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Hot Waters 1970

20 April, 2021: Hot Waters 1970

Read a Poem

Hot Waters 1970

By Kevin Hoskinson

As a 12-year-old I could sense the lake
black in the dark
before dawn one summer morning
on Liberty Avenue in Vermilion
when my dad drove us into Lorain
to buy fishing worms in a cardboard
box from a little bait shop
at Hot Waters Marina.
Our once-a-year father & son fishing ritual.
My father worked that day on the pier
to make me a fisherman:
set up folding chairs in our favorite spot,
a cooler of sandwiches & 7UP,
the blue metal tackle box
with fold-out levels
of lures, hooks, sinkers in tiny drawers.
But what I remember
is not baiting the hook,
not waiting till a single line tug
swelled to an epic, bent-rod struggle
 . . . no child Ahab.
Just the spoiled beauty of the undulations
on that water there before me,
the outer skin of Erie now translucent, oily,
but soft in that moment,
welcoming, glintering late moonlight
a hopeful greeting from a once-thriving pond
begging us to help it back,
suck out the decades of poisons
we had dumped there--waiting patiently,
the lake I had always taken for granted,
the lake that was always there to sustain us
and, perhaps, one day might still.
“Hot Waters 1970” by Kevin Hoskinson. Copyright Kevin Hoskinson 2020. Used by permission of the author.
Kevin Hoskinson teaches English composition at Lorain County Community College and tries to grab an occasional poem from the sky when he’s not teaching. He lives in Berea, Ohio, with his wife Alicia and his dog Mia.

Write a Poem

Write a poem that captures a rainfall you were once out in, both the outer sensations and what you were feeling and thinking.
R.C. Wilson
Love your poem, Kevin, and even spent a day in Vermillion two years ago, working out the geography of it. When we come back to Kent from the Bass Islands (Catawba), we go along the lake to avoid freeways, and I think of you when we hit Vemillion...
4/27/2021 11:53:25 AM

Laurie K
Kevin, we're from the same town, same era, and I really love this poem.
4/22/2021 7:31:55 PM

Susan O.
Hot Waters 1970 - Kevin Hoskinson you have captured a moment so well. I lived in Lorain and your words took me back there.
4/20/2021 10:04:34 PM

Mary M Chadbourne
Lake Erie depends on us and we depend on Lake Erie. A moving tribute to the lake and a call to care for what we love.
4/20/2021 2:13:34 PM

Bill Ritz
“Rainy Day in Seattle”:
I could feel the ambient as well as the emotional. Wonderful poem!
4/20/2021 2:03:09 PM

Sierra Polsinelli
Rainy Day in Seattle

Nowhere does it rain
like Seattle.
There are many textures
to Seattle rain,
and temperatures.

A cold Seattle rain
can sear your soul.

Long ago, I walked home
in a biting, sharp, cold
Seattle rain.

A second-grader
a city school by the freeway.

Walking on that dark day
the icy rain crept
into my clothing
my socks
my shoes.

There was a tunnel
beneath the freeway
along my path.
My only respite from the rain.
I could hear the traffic above
Lub-lub, lub-lub
Would the tunnel cave in?
I was sure it would.

Back out into the
miserable rain.
Strange place
Strange surroundings.
No brothers to walk with.
I was alone.
Sad and afraid,
the rain masking my tears.

There was no one waiting
at home.
There would be
no comfort.

Even now,
so many years later
A Dark, Cold, Rainy Day
makes me sad.
4/20/2021 1:37:00 PM

Vlad Suchan
Capturing a rainfall...

Each Spring I Wait for a Rain Shower to Become
For Me Once Again A Good Old, Amiable Teacher

The empty disperses the full,
and the full craves the empty
which pays it with the same
coin in turn or not—
depending on the measure

that draws the longing
as a short, quick death
or as one that outlasts
any gap in-between breaths,
any heartbeats or the hearts

that Gods might grant us
as long as this universe exists
and as long as it needs to last
for, if the soul is immortal
and no weedy oxymoron,

there has to be somewhere
somehow such a point,
a love, wisdom, longing,
that fits the sense of Spring
and its gentle, calming rains

and all the more the soul,
so ever divinely apportioned,
just right and through this all
and is as fully as one can be
free—to the teachings of the soul.
4/20/2021 1:25:02 PM

karen gardin
Rainfall in Moldova
Beautiful, Tovli~
4/20/2021 1:12:49 PM

RE: Hot Waters 1970,
awesome imagery; tells a perfect little story; nostalgic and filled with private memories that are now part of our worlds. enjoyed!
4/20/2021 12:53:20 PM

RE: “Drenched at Simm’s Park” LOL! love it, Bill. rhyme scheme is perfect!
4/20/2021 12:49:19 PM

POEM Day 20: Write a poem that captures a rainfall you were once out in, both the outer sensations and what you were feeling and thinking.

Rainfall in Moldova
A little prose poem

Stories. It’s better to listen to stories than count the number of steps to Sinai each spring or worry about having enough rain to make bread-dough peel from inside our palms each year.

Mama stories? They’re sounds—little rain-drop-words, Pushkin singing on the back porch, for example. Here’s one about two, emaciated Golems who squeezed a fat, charcoal cloud so hard, “malachim” surrendered their tears. It makes the air wet, even now. Of course, if you can make angels cry, it rains. But it isn’t rain like we have now. It’s Tal—water hiding within every eye-lash, surprising us with clean faces.

While Mama still washes the skin of our forearms, angels seep away, they sing temporary moisture; their breath is merely Mama’s sigh; their tears crawl into a lung, just one lung, never the whole body. They fear Golems. Angels do as they’re told. Golems enter the world from time to time like heavy clouds made tiny once they explode. They require an invitation. Like rain-falling, the Golem is silent.

Even if I blink, I see from inside Mama’s story-telling eyes. All her clouds are wet with purpose. They keep us thirsty. Her stories, like baked apples, take time, the cinnamon coughs in our child-faces and we think of flames and sun-light. Only Mama knows about dampness, smiles and our cherry-lips. It finally rains. Mama makes it so; but no one believes it, just self-centered angels flapping what they think are wings. Mama makes rain smell like Moldova is living inside our kitchen. She tells the Golem story. She calls it belonging. We hear our steps, but not the rain.

The Golems, Mama? Who fastened their bones together; who made them stand? How fast did they walk? Did they count the omer with us? Why two, why not one Golem? Are they as weak as angels? Did they get wet in the rain?

Her story continues, forever with no explanation. Even now, if you visit her grave, you’ll hear her voice, it sounds like car-tires hitting rain-puddles on the cemetery road. Each year we make the Kaddish drip onto her soul, like greasy sun-light; a lung bursting into rain-drops. It cools sadness.

It always rains on her grave. It’s a good thing. Forever, quieting; cleansing. Rain hits the trees, but not our hands. It keeps her memory-tongue moist—like bread rising with just the right speed. It never storms near her grave, but wet grass incubates her words. Her lips are moving in the soil:
“I chose a pullet at the market in Bendery the day the two Golems squeezed the darkness from that over-weight cloud. The shoykeit refused to charge me. It was a good day, rain or shine. He wouldn’t take rubbles or kopecs. Instead, he poured water on his hands—first the left, then the right. Rabbis and their need for holiness have always made me wonder if we’ll have enough moisture to grow bread from year to year. Truthfully, they talk like the storm that never was. This shoykeit was no exception. His generosity made me wonder if the KGB was taking notes in the distance":

“We have the gift of dew this morning; angels are paying with their hidden tears. Put your purse away. The pullet is my gift. You brought the rain.”

I laughed. He was an idiot. I made the whole thing up, Golems and such. Gullible rabbis with sharp knives in their hands can be dangerous. But I never forgot The Rain of Golems. I put Golems in the world and two Golems showed up. That’s a lot more than a rabbi thought to do. They didn’t last long. Golems…they do their job, give us hope, make us believe in ourselves and the next thing you know we’re dripping wet, begging G-d not to forget to send a rainbow. At the end of the week, every loaf of bread is warm with butter dripping on our table cloths.

America in spring: Now, everything’s missing, moved around. When it rains it’s like the blade of a knife, sacrificing the air until it is a translucent sky, air so clear you see right through it, like a window. It’s cool to the touch and then Moldova, our kitchen; Mama’s bread expanding as though alive, the heat from sunlight, and soon an arrow—a little story arching like rainbow.

© Tovli 2021
4/20/2021 12:46:47 PM

Bill Ritz
“Drenched at Simm’s Park”

My those drops are cold
As they fall from afar.
Now I am running
To get to my car.

They almost sting
As they pelt my head.
The forecast was right.
It’s just as they said.

Oh, the grass so slippery;
I sure hope I don’t fall.
Car keys are clenched in my hand.
Glad this grass isn’t too tall.

No! I am falling!
Down forward I go.
There goes the keys.
I’m putting on a show!

Now I’m all wet
My hands covered in mud.
Where’s those damn keys.
I went down with a thud.

Get up, look around.
Oh, good: here they are!
A few more wet steps,
Then a short drive to the bar!
(Wish I stayed home)☹️
4/20/2021 10:59:46 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.