Posted tagged ‘prose poem’

D is for–

April 4, 2018

D is for

I found me in a whole behind the bookshelf, there in the molding, hanging on to a spine of the Junior Britannica, our set covered in leathery red.

The volume was D; I snuck a letter into it to my dog once because I had killed her and I didn’t know how else to send mail to a dead dog.

Of course, I had not meant to kill my dog but, for a child, result is not mitigated by intention.

Fate had thrown me a hard ball.  It had not been a particularly hand throw, but it was a base ball, and in that game of catch, the trees blurred green and the grass smoothed to ground where I stood beneath a locust’s grape-fingered shade and I just missed–my hands and glove knock knees (at least for that catch), which meant that the ball hit the trunk of the locust, rebounded to the side, then tagged the small dog as she barked and darted at the back of our game in what was somehow the perfect place in the neck to break it, and the dog’s lithe little body immediately lay limp, and though I probably screamed, my re-creations all seem silent except for my mother who ran out of the house, shrieking ”oh no oh no oh no” and not to bring the dog inside.

So my father and I huddled the little body over to the car me kissing its nose in an almost surreptitious way as I wondered frantically whether you could do mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation on a dog, but somehow felt too embarrassed even in extremity to ask, while my dad in his own extremity careened us to the vet’s, and when the vet was closed, our family doctor, heaving with every gear shift, even as I kind of calmed, feeling, after my lap wet with warm, that surely if the dog peed she must still be alive.

And I said to the little girl in the molding, who held the spine of the D Junior Britannica, “what are you doing,” and she simply said ‘I’m sorry,” which sounded at first as if she hadn’t heard me but meant, I realized then, that she was simply being sorry over there, actively being sorry, being sorry her/my whole life long, and I said to her/me, “but look, that was many years ago,” and she said, “I know.”


This is actually a short excerpt from a little book I am working on; it is very much a draft. I am posting it today for Brendan MacOdrum”s prompt on Real Toads, which I am interpreting as a prompt about the panoply of things that make us sing (or at least write.) 

The pic doesn’t really go with the piece!  It’s actually from a different book I am working on!  (A children’s book)  (I have all sorts of highly unfinished projects!)  But anyway, there it is.  It is my drawing, charcoal and pastel.  All rights reserved. 

A is for…

December 22, 2017

A is for—

This is not actually about alligators except that some had been sighted from the backyard of my mother’s friend, Mrs. Brown, whose grass was green as the taste of mint toothpaste and walled off a river the color of decay.  She bought little fishing rods for my nephews visiting–she was that kind of person–who turned nice thoughts into actual hooks, lines, sinkers.

Perfect, my mother called her, someone who did everything ‘just perfect.’

Even her candles burning under glass so that wax wouldn’t drip off-kilter, her house a polish of brass, pledged wood, the only bits of chrome frame of tv or multiple offspring. The name of her husband long dead bringing tears mirrored in the sheens, fried chicken all around, a peanut butter sandwich for me who was vegetarian, and later

when she had Alzheimers, another a-word also sharp-toothed, and we stopped to see her at the Assisted living, it was not clear she really knew us but she knew we were someones she probably should know, her hair still a perfect pageboy,  silvery as Sir Lancelot, she invited us into the small apartment praising it despite the plaster as wonderfully arranged

by her daughter, the walls stucco, if you know what I mean, sharp points everywhere, so that it felt like a cell of calcified splatter–not burnished or mint tooth-pasty at all, unless you are thinking of some kind of toothpaste left out over night for some weeks—-please, I am not saying that there literally was such toothpaste there–and anxious to entertain us as she had always entertained (cite the little fishing rods), she found the kitchen (adjacent to living room), switched on its tube lighting, blinking for a moment beneath the postured hair, cut up slices of raisin bread from a red plastic raisin bread bag found in a near-empty fridge, took out a small jar of peanut butter from a near-empty cupboard–her hand seeking things to hold on to, the peanut butter, a pleasant surprise.

I helped in that light that was like a fridge light, as if we too were being kept against spoilage– it was a such relief to her, I thought, to be just spreading–the soft smooth peanut butter, the known bread–



A short prose piece for my own prompt on Real Toads to try a writing exercise jumping off from a random word, coming to mind after choosing a random letter of the alphabet.   This still very much an exercise.  (Go check out the post on Toads.)



Artificial Intelligence

November 11, 2015


Artificial Intelligence

They went to an amateur museum, where they happened
onto an old wrangler of sorts, known by them, it seemed,
when they were young and green
and once before out West.

And the wrangler remembered them,
in a zestful recollection of wrinkles winking,
and as he spoke
of how young and green they had been
they felt woven again
in the loom of that same youth
in the awkward green
of first love.

Only when they left his room, in the museum,
they read a writing on the wall that noted
the date of the wrangler’s death,
and discussed the animated projection
that stood in for him.

They wondered then how a projection
could have recognized them,
and soon whether they had ever
actually known that wrangler,
and even whether they had ever in fact
been young, green or in the West

Soon, she even doubted that he, who walked beside her,
had ever loved her,
and though he insisted that, of course, he had,
she still stared at him
when he wasn’t looking,
with palpable doubt.


A draft prose poem of sorts for With Real Toads Tuesday Open Platform.  (My life still far from my own; sorry to be late with comments.)  Photograph mine from a small municipal museum in Colonia, Uruguay.  

A Tree That Doesn’t Grow in Brooklyn

January 20, 2014


A Tree That Doesn’t Grow In Brooklyn

She got back and the tree was gone, even the square of yellow dirt in which the tree had struggled was gone, and their neighbor’s belly gloated over his lawn chair just out front, no more leaves slick as shit for those Sp–cs and N—s to sue him for anything they could, he said, and she screamed at him, and marched down the street still torn-up, asking every guy in a hard hat till two pointed towards a storefront other side of Metropolitan where the City had set up some temporary office for the fix, and she marched into its yellow paint and blueprints, right across from the pizzeria where the guy was missing half his right thumb and part of a forefinger too, and they’d had a tree, there–there–pointing on the map at the little square break in the row of connected squares, and he said, yes, but the owner told them that they didn’t want it, and she said, but he wasn’t the owner, and he said, oh, and something about a letter, and she brought up jackhammering, a vein in her temple throbbing she was sure, and he talked about where she could send the letter, and how the tree had been dead already, really, the bark ringed, and she thought of their neighbor getting out of his lawn chair for once, squatting down with a knife, or maybe paying some kid to do it, you know, one of the ones who was sure to sue him if he slipped, and the guy shrugged and she stepped out of the office, the narrow green door with the diamond peep holes so heavy it almost slammed her, and how could they, when it was on the map, how could they just uproot it from
the ground–

and the office had been air conditioned more heavily than she realized because coming out onto Graham was like being flattened .what with the summer exhaust of car, truck, bus, the oven drafts of air conditioner, the fan of pizza parlor particulating tomato–

and she kept thinking of the difference of a tree–she could take the neon and the freon, she could stand below the river whole subways long, she could look down the vista at the red tower of that hospital you were supposed to stay away from at all cost, and up the vista at the rumpled pant’s legs aimless on various street corners,

and now she did look down the vista and spindly specters were planted every several yards, their burlap still showing like the shoes of the homeless, but not like the homeless, because this was beauty come calling, like the knobby legs of fawns daring the combed cement, like a gift of grapes from the sky, like scattered molecules of breeze–

all but on their own little block–

and as the sun beat down on the too white new cement and the too black tar, she felt any chance of shade ever evaporating, much less blossom, the stoppering of breath–of the inhalation, that is, not the yammering–


Here’s a belated, but still very much of a draft, piece for dVerse Poets Pub prompt on trees posted by the very prolific and creative Bjorn Rudberg. 

Going With the Grain

August 9, 2013


He wrote that she was “his one and only” and she wrote back “me too,” then added that she’d eaten millet that night.

She knew even as she typed the double lls that it was odd. Because what she was thinking of was his skin.

It was spiced with cinnamon, she wrote, and clove, not mentioning that she had a recipe once that added carrot.

But what she was thinking of was his flesh, ochred by blanket, the grain of thighs, and how when only a sheet was at issue the shadows of pelvis turned violet as eve-filled sky.

And she had eaten millet that evening, by chance, but what had actually come to mind was a time, years before, when the world angled cellophane, windows leered unattainable purpose, drowning fish glistened on outside ice, and love had gone as grey as the sidewalk, and as stained, and she had stepped through her disconnect into a shop whose green linoleum was spotted orange and there in a dull bag- a dull stack of bags–for their contours didn’t have the brittle brightness of squared wrap – the print read “millets”–and she had laughed for a change, even bought a bag for him, a different him, who may have laughed too, seeing it.

There is something torturous about being a thing that needs an other to be itself, that has no true singular; there is simply no sense in “a millet,” pelleted longing–

So when this he, her he, proffered love across a sky even deeper than violet, she could only say “me too,” and write him of millet like a fool.

Even though he couldn’t possibly understand, not speaking millet, so maybe it was herself she wrote to, telling that girl in the shop that there really was life after life, a savor to cleave to.

“Miss you,” she added, for him.

Here’s a sort of a prose poem about millet, which I don’t cook nearly enough. I’ve been terribly busy and there have been all kinds of great prompts in the online poetry world that I haven’t had the focus to address. Sorry to those who did those great prompts. I have enjoyed reading of them! Take care.

PS I have been honored to be included in the wonderful new dVerse Poets Anthology edited by Frank Watson. It is a lovely book, with poets from all over, and visual works too (including one of my drawings!) Thank you, Frank. Check it out here.

Pps = I keep mucking around with the last line since posting.  Agh.  k.