SIX SIXES by SEAN PATRICK HILL
CONTENTS Writing in America Without an MFA …… 5 Philosophy 101 Exam …… 6 Office of Admissions …… 7 Socio-Political Poem …… 8 Regarding Death …… 9 I’ve Got News for You …… 10
About the Author …… 11
Writing in America Without an MFA
Each time I publish a book review in the Sunday paper, I rummage through my neighbor’s recycling bin for copies. At the ATM, I deposit a thirty-dollar check for a two-year-old poem while someone in the parking lot complains they lost twenty-seven accounts. I guess I’m just lucky. I find this Jack Gilbert piece in a discarded New Yorker and while I’m reading it, I ground-score a bag full of beer bottles. A dollar-thirty. I use the deposit to buy a box of security envelopes to mail my inspirational poems to The Sun.
Philosophy 101 Exam
The professor, a farmer, tells us he typically starts with two questions which he designates A and B. He writes those letters on opposing sides of a piece of paper and lays it in a field. The exam, he informs us, is whichever side the cow steps on first. That being said, he places a chair on a table and asks us, Tell me what this chair is. I write, What chair?, hand it in, and leave. I get an A.
Office of Admissions
My brainâ€™d been cracking its knuckles for weeks when I checked the mailbox for the umpteenth time. At last it was there, but not what I had hoped for. The thin letter, I muttered. Well, I always knew what I had: a 1% chance. I look off at some clouds in the distance. Funny how they go on looking exactly the same.
One morning the contracted men show up in their machines. A flagger stands at the corner and talks on a two-way radio. The men dig a hole in the street. They stand in an orange circle, staring into the hole. This goes on for days. At night they lay a steel plate over it.
Death loves a good masquerade: for Halloween, he dresses up as YOU. Death likes them young but has been known to say, â€œI love your gray hairs.â€? Start up the barbecue and Death says, "Try a little more lighter fluid." Death takes a few photos of a man on fire and says, "How lucky you are when you love you career." Then Death says, "Sure, go ahead and write another poem." Death sees nothing grim in arguing, "Hey, what's wrong with heroin?"
Iâ€™ve Got News for You
The only argument I care for anymore is the gas tank â€” half-full, half-empty. Out here, boxcars bring word of gang wars in distant cities. Cattle lowing in the freshly manured fields, a shit farm. This is voluntary poverty by default. A derelict outfit. This is me avoiding the trappings of early success.
Sean Patrick Hill is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon. He earned his MA in Writing from Portland State University, where he won the Burnham Graduate Award. He received a grant from Regional Arts and Culture Council and residencies from Montana Artists Refuge, Fishtrap, and the Oregon State University Trillium Project. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Exquisite Corpse, elimae, diode, In Posse Review, Willow Springs, RealPoetik, New York Quarterly, Copper Nickel, Juked, Sawbuck, Redactions, and Quarter After Eight. He also is a blogger for Fringe Magazine. theimaginedfield.blogspot.com