Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

[Three Poems]

by Mike Hedrick


I stand on Maui’s north shore
watching surfers drop off
steep walls of waves, ripping turns.
Yells of triumph, yells of warning
rush up to the gathered,
until the seeming inevitable—
large, rogue waves—
come hurtling ashore
and the pack scatters, 
scuds of flotsam and jetsam.
One surfer, board lost, struggles,
drifts towards blades of black rock
his head a dot disappearing
and reappearing under the chaos
of white water. Loneliness
is watching from above
helpless on a cliff. Prayers
are made. And, as if to say No
to the ocean, a man appears
paddling a large red board,
reaches down, grips him,
and hauls him up.

Dearest, after your long drift down
I like to think that a hand reached
into your cold dark and lifted you up
onto bright sand, so that the memory
of your descent fades,
a receding tide,
leaving you lovely, sheltered,
on a beautiful shore.


Caffeine Blues

I sit in a coffee house
near The Philosophers’ Club
a bar in San Francisco
and watch for any dead poet:
Eliot, Plath, someone
speak to me. My new friend
drinks a double Americano
and talks of her job—
a seamstress who creates
beaded designs for the back
of girls’ jeans: hearts
are a favorite along with
proclaiming ecstatic love 
for Pink. Pink the color
of her lips this morning
a scarf draped around her neck
black jeans buckled into boots
strands of bling glitter
down the promising 
largess of her chest.
A seamstress, maybe, 
but not frumpy, I think, 
as she talks of singing
Whitney Houston songs
in small bars, bars
not unlike The Philosophers’ Club
across the trolley tracks
from where I caffeinate
awaiting any dead poet
to emerge from the dark
bringing me gifts of bling
shiny tokens from the past
prescient tributes from the future
a future of anti-frumpy women
dancing down Shakespeare
Boulevard or Yeats Street
bright trinkets in their hands.


Bike for Sale

The neighbor mops his brow
and whirls the mower across the lawn.
It’s spring and the grass is a green lust
for sun heat water
growing apace, unbowed.

The clatter from the mower
hurls through open windows
and in a flirt of anger wakens
the man. Out of work out
of luck he lolls away the day.

Yesterday he fixed his old bike
today he places an ad on Craigslist
tomorrow he will have $50
drive over the river
rendezvous with the ravenous girl.


SHJ Issue 14
Spring 2016

Mike Hedrick

Many years ago, his 10th-grade English teacher taught modern poetry with her hair on fire. Hedrick’s been writing ever since. A SoCal boy all his life, he has work published in The Christian Science Monitor, City Lights, California Quarterly, and A Year in Ink Anthology. He was recently accepted to the MFA Program in Poetry at San Diego State University and begins attending this fall.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury