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Bhagat & Humphrey – May 2023

Josh Humphrey and Brook Bhagat traded art and words. Brook shared this image, titled “Moon,” with Josh:

In response, Josh wrote this poem:

Six Poems about the Moon

This poem is about watching your parents set up a tent
in the rain, your brother packed in beside you with
the clothes, cooler full of cheese and hot dogs,
all his science fiction. The one working
eye of the brown Ford was their only
lonesome light. But in some sky
a hidden moon laughing
behind the dark

way the
snow fell the
first time you had
a girlfriend, the cold
and warm of it in the street
lights making everything into
Heaven. The moon could not get
enough turning night to day and you
could not get enough of the moon either.

(And this poem is blank,
High up – unblinking eye or
Unknowable moon.)

This poem is a tired drive in a Pennsylvania that
won’t end. You hurry but you do not want to
arrive either, your jacket scratchy from the
back of the closet and it has been too
long for words. Stubborn moon
has been out all morning, pale
tired and unhelpful. You
can’t even use it to
measure your

one is
just about
fathers. Yours
could always talk
to a waitress, drive
a motorcycle with pizza
intact, run a mile in sticky
Summer, work a telescope for
all the neighbors lined up to see
the dented face of the moon. You
will try one night yourself, daughters
in pajamas and coats. It is there pouring
light into the yard, but you never find it, the
language you have is not the language of birds,
the language of winds or language of mosquitoes.

It wasn’t
this    poem    that
woke   you.  It    wasn’t
your     racing      dreams or
restless      legs.    It was    pure
moon     reaching        between
the    blinds.   It is   just   you
awake    in all the    world
and that    early   night
bird      who    sings

* * * * * *

Josh shared this poem with Brook:


I look for you on Devon Street, in your
patch of yard.  They have fixed the
stubborn latch and now the gate stays closed,
keeping in what it does not need to.

On Laurel Avenue, they have reattached
the balcony, enclosed it in shingles.
Grandma is cursing somewhere that
she can’t sit on high in every weather and
look down at the pointless world.  I hear
her angry words in the wind and weeds:
‘What a bunch of Boob-McNutts’.

On Beech Street, they painted over 
the red hallway and took the air conditioner 
off the roof, where my brother kept it,
where it anchored the house and waited
for the first long Summer night, when 
he would come overtaxed, sweat like glue.

Our knot of Aunts and Uncles is untied.
They are uncoupled and unhitched – 
no more to give us jobs in their stores,
to turn up late and wandering, bearing
strange advice – tires and girls, girls and
tires.  They are unbound to the woodshop,
to the garbage room, the comic book store.  

The apartments are condemned.  
The gas station is a dog park.  

In these connections, we are unconnected, 
our world on no string, floating dumb.  
When I dream of the old house, there is 
no heart and everything worn away except 
the lock on the room we would set fires in.

In response, Brook made this image, titled “Freefall”:

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