciling your opacity and
determined self-rule, I told myself
I was rid of you.

Though there, in recollection, was that last
leg of our only road trip, up on the borderline
near the park in San Francisco on the
good end of Balboa Street where I was
broken again, dreaming of being with
you forever in some damaged fantasy
that involved a passion that was an
impossible rub for the misaligned as,
out of all proportion and with all due
warning, I persisted which was a pattern
of sorts of long standing only broken
decades later when it just timed out.

Despite seeming bewilderment, the absent
memory abates but the wheels keep turning
on the asphalt ribbon through Texas and
New Mexico, across Arizona and beyond, up
the Coast Highway, the elephant seals on the
rocks still calling from below, their fresh
cries resonant always though far from
audible, a long way from that
course in miracles.

John Huey’s student work of the 60’s-70’s was influenced by teachers in Vermont such as John Irving at Windham College and William Meredith at Bread Loaf. After many years he returned to writing poetry in 2011. He has had poems presented in Poetry Quarterly and in the Temptation anthology published in London by Lost Tower Publications. Work has also appeared in Leannan Magazine, Sein und Werde, at In Between Hangovers, Bourgeon, The Lost River Review and Perfume River Poetry Review. His full-length book, The Moscow Poetry File, will be out on Finishing Line Press on October 13, 2017.

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Bent Trails, by John Huey

Bent Trails
by John Huey

As the summer progressed we wandered past
the lower hills and found a path at the peak.
Broken walls and stony farms, land reclaimed
and lost, drawn down, the silence here, the ridge
dwellers thinking of the frost to come.

Undemanding, these times challenged the atheist,
as if the purely material could not be infused with
beauty in the turbulence of the end of the decade
where belief in all its shadings was modified by the
shelter of contradiction as there we stood, with
absolute certainty, locked in affirmation, one hand
in another, the scent of freshly bathed skin and a
turning in the summer bed at twilight and in the dawn
the shift of limbs and the discovery that the fantasy of
what had passed no longer shadowed you as some sort
of requirement for belief.

So, the atheist said, struggle is struggle, the morning
light that strikes up the day being sufficient, flowers
in the field just so, a color burst on the retina and all
energy is equal as it crosses over to the brain for the
thinker and the dreamer alike.

And the hippies up there with bell and incense, fake
Indians, suburban shamans, bogus vision, picked up their
foggy tools and ascribed this real day to something or
someone else with evasive fictions to go with their
holographic nonsense to create something from vacant air.

The truth being that light is light only and is heat from the
sun expressed as breath, impulse and illumination,
this from within that is as actual as chemistry,
one cell in communication with another across an electric grid,
without external mediation, complete, present in the conviction
that what is seen is what is real.

And so, with these struggles, we still made it to the top of
Putney mountain and saw the valley and the green tops of
the native hills and felt the roar of the glaciers from tens of
thousands of years and saw the sun on the ice long before
the arrival of men in these parts and took in the breath of
science, a pure air on the top with the assurance
that one human thought communicated with grace
was enough for all the days and means and times and
that their distorted cosmologies missed the fine mornings
on the mountainside and failed to regard the sight of
the spheres above at night, as later, toward morning,
we saw the breath of the owl blown as mist from the crest
of the first winter tree, moving all these distortions aside
and making the facts sing.

John Huey’s student work of the 60’s-70’s was influenced by teachers in Vermont such as John Irving at Windham College and William Meredith at Bread Loaf.
After many years he returned to writing poetry in 2011. Recently he has had poems presented in two issues of Poetry Quarterly and in the Temptation anthology published in London by Lost Tower Publications. Work has also appeared in Leannan Magazine, Sein und Werden, at In Between Hangovers and in The Lost River Review. His first full length book, The Moscow Poetry File, has been accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press and it will be out in October 2017.