Quelle surprise!

In my desultory explorations for new poetry, I opened an anthology over breakfast and found this:

I Pick Up a Hitchhiker

After a few miles he tells me
that my car has no engine.
I pull over, and we both get out
and look under the hood.
He’s right.
We don’t say anything more about it
all the way to California.

Jay Leeming

This has the freshness and sensibility of a Jack Spicer poem, and made me laugh out loud. I also like this little prose poem:


An oar is a paddle with a home. This arrangement seems awkward at first, as if it were wrong; the wood knocks in the oarlock, and would much rather be a church steeple, or the propeller of an old airplane in France. Yet as it bites deep into the wave it settles down, deciding that the axe and the carpenter were right. And you, too, are supposed to be sitting this way, back turned to what you want, watching your history unravel across the waves as your legs brush against the gunnels. Your feet are restless, wanting to be more involved. But your back is what gets you there, closer to what finally surprises you from behind: waves lapping at the shore, the soft nuzzle of sand.

So I looked up Jay Leeming, and he has a website. You can read more, hear him read, and even order his books.  I’m always so happily surprised to find a new poet I like.  Hats off, Jay.

And while I’m at it, here’s one by Jack Spicer:

A Book of Music

Coming at an end, the lovers
Are exhausted like two swimmers.  Where
Did it end?  There is no telling.  No love is
Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves’ boundaries
From which two can emerge exhausted, nor long goodbye
Like death.
Coming at an end.  Rather, I would say, like a length
Of coiled rope
Which does not disguise in the final twists of its lengths
Its endings.
But, you will say, we loved
And some parts of us loved
And the rest of us will remain
Two persons.  Yes,
Poetry ends like a rope.

Jack Spicer


2 thoughts on “Quelle surprise!

  1. the soft nuzzle of sand.
    I really like that, I have felt and heard that.

    Is the hitchhiker some kind of desolation angel?

    Jack Spicer is a poetic name. A very short haiku. Takes you to the center and
    leaves you there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *