“The Mechanics of Poetry”

Several years ago, Popular Mechanics magazine began mysteriously appearing in our mailbox. All who know my husband and me are well aware that we’re handy-capped when it comes to anything beyond basic household projects and repairs. So who is our mysterious benefactor?

I find myself really enjoying the magazine and may subscribe on my own if whoever it is stops renewing the subscription. Despite the title, there’s a wide variety of material showcased. In the October 2019 issue: insider looks at staff members, 6 things you can do with chewing gum/gum wrappers, leaf blower reviews, and how science is helping those with blindness, along with articles on Star Trek, Bigfoot, the F-35 joint strike fighter plane, and duck fabric for work-clothes. Short pieces and lots of pictures–a winning combination.

Peace to your ♥ !

 The Mechanics of Poetry

My friend Hendricks fixes cars—tinkers
and repairs, clocks an eight-hour day,
gets paid a fair wage, watches his work
drive away.

I’m a grease monkey, too, I say. He snorts,
unable to grasp what he can’t hold
in his hand: how I can make a wrench
of my mind, tinker with thoughts, labor
at my own expense on works as insubstantial
as exhaust.

It doesn’t make sense, he says. I shrug.
How can I explain the wild joy of abandoning
manuals, waking at dawn with the scent of poetry
already strong, falling asleep half famished
and wholly consumed?

We drink beer from mugs cool and solid
in our hands, talk sports across a table
at once comfortable and vast. All the while
I’m hunting the right words, stalking
the metaphors at the edge of my vision.
He sees me writing on the napkin
but doesn’t ask; I see him watching
and don’t answer.

My friend Hendricks fixes cars: he prefers
metal to a page; I prefer the jungle to a cage.

© Stephanie Malley

Published in the Spring 2016 issue of Eye Contact.