Eight of Swords
How tight are the cloths bound along my hands?
Are they even tied at all?
I stand on the shore, salty water pooling beneath my feet. The sand gives way. I feel the coolness of a blade on my heel. I panic. Flail.
Weeping maiden, trapped.
The air only smells of the sea.
Are my captors lying in wait?
Or have they left me to my misery, knowing I would keep myself?
endless as the ocean
it's a hidden ocean,
seaweed tapping at my calves,
half submerged with a perfect view of the horizon.
you're here too,
brushing a finger across my thumb.
my eyes like lemon water: seeing for the first time.
maybe we were made for this.
i'm a little blinded by the sun
you kiss my neck
whirlpools under our feet and stars spinning overhead.
the music of the water and the sound of our breathing.
i caught a copper penny, flying by on the current.
identical on both sides but lucky all the same;
i'd like to believe in it.
i wedged it in the space between my lungs and my heart,
the same place i've been keeping you.
and the ocean laps at the backs of my knees.
the stars drop one by one into the water, turning to fish.
and the whole world knows that we are
nothing and everything
but i'm not sure we understand that ourselves,
when we're too busy digging our fingers into each others sides,
tumbling through the ocean like loose starfish,
sparkling just under the surface.
it's all completely new.
unreal, but as endless as the ocean.
Strangers Die Everyday
He was a city worker
And he must have had
A massive stroke
Because he came barreling
Through the intersection
Passed between two trees
Then slammed into
A cinderblock wall
And mine was
The last face
The death rattle
I knew it
I was humming
A Frank Zappa tune
And just like that
He was gone
Waiting for the Miracle
I sat at the bottom
Of a bottle
Waiting for something
For nine months
She sat in the park
Waiting for him
That grew inside of her
I don’t know
I just don’t know
Why so many of us
Work so hard
Our own cages
David Lynch’s disturbing truth, taking refuge in strangers, and the wings of nature.
"Tell me why, I do like Mondays, tell me why..." One, the Monday video, and two, written words from the world of Prose., and from there the reasons stem in mirrored roots. Let's jump in.
As we're sure you've noticed, there are no longer timestamps on posts or comments. We go into our reasons on Prose. Radio, which we'll link below, where, more importantly, two writers are featured, fireside: A short poem by one of our legends, and a longer, dream-like piece by a writer with all the letters in piece in the username, come to realize it.
Here's the link to the feature on Prose. Radio.
And we'll link the pieces and the authors in the comments below this very post.
Thank you for being here.
-The Prose. team
To My Prose Friends Here And The Prose Team
I don’t know how to tag names.
I just wanted to send a very sincere thanks, with hulking heaps of gratitude to all who have taken the time to read my poems, whether you commented, liked them or didn’t.
Just knowing some fellow poets read them really blessed me.
I want to thank Prose and their incredible team for their literary platform, as it has opened me up to some truly daring, cutting edge and inspiring poets. I was also speechless that “Beguiling Eye” was chosen and read on your channel! I shared that with my family and friends like a kid at Christmas.
I’ve completed my first book, 50 poems chosen out of 80, and it’s being professionally formatted by an author friend.
I have zero idea on the next step thereafter:
Self publish or shop it to UK Publishers? (Comments are welcomed on this one ☺️)
Either way, I believe in it, am blessed and grateful that the good Lord gave me the desire and ability to express my heart through words.
If you happen to read this, I encourage you to realize that Prose has offered a home to us; a literary dorm, think tank, social club or the equivalent of hanging with good people, enjoying what’s on our minds and hearts, where no one is too weird or too normal, but everyone can come as they are.
No stuffy pretension, just a wonderfully raw place that has afforded me the kind luxury of excitedly sharing my poems, and the thrill of discovering brilliant poets that inspire me (and I can’t tag, as I don’t know how, but you all are terrific.)
Prose and the community has been a profoundly wonderful find for me, and has encouraged me to move forward in my book, and believing more in myself.
OK, my morning cup of coffee is wanting to prattle me on, but anyhow, a huge thanks.
Be well, be blessed, be happy and never give up.
Old School Lessons
I wouldn’t usually have stopped here, but after seven hours on the road I desperately needed to stop, if you know what I mean. Still, I the urge driven decision was regretted before I was even inside.
Despite being part of a national chain this was obviously a poorly run business. Half of the road sign was dark, which should have been my first clue to continue driving, but it only worsened from there. The glass doors were covered with greasy finger prints, the floor was sticky beneath my boots, and a woman with a fat ass was bent over the front counter literally screaming at the poor, dazed moron standing behind it.
“I told you no fucking onions! There are onions on this hamburger, you shit-for-brains!” She held the bottom half of a hamburger out toward his face as she screamed. “How the fuck am I supposed to eat this shit? I don’t eat fucking onions!”
Behind the woman who was bent over the counter, standing beside an over-flowing trash can, another woman of equivalent age and incivility was holding a phone up to film, her face plastered with a malicious grin.
In the kitchen behind the dazed kid lurked a shadow figure whom I assumed to be whoever was in charge of this shit restaurant, and who was hiding back there allowing the kid up front to take the heat because they were too chicken-shit to come help their minimum wage worker out.
”Lady, I’m sorry. I only placed the order. I didn’t make the hamburger.” The kid seemed legitimately sorry, but that didn’t seem to matter. Sorry, apparently, was not the point.
”Well you poured this Coke didn’t you? I asked for a diet fucking Coke. This is regular fucking Coke, you fucking idiot!” The woman threw what was left of the Coke at the kid who deftly side-stepped so that it missed it’s mark, which only infuriated the woman more, so that she really started laying into him.
Having no skin in the game and not wanting to get involved in something that didn’t concern me, I by-passed them all for a men’s room which was every bit as ticky-tacky as the lobby floor was. Once there I stood relieved before the stained urinal, gazing at the typically infantile permanant-marker renderings of penises with the also typically mis-spelled homo-erotic threats beneath them. The situation at the counter and the drawings taken together took me back to the 2nd grade, and more specifically to the day Mrs. Layman called Julie Hodson and me into the hallway and said to us, “I saw what she did to you on the playground, Hank. I want you to hit her back.”
I, of course, did no such thing. This was surely a test of some sort, and I have never been a dummy when it comes to tests. Even back at the tender age of nine I was fully aware that had I done it (hit Julie that is), my respectfully southern father would have found out and would have murdered me, even if Mrs. Layman didn’t.
”I mean it, Hank. Hit her! Go ahead! Hit her as hard as you can.”
”No Mam, I don’t want to.”
”Listen, Hank,” Mrs. Layman was speaking sternly to me at the same time her eyes were staring down Julie, “I understand that you should never hit a lady, but when one isn’t behaving like a lady you are free to knock hell out of her, at least in my classroom you are. Do you understand me?”
I did understand. To this very day I stand quietly and patiently in lines because I remember the time Mrs. Layman grabbed a hyperactive Danny Wilson by the earlobe and pulled his screaming ass clear to the office by it. With Mrs. Layman it was always about the collective, not the individual. While it was important that her class succeed, it was not so important that everyone in it did. If one or two must be left behind because they endangered the success of those who did the things they were supposed to do, then so be it. Get in line, or get out. It wasn’t just Little Danny who learned that lesson, it was all of us. But neither did I hit Julie Hodson. You should understand that I loved Mrs. Layman, and so did Danny and Julie. We all did, even while suffering her scoldings, which we were all subject to from time to time. Mrs. Layman was a sure-enough disciplinarian, but we didn’t mind that because she was also kind (when you were well behaved), and fair, and easily the best teacher any of us ever had. We wanted to please Mrs. Layman more than we wanted to please God, and the thing about a great teacher is that their lessons never, ever leave you. Mrs. Layman’s threat of violence had been enough to deter any future misdeeds from Julie Hodson or her like, just as Mrs. Layman knew that it would. You see, Mrs. Layman knew that I was not the boy to hit a girl (and so did Julie, which was undoubtedly why she chose me to hit in the first place), so I was the perfect remedy for Mrs. Layman’s problem, and as always, she knew just the right dosage of that remedy to administer to keep this classroom malady in check.
I stopped upon exiting the restroom. The woman was still at the counter yelling as the kid, who was diligent to the end, and was wiping up the thrown Coke even as she carried on. The woman’s loud rage surely reached every point in the small building, but still no supervisor had come to help the poor boy out. I hadn‘t meant to get involved, but as I stood there contemplating the sorry-assed state of mankind the angry woman took notice of me.
”What are you looking at?”
It was a full second before I registered that she was speaking to me. “What?”
The woman beside the trash can re-aimed her outstretched phone in my direction.
”I said, what the fuck are you looking at?” The angry woman backed away from the counter, shoved her hands down upon ample, yoga-panted hips, and started in towards me.
Now, here’s the thing about hitting a woman, or rather not hitting them. Boys learn at a young age, during normal play with other boys, that if you say something, anything really, that might piss another boy off there is likely to be a physical altercation which you may lose, or which could easily prove painful even if you win. The ever present threat of having your ass kicked teaches a boy to watch what he says, even when things get heated. Girls seldom face that threat, at least the ones who don’t have an older brother. This woman had obviously never learned that lesson, as she made no move what-so-ever to block my jab, nor even to duck it. It seemed so unexpected that it was almost as though she never even saw it coming, while she was looking directly at me. In fact her eyes barely had time to close before the knuckle aimed for the back of her head crunched into her nose, dropping her to a pile on the sticky brown tiles.
The other woman was still video-taping, although her jaw had gone slack.
“Go ahead,” I said as I walked past her. “Post that on your fucking Tic-Toc.”
That is the thing about a really good teacher. Mrs. Layman is dead some forty years now, but her lessons live on. I have no doubt that the woman sprawled across the sticky floor back there will think next time before showing her ass like that, and I‘m also sure that my friend Julie Hodson never had to take a viral punch to the nose in a fast food lobby because of those lessons, so you can see how at least two good things came out of one, five minute hallway conversation with Julie and me.
Yes, good-old Mrs. Layman would have been proud.
Cockroaches survived, and some people, who are cockroaches plus presumption, but not much else. Grass burned or grew unnibbled; forests decayed; oceans lolled to and fro, breakerless.
Twelve months after, a crab came to shore. The news reported that, and then another, another, so it could not be a fluke, and so the people came. These survivors tented on beaches for weeks or months, and if they were very good or very lucky or prayed enough to their gods, a crab might scuttle ashore. The watchers would hush. They would hoist the few children to see. They would gaze on the claws and bead eyes, weep, remember the world.
The Deal with Bukowski
Hit on levels
That the strong
And the weak
I had a buddy
Deliver a couch
In San Pedro
Back in the 90’s
An alcoholic writer
With a boatload of cats
And a wife
That most people
Would probably think
Was a fucking bitch
And do you know what
To my buddy
After he put that couch
Where his wife wanted it?
He asked him
If he wanted a beer