Robert Hershon

Three poems from Rocks and Chairs

Volume 17:1, Winter 2016
Some Of Us Press Issue

Rocks and Chairs

On the way to Ierapetra

let this chair be a tree
and these rocks be grass
and these chairs stand
for people   let these chairs
be bony dogs and mean-eyed cats
let these chairs be mountains
and let them be stood upon

women in their villages
on their chairs
not facing the narrow road
facing their houses
visiting their rocky walls
strangers pass like rivers

and let the rivers be of stone
and let the women be of stone
old men of stone with stone canes
and always a chair by a river of sheep
and let the roofs be steps
and the steps be chairs
and let everyone wander in
and around and through and sit
and discuss how bees make gold
even the throne of minos
a simple chair of stone
a king like a great warm stone
4000 years sipping ouzo
in the sun


Hershon-coverWheat Soars, Soybeans Slip

A headline sent from Kansas

taking the east-west
umbrella step
a pause
to let the curved
line pass
sing of this hitch
hike to bright
the truckers helper
loudly hums
a box of Danish
cheese up forward
cracks it open
with a straw

travel light
eat right here
how neat
the white road
its tongue

up the belly
of salina
at the gate
cock in his hand
a checker
in his pocket

one wheel
on each coast
a trail
of bread crumbs
through the wheat
across the belly

salina wipes
her fingers
of emporias
burning apron

head lights
on sunroads
every thing

Falling Asleep on the Jersey Turnpike

jumping up through the night
a giant building in the meadows

all the lights are on
so we’re sure of its shape

they work late
they’re solid dependable

they drive through
this muck every day

you can’t get them
to go home again

but when we get closer
we see there is no building

just lights
strings of lights

and the fields filled
with unborn fords


Robert Hershon (1936 - ) was born and raised in Brooklyn, and educated at New York University, where he majored in journalism. Other than five years in San Francisco, he’s lived in New York all his life. Hershon was executive director of The Print Center, Inc. for 34 years, and has been co-editor of Hanging Loose Press and Hanging Loose magazine since 1966. Hershon is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is the author of thirteen books of poems, and co-editor of four anthologies of high school writers. His books include: Goldfish and Rose (Hanging Loose, 2013), Into a Punchline (Hanging Loose, 1994), The Public Hug (Louisiana State University Press, 1980), and Atlantic Avenue (Unicorn Press, 1970). His Some Of Us Press book, Rocks and Chairs, was published in 1974. He is married to Donna Brook, a poet and children’s book author.