Five Poems

Community Outreach

At age twelve, beginning to shiver at
Porcelain and steel while my little cock
Hung above a zipper's castrating threat,
While a handful of friends could meanly mock
Me for not having dirtied my finger
Up a girl's asshole to reach her sweet dreams,
I was blinded by worldly light. Linger
I did by the orange dress with scarce seams
Our just married but unpregnant teacher
Sported at her desk, while she scolded me,
Legs spread enough to show me that feature
Of creased flesh men have razed cities to see.
Thus pummeled to loving her my life through,
I watched the boys genuflect to my coup.


On the Tegelersee, Berlin

One tight and sweaty afternoon
the sky knots tendrils of a winding day:
in leopard blouses ladies swoon
at sunburned stubble, and tattoos festoon
thick arms whose fingers point the way
to 80s parties on the Tegeler See.
The cook heats up a Wienerschnitzel
while he winks at the barmaid, who trades gentle
strokes for goods whose name she can't say;
big dinners nourish middle-aged love handles,
then evening unpacks Roman candles
for 80s parties on the Tegeler See.



A set of tools was ruined in the rain.
A finely wrought bunch of steel instruments
now wears a shroud of rust: it bears the stain
of negligence and cold abandonment,
resulting from its having been a point
of harsh contention between former friends
who years ago stopped speaking. At one point,
after inflating words to vile offense,
they vowed to kill each other, to destroy
all ties between them and the ties that made
the life of their community, the joy
all people take in friendship–someone said,
"So for the sake of some mail order deal,
we're giving up the fruit of our travail."

Small Town Life

A country green with flag and cannonballs
Lined by colonial houses, painted fresh,
Concealing secrets of old families' falls
Into the dearth of coveting their own flesh
For satisfaction. An old garage with rusty
Automobiles gathering spiders' chores,
Abandoned shoes and boots left in the dusty
Paths to the post office and hardware store
Where the town elders gather. They've reviewed
The new family, without kinship to the rest,
Imagined their young daughter in the nude,
Ensured that soon the wife will bare her breasts:
Donating to community delight,
The newcomers will soon dispel all spite.


Vieux Montréal

Like honey on our Lady of the Harbor
the sun poured down. So Leonard Cohen sang,
just naming bits of it so as to garble
the order of the buildings set along
the waterfront, among the freighters and
the sailors, happier to see the smile
of a nighttime lady than anything the Virgin can
communicate across the watery miles.
There was true peace amid the old gray stones
where poets, whores, and hipsters made their home
before being forced to scatter across town
and live at much less distance from the tomb.
Outside the tatters of a sad old tune,
gone are the saintly ones who sleep till noon.

About Hassan Melehy

Hassan Melehy's verse has appeared in Blue Unicorn, Red Rock Review, The New Formalist, Borderlands, and The Hat. He is the author of two books of literary criticism, Writing Cogito (1997) and The Poetics of Literary Transfer (2010), as well as essays on film and cultural criticism. He has also written scenarios for several short films.