Category Archives: Prose

“Dickinson’s Widow” – Prose Poetry by Claudia Zander

Neapolitan Lighthouse – Ivan Aivazovsky, 1842

A lonely lighthouse keeper struggles to stay sane in “Dickinson’s Widow,” Claudia Zander‘s prose poem from our Summer 2017 issue.

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after David Markson’s “Wittgenstein’s Mistress”

 

AFTER THE END, I’LL JUST KEEP FLINGING my musings into the void.

I don’t watch the news—well, I sort of do. More accurately, I don’t listen to the news, I just keep it on TV, on mute, in case of apocalypse.

My love’s a $10 bill you forgot to take out of your pants before you ran it through the laundry; it’s all stiff & crinkly now but it’ll still buy you a drink.

My soul’s a dreaming dachshund napping in the sun, twitching its paws & chomping at ephemeral squirrels.

My moral compass led me to a treasure map hidden behind a Sugar Ray poster in the Tulsa Hard Rock Café.

Thoughts collide & scrape inside me
like a rusty clusterfuck,
they twitch & blister as they spread their pox across Long Island Sound.
Sighs of anguish, howls of glee
are chiming through my lighthouse home,
they somersault like feisty leprechauns
across Long Island Sound.

Shit, I just remembered a field trip’s coming to tour my lighthouse tomorrow—gotta Febreze everything & hide all my Egon Schiele paintings!

Gonna spend the weekend booby-trapping the windmills of my mind, scrubbing all the Zinfandel stains out of my Metallica T-shirts, and constructing elaborate dioramas based on my most memorable childhood humiliations.

Tonight I’ll be hanging my silky new hammock in the toasty sliver between honest mistake & reckless abandon. I’ll build a fortress from coarse, lint-spangled pillows in the slender valley between false hope & unconditional surrender. I’ll be twitching atop the border of judicious heightened sensitivity & insufferable over-sensitivity.

Continue reading “Dickinson’s Widow” – Prose Poetry by Claudia Zander

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“Beyond Kansas” – Prose by Marc Harshman

Tornado Over Kansas - John Steuart Curry, 1929
Tornado Over Kansas – John Steuart Curry, 1929

There’s a storm brewing in “Beyond Kansas,” a powerful piece of short prose from our Winter 2017 issue by West Virginia’s poet laureate Marc Harshman.

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In the U.S., you have to be a deviant or die of boredom.  – William S. Burroughs

AS LONG AS  THERE’S A BREEZE, the uneasy shimmy of shadows persists and, though he pretends not to care, a reckoning is sure to follow.  He’s seen this kind of weather before.  The jay’s screech fails in the monotone of the freeway. It might have been important. You see what I mean, he wants to say. Today is not the worst, but it is worth considering how bad it could get.  He knows that.  Someone is worrying about the banks.  He understands that, too.  Maybe they worry because they know they must worry, like he does, about whether the dog food will hold out.  He can imagine a self-imposed exile from life’s headaches without going so far as a vacation.  Perhaps a concussion is all that’s needed.  Or a break-through in his writing.  “Another round of TV and platitudes.”  He makes up phrases like these all the time, writes them down, then posts them like flags around the bedroom.  They will amount to something some day.  His mother had assured him as much, that he would, amount to something, some day, though he wonders sometimes if it was said parentally, or simply as a rebuttal to her boyfriend who’d kicked him off the couch as he watched Malcolm in the Middle.  It was a weird show. He’d masturbate after every episode.   Was he a deviant?  There are screams out there that knock on the door to come in.  He gets very still; lifts the curtain to see if what happens next will be enough.  He wants it.  He wants life to be real, yet it’s all so scary.  The wind is picking up the shadows and hurling them at the windows.  He should offer to help.  Open the door.  There are so many locks on it.  He wonders if he should add more.  Time falls through his head leaving its great holes.  The storm stops.  It will be useless to try to do anything now.  Did he hit his head?  The doorway is filling with sunshine and leaves.  The door itself is gone, blown back to Kansas.  There is a little dog.  He tries talking to it.  Picks up the single, yellow brick that came through the window.  Feels the lump on his forehead, begins to understand things.  Returns to his study, re-reads his notes, begins writing a letter to his mother, tells her he’s buying her a car and they’ll really go someplace this time, beyond the cemetery, beyond the weather, beyond the beyond.

Continue reading “Beyond Kansas” – Prose by Marc Harshman