NICOLE HOELLE


WHAT’S THE POINT

 

“What’s the point of your story?”

She asks you.

The point, you want to say: what’s the point of Tuesdays and Wednesdays

hanging like paper bags, big and floppy in front of us,

crinkling and crackling

and empty except where we choose to throw in

Oranges, violets, caviar and tomatoes

 

What is the point of the burgundy sofa the couple carries,

pulls from the flatbed into their first apartment.

What is the point of the bright and dark blue wails

that come from them at midnight, 1 a.m.

and part the waves of the Los Angeles night

with its collections of cars copying one another—

the same swishing motions and sounds.

 

What’s the point of this Saturday

that breaks open over your head

with its lantern sun

or its battered old sun.

What’s the point of it with

its joggers jiggling up

and down

its streets, its grids,

its lines criss-crossing

palms and pines, jasmine, honeysuckle.

 

What’s the point of the song that played—

the background music, the base, the drum and the fiddle,

as he ran up and down under you

on that sofa, in that new apartment,

the streets, the cities running their blazing tracks beneath you.

 

What’s the point when later

dull flat lines run across the faces of houses and televisions in their tin can sounds

when the body blew out of sight

where

songs don’t play and

no more sofas rotate around and no

more Saturdays run streaking in their blue-black shorts,

up and down under streetlamps.


ANONYMOUS US

                    —for eve

 

In the news clipping

they list all the things she did—

her movements

in and out of classrooms and libraries, town meetings, universities and cafes.

Meanwhile, the blue water of the television light

runs down and collects on the city’s apartment walls where people sit

oblivious to her motions and expressions,

the voice that arched painfully out of her.

As I walk up this street where nobody knows her or ever will,

a couple lunges into one another

as into something never-ending, a door that never closes.

And helicopters circle over the apartments,

which are stacked like old radios.

Here, where her departure makes no noise or impression

in the same way she made no impression on me

because I could only see her as an extension, a reflection,

some continuation of my thoughts and feelings,

someone I could load up with descriptions

that looked alive for awhile,

the way M’s face does—

blood pumping into it, words bunched up inside his cheeks,

eyes like flames everywhere at once, it seems—

an illusion of something burning far and long beyond itself.


Nicole Hoelle grew up on the east coast and has resided in California since 1994. Her essays, drama and poems have appeared in “Third Coast Magazine," "The Adirondack Review," "Gulf Coast," "New American Writing," "Gravel Magazine," "Barrow Street," "Jacket Magazine" and "Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review," among others. She teaches English at several colleges.

                                                       Simon Silva

                                                     Simon Silva