The Names of Lost Things
Genre: Poetry, Trade Paper, 6X9
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301) www.lummoxpress.com
Publishing Date: June 2012
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Jason Hardung was born and raised on the windy plains of Cheyenne, Wyoming. After living throughout the western United States he now lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado. His work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including: Thrasher Magazine, New York Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Chiron Review, Word Riot, 3 AM, Underground Voices and Monkey Bicycle. He is also an editor for Matter Literary Journal. The Broken and the Damned was his first full length book of poetry published by Epic Rite Press in 2009. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Web three years in a row and has done readings all over the country. When he isn’t writing, he rides his beat up Schwinn in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Recently, he has taken up painting. He plans on moving to Los Angeles someday.
Some Videos of Jason Reading
A Few Comments on This Book
His poems have an authentic strength to them. William Carlos Williams advised poets to “write as you speak.” Jason has taken this advice to heart as he takes us on a journey through winding roads filled with heart and compassion.
Al Winans, poet
“Jason Hardung’s poetry is hard and honest, eschewing trickery and verbosity for the straightest path to the heart of things, the straightest path to the heart of his readers. His poems journey through life’s darker places, while never ceasing to search for the distant light.”
William Taylor Jr., poet
THE NAMES OF LOST THINGS is a work of genius, the literary equivalent of human vivisection—a triumph of the human spirit to adapt, overcome and endure!
Wolf Carstens, Epic Rites Press
Jason Hardung's work is incredibly powerful, intensely poignant and fiercely beautiful, leaping off the page with deep honesty and grace, wearing the very human continent of vulnerability like a map, like a treasure.
Ellyn Maybe, poet
Jason Hardung maintains a stunning dialogue with his tumultuous youth. At times, it feels like he’ll either redeem the past through his empathy and haunted lyricism or it will consume him altogether… With formidable lines like “war would forever remain cold”, his poetry brings passion and beauty to what for many of us is a common experience: the abstract lawlessness of the imperfect life.
John Macker, poet
THREE POEMS FROM The Names of Lost Things
THE CHILD WITHIN
Today I visited my childhood home
nobody was there but me.
I walked in called out my name
found myself in my old room
counting baseball cards on the floor.
I looked about ten so I must've been twelve.
The young me was small, still had freckles
his clothes didn't fit
his blond hair a mess
he recognized my eyes.
I walked over to the window and looked out back
there were no houses built back there yet.
Just the junkyard and the railroad tracks
the baseball diamond I cut from sunflowers,
my dog Dandy in her pen, emaciated and fly ridden,
no fence, my yard connected to Nebraska.
There was a train heading somewhere
the sound was soothing
something in me moved like that.
The blue sky was bigger than I remember
curved like a terrarium.
I made small talk.
A thousand black birds fell from the sky today, I told him.
He laughed nervously
face resting on his knee.
His shyness was painful to watch.
I felt sorry for him.
The gods haven't always smiled upon me either, I said.
What do you mean? He asked.
I was hesitant
didn't want to tell him that he would never
became a baseball player or rock star,
never be married, have kids,
always struggle with money,
go to jail a few times,
waste most of his adult life escaping it.
I didn't want him to lose hope
at such a young age but
I felt he needed to know. I apologized
for fucking up his life.
He looked up at me and said,
We are still young. We can still change.
I forgive you.
With his words
I felt like I could finally move forward.
I thanked him
studied the pictures on the walls
started to leave, turned towards him--
One more thing, you will trade those baseball cards
for drugs one day.
It's okay though, the market will get saturated
in the late nineties.
His eyes welled up
I left the door open behind me.
I started writing poetry
after I read
Wilderness by Jim Morrison.
I was sixteen
I could do better.
I'd sit in math class
and write poems
in a little notebook
high school cliques
The voices of teachers
and other poets telling me
what I could
and couldn't do
weren't planted in my head yet.
I got a typewriter
when I was 17,
then came the short stories.
I'd steal any book
considered classic literature
and emulate the author's style.
I'd come home from skating
sit in my room
and pound the keys
until early morning.
I fell in love with
the shape of the word
the negative space.
I moved to Omaha
I was on my own
for the first time
and ended up selling the typewriter
for twenty bucks
so I could eat.
The pounding of keys stopped
for twelve years
while I barely hung on
the real writing
FOREVER IS A GHOST
Demons came in through the windows
as soon as the lights flickered out.
They didn't touch me-
they reminded me they were there.
The streets filled with glaciers.
I killed time waiting for the streets to melt.
I killed ants with my new shoes-
I learned to dance.
I got a bicycle when I was seven.
I polished it every day,
oiled the chain, bought a new yellow seat
chained it to the fence at school
when I came out the bike was gone
and the yellow seat
was stuck in the ground
like a memorial on the side of a highway-
I learned I had bad taste in color.
I bought a rose from a dirty man with one eye-
Jennifer hung it upside down on her mirror
when it died.
The mirror shattered when she threw
a high heel at me.
She cried over a broken shoe.
I found a kitten on the side of the highway
it grew and swatted at moths at the window.
After thirteen years,
I left the door open
and it died under a trailer
with polyester curtains in the window.
The fire in my mouth
became smoke signals
to illiterate search parties.
I arrange these words
like the gods fashioned Stonehenge.
I am a tourist attraction
for new age women in patchouli.
Insanity holds the hand of innocence.
Insanity is a cliché repeated in twelve step meetings.
Insanity is a sickness as bad as its secrets.
Insanity is making friends with a goat.
Insanity is doing the same thing
over and over
and expecting a different result.
Insanity is taking too long.
I watch dead branches
poke the sky in the ribs,
I sit on the curb and envy sparrows.
The dead don't ride horses
to the theme song of Bonanza
but to the sound of their regrets.
I don't chase my ghost
it chases me.
My faith in the future
straddled a bullet-
this lack of faith is a machine gun.