Jude Hoffman
Jude Hoffman (he/him) aims to write in a way that strips away the rules and expectations of what poetry should be. His poetry is improvisational, and does not go through much of an editing process after it’s written. He is still working on how to find the appropriate intersection between being politically active, writing, and not taking up others' space. His hope is that his style of poetry will begin to provide whatever catharsis the reader is looking for.


Music and IV’s

There once was a hurricane

that destroyed most of a cemetery

leaving only a few tombstones

to remember loved ones

left standing.

 
When I was a boy,

I used to play a game

where I would give each tombstone a note

depending on how high out of the ground it was standing,

and I would just walk through the cemetery

singing the song of tiny stone angels.

Even then, I knew the flats and the minors were too much

for young hearts.

 
I stopped writing once you got cancer.

There just weren’t words that were honest anymore.

We always used our words like swords and shields

but what good is a shield if it’s made of glass?

 
The ink well

your bones

ran dry.

 
My page

your skin

sickeningly white.

 
Both faces

empty

 
You can’t fill a chair with vowels

or pentameter

or letters you wish you’d written.

 
There just aren’t words

that can fill the air

in a way that makes things different
 

So, we just sit in silence

and let the words we never said hang

and drip

one by one

straight into our blood

hoping they’ll save us.

 
The last time I saw my father,

he was not strong.

He was not brave

or courageous.

He was just reading.

He held the newspaper,

as he did every day,

and he just folded it in half,

ever careful to keep the crease

and then fell towards the table.

The ways the plates bounced

and left that double clap

is part of the song that day.

Crash, clap clap, wail, sirens, wail, shoes, wail wail, wheels on linoleum, drip drip

breathe.

whisper

I’m sorry

collapse.

 
The song my sister’s lungs made

was a sad jazz.

Just the steady roll of a crash cymbal

stretching out its last shake.

Not wanting to stop dancing.

Not ever.

 
There are little bells under the vowels on my typewriter,

so when I write,

there is always a song.

Always there.

 
But when I am away,

there is still a song

in the air

in the way people blink

in tombstones

and lungs

and dinner plates

and the crackle of a newspaper folding.
 

It is with me.

A journal

embroidered on my ear drum.

I keep collecting songs.
 

In my next life, please let me be deaf.


 2017 Jude Hoffman
Jude Hoffman was a Featured Poet at the December 2017 Second Sunday Poetry Series