by Bryson David Hoff
edited by Emma R. Wilson
graphic design by Drew Scholl
illustrated by Mehalet KesateBirhan
hand-sewn saddle-stictch binding
52 pages (5" X 11”)
$12.00 plus $2.50 postage
Bronze Man Books is pleased to publish Pantheon by Bryson David Hoff.
These are poems about real people with lives garbed in excitement, lust, and behind it all, emptiness. In this world, no one hurls thunderbolts from the clouds or pulls the sun across the sky in a mighty chariot. In the world, kings are angry children with daddy issues while givers of light are only second best with nothing but a harp to show for it. Yet these luminous being are in this earthly realm. Somehow, there is nowhere else they would rather be. —Jackson Lewis
Pantheon, by Bryson David Hoff, illustrated by Mahelet KesateBirhan. (Decatur, IL.): Bronze Man Books, 2014, 40 pages 5x11, hand-sewn addle-stitch binding. ISBN 978-0-9819591-5-3.
$12.00 and $2.50 postage from the publisher at <http://www.bronzemanbooks.com> or by mail from:
Bronze Man Books, Millikin University, 1184 W. Main, Decatur, IL 62522.
Bronze Man Books is pleased to announce the publication of Pantheon by Bryson David Hoff. This collection of poery is a hand-sewn chapbook.
The ancients called
you the chaste one,
cold and distant,
mysterious and alluring.
The sea can never touch you.
You are the tide-maker,
the waters your plaything.
They called you the huntress.
And yet what prey, pray tell,
is stalked by night,
at least by man?
I can think of only one.
Clearly the ancients did not know
you drew your
bowstring not for the hart,
but for the heart.
Not a huntress, then.
Perhaps an ambush predator?
Look like the innocent flower
But be the serpent under't.
Chastity is the absence of action,
not the absence of desire,
and desire is enough
to draw the tides.
You are the moon,
ethereal and arcane,
drawing ever inwards,
never quite touching,
the sea with your gaze.
And perhaps you are the huntress.
though, is for the lonely,
not the hungry.
You are the feminine triumphant:
At once fantasy and fancier,
The Dreamer and The Dream.
I won my race
by imagining you were at the finish
and if I got there fast enough,
I could strangle you.
Mom was never the same.
She tried to keep up appearances,
but there was something in her eyes,
some spark that you’d put there
had burned out forever.
When I left for college, she was relieved
because when she looked at me, you looked back at
her. I came home for Christmas with a beard and she
couldn’t look me in the eye
until I went to the bathroom and shaved it off.
The big board in the kitchen was blank
for the first time in my life.
So here we are.
I’d tell you the rest of the story,
but the fact you bothered to show up
suggests you know the gist of it.
And if the rumors are true, this probably
won’t be the last one of these for you.
I used to feel
like being your son made me special.
I used to look in the mirror and grin when I found a bit
of you in my complexion.
I used to think, in times of conflict,
“What would he do?”
That’s done, though.
It used to make me angry,
but like anything else, you
learn to move past it.
But let me tell you just one more thing,
now that we’re face to face again
after all these years:
You are so much smaller than I remember.
The smell of cinnamon
and the dancing phantom of a fire,
The cat on my lap
and a blanket across my chest,
Dad playing the guitar,
Sister taking up too much of the couch,
Mom boiling water for a mug of tea
and all of us together.
It may not be an epic scene,
nothing poets would recite,
it's not what I would choose for always,
but right now, when it might as well have been
pulled from someone else's memory,
I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be.
About the Author
Bryson David Hoff was born in Port Jefferson, New York and raised in Bolingbrook, Illinois. He is currently a senior at Millikin University with a double major in Theatre and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in Collage: Literary & Fine Arts Magazine.
About the Artist
Mehalet KesaterBirhan is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator originally from Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. She is currently a senior Graphic Design major with a minor in Environmental Studies. Mehalet currently works as a layout designer for the Decaturian, has had two works featured in Collage: Literary and Fine Arts Magazine, and has received several awards for her art work including one during the Millikin art show in Spring of 2013.