Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day Eight: Snubbing the Prompt

I am snubbing today's Read Write Poem NaPoWrMo challenge prompt, (sorry, I have no more sighs and cries about Love left in me...I am a soul-less empty broken shell-type thing, etc.) and instead am posting the first draft of a poem from a series I'm working about Las Vegas. Lately, I've really been into prose poems. I think it has something to do with some brilliant prose poetry by Stephen Dunn that I read a few weeks ago, but who knows? This prompt is based on a real person who I met on the Strip. I liked him quite a bit, even though our interaction was very brief.

The Salesman

Anything you want: teeth, furs, cigars, turquoise, genuine desert artifacts, the rarest beetles pinned to velvet, a twist of metal certified by SETI . I even have a finger bone, a hand. There's no pride about what: it's all the same--a swap. Everyone has something that they want. You buy, or if you're the type who senses whiskey sweats you show that awful sort of kindness. If you're someone who knows damn well when someone's gone to seed. Seed, there's something I could have done with early on, something practical, but I take mean pride in the value given useless things. Here a broke-off eyelash, there a diamond chip. Anything in Lucite goes like mad, especially arachnids. The goddamned genuine carpet bag takes you off your guard--no more authentic an eyesore anywhere. Who wouldn't need to look? Who wouldn't need a souvenir, if for the nothing else the story?

--Kristen McHenry


Frank Moraes said...

Yeah, prose poems... I first learned to love poems by reading a prose poet: William Carpenter. (Almost 30 years ago!) Check him out:

I could see you going there. There is a natural narrative arch in your best work anyway. I first read SETI as SATI—an interesting connection, I think. The first part reminds me of the strangest store I used to go to; it is just North of Berkeley. It sells all kinds of weird things: large dead scorpions; human skulls from around the world, ranging in price from one to many hundreds of dollars (illegal to import anymore, I think); all sorts of other biological things. The place scared me to death.

I pick up odd thins I find on the street: broken 3-D glasses, a party horn—probably from new years, an odd piece of wood working which people tell me has something to do with back scratching, but looks like a duck on wheels to me. I keep them around for a while, and then I toss them—after the love affair is over; I am such a callous and fickle lover. They are like the people who matter most to me: the broken, forgotten, marginalized; I try not to toss them aside; they may need me; it is the other way with the objects.

Frank Moraes said...

I am so sorry you have stopped. I'm afraid it is part my fault; I use the word "silly" too freely. Alas.

Now how will I avoid my work?