mark hartenbach



she rises up to meet
the indefinable part of me
that aches for her

the tenderness of forgetting
the comfort of common things
the poetry of expectation

the ladder is on fire
where do we go
from here


hank williams

laid out in the backseat of a black sedan
with a bible, amphetamines
& fifth of old crow

all the comforts of home
without the gravitational pull

passing through the ohio night
on the way to jamboree

praying for a little push
something unscripted
something that rings true

that doesn't stop
wth the applause
or when the stars dim


robert johnson

when you get to the crossroads
you're in purgatory

you can't back your way out
or reason your way through

you wait for a friendly nudge
an honest suggestion

you wait so long
that you forget

how you got there
can't remember why

or how long
you've been waiting

this is called heaven



ophelia is always at my fingertips
i have longer arms than most

but they're more poetic device
than actually useful

more a measuring stick
for my confusion

than loving embrace
& the crow on my shoulder

has frightened away
many a perspective partner

but a bluebird
seems so damn obvious

& insincere
a lecherous wink & nudge

a washed up nostalgia act
an oversimplification

of a story
about the end of the world


bud powell

the bandstand is bouncing
human confusion
into palpable resolution

we are filled
with a thousand ghosts
stepping right out
of our shoes
while fetching that shiny thing

bang those 88's
to hell & back
tell them heaven
isn't slippers
shuffling down
an endless well lit hallway

but dancing
on red hot coals
jumping higher
.... higher



     mark hartenbach is lost in appalachia where he makes daily offerings to saint ishmael, the patron saint of the misfortunate, misunderstood, misjudged, mislead & misbegotten. he is currently in love with a woman he's never seen, met or imagined.

mark hartenbach

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