Puttin’ It All on Hold

posted in: Poetry | 0

Summer break, with poems by Jennifer Wallace and Judith Arcana.
5 minutes


Passager’s staff is going to take a break during August. That includes Burning Bright.
So this will be our last podcast until early September. Let’s begin in the present, the heat of summer. “First Heat” by Jennifer Wallace.

No such thing as sleep
on this first night of summer heat.

You bring a washcloth wrapped with ice,
and nakedness becomes our only cooling.

To touch too much would undo
the good we’ve done. Yet,

you lie there, undraped, voicelessly
asking for my hand

to send us both
toward our gathering dream.

Jennifer Wallace’s poem “First Heat” from her book The Want Fire.

Judith Arcana said, “I write from both instigation and inspiration; that is, sometimes I decide to write about a specific idea or experience, and sometimes an idea or experience shows up and starts turning itself into phrases and lines in my mind.” Here’s her poem “Thank You for Your Patience.”

The old woman gathers her papers
sits down and puts her feet up.
She’s ready for it now.

Please stay on the line. Listen carefully.
Our menu (like everything else
you’ve ever known) has changed.

If you know the extension of the person
you want to reach, you may enter it now.
Or not. That’s up to you.

To reach the main office, press 2
To reach the satellite office, press 3
To reach the security guards’ cafeteria, press 4
To reach the psychoneurobiologist on duty, press 24/7
To reach the office where no one is ever available, press 5
To reach the office where only temps staff the phones, press 6
To reach the office in a country you have seen only in movies, press 8
To reach someone you knew in your freshman year of high school, press 9
To reach your sister, to whom you’ve not spoken in years, press the number of years
If you wish to speak to a representative, press the asterisk – which we call the star key because asterisk sounds like it might not be American.

Some of you – actually, all of you – will have to wait on hold. Your call will be answered after a very long time.

While you are on hold you have choices!
For Country music, press the letters C and W on your keypad.
For Classical, press the letter B three times.
To hear a marching band press T-U-B-A.
If you ever get the blues (and who doesn’t?), press B-E-S-S-1-E.
For talk radio, choose R-U-S-H or N-P-R.

Your call is very important to us!

“Thank You for Your Patience,” Judith Arcana from Passager Issue 56.

And thank you for your patience. Burning Bright will be back with new episodes beginning in September. If you’ve missed any episodes, now’s a good time to catch up. They’re all available on Passager’s website: passagerbooks.com. Click on ”podcast: Burning Bright” at the top of the home page.

To subscribe to or learn more about Passager and its commitment to writers over 50,
go to passagerbooks.com. You can download Burning Bright from Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts, and various other podcast apps.

To end this episode, The Passager Mixed Glee Club.

We’ll be away each and every night
While we’re away, don’t forget to write.

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long

See you in September
See you when the summer’s through.
Here we are
(bye, lis’ners, goodbye)
Saying goodbye on the podcast
(bye, lis’ners, goodbye)
Summer vacation
(bye, lis’ners, goodbye)
Is taking us away
(bye, lis’ners, goodbye).

Have a good time but remember
We’ll be back soon
Take this time to read and write
(bye, lis’ners, goodbye)
We will see you in September
With a new year
full of Burning Bright.

For Kendra, Mary, Christine, Rosanne, the Passager Mixed Voice Ensemble, and the rest of the Passager staff, I’m Jon Shorr.