Boxes and Batteries

Matthew Henningsen's The Literary Doc

On a bus in a deep Asian jungle,
Full of rain and wet,
I thought of a time when I
Held my memories in my hand,
Squeezing them and squeezing them…
So alive.

I thought of a box with a lid
Cracked open, a gap where we see
Time walked in parks, hands held in
The fading light of a distant day. Hollow
Trees on campus greens, places where
Gold was hidden. Moments so
Fragile, like plates thrown into
The air, suspended.

People I wave at, smiling.
I knew them once.

Yes – a kiss hurled by the hand,
Like a football toss in a game. Looks
Before lights dim, glimpses and
Memories trapped, sealed in a box I
Hold under my arms on days when views
From cars mingle with my mind, and
I’m taken from jungles to dry moments when
People waved, and I waved back.

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Broken

Sudden out on quiet times right
Before the sun sets and the
Yellow trees are calm and
Just blow in the bright
Breeze. I

Think I see you in trees as
A passing shadow or just the sound
Of crunching leaves and the
Break off somewhere of old and barren

Branches I cannot see. This must

Be it. The time when the road winds
Off to a canyon and there is a path I
Found once on halting autumn days and
Took, took to small towns with coffee
Shops in corners and tables cast always in

The mid-day sun. There, there again I
Caught a glimpse of you in a mirror going
Up the winding stairs. The breeze. The view
Off to mountains with the lone speck of

A form on a hillside climbing up and
Up…

Notes on How to Read a Poem

It is such a foolish mis-
Conception to think that words
Tell us what they mean. That
To read is to read about what:
We see. That

Words do not
Fall apart and
That we must see
This breakage and wreck-
Age if we
Want to
Know what a thing
Really: means. It’s

Between
The words. The moments
Of shadows and sunlight spilling
Down the sides of distant
Hills that we catch just as an after-
Thought as we round the bend by the
Tree that was broken by the lightning
Bolt out of clouds that screen what
We just can’t see. I see

That to know we must see
What we can’t see when words
Hold too tightly together.
Too solid. Too firm. Rather

Celebrate the bro-
Ken the way we
Push words aside to see
That ancient light lurking
Somewhere within…

Six Stanzas Found in Old Books

Once you came out of the far
Off mountains and no one
Recognized you. You who

Once came away with the
Sunlight on early morning lakes.
The sweet smell of grasses

And songs lost beneath pillows
We found in the very back of
Dark closet walls. Autumn or

Winter for us on hills and the
Way the mountain felt like a
Way of knowing that was lost

Long ago. The hills and sweet
Rain on broken panes and the
Endless calls of smallness and

The way we walked off as I
Called through trees with wind
That muffled all the sound.