Tuesday, February 15, 2011

under a bridge by Stephanie Hiteshew

Stephanie Hiteshew has been published by Bone World Publishing, has had poems appear in Poiesis, Beatlick News, The Aurorean, Brevities, and many others. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland and her latest collection from Alternating Current’s Propaganda Press is titled under a bridge. The poems are unapologetically raw in their portrayal of homelessness, loss, drugs, and mental illness. I am happy to share the ones that stuck inside my mind long after I set the chapbook down:


Siren wails
come closer to the city
than cleanliness.
Under a bridge,
you narrowly smile.
I hold your hand
coated in bruises,
breathing in a fog
you’d see
over a pier at night.
I sigh and say prayers.
The truth
I can’t turn towards
(or away.)
I leave you
under blankets.
Soul free
to lay its claim.

This poem makes me wonder if the poet is holding the hand of someone dying, especially with the ending lines “Soul free/to lay its claim.” What kind of claim I wonder? Claim to life or death?


The fence wasn’t built
to keep you safe
but to keep us safe.
Us: the streakers,
manics, schizophrenics.
You: the closed-door
drunks, tax-evaders,
and cheaters.
Main difference:
we were caught.
Besides, we learned
long ago
how to climb that fence.

This poem hits home for me as I used to visit and advocate for residents in certain mental health facilities. There were often times I realized how thin the line really was when it came to who would be living inside such a place and living outside such a place in “normal life.” I think the lines “Main difference:/we were caught” hits the nail on the head as to where that line is drawn.


The empty pull
of disappointment,
children’s balloon popped,
farewell to kite escaping.

How lost in the well
or random traffic accident
has left me at the doorstep,

I like this poem because many of us can relate to such a moment. We arrive at a door that causes us to pause in dread for any number of reasons that are unpleasant. I wonder what the poet’s reasons are for hesitating at this particular doorstep?

If you enjoyed this sample of poems from Ms. Hiteshew’s collection, under a bridge, you may purchase a copy for $5.00 (add $2 for US shipping and handling or $3 for outside-of-US shipping and handling) by visiting this link below:


Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…


Jim Murdoch said...

I tried to find a blog or something out there but there's not much. Looks like she's a bit of a musician too but nothing there to promote that either. Pity, I quite liked these and wanted to learn a bit more.

Poet Hound said...

I suggest visiting alt-current.com or e-mailing Leah Angstman, the editor at alt.currentATgmailDOTcome to lear more about her. I didn't want to give too many details that Leah had given me but you're right, I couldn't find any blogs or sites by Ms. Hiteshew herself.

Theodore Stephens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theodore Stephens said...

Stephanie Hiteshew LOL I used to date her and we grew up as childhood friends. Oh the life we both had you could write a book hell you could make a movie about our life. I would not know where to began i recently lost contact with her again sad to say i dont know whats going on with her. Its mu fault due to not keeping in touch.