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Hugh Lemma: Times of Sun and Clouds
Part of the PoetryCircle Showcase series.
  • While I Was Walking

    I was heading East the other day
    when I met myself on the road.

    “How are you?” I asked.

    Somewhere between fellating a gun barrel
    and dousing myself with champagne.


    “Yeah, same here.”

    I stared for a few awkward moments
    into my own eyes.

    “Well...happy trails!” I said.
    “Will I see you again?”

    Duh.

    And I watched myself continue West.


    Harvester (for Arizona)

    The sandy wash affords no aid,
    and Shadow Mountain grants no shade-
    there's nothing any man may trade
    for mercy from the August sun.

    Amid the fallen leaves of jade,
    our bodies scorched, our patience frayed,
    with ample effort we persuade
    ourselves the summer's nearly done.

    This valley's endless cavalcade
    of pioneers in masquerade
    will find, despite advances made,
    the West was never really won.


    Fletcher Street, December 1976

    Dusk.

    A note
    somersaults, corners
    snapping;

    potholes of old
    rain crust
    over;

    Reilly’s Market
    waits behind tin
    shades;

    Harold Melvin
    escapes through a
    window,

    kielbasa and
    sauerkraut through a
    vent;

    a ’69 Rambler
    clicks and
    cools,

    cat eyes
    glow from a
    stoop.


    Something For Nothing

    Perpetual motion is only a dream,
    and dreams will not move you too far;
    instead, you need gasoline, diesel, or steam,
    reactors, or light from a star.

    And something for nothing will never be real,
    for everything comes with a cost;
    we barter with nature, arrive at a deal-
    a gain means that something is lost.

    You have to decide what you're willing to lose
    to get that which you wish to keep;
    existence requires a payment of dues,
    and that, sir, will never come cheap.


    Thoroughfares (With a Nod to Lewis Carroll)

    You can wander over yonder on a slope that’s slippery,
    cause a schism over isms or engage in frippery,
    change your viewpoint with the dew point or the movement of the air,

    claim that truth is where the youth is (they’re too young to be perplexed),
    tout the findings in the bindings of a long forgotten text,
    be a seeker, and a peeker at your muse’s underwear,

    send your dollars to the scholars who possess a bigger brain,
    get a checkup from the neck up to confirm you’re not insane,
    be polemic, academic, like the rantings of Voltaire,

    follow Trojan theologians with the wisdom of a knave,
    not to mention good intentions (how the road to Hell is paved),
    while you’re feigning entertaining Heaven’s angels, unaware-

    if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.



  • Hugh Lemma’s oeuvre includes poetry, book reviews, topical essays, and short fiction. His writing is informed by abiding interests in philosophy, religion, humanities, and pop culture. Originally from Southern New Jersey, he and his wife were transplanted to the Phoenix Metropolitan Area in 2005.
  1. J Marie Newton
    I enjoyed reading each of your poems. Fletcher Street really took me back home.
  2. Albert Russo
    I'm very new to Poetry, but I  really enjoy yours for some reason.  Each one was a pleasure to read.  :)
  3. Mark Prisco
    real tight, good technique. like most of this: great rhymes in the 1st Song and Nod to Lewis, and cool that snap-shot of Fletcher st.
  4. J.S. Jones
    "Vashti's Song" and "Fletcher Street" are quite soothing and I'm typically not a fan of rhyming (for whatever or even no good reason).  Which come to think of it, those 2 have the less pronounced rhyme scheme.  Very nice work.
  5. H Lemma
    Thank you Isabelle. There is a link on my profile for this, but otherwise I'm not sure.
  6. Isabelle M. Chasse
    I am jealous and delighted at the same time.  The Vashti poem is a wonderful question of this woman who was overshadowed by Esther's obedience.  The rhymes all work in all of these.  How do I favorite things here so I can go back and read them again and again?
    H Lemma likes this.
  7. H Lemma
    Trish..thanks. Three is actually one of my favorite things I've written. I wanted it to be very personal, but accessible to others as well.

    Jay..thanks. It's a universal verity.

    Cheryl..thanks. I'll try to find the piece you mentioned.

    Tom..thanks. Good catch on the meter glitch. I am going to fix it.
  8. TrishSaunders
    Trying to leave five stars; can't for some reason. This is well-curated. I especially respond to Three.
    H Lemma likes this.
  9. Jay Gandhi
    Something for nothing is my favorite here...
    H Lemma likes this.
  10. Cheryl.Leverette
    Wonderful, H.  Enjoyed very much, as always.  There's one I miss.  Can't remember the name -- about the need to be 'hemmed in' -- love that one, too.
    H Lemma likes this.
  11. Tom Riordan
    H, I enjoyed all these poems, quite splendid!
    One small metrical hiccup at "to get that which you wish to keep."
    Tom
    H Lemma likes this.