Here’s a little prose poem (what is a prose poem?) I wrote at the beginning of last year. I live in Utah and the day after my work decided it was unsafe to continue having folks come to the office because of Covid we had our first large earthquake in fifty or so years. Stress was high. The day of the earthquake I also received a request for a manuscript of mine from Montag Press. And my Jiu Jitsu gym decided, rightfully so, to close down for a few months. It was a heck of a year, March 18th 2021.
Anyhow, I’d been taking some Creative Writing classes at time to see if this oldish man (certainly a relic to the majority of kids in my class) had it in him to go back to school. Professor Lance Olsen‘s class to be exact, wherein which I was introduced to the work of Young-Hae Chang and Jesse Ball among many other wonderful creators. Lance’s class was fantastic and if you ever have the chance to work with him, JUMP! If not, read his work, it’s brilliant.
Our final project was meant to be a reading in class, alas, we zoomed. I’m proud of this project, not so proud of my terrible facial hair and messy apartment. Would love to have some folks interact with it.
Thanks for checking it out.
Updated with closed captions!
2 Replies to “Running”
Nice to see and hear from you Michael. We never met. I am Elly Farfel’s widow and mom of 6.
You know Glenn and Roy I assume. Also Joby. Wish You had this with closed captioning so I could read it while you are speaking. I have a hearing loss sadly.
Thank you so much for reaching out. Yes i know them all and look forward to seeing everyone in the future. I will add closed captioning when i get a chance but for now here’s the transcript:
held high above the city
shook fell. the harbinger of better days now lies on the pavement. our poor gold adorned seraphim lost his flute, a sure sign of things to come.
brittlebrick buildings built to crumble not bend, loom as lengthwise citywide tremors take their time and wait until you’re half awake to wake you. remind you that time is a terrible unit, too sticky. gets unstuck and suddenly all dread pours over. oceandepths unwell anxiety and all your bad sleeping patterns manifest.
round the corner. sprint. bloodlung—foot patter, heel toe, heel toe. hackspit. stay ahead of worried thoughts as best i can. quiet monuments outstretch unfold, hillsides and bus benches sanitized, resanitized. i hate running. mental health experts recommend post apocalyptic pre dawn measures, make sure before the sun rises, before the community flocks paths and before you go completely crazy that you take a moment and count to ten.
short southbound. two dogs. sadlooking get quite crazy quickly. from a dustbed to full snarl to “could they jump the fence?” first one charges, headlong into chainlink. feet cross, catch breath, cross street. second one leaps from under its shade tree. heart stops, sidewalk ends, turn left.
near neighbors who never wave, never wave. stand still staring underneath their awnings, arms high, yawning out their smoke filled guts. their unsturdy chimneys just finished shaking, could surely shift and then—sidewalk caked in crushed in skull, brain fragments. i’ve heard it’s grey, but pink more likely, red mass of bone mash. maybe tomorrow.
give ample room to walkers. six foot seven foot eight foot. middlestreet. curve back. cruising. leaves sync their shimmering early golden sway with the blaring screaming in my ear. not exactly music, never was—more a binding youth concoction. Testosterone, middle class activity. boredom leads to absurd obscene rituals. was i ever so angry as this drumming, yelling? teenage me. unscathed—finding blood. softhearted, yet
when i was younger i had searched for
destination unfurls. green grassy. cumtrees bloom, gum up lungs, is this it? allergies or pestilence. let no one see you sneeze. One two three. coughing spitting up. chestclamping. same time every year.
i feel death’s certainty. her breath, whitemask covered, hangs above the city. where there was once a fetid fog, no more. instead blue skyful birdsong reverie, filled completely.
wonder what exactly makes them all seem so very—is it springtime? Is it summer flowers finding roots, their fingertips digging, clawing past clayrot to fertile soil. to become fall’s crops and be sundered by winter winds.
shape of smell of sweatlike ambro, of sweets like fullclouds overbrimming raindrop frenzied air. hair full captured, blondeblack, held up, held back—they pass
hand him back his flute, his horn, his trumpet. pay penance for a few normal days, a few moments of quiet stillness of less a caffeine buzzing and more a coffee calm. a newspaper terror where the terror isn’t ever folding over every moment
home in the distance. those tired dogs have tired out. kicked to sleep. they pay me no hello, no snarling, boiled high pitched horrors. their fathers in the windows weeping, curtain covered, coffins lowered
i hate running.