Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Poem Blossoms at My Place

So it’s Thursday, but not just any Thursday. Time for a poem, but not just any poem. Please welcome guest-post-poet Sarah Hina, who has just published her debut novel, Plum Blossoms in Paris. You probably already knew that, but on the off chance you didn’t – well – now you do. You’re welcome.

Happily, Sarah agreed to make L&M a stop on her (rather incredible) blog tour. I feel kind of like Bootsy Collins and Macy Gray just showed up to play my house party – I mean yeah, the place is kind of a dump, but nevermind that.


We’re about to be transported.

But first - it might seem odd to promote a novel by posting a poem - but it isn’t. At least not for this novel. Part of what sets Sarah’s writing apart is how it moves like prose but informs like poetry. Or maybe it’s the other way around. What am I, the New York Times Book Review? Point is, her prose is full of poetry – the way it lifts, falls and turns, the way it breathes, the way it ripples through the senses like a sleepy finger trailing through a quiet pool. If you’re familiar with her work, you know what I’m talking about. If not, bounce over to her blog for a bit or check out this excerpt from Plum Blossoms.

OK, I’ll shut up now. Here you go.


The Accordion Player
by Sarah Hina

He squeezed a song
from bellowed veins
growing blue half notes
into red, sustained
as couples passed
like shaken bouquets
some tossing their coin
some fading away

Down silver quays
slickered with dreams
cobblestone rivers
to catacomb drains

And still he played
as the Seine did flow
April in Paris
to La Vie en Rose
fingers pumping
his reluctant friend,
Non . . . je ne
regrette rien

But regrets he kept
between two stones:
Sacré Cœur summits,
gargoyle bones

Until one night
in late November
when tourists were weak
and the sky was thunder
a single soul strolled
a burgundy flower
bracing violin
against one shoulder

Her back was turned
his eyes did close
they exchanged no words
as notes struck swords

And lightning flashed
over Notre Dame
and bridges swayed
with maelstrom song
as the stained glass shards
of two musicians
bubbled and dripped
into one rose fusion

And when she turned
a chord of eyes
their surrender à l'amour

Under Paris Skies


Follow Sarah around on her Meet Me In Paris blog tour (sort of like being a Deadhead, but without all the hippies, microbuses, contact highs and perilously errant Frisbees):

Sarah hangs with
Travis Erwin
Plum Blossoms in Paris
virtual launch party
Plum Blossoms
flash fiction contest (winners announced!)
Sarah answers
25 Questions posed by Richard Levangie
7SS with Aerin Bender-Stone
Sarah visits
Jaye Wells
Sarah’s poem at
The Walking Man

An excellent review by Stephen Parrish
Listen to
Sarah reading Sarah

And of course – don’t forget to pick up your copy of Plum Blossoms in Paris at:
AmazonBarnes & NobleChaptersBordersYour Local Independent BookstorePowell's BooksBooks-A-Million (or, you know, walk into a bookstore. If you’re old school.)

Oh, and this. Just so I can keep my poem-a-week streak alive. (I know. Total narcissist.)


I can not wait to
read Plum Blossoms In Paris -
I hear it kicks ass.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


On a longboard
in the morning
by a reef break,
southwest swell

kind of sloppy
but it’s draining
and should clean up
pretty well

you can shred ‘em
if you want to
carve ‘em up and
cut ‘em down

but that wave just
melts to ocean
and another
rolls around

On a longboard
in the morning
where the seagulls
soar and swoon

it’s a slow ride
through the silky
waltz of ocean
with the moon

I am only
passing through here,
rising up to
fall apart

while the surf keeps
timeless rhythm,
an eternal
beating heart

On a longboard
in the morning
where the dolphins
crest and dive

in a wordless
prayer of reverence,
grateful just to
be alive.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Waiting Room

In the waiting room it’s muted
in the waiting room it’s cold
filling forms and signing papers
simply doing what I’m told

smiling faces gazing up from
creased and tattered magazines
seem content to be distractions -
they’re still prettier than me

there’s a door that I came in through
there’s a door where I will go
with a waiting room between them
full of people I don’t know

all whose lives have been delayed here
and who share a common aim;
who can only sit and wait for
someone else to call their name

there is water in the corner
and a clock that holds its breath,
there are flippant plastic houseplants
impervious to dust and death

there’s a door that closed behind us
there’s a door that’s closed in front
with a silence in the waiting
full of nothing that we want

Thursday, July 8, 2010


milk white skin and hair like ink
bleeding in a bathroom sink
trying to exsanguinate
the wretchedness
the reprobate

why are all your
shirtsleeves long
why do all my
words sound wrong

turning inward, iron-clad
even each small smile is sad
downcast eyes that rarely raise
haven’t had a
meal in days

who has filled you
with misgiving
made you so afraid
of living

carved reliefs and pins and blades
losing friends and faith and grades
drops of crimson, wrung from clover
black and white and
red all over

forget I asked;
just let me sit.
these scars of mine
are testament.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Coffee Machine

forty-five cents
for a bad cup
of vending machine coffee.

the vending machine man
didn’t stock lids

i think about him
and about the janitor
wiping down the sinks and
hauling trash
and the men who tromp around
on the roof,
banging on the air conditioners
every month
to get them humming again.

they didn’t get
the email from corporate
with the link
to the newsletter
with the article
about how we are poised
to “boost efficiency”
through “consolidation”

“it was a very tough decision"
said the boss
who has been in our building
in four years,
“knowing it will
affect people’s lives”

listen, not having lids
affects people’s lives.

not having jobs
alters them.
suspends them.
holds them hostage
in paper cups
while all the heat

i drink bad coffee
in front of
rows of chips
and candy bars,
burritos and pre-packaged sandwiches
neatly stacked
behind the glass.

so here we are;

forty-five cents
a line of machines

and lids
that just don’t fit
our cost structure