Selected Readings from Jennifer Michael Hecht

History
by Jennifer Michael Hecht
from The Next Ancient World

Listen (RealAudio, :25)

Even Eve, the only soul in all of time
to never have to wait for love,
must have leaned some sleepless nights
alone against the garden wall
and wailed, cold, stupefied, and wild
and wished to trade-in all of Eden
to have but been a child.

In fact, I gather that is why she leapt and fell from grace,
that she might have a story of herself to tell
in some other place.

No, I Would Not Leave You If You Suddenly Found God
by Jennifer Michael Hecht
from The Next Ancient World

Listen (RealAudio, 2:04)

Praise wild dancing in the kitchen.
Praise sitting and talking to the doctor.
Praise phone calls from my sister.
Praise phone calls from you, a little drunk, leaning toward me.
Praise old lovers who show up when they are needed.
Praise our mothers, safe in another state.
Praise my apartment with its three wide rooms.
Praise the blue sky above the brick buildings.
Praise my back windows: trees, fire escapes, cafe lights.
Praise coffee (it destroys sadness).
Praise encyclopedias.
Praise you calling crying.
Praise ibuprofen.
Praise painting on wood.
Praise all the days in the photographs.
Praise the press of my breasts against the inside of my winter coat.
Praise the name of my winter coat: Big Black.
Praise this feeling of trying to write about the truth.
Praise the Byzantine Empire.
Praise the salt in sweat. We are not alone. Praise making you laugh.
Praise making you proud.
Praise the second cup of coffee.
Praise having a party to go to tonight.
Praise my halting therapist.
Praise mixed baby lettuce.
Praise my confidence.
Praise my talent.
Praise bravery in the face of fear.
Praise my fearlessness.
Praise my fear.
Praise pickled herring with onions.
Praise the Arctic Circle.
Praise the Mighty Tonka truck.
Praise the forklift; praise the crane.
Praise theater tickets.
Praise the repetition of names.
Praise the Virgin.
Praise the Magdalene.
Praise Magellan.
Praise Central Park.
Praise your uneven teeth.
Praise blood-stained sheets.
Praise the land, and what I know about its bedrock.
Praise David, dancing wild around the ark of his Lord.
Praise the job of work of truth.
Praise the phrase "job of work."
Praise your faith in me.
Praise your courage.
Praise my faithfulness.
Praise my dedication.
Praise that you sleep with one eye open because a dog bit your face.
Praise your extra nipple.
Praise that we are not lovers.
Praise that we touch each other like lovers.
Praise that you figure out the movie before me.
Praise my desperation.
Praise my terrible fear.
Praise Jones Beach.
Praise the boys in long pants selling frozen Snickers at the sea shore.
Praise death.
Praise the memory of being tiny and tumbled under the ocean, close to death. Praise arch support.
Praise chewing on a steak bone.
Praise other people's poems.
Praise the Empire State Building.
Praise swimming out so far, I forget the fact of land.
Praise eating chicken-cutlet sandwiches with my brother at the beach.
Praise doing the puzzle with my mother.
Praise my father explaining the universe.
Praise that after visiting Great-Grandma Bertha's, we went to Coney Island.
Praise three of us fitting in one seat on the Cyclone.
Praise the weird little town where you were raised.
Praise that you were born here where I was born.
Praise the ex-lovers we have in common; praise chocolate.
Praise living at the millennium.
Praise the rotary phone.
Praise broccoli rabe with garlic and olive oil.
Praise total abandon.
Praise bringing out the harpies.
Praise using every muscle.
Praise thirst and water.
Praise the landing on the moon.
Praise singing loud and hard.
Praise going to bed exhausted.
Praise your poems.
Praise my poems.
Praise that we drink too much.
Praise you promising me that you will stop smoking.
Praise how I moon over you.
Praise how you love me.
Praise your strong husband.
Praise dancing to swing.
Praise dancing to the blues.
Praise the borscht at Veselka.
Praise my first gray hairs.
Praise acetaminophen.
Praise Australopithecus.
Praise speaking the truth.
Praise knowing that life is an endeavor of truth.
Praise knowing that life is the becoming towards truth.
Praise the authentic moments of working with someone towards truth.
Praise desire.
Praise stupefying desire.
Praise north and south.
Praise the yellow sun on the red brick buildings outside my windows.
Praise knowing that it is midnight out the back window because the cafe lights go off.
Praise oranges.
Praise midnight out the front windows and the Empire State Building goes dark.
Praise Cezanne's apples and oranges.
Praise men from their callused feet to their beautiful thinning hair.
Praise women from Sappho biting her lip through the first hip-swagger of the new millennium.
Praise the shark giving birth to live young.
Praise the bird.
Praise the words "decapitated" and "disembodied."
Praise rhyme.
Praise meter.
Praise certainty.
Praise indivisibility.
Praise the movies; praise writing songs.
Praise asking each other when we are supposed to bleed.
Praise talking to myself alone in the dark.
Praise my endless pleasure in the godless solitude of my private mind.
Praise the giraffe and the porcupine.
Praise sloth.
Praise gluttony.
Praise a man's hand pressing the small of my back.
Praise your tiny feet.
Praise travel.
Praise the refusal of travel.
Praise your blue eyes.
Praise kissing men: desert of whiskers, oasis of lips.
Praise kissing women and the effort not to bite.
Praise the lips and the tongues and the grease.
Praise the feast.
Praise agony.
Praise defeat.
Praise that we used to dance in public and that now we dance at home.
Praise faith.
Praise glory.
Praise praise.
Praise your brilliant heart.
Praise the mystical abundance of your horrifying heart.
No, I will not leave you if you want to worship God.


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teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at The New School in New York City. She has written two volumes of poetry and three books of non-fiction, including Doubt: A History.