Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Hatchet Job

 Hatchet Job
Tricks and teases made a hatchet for the autopsy. 
You couldn't
just say it was over, oh no. Too many cows
wanted gingerbread. Too many women
in the cellar wanted more time...

Tesla's ghost was on the radio for years
while the black nightingale sang but hardly
anyone listened. 
Too much static fuzzing. Too much 
imitation current clogging the waves...

I swear you gave my ear a permanent scar
with all that dizzy disarray, tricks and teases,
bluffs that bragged with musky electric tusks...
Put the body
on the table and have done, I said. I'm through

discussing second grade and your mother's
lonesome eyebrows.You don't care about
the cause of death anyway...
just the wonderful way
you can chop. 

January 2022

posted for Shay's Word List # 8: 
Images :Hatchet, via internet. Fair Use
Moon and Cow, 1963 © Alex Colville   Fair Use


  1. See, I love this, the way you have not only written for the list, but incorporated something of Edson's poetic sensibility. (Or delightful insensibility!) It isn't required, but I love when people do it, especially you.
    I know well this person who won't say it's over, but takes the hatchet to us until we do their dirty work for them or become exhausted refusing to. My ex was just like this.
    I love the 2nd through 5th lines particularly. Those women in the cellar wanting more! They are never quite in evidence, are they, but are sort of stipulated to, heard in the walls, gnawing away like they do. Or so I read.
    i basically want to reverse this guy's hatchet and brain him with the handle, he is so annoying and picknose. Usually I am all about your masterful use of words, but this one made me emotional with recognition!
    I also really love the two images you used, and your tags. Stevie Wonder, Phillip K. Dick, westerns and "axe" me later. I love it.

    Thanks so much for writing this for my list, Joy. I loved every bit of it.

    1. My pleasure, Shay. This is another one that would never have existed without your challenge. Thanks for introducing me to Edson--he reminds me very much of all the things I love in your own poetry.

  2. Such a powerful poem that gets better with each re-read - what a mind twister was the chopper "bluffs that bragged with musky electric tusks"
    one of those who make the other act out - the use of too much, too many gave even more impact to the feeling of being on the other end of this hatchet wielder.

  3. The imagery and actions hit the reader sharply like a hatchet. Brilliant lines of one that reeks havoc upon others one way or another. I love this Joy and I know Edson would have too!

  4. well i'll be damned if i know what it means and i really don't need to, i really like it. a very jolting poem, all that electricity. this tricks and teases, that guy could be me, i too think i can fix everything with a large hatchet, also, that's how i like to write! well done joy, this was fun to read

    1. Trust me, phillip. You could never be this guy. And you might occasionally swing a big hammer, but I'd say a scalpel was more your speed. Thanks, as always, for the kind words.

  5. Not knowing the word list (or caring to) I read as one privy only to the challenge of the poem itself, again weirdly gossamer and crackling from unknown sources yet made so strangely familiar. "Channelling" works well as an idea here, crackling with Tesla's ghost on the radio and so foreboding in "too many women / in the cellar wanting more time." Modernity is superstition -- who ever understands how it works, sees the atoms spinning in the Calgon Girl's smile -- so how to behave properly in a shadow so wide and fulsomely bladed as pandemic or climate change or autocratic Republicanism buzzing in one's ear from the radio? Indeed. Smart shit though I feel beheaded.

    1. Thanks, and yes, I know word lists aren't your thing, B. but I've always liked them, and more importantly found them very useful as I seem to need more of an outside spark to start writing these days. The poem should be readable and understandable without knowing the list words, I hope, and you seem to have caught the gist very well. "Modernity is superstition," science is magic, and what we push to the cellar has a way of howling in the night in a most disturbing fashion. Thanks as always for reading and sharing your insight.

  6. Joy, this made me laugh:
    "You couldn't
    just say it was over, oh no. Too many cows
    wanted gingerbread."
    What else was there to do?

  7. Wow. This is dark AF, Joy. Seriously, you could teach Grimms a thing or two. There's such a feeling of danger and yet dark humour too, and your turns of phrase are simply exquisite. My favourites:

    "Too many cows wanted gingerbread."

    "musky electric tusks"

    "mother's lonesome eyebrows"

    But the imagery alone, stunningly chilling. Always a pleasure to read you, Joy <3


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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