Poems and Texts

“Hard Drive” by Hettie Jones

Hard Drive

Saturday the stuffed bears were up again
over the Major Deegan
dancing in plastic along the bridge rail
under a sky half misty, half blue
and there were white clouds
blowing in from the west

which would have been enough
for one used to pleasure
in small doses

But then later, at sunset,
driving north along the Saw Mill
in a high wind, with clouds big and drifting
above the road like animals
proud of their pink underbellies,
in a moment of intense light
I saw an Edward Hopper house,
at once so exquisitely light and dark
that I cried, all the way up Route 22
those uncontrollable tears
“as though the body were crying”

and so young women
here’s the dilemma

itself the solution:

I have always been at the same time
woman enough to be moved to tears
and man enough
to drive my car in any direction

Hettie Jones

Best known for How I Became Hettie Jones, her memoir of the Beat Scene, Hettie Jones has published 26 books for children and adults, the first in 1971 and the most recent in 2016. Drive, her first poetry collection, won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber Award and was followed by All Told and Doing 70. Jones has also written memoirs for others, including Rita Marley (No Woman No Cry). She has taught poetry, fiction, and memoir in colleges and community settings, and from 1988 until 2002 ran a weekly writing workshop at New York State’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. Jones is the former Chair of PEN’s Prison Writing Committee, and currently teaches Activist Literature in the Graduate Writing Program at The New School, a memoir workshop at the 92nd Street Y, and a women’s writing group at the Lower Eastside Girls Club. She is currently finishing Full Tilt, new and selected poems, and Fiction at the Intersection, a story collection. Jones has lived in the East Village since before it was given that name, and has never wanted to move.

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