November 2008

Pamela Hart


Ross Gay

C. Wade Bentley This marks an author's first online publication
Bonnie Bolling
Gabriel DeCrease
Pamela Hart
Roger Jones
Robert Lesman This marks an author's first online publication
James B. Nicola
Chad Prevost
Mark Prudowsky
Cassandra Robison
Michael Shorb
Avery Slater This marks an author's first online publication
Josh Stewart
Elisabeth von Uhl This marks an author's first online publication
Muriel Harris
This marks an author's first online publication

Paul Blaney This marks an author's first online publication
Neil Grimmett

David Rigsbee
reviews All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems by Linda Gregg

David Rigsbee

reviews Heat Lightning: New and Selected Poems 1986—2006 by Judith Skillman


Pamela Hart, a former journalist, is writer in residence at the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY. Her chapbook, The End of the Body, was published in 2006 by toadlily press. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has been published in journals like Kalliope, Rattappalax, and Lumina, and online at qarrtsiluni.

Against Closure    

I am the rapture of denied closure.
         —Mark Doty

We're stuck in traffic—a clogged mess of van and truck
slogging toward the abandon beyond the backup

to the GW Bridge—and on my son's iPod
a comedian I don't know riffs on Kool Aid
and love in bursts of shout and hum

and maybe it's the day-long headache behind my eyes like car horns
on each socket but I've never laughed so hard.

My passengers too, our guffaws unguarded,
the laughter
breaking us open.

Our armature wants to defend
against disclosure but tonight the comic is unrelenting.

Where's this guy from I ask, his twang
stretching the vowels as if they were long fly balls
to an outfield like the one lit up near us

he's playing prophet, ecstatic slapstick a divination,
humor and rant unbridled, splitting our sides here in the car in traffic.  

I'm mystified
in the wedge of hesitate-laugh,

hands on the wheel, caught
in the awkward chuckle of mini-vans and SUVs

that chortles along the Deegan, apocryphal in its lack
of movement because isn't this the place
to be forever—stuck in traffic and hilarity?

I turn to look at their faces—wide sand dunes
spilling toward the waves we surf in August's afternoon light—

here, I think keep us stranded
in this endless line of no closure
a sequence of voice and engine

this rev and fall, this variation on a theme. I don't care
about resolution, let there not be outcome or upshot,

leave me with their faces open and lifting
to render
(joy)   I nearly speak out loud.

If there's meaning to this bumper-stickered word
it's here among cup holder and fogged windows.

But the rapture
I mean to want
to hold on to

isn't as resolute as the comic who won't let go
of the line he's playing out as long as the audience allows.

The traffic surges
and I hurry along
the interstate, miles to drive.



Pamela Hart: Poetry
Copyright ©2008 The Cortland Review Issue 41The Cortland Review