December 4th: Paul Hapenny Features

Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8-10 p.m. every Monday at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery (located on 106 Prospect Street in Cambridge) with an open mike sign-up at 7:30 p.m. On December 4th, we welcome Paul Hapenny, who will take time off from his busy schedule to read a selection of his poetry.

The Boston and Nova Scotia based, mixed race, playwright and screenwriter, Paul Hapenny, has had a long and productive career in legitimate theatre and feature films. He’s the screenwriter of more than a dozen screenplays including "Vig" for Lion’s Gate, "The Insider" for Jerry Bruckheimer /Paramount Pictures, "The Untitled Paul Hapenny Project" for WB, "Nest of Vipers" for MGM and more.

His plays including"Vig," "Vignettes of a Masculine Tableau," and "Sacrament" have been produced to great acclaim and have won multiple awards in Canada, the US and Overseas. The Los Angeles Times called "Vig" "one of the best American plays. He’s scheduled to direct his newest play, "March Morning Frost," starring the Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival‘s leading man, Victor Talmadge in Los Angeles in the Spring.

Paul has also been a News Reporter for CBC English and Radio Canada French News Services. He covered Canadian politics for La Presse Canadienne/Canadian Press. He’s recently returned to writing poetry. It’s a discipline he hasn’t attempted since his first tentative readings at Stone Soup Poetry more than 25 years ago.

Paul attributes his writing abilities to a fortuitous blend of Native American and Irish ancestors. "All of my ancestors, Celtic and Aboriginal were grounded in a storytelling tradition. No one I knew ever told a joke. It was always a performance piece. And both ethnic groups had the inherent ability to laugh at life’s absurdities. The worse a situation got, the harder they laughed. I hope my work can honor even a fraction of what those two peoples and their cultures passed down to me."

A sample poem follows below.

A Novia Scotia Winter's Lament

Winter naked branches
hold stark against a slate grey sky
a lost goose circles
trying to find south
in a season stayed far too long

My back molds to the rock
embracing pain of sharp edges
and the salt tang haunts
longings of your sex
wet around my insistent tongue

Marsh grass brown and bending
under January’s frozen grip
will it green again
under April sun
and complete the ancient cycle

I look to Gunning Cove
across the bay houses huddled
against wind and wave
wood smoke chimney’s scent
a house, a home, I’ve never known

An old Cape Islander
inshore bound riding low with catch
and trumpeted by
squalling gulls returns
to talk and glance and fevered nights

Oh how much I envy
simple joys and so much I would
give to you if you
would only see me
here shorn of pretense and of pride

The wind tacks sou’east from
Sandy Point whipping whitecaps into
fine salt spray nettles
rend my flesh and pain
validates the depth of my want

From water we have come
to water I would go if I
possessed the courage
to dive into the
icy blue harbor of your eyes

But it’s just a pipedream
a desperation born not of
loss but of never
having held your breath
in mine my flesh in yours as one

Winter naked branches
gash thickening snow pregnant clouds
a lost goose settles
tries to save itself
and brays all alone at the storm

--Paul Hapenny