Iris G. Press

LE HINTON

Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections including, The Language of Moisture and Light (Iris G. Press, 2014) and, most recently, Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work has been widely published and can be found in The Best American Poetry 2014,  Little Patuxent Review, the Baltimore Review, and outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, incorporated into Derek Parker's sculpture Common Thread.

 

He has read his work at the Library of Congress for Grace Cavalieri's long-running series, The Poet and the Poem; Penn State University for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book's Public Poetry Project; in Charleston, South Carolina, for the Capital BookFest; and in New York City at the New School for The Best American Poetry 2014 release reading.

Sing Silence

(2018)

Black on Most Days

(2008)

The Language of Moisture

and Light

(2014)

Status Post Hope

(2006)

The God of Our Dreams

(2010)

Waiting for Brion

(2004)

Watching Antiques Roadshow with Tamir

 

He leans against the arm of a frayed brown

couch. I’m in the black vinyl chair. My West

 

Philly apartment has the logic of all dreams

and the scent of baking bread surrounds

 

us like a force field in a comic book. Or the sacred

breath of our ancestors. On the television a bow tie drones.

 

This cotton wreath is a piece

of folk art from the late 19th

or early 20th century.

Notice the details in the bolls, the

hard outside, the imaginary kindness

of the fluff. There’s an inflexible

kernel inside, obscured by the white.

There’s a note attached. “It's hard

to grow cotton, yield a crop,

and sell it at fair price. It's hard

to raise a boy” 

 

Tamir stares at the screen and says nothing,

as a dot of blood expands into the fibers of his wine-

 

colored t-shirt just below LeBron’s 23.

He places his hand over his stomach then glances

 

toward the kitchen, calls for his mom

or mine or anyone who can comfort a boy.

 

The patina on the handle of the whip

tells us it was well-used

and most likely dates from the early 1840s.

There are brown stains at the tip

which indicate great wear and use.

If you can establish the provenance,

who owned it, whose blood has browned the end,

it could be worth a lot. It’s been too many years

for DNA testing to help.

 

Tamir cups a bullet in his red palms. Offers

it to the screen. “What is your appraisal?”

 

I would have liked to have been a teacher or play

football. I would have liked to have named a son”

 

He closes his eyes and sighs like an elder. “Do you have an Xbox

here? I wish I could just play Madden again?”

 

 

                            Le Hinton

 

                           from Sing Silence

                             first published in Bards Against Hunger