Poems by Jim Hanlen

As of Now

I’ve just gotten used to where
the creek and stone belong.
They found their place a long time ago.

For a long time I lived like smoke,
uncertain, unsure where I go.
No one wants to read that poem.

Most people have jobs.
Maps and routine surround them.
Brochures and menus are in their hands.

As of now I’m comfortable knowing
where the creek and stone meet up.

Dreaming For the Dead

The dead stay put, no roaming or rooming
someplace else. The job of this tree is
to remember where my brother is buried. 
All I can do here is remember and dream
for my brother.  The dead don’t have
to remember.  Do you think they keep
the family album with them in the casket? 
Memories are best to keep here with me. 
“Brother, remember uncle’s ears that flap
and fold out signaling a left turn?”  That’s
a memory that’s better than any dream
I can invent.

Losing the Basenji
       for Brenda

This is my job: scribble, scribble.
Why do I do it?  I fill
one notebook then another.

Say to the sun: shine, shine
and I’m distracted,
and a poem slips away. 

Who wants it to slip away? 
My notebooks are kennels
full of barking dogs.

The one that doesn’t bark,
dear and favorite, has run away.

Jim Hanlen

About the Author:

Jim has poems in English Journal, Third Wednesday, 13 Chairs and Four Chambers.  Last year he published a Postcards from Jim, a collaborative book of poems with Jim Thielman.  Last year Kerf nominated Jim for a Pushcart Prize.  He is retired and lives in Anchorage, Alaska.