Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Two Poems




John Travolta’s Hair in Battlefield Earth


I’m big enough to admit
that I don’t know which
snakes are poisonous
or constricting
or which mushrooms
won’t turn our brains to glue
or jam
or hydraulic oil
or which root to gnaw
to stave away
the fevers
the chills
which are indeed bad for our bodies
but still necessary
in the way that sometimes
hurting is the remedy
for all that ails us
and we are so ailed
all we want to do is forget
so here
I’ve brought you berries
so we can make wine
in our lockbox cells
so sweet
all we need is sugar
and time
which we have
because unlike forgetting
mistakes are easy
like tying your shoes
to the bumper of a tanker truck
and letting it take you anywhere else
look at my elbows
like two bald tires
we’re so road-weary
so road-rashed
so road-ruined
I left a head of hair
in the Pacific northwest
and it was so crushing
because it was so beautiful
and so unlike me
that when I lost it
I really lost it
and this
this is just a wig
I like to wear when I’m feeling self-conscious
which is always
and no
it doesn’t come off





My Time as a Sympathetic Stylist to the Stars


the thing about being struck by lighting
is that afterwards
you know you should feel grateful
that you’re here
you’re one of the lucky ones
but you don’t
you can’t
you’ve tried
and now your hair is falling out
a side-effect they say
and sorry
it’s irreversible
so right now it seems like there’s nothing left to live for
and to be brutally honest
there’s really not
because your hair was everything
people actually envied it
you’ll explain
complete and total strangers
they would come up and say how beautiful it was
right there on the street
and what do I have now
you’ll cry
and by then you’ll be so embarrassed
and sobbing
that I will pet your head
your poor bald head
and whisper
you can trust me
believe me
you’re going to be beautiful
now tilt your head
and stay still while I scissor the air





Jeffrey Haynes is an M.F.A. candidate at Virginia Tech, where he also serves as managing editor of the Minnesota Review. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Revolution House, Word Riot, Mixed Fruit, and Lunch Ticket.