Bruce Hawkins

yellow flame
Photo by Skully MBa on


Oil drips in the dark pit.
Like nervous sweat the wet
patch widens and I drop
in the match, watch it catch,
the flames low, slow, creeping
then a batter of wings.

I clang the door shut
against what is leaping
at me, look that no feathers
have fallen to the floor.
This is kindness which, kept
in its cast iron cage,

warms the small house, allows
me to undress, listen
to the midnight wind, sit
complacent as a rose,
while it exacts a price
so small I hardly notice.

“Kindness” appeared in Canary and is from The Ghost of the Buick (Berkley Poets’ & Workshop Press, 1992).Reprinted by permission of the author.

Bruce is the author of The Ghost of the Buick (1982), Wordrows (1975), and Less Power (1971) and has been published in many literary magazines. He was featured by the New York Times in 1976 when he made his living selling The Berkeley Poets Cooperative issues in Berkeley. Bruce considers himself a Truth Radical and feels that poetry is music rather than architecture. He is currently working on his next book, a compilation of poems from the last 50 years. He lives with his wife, artist Anne Hawkins, in El Cerrito, CA.