Here are two new prose poems. They’re about pets, and they form part of a collection tentatively titled Disposable Pets.
Now, I don’t believe pets are disposable at all. In fact, I know the opposite to be true: our pets are indispensable to our wellbeing. Taking care of another life, being responsible for that life in sickness and in health, makes me appreciate life even more.
Two Prose Poems
– “hey girl” – my old dog whines for a pat and a rub and a treat from my familiar old hand – the hand she licks when I sweat in the noon heat of my newly retired life – as I stoop to scoop up her poop at the park, a small bell around her neck tells me where she’s gone to – to sniff, to pee, to halfheartedly chase a stray cat up a tree – I pick her up soft and slow and kiss her head one last time – “my girl” – then as I scoot her home the wrong way I toss her as far as my weak arm can toss a small thing from my bike – “bye girl” – I trust she can land safe and sound in her new home as a stray dog, a lost pet, a found friend – and when I get to my house it takes just one flick of a match to blow the place up to hell and back – I left the kitchen gas on high to make sure I go out with a bang – my dog needs me to be gone from her life – I’m retired but I’m also fired – of no use to anyone and I suppose, disposable!
– oh, I have so many small fish I could open a school in my fish bowl downstairs by the front door – and when I decide to do so I fail as a teacher – I find the numbers of my students attending class dwindling by the day – their dead bodies curled up like fake eyelashes on the floor – so bone dry – erased from the chalkboard of life – on the other side of the fish bowl their classmates watch with unblinking eyes – the sudden leap and the brief fight with gravity before the final ecstatic dance to the death – do they fear the safety of their life as I do, or is it death that provides a safe escape from the slow swim towards madness? – I am vigilant – for I love each constantly talking fish – oh, I keep watch sometimes with an outstretched hand or two, but I can’t save them all – then I wonder if someone is watching out for me – loving me – holding out an invisible hand for me – for many of us fish have found ways to jump out of our fish bowl – and I wish I had a front row seat and a fish’s unblinking eye to see everything: from thoughtful leap to fight with immortality to the soul’s ecstatic dance with death – and when I stare up at the sky I often wonder – what’s on the other side of the glass for me when school’s finally out?
What is Prose Poetry?
Prose poetry is poetry written in prose form instead of verse form, while preserving poetic qualities such as heightened imagery, parataxis, and emotional effects.Wikipedia
A prose poem is a piece of imaginative poetic writing in prose.Google’s English Dictionary (Oxford Languages)
Whenever I write a new poem, I always need to figure out what it is going to look like on the page. There are so many ways words can be used to express the extraordinary inner world of a poet’s lyrical and narrative imagination. Sometimes I know exactly what the form and structure of a poem is going to be as I write it. Many times I am still discovering what the poem wants to be – even after the poem is ‘finished’. I can never force a poem to be what I want it to be. If I am unsure of a poem’s form then I will try to write the poem in different ways, until something clicks and I just know at that moment what feels right to me.
Then the poem is done (for now at least).
Do you find it ‘easy’ to find your poem when you’re writing your poetry, or do you also struggle at times, as I do? Are you happy with the sound and the look of your poem on the page?
Are you interested to find out more about the prose poem form? Here’s a short glossary entry from poets.org. Click on the button below:
Try reading a few prose poems. Then go ahead and try to write one of your own!