Susan Carol Hauser

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Poetry Slam First Place!

In New Poetry, On Writing, Reading Event, Writing on December 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm


I participated in my first poetry slam last week at the Keg & Cork in Bemidji, Minnesota. It was sponsored by the Bemidji Public Library with a Cultural Legacy grant from the State of Minnesota (I knew I loved something about Minnesota besides winter–which I really do love). There were 14 contestants and 75 people in the audience. I won by one scant vote – and second place Julia certainly did out-perform me. I had to really pump up my reading in the third and final round. It was a fine evening – and heartening to know that so many people of all ages, persuasions and occupations go home at night and write poems. Gives me hope for this country. Below are the three poems I read. “Blackbirds” I have in memory so I saved it for last – and if I venture onto the Slam stage again, I will have all of my offerings memorized–it is superb to watch a poet close her eyes and belt out her lines.

In the Forest

On the path today you stopped
at a deep scent rising
from the ground, something, something
wild marking its territory, you said,
a bear or a timber wolf. It smelled like smoke
to me, a campfire put out or wood
just taking to flame. I breathed it in – almost
a sweetness to it, I thought, but I did not
say so. You moved ahead. I lingered, filling
my lungs as one might fill a thermos
or a water jug, wanting to carry it with me,
the way it opened my senses, closed my eyes,
held me there, scuffing my feet
in the wet, blackened earth.
I Think about You

I think about you. I think about
the little drive-by kiss you gave me,
a glancing touch of lips
that first night when we talked
as though nothing else
were going on, as though
I did not want you
to enfold me, to unfold me.

I think about that kiss:
it went by so fast.
And then we were hugging,
our arms around each other,
holding on the way one might
hold on in a storm, wind
everywhere, water
everywhere, nothing to do
but close your eyes and not
let go.

I think about that – the kiss,
the holding on, the not
letting go. Will you
let go? Will I let go?

I think about you.  About
that kiss, about holding on,
about not letting go,
about water and wind,
about our hearts inches apart,
only skin between them,
between breath and love.

The Blackbirds Have Begun to Flock

The blackbirds have begun to flock.
Rising from the trees they dare
into a sky that they unlock.

Summer’s gone. Mocked
by autumn’s flare;
by blackbirds that begin to flock

like chores and dreams we’ve kept in stock.
Gathered a singular force they share.
They rend the sky.  It comes unlocked

and all the love we’ve left undone knocks
in our hearts and darkens the air
like blackbirds lifting up in flocks.

When seasons strike on nature’s clock
it leaves our days in disrepair.
Blackbirds break.  The sky unlocks,

and we take up a different watch:
turn to each other.  Pair,
like birds that have learned to flock,
and enter a sky that touch unlocks.