Photographer and Writer.

Journal

"if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself?"

LIFE - the temptation is always to reduce it to size. A bowl of cherries. A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism. It is the mystery.
As far as anybody seems to know, the vast majority of things in the universe do not have whatever life is. Sticks, stones, stars, space – they simply are. A few things are and are somehow alive to it. They have broken through into Someone, or Something has broken through into them. Even a jellyfish, a butternut squash. They’re in it with us. We’re all in it together, or it in us. Life is it. Life is with.
After lecturing learnedly on miracles, a great theologian was asked to give a specific example of one. “There is only one miracle,” he answered. “It is life.”
Have you wept at anything during the past year?
Has your heart beat faster at the sight of young beauty?
Have you thought seriously about the fact that someday you are going to die?
More often than not, do you really listen when people are speaking to you instead of just waiting for your turn to speak?
Is there anybody you know in whose place, if one of you had to suffer great pain, you would volunteer yourself?
If your answer to all or most of these questions is no, the chances are that you’re dead.

Frederick Buechner

Hannah Nicole MartinComment
2.13.17

You are given a stone. No one tells you why. You tell no one. One day, you know nothing of stones and the next day you reach in your pocket and can't remember the stone not being there. The weight is familiar - right? Anyways, it is lovely to look at. It is a small, smooth, speckled, gray, slick, soft, small, small, small stone that turns the color of an otter's coat when it's wet. You saw an otter once at the zoo, and it slipped underneath the surface of the pool and pulled the weight of its body through the blue water, its coat dark and shiny. A stone can be a kind of beauty. You tell no one you have it. You clutch it in your hand. You refuse to open your palm. Sometimes, your fingers hurt from being curled around it. It's still a small stone. One night, you place it under your pillow. In the morning, it's split in two. In the center lies a tiny berry, the shape of a raspberry and the size of a cranberry. Without thinking, you eat it. It sticks in your esophagus. It bursts. You feel it draining into your lungs. Small seeds scatter in your body. You don't tell anyone. You ate it, right? It's your fault, right? As seeds do, they sprout. The slop in your lungs turns brackish and sickly. It's hard to breathe. When you tell people, they look in your mouth and say your throat is fine. It hurts to inhale, you say. They listen to your heart and say, it sounds fine to me. My heart is being punctured, you try to say. Your voice gets caught in the vines crawling up your throat. The seeds are still sprouting, only they are growing small stones under your skin. You are petrifying. You are given a small stone. You didn't ask for it. It grows a garden of seeds that petal into rocks. You tell no one. Anyways, it's heavy holding all this inside you. Anyways, you're tired. Anyways, it is lovely to look at - right? 

Hannah Nicole Martin
1.20.17

In this poem you are not absent. In this poem every line sounds like the silence that follows saying your name. In this poem I compare you to the sudden glint of sun on water. In this poem I am not solipsistic. In this poem we crack pomegranates in two without splitting a single aril. In this poem your hands are gentle. In this poem you are a story about dusk. In this poem we retrace our steps. In this poem our intimacy catapults us forward into clumsiness. In this poem we plan forty seven possible futures. In this poem we eat our fear. In this poem you speak of your childhood, brush against yourself at eleven years old and say, there there. In this poem it is spring. In this poem I see my mother. In this poem I mention honey, flippancy, the neon lights. In this poem you find a penny on the street with my birth year and think nothing of it. In this poem I taste your tears. In this poem there is a dog in stanza three, its tail a slow lap against the ground. In this poem each mention of blue is in italics. In this poem we are not garish. In this poem people laugh with sounds like exultant New Years kisses. In this poem we know all the words. In this poem the kitchen smells like cloves. In this poem we are kind. In this poem I am not alone.

Hannah Nicole Martin
1.16.17, or the one in which matthew ogle's pome may save my life

This is not a season
but a pause
between one future & another,
a day after a day,
a breathing space before death,
a breathing, the rain

throwing itself down out of the
bluegrey sky, clear joy. 

Margaret Atwood (1981)

here are enough signs. Of lack of tenderness in the
world. And yet. And yet. All you have to do is ask. Anyone
here can extol the virtues of an onion. Where to get barbecue
minced, pulled, or chopped. The hour of the day they have
known the thorn of love.

C.D. Wright (1998)

Hannah Nicole Martin
wednesday, at half past noon.

All autumn we envisioned packing lunches
in brown paper bags, but instead met daily

At 12:15 and admitted we had forgotten. As
adults do, we said I am not my mother and

pretended that we could manage hunger, a
luxury sated through slick pad thai piled

on white plates, mung bean soup, $5.25 for
a chai tea before we returned to the office.

We will make leftovers, we said, and the
next day sat eating falafael sandwiches partially

wrapped in crinkly paper, our hands still
red from wind. The scent of paprika clung

to our scarves. I bought you a baklava, playing
pretend that if we bit into the thin sheaf of

honeyed pastry crusted over with nuts, we
could afford what it meant: security, which

is to say, freedom from our loneliness. It
may be cold in here but the air smells of spices.

I reach over to touch your hand, steal a fry
that leaves oil on my fingers.