Thursday, October 20, 2016
Two Poems By Andrew Hubbard
Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He earned degrees in English and Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, respectively.
For most of his career he has worked as Director of Training for major financial institutions, creating and delivering Sales, Management, and Technical training for user groups of up to 4,000.
He has had four prose books published, and his fifth book, a collection of poetry, was published in 2014 by Interactive Press.
He is a casual student of cooking and wine, a former martial arts instructor and competitive weight lifter, a collector of edged weapons, and a licensed handgun instructor. He lives in rural Indiana with his family, two Siberian Huskies, and a demon cat.
I lie in long grass
With the spotter behind me.
He smells. Probably I do too.
“Don’t be a judger,” my wife would say.
We are watching the doorway
Of a pretty, bamboo cottage
Eight hundred yards dead ahead.
I’ve adjusted the rifle on its tiny tripod for the distance
And a fitful breeze from the east.
The light couldn’t be better.
Mosquitoes and firebugs bore in
There’s nothing to do but take it.
It’s 100 degrees. I hydrate
From a backpack and pee
Into the special pants they give us.
The worst thing is the time.
We know that going in, but it is very difficult.
Eight hours, then ten, then twelve,
Fourteen. At about eighteen
He appears in the doorway
I know him by his medals.
Why are they so stupid to wear their medals?
The spotter with his sixty power scope
Says, “target confirmed, take him.”
I squeeze the trigger as though I were touching my wife.
The rifle whispers, “phut.”
There is an agonizing, eternal, two-second pause
And then the man’s arms fly out sideways
And he hurls back into the cottage darkness.
“Confirmed,” says the spotter
And we shimmy a mile back
To the river. I have R and R in Bangkok
Where the most beautiful girls in the world
Cost fifty dollars a week,
Introduce you shyly to their family,
And cry when you leave them.
By then the nightmares have stopped
And I’m ready to do it
One more time.
Poet Andrew Hubbard
When TJ Maxx closes
And re-opens as Payday Loans
You know your town has a problem.
The want ads used to fill three pages
In the local paper. Now—
Barely one. I stopped reading them
Three? six? months ago. Most of the jobs
Are commission only, or they don’t exist,
Or they have a catch, like you have to take
A thousand dollar training course,
Or buy a franchise.
Thank god my wife works!
At the donut shop downtown.
She got the arthritis in her hips.
It hurts so bad, on her days off
She usually doesn’t get out of bed.
But the donut shop won’t give benefits
So what are we gonna do?
The wife, she found a way
To steal donut dough from the shop.
She brings home a two pound baggie
Almost every day.
She jokes, “thank god I’m so fat
I can hide the bag on me
And nobody thinks nothin’ of it.”
At first we were ashamed.
Now we’re just glad to have the dough.
She found some way to bake it up
Into loaves of something like bread.
We eat it with lard. Or crabapples
I get from the run-down farm across the way.
I used to spend my days
Watching television and shooting pool.
The television is long gone
And the poolroom is out of the question.
Now, I swear I don’t know
How the days go by
But somehow each one ends
And then another one begins.
I used to worry a lot,
Now I don’t even care
Enough to worry.