folio : short takes on the prose poem
SENTENCES ABOUT THE PROSE POEM
The first prose poem I ever read (or at least realized I was reading) was “A Story About the Body” by Robert Hass. The poem ends on a bowl of dead bees.
Like that, prose poems are meals. They are also boxes. They can be a regular cardboard box, or a cardboard box begging for origami, or an already origami’d cardboard box.
Amendment: in addition to being a box, a regular cardboard box, a cardboard box begging for origami or an already origami’d cardboard box, prose poems are also strings.
Strings of sentences. Or ropes. They are sentence-ropes that you hoist yourself up or down with— hand leading into the next— and by the end, what you realize you’ve really got is a tiger by the tail.
That pickpocket nabbed the moon’s wallet. That athletic calf was the distraction. That fox saw the whole thing go down. Kept on strangling the chicken. That moon deserved what it got. The way that sonofabitch made light of us.
The man in black tried to ride the horse, but the horse was too high up. ‘You’re a bully,’ said the man in black to the horse that was a star.
Like the government, Father Christmas controls all the weather and the birds. Like your father, he returns in uniform, while you are fastened to sleep.
Evan Nicholls is a poet and collage artist from Virginia. His chapbook of poems and collages, Holy Smokes, is available from Ghost City Press. Find more of his work at enicholls.com.