2 Poems by Erich von Hungen

Fire’s Flame

Fire and not water.
Give me fire all alone,
straight, unblended,
fire everywhere.

Let me drink it
till my vessels steam,
my breath paints dreams
and my heart boils with it.

Let me talk with fire for a tongue,
though that fire
turns my lips to molten heat,
it is that which tempers words to steel,
words that still cut when I,
my lips and tongue, are done.

And when it comes to mind,
let it spark out thoughts from the driest dust
where a thought, like fire,
should not be expected to occur.
Give me that, that burning thrust.

Give me fire out for fingers
marking, sissing, branding
every skin I touch
and, too, that for feet, heels scorching,
razing all the ways behind me.
Give me forward never back.
That, give me that.

Give me that.
To sweat more flames in the heat,
the writhing meat of it,
the burning, browning,
disintegrating time of all of it.
Give me that, to rage and writhe,
to gleam and shine and glint
and drip years of it.

Give me hair of cinders,
chest and head,
eyes of coals,
ashes where I undulate,
and wind to carry me
through the forests to your very lap.
Let me flash like stars across the night,
but unlike stars,
let me gather and ignite.

Fire. Give me fire
to reach and stretch and grab,
to demand and take all it
that I can get.

To take like flames in high white grass;
to burn and dye the heavens out with smoke,
to burn until the fire burns out,
to burn without lingering,
to glow until I turn to light.

Name me another place to be,
another purpose than in this light,
this light that gives a place to dwell.

Name me what could be better than it,
than a flame’s outrageous blossoming
and a fire’s burning will.

Name me another place to be, another purpose
than in this light,
this light, this brightness.
Give me that as a place to dwell.


She ate the apple
out of the pear.
She took everything
and so found more.

She flew the bird out of the sky
without ever messing her dress or hair
and lived the dream
that the rest had dreamt down there,
way down there on earth.

She rode her car beyond the cliff
where the car wouldn’t drive
and came back more alive for it.

She harvested the orchid
from the heart of the rose,
the lion from the man,
the stealth and soul from the panther
without answering for it.

The mystery from the moon, she took it,
without bothering with the riddle,
the tenacity from the tide, that too,
without getting wet.

The sweet from the honey
without the honey itself,
the rest from the night
without bothering with sleep.

The joy from the joyless,
the stunt from the athlete
without taking his feet.

The plus from the minus
without minding the math,
the laughter from the wind, the child,
from the secret electricity of sin.

The good, she accepted,
the bad was her firewood,
and it made her warmer
even than that good.

The spider’s silk,
she unwound to the end,
saving the venom
because you never know
what or when or where.

And when she died,
she’d already been there,
seen it, done it all long ago,
so wasn’t bothered by it.

Find it here, then, as she did,
here and everywhere,
the apple inside the pear.

Take everything,
rejecting nothing, not even despair,
because you never know
what or when or where.

Erich von Hungen currently lives in San Francisco, California.  His writing has appeared in The Colorado QuarterlyCathexis Northwest PressThe Esthetic Apostle, The Write Launch, The Ravens Perch,  From Whispers To Roars, The Closed Eye Open and others. He has recently launched  two collections of poems “In Spite Of Contagion: 65 COVID-19 Poems” and “Kisses: 87 Love Poems”.