Gotta say, the more I learned about the numbers for this anthology, the more surprised I am that I’m writing this now, especially for my poetic works.
Now this particular poem is another one of those poetry writing workshops pieces I crafted in late 2016, not long after reading William Carlos Williams’ Spring and All and crafting a 30-page chapbook for my actual writing assignment, following weekend trip with my dad and his wife and my future bride to Georgetown for my cousin’s wedding. We stayed in a lovely B&B, across the street from Southwestern University, and had a grand time at their nuptial party in beautifully rustic surroundings on the outskirts of town.
Of all those 30 pages, much of it skirting some rather uncomfortable issues tied to the merry band of travelers on this particular trip, two pieces arose as the best of the lot, my peers told me.
The first was a short piece called “picking pecans,” about this old man doing exactly that in the yard of the B&B our final day there. I thought that piece might well be the first one published of my poetic offerings, but sadly, all I’ve collected with it thus far is a healthy stack of rejections. The other poem was untitled at the time, but formed the few lines I’ve included below that I eventually dubbed “Hap.Haz.Ard.”
I wrote thinking back to the many who, though no longer with us, had profound impacts on who we are and helped shape our perspectives of the world around us. I firmly believe Grandpa provided me such an influence. Were it not for patience and calm demeanor, I’d probably be a full-fledged window licker, even more than I am most days already. He was the one normalizing factor I had in my life, and I credit him largely with teaching me what it meant to be man.
I no doubt strayed from the direction and example he provided, but were it not for him, the any stories he shared, and that ready smile he wore assuring everything would work out if we only stayed the course. It was exactly the sort of personality I needed around me, growing up like I did.
So, the following was written in remembrance of the man he was, the messed kid I was and still am some days, and the lessons even the most mundane of chores can teach us.
I hope you enjoy!
HAP HAZ ARD
by Bobby Horecka © May 7, 2018
I remember a boy
following that old man
hat stuffed with newspapers
trying to fit desperate
bottle feeding orphan calves
they found their nipples
at a little boy’s hand
both knowing motherless
As published in the 2018 Havik Anthology, RISE, put out by publishing and creative writing students at Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles