by John Horvath.

I: The Person.

Angry and arrogant Brad Hamilton's heiress Alese
struggled to tame tension in her speech but failed
to erase flaws student or friend, teacher, family
and lover, each read in the words on her lips; all
heard stress, strain, and crack of her tongue.
Alese alone counted days wasted and wanted them
fuller with sunlight, hating the dim colors
of her portrait, nebulous edges and stern but vague
features like a hundred martyrs remembered en masse,
virtues in common, lives in common, nobility common;
Alese alone suffering into uncommon strength
that kept her alive although loveless. Alese.


II. The Poet.

The poet habit she wore was father's; poems left her
barely old enough to read words,
her mother burned in mourning anger. Morning after,
Alese awoke with a poem tied to her tongue; all day,
though it wagged and she spit its taste, the poem held
to the tip making bitter the banter of schoolgirls and
others come to comfort. Past midnight she crept
from her bed to her father's study and, possessed
of the demon, wrote her first poem and another,
another, yet another, night after night, daily
living the curse of a father known only as poet
so blamed and reviled and called him "the cause
of her curse."

Later, bold with a batch of them, she folded them
into an envelope addressed to an editor then
awaited an answer to dreams she'd inherited.
An envelope returned and she treated it lovingly
held in two hands cupped in supplication, settled
it down on her dresser where it lay dead
with its stamp eye staring blank at the ceiling
until bearable no longer she opened to rejection--
another to add to that of the teacher, student, friend,
and her family, lovers and debtors --now editors
who kept her alive with promised release.

A Hungarian-American born in Chicago, educated in the American South (Ph.D.), John Horvath Jr has been a steel mill mechanic, soldier, street poet, cab driver, professor of literature and criticism. Disabled in a parachute accident, he lives happily ever after in Mississippi with his wife, four children, two dogs, and two cats (soon many more).
Horvath edits PoetryRepairShop - Contemporary International Poetry (since 1997) and writes.

Links: Interview [ http://www.motherbird. com/wardjohn. html ];
Bibliography []

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