Thursday, March 4, 2010

Professor of the Week: Michael Meyerhofer

He wrote this cool poem:

The Trouble with Hammers

The trouble with owning hammers
is that you have to store them somewhere,
on pegs or at least in a drawer
or inside an emptied out tackle box,
long after the house is built
and the circus folded like an envelope
on the backs of unfamiliar trucks,
all night from Maine to Hollywood.
I want to go by three names like
child actors from the eighties.
My father kept hammers in a drawer
and once, when he stopped by
but I was out, he nailed a two-by-four
he stole from a construction site
under the sagging cushions of my couch.
I keep my hammers in the closet
but he found them anyway. I would
like to be a hammer, I think,
and swing all day down on the heads
of thin, unsuspecting nails
even though I am not particularly
violent or unmedicated, if that matters.
It’s true, I was never any good
at math ever since that one bronze
star in fifth grade, and I know
you’re not supposed to begin a speech
or say in a poem how nervous
you are, but I think there are more nails
than people, and more hammers
than people, and I am weary of these
constant reminders that nothing
built after the pyramids
seems able to hold together for long—
not just relationships, but other things
like bookshelves, governments,
the new consensus on circumcision.
They say Man’s first tool was a hammer,
which makes sense since I can’t
imagine apes working a protractor,
much like a sextant under the wet stars.
But each time I swing, I can feel
my own head loosen from its shaft
of lacquered bone, and I know
once it flies, it will never be tight again.

(At Verse Daily, in National Poetry Review, in Blue Collar Eulogies)

Meyerhofer is a nice guy. He read for the Writers Community's Faculty Reading last semester. He tells me to submit and where and how and stuff. He talks to me when I see him at the bar. He is real.

I wrote this poem for him:

The Trouble With Meyerhofer

The trouble with Meyerhofer
is that you have to store him somewhere,
in a cramped office with towers of books
and the smell of Chinese food or in the corner
of a dank martini bar lined with mirrors. I asked
my father once, “Would you like to read this book
of poems by Michael Meyerhofer?” and he said,
“No thanks.” My father picks up the books on my shelf
but only for a pause, like a visit rather than a vacation,
“maybe another time.” He always wants to fix the wobbly
shelves, but I keep losing my hammers. I would like to be
Meyerhofer, I think and shout “you slacker” and “shut
the fuck up” at the thin, unsuspecting Comp students.
I can’t say I don’t learn though, like I know you’re not
supposed to say the word “soul” in a poem or end the
line with “the,” but I think he says “slacker” more than
“poem” and “fuck” more than “good job” so now I am weary
about where in the world my money is going and who is
going to stop his fists from coming down on my head
like a hammer when he reads this poem. Oh, my poor soul.

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