Friday, December 30, 2011

Charlotte San Juan: Three Poems

What Drives You Home At 2am

You admit that it is the way
An oncoming train becomes a slow moving
Upside down glowing socket.
A snake whose loud mouth is open wide
And full of light
You admit that it is every stray cat
Huddled beneath parked cars
Hugged together, a tight ball of yarn
Eyes caught by your headlights,
Two illuminated silver coins
Marking the way back home.

California Trash

At times my eyes are
Shooting blanks into the horizon,
Trying to puncture the clouds.
Trying to escape the smog and nicotine,
And the yellow sheets of paper that burgers are wrapped in
That float around in the gutter,
In parking lots and
Sway across the beach sand.


You never liked night driving.
And now, on the road
You find yourself a strange,
Lonely vehicle that careens
Up an empty street
Drenched in the pitch black nightgown
Of the devil herself.
It makes you remember the folksy darkness
Of Massachusetts,
How a single pair of headlights
Isolate every passing tree
Like tall nude broads
Exposed and awkwardly branching,
Momentarily bathed in silk light.
And then shrouded safe by
An ink curtain draping over them
As you, with feigned indifference
Leave them untouched, distant figures
To be groped by other lights.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gerald Nicosia: Press Release on the Kerouac Estate

Gerald Nicosia, author of the best biography of Jack Kerouac Memory Babe, and editor of a moving account of the life of Kerouac's daughter Jan Kerouac: A Life in Memory, writes about the recent appellate court ruling that the will being used to direct the operations of the Kerouac Estate is a forgery.

In May 1994, Jan Kerouac filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County, Florida, against the Sampas family, alleging that they had forged her grandmother Gabrielle Kerouac’s will.  Jack Kerouac had left his entire literary estate to his mother Gabrielle, and when she died, a will was filed leaving all his property to Stella Kerouac, his widow.  Jan Kerouac died on June 5, 1996, before the case went to trial; but it was eventually carried on by Jack Kerouac’s nephew, Paul Blake, Jr., son and only child of Jack Kerouac’s late sister Caroline Kerouac Blake.  Kerouac, in fact, had written a letter to his nephew Paul the day before he died, telling him that, after his mother passed on, he wanted his entire literary estate to go to Paul.

On July 24, 2009, Judge George Greer in the Probate Court of Pinellas County, Florida, ruled that Jack Kerouac’s mother’s will, leaving his entire estate, including all of his literary properties, to his widow Stella Kerouac was a forgery.  In an unusually lengthy and strong decision, Judge Greer wrote that Kerouac’s mother, who was partially paralyzed and bedridden from a stroke, “would have lacked the coordination to affix her signature.  The [probate] court is required by law to use a clear and convincing standard in determining these matters.  However, even if the criminal standard of beyond all reasonable doubt was the requirement, the result would certainly be the same.  Clearly, Gabrielle Kerouac was physically unable to sign the document dated February 13, 1973, and, more importantly, that which appears on the Will dated that date is not her signature.”  He “ordered and adjudged that the document bearing date of February 13, 1973 and admitted into probate herein as the last will and testament of Gabrielle Kerouac is a forgery….” He also ordered the probate of Gabrielle’s will, which had given all of her property to Stella, to be revoked.

The Sampas family, the brothers and sisters of Stella who had inherited the Kerouac Estate from her when she died in 1990, immediately took an appeal of Judge Greer’s decision.  Co-heir and Literary Executor for the family, John Sampas, told British journalist Stephen Maughan “We do not believe the Will of Gabrielle Kerouac was forged and do believe the Judge based his ruling on fictitious accounts by a doctor who never met Gabrielle Kerouac.”  Sampas also lamented that a strong defense of the will had not been put on before Judge Greer.  Why he and his family did not mount such a strong defense, he did not explain.  “Our lawyers,” Sampas claimed to Maughan, “would have demolished Alan Wagner and his corrupt father Bill Wagner [Paul Blake, Jr.’s attorneys].”

While the appeals process continued, Paul Blake, Jr.’s lawyers were prevented from going after assets of the Kerouac Estate, and even from getting any sort of accounting of those assets.  All that is now changed.

On August 10, 2011, the District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, ruled against the Sampas family and affirmed Judge Greer’s ruling that Kerouac’s mother’s will was a forgery.  The way the decision was written, it is a final decision and cannot be appealed further.  That means it is now in the history books that the Kerouac Estate, arguably the most valuable literary estate in recent history, was stolen.

Bill Wagner, Blake’s attorney, stated, “In effect, the war is over.  Gabrielle’s will has been determined to be a forgery and now our chore is to see what assets we can trace and still recover or recover rights to.”  When Jack Kerouac died, Stella was entitled to only one-third of the estate by a Florida dower’s rights law.  The rest should have gone to Jan Kerouac and Paul Blake, Jr.  States Wagner: “The Estate of Gabrielle Kerouac is being administered at this time and the Personal Representative [appointed by the Florida court] is collecting information to allow the Estate to benefit as Jack Kerouac intended, subject only to the Widow’s Share awarded at his death to Stella [by Florida state law] ….”
Continues Wagner: “By reason of the above events, the 1/3rd of the assets of Jack Kerouac which passed by law to Stella became the property of Stella’s siblings.  The remaining 2/3rd of the assets of Jack Kerouac that passed under Jack’s will to Gabrielle belong to her recently re-opened Estate.  The beneficiaries of that Estate are Paul Blake, Jr., and the heirs of Jan Kerouac, sharing equally once the Estate is fully administered.  The discovery of tangible personal property and the accounting for intangible personal property, including intellectual property and money assets, both past and future, will be the focus of the Personal Representative under the supervision of the Probate Court.”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011



a raven

the mighty susquehanna
curling inward

caw caw caw.

a breach

the road was never there
was never mine. it was conceived as a ghost.

the earth is turning colder. invisible.
there is a bluster of blinding snow.

she'll insist that I smell like the west
like sun washed trees. like apples.

like a million little aftershocks.

later, she'll brush her teeth in the shower.

A.g. Synclair is the editor and publisher of The Montucky Review. He doesn't have an MFA in anything but still manages to publish regularly. He lives, writes, and collaborates in southwestern Montana with his significant other, the artist and poet Heather Brager.

Monday, December 19, 2011

In the Country of Nice Things


The Accidental Navigator: New and Selected Poems and a Story
by Henry Denander (Lummox Press)

A new book by Henry Denander is always good news. This one isn’t completely new, since I received my review copy in October, but who knows, maybe a few of you won’t have come across it yet. And if I want to keep getting books as good as this mailed to me for free I have to keep up my part of the bargain.

I like Henry Denander. You should know that. My memory isn’t good, but I believe our paths first crossed nearly a decade ago, in a brilliant print magazine run by Bryn Fortey. Outlaw. I could see then that he knew about jazz and he knew about Charles Bukowski, two things that sell a man or woman to me pretty quickly even to this day. When I got to know him better I realised that he had adapted Bukowski’s apparently plain (though technically adept) narrative style to create his own distinctive voice, which is the four-leaved clover in the poetry game; so few of us achieve it you could write all of the names down while the kettle was boiling and still have time to check your Facebook. I also discovered as my familiarity with Henry grew that he was a good painter and a really nice guy.

You would not think that the latter detail mattered very much, but it’s important when it comes to a consideration of his poetry. That voice, the person speaking to us out of the poems in The Accidental Navigator and Henry’s other books, is, to use Gerald Locklin’s word, a ‘congenial’ one. Mature, witty, reasonable, not at all given to the posturing often evident in those who have taken Bukowski as their leader instead of a significant signpost on the road to liberation of style and content. Henry Denander pretends to be nobody and his poems are filled with the matter of his own life.

But then, Henry’s life is not an ordinary one. He described himself somewhere as a ‘bean counter’ in the entertainment industry, and in the course of counting those beans he has met a fair few legends of jazz and other musical forms -  one poem in the collection, “Royalty Advances”, concerns his separate dealings with a “fantastic guitar and harmonica player” (we can only wonder who that is) and Chet Baker, who had much more of the Beat spirit about him when receiving his money. Henry also keeps a home on a Greek island, being financially comfortable and unashamed of it – it is usually the done thing for poets to claim they work in a drive-thru’ and have holes in their shoes (I really have, by the way) – so the collection features Mediterranean poems too, suffused with the warmth and simplicity and companionship of his life there. I like these a lot, for whatever the opinion of someone who has never been to Greece might be worth.

A new(ish) development, if I’m not mistaken, is the poetry of ageing. Henry talks about kidney stones in “A Perfect Client” and “Nursing” (they insert something into your Johnson – ouch). In “Modern Times” we read of headache treatments and other parts of the body that might need a cure. But it is jazz and Bukowski to whom he continually returns, musing even on the Wormwood Review and in one poem, on the first name he and Buk share. If he had known about Bukowski as a young man, he says, he would have been proud to be another Henry.

An artist, a thinker, even a human being with no other attachable label, is defined by his or her passions, and it’s an act of generosity for Henry to share his with us. In the prose story that finishes the book, however, he decants into less familiar territory with “The Poetry of Mr. Blue”, a narrative that namechecks an author some might not be familiar with, Paul Auster. Crammed with Auster references and Auster-ish unresolved mysteries and coincidences, it’s an unexpected, skilful and slightly spooky piece. What’s even more spooky is that I’d just started rereading Paul Auster as I was finishing Henry’s book. I know he will appreciate that fact even if nobody else does. Paul Auster, of course, is too safe in the hands of the Academics now to care.

You can buy a copy of The Accidental Navigator from Lummox Press at .

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ramona Itule-Patigian: Three Poems


          A Short Dissertation

Sacred pathetic fallacy, here we are
bell and board, bound to brain.
The ghost trains and I searching lights
for more than lanterns. The library romantics
and microscope erotics came for columns and
they’ll leave with nothing less. So
let’s pretend we’re spies and apply band-aids
to flat tires. Let’s go wine tasting at the university
and fish shooting at the mall. Take

me shopping or bar hopping. Tell
the bartender you love Stein and
and we’ll toast Sartre, recite symphonies and
play Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.  
Read me gibberish, it’s sexy.
We’ll buy Che T-shirts and berets
as long as there’s an ATM
drink ink till we’re dizzy and bask in composition

I’ve tried baking cakes with tacks and hangers
and I like the sound of my own voice


Beginning to imagine my life with the apparition was not hard
starting over tea in a silent parlor
The two of us seated without the bolts of our waking lives
A memory rolls over again, takes a swift gusty inhale
and the cobwebbed body smiles a poker-face smile
Appears over the wire in a startling break, a lost bell tower
that once knew my heart like the map of a hand

Starting to embrace life with the apparition was easy too
beginning with a song on a crackling recorder
The two of us listening without the rolling static of traffic
The memory rises up with a dusty stifled murmur
and my call is finally answered in the death of the dead

At first just a speechless spell that stood and stuttered in silence
I lost my breath and swallowed my twisted stomach with a gulp
trying to find a greeting fit for a talking statue
Preparing to shatter glass, drain the embalmed and remember everything
Then a tumbling spindle, rattling and re-living in constant spilling threads
chattering on to the sound I had buried, to relic lighthouses and dinosaur bones
Now the ghost of a ghost
the apparition and I begin to make plans


All our finely tuned legacies sprawl out from underneath
Like the swift, seared desert that first choked me into fantasy and form
All these scowling teenage girls I was and swift fits I hailed sacred
And yet I can hardly summon a line for you
Let alone any blazed battle fields or mourned loses
Those are mine to keep
Those that move like stillness and settle unnoticed
Those that bleed through paper like spirits and smoke
Those that have grown within my earth and calcify to bone
Any cliché that I could give you would seem blasphemy
Sold out, grown up, resigned individuality?
You waver like the fight in me
You pace there in the roots
Sifting sand and awakening dust
Reminiscent of angst, but more like rebel lust
Sometimes I forget I loved life first

Ramona Itule-Patigian is from the desert, but now lives in Berkeley, California with her boyfriend and cat. She recently received her MFA from Mills College and loves music and fruit. Her work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Quantum Poetry Magazine, and is forthcoming in Triggerfish Critical Review. 

Monday, December 05, 2011

Kevin Cummings: Two Poems


I never paid much attention in physics
But after a couple of beers
And remembering that man was capable of the atomic bomb
And landing on the moon
I stumble out the door into the night
Trying my damndest to piss on the stars
Failing Miserably.  



I left the car on empty
Walking the half mile to the tracks
To watch the boxcars,
Cutting the horizon in two,

I dreamt of places,
Of stories told in miles.

You told me to run from this place

I swear I’m trying,

But I haven’t left;
Afraid there’d be no home
To come back to.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

McDougal Street Blues - Jack Kerouac

Kerouac and the Clones

A correspondent suggests that Jack Kerouac has no place in the slice-and-dice Penguin anthology even though Ginsberg has, and would have made the cut but for those evil money-grubbers at HarperCollins. I've heard this kind of stupid prejudice against Kerouac many times, but I still can't help wondering what planet people live on. Everybody who isn't looking for the employee of the month badge at McDonald's or next year's £50 000 Anaemic Poetry Prize and the big seat at the English Department table in the University of Clones knows Kerouac is a great poet. Here's Ginsberg's own view on the matter from an old issue of Gargoyle Magazine.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Dove: Digging Deeper


I've been reading further on Rita Dove's decision to exclude Ginsberg and Kerouac from the new Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Verse and I've unearthed a couple of interesting details. First this old quote from Dove, which demonstrates she has no particular prejudice towards Ginsberg (I'd never heard of her before I read about the anthology, so what did I know?):

Allen Ginsberg's importance was in its twilight for so many years that it took his death to bring it to the front page. He electrified an entire world! And he continues to do so! There are generations who stumble across HOWL and find it speaks to them. Yet it takes a tragedy to make people notice.

Dove says in her introduction, apparently, that she couldn't afford to blow her whole budget on hefty permission fees from copyright owners. I don't know if she refers specifically to HarperCollins and Rupert Murdoch (I am so out of the political loop in literary matters I didn't know they were owned by the liberal's own antichrist Rupert Murdoch), but I suppose the inference is there even if the declaration isn't. So, then, she simply couldn't afford Ginsberg.

That's a credible argument. Perhaps, then, Dove's mistake was tactical rather than political, in that she has included in her anthology a whole lot of people who could have been excluded so that the most significant American poet of the 1950s - in cultural as well as literary terms - didn't have to be. And if it was a question of late negotiation with HarperCollins when most of the money had already been spent, the same applies. It's bad housekeeping. Blaming the capitalist monster Murdoch and the devils of the Ginsberg estate might be fun but it's too easy.

And I still wonder what really motivated Dove's selections for the book. While including four of her own poems, Dove excludes Sylvia Plath too, and Plath's poetry is taught in every university from here to the other side of Mars. I don't like it personally but even a pig-headed bastard like me has to admit it's technically brilliant. Is Plath owned by the horned Australian one also? Most of the stuff I've read seems to indicate that Dove just hates her poetry, which is fair enough, but not a good basis for the editing of a poetry anthology.

As for Kerouac...well, some of the reviews of the anthology have been kind about his writing while discussing its absence from the book, but prejudice against him is so deep-rooted in 'respectable' circles an editor who could afford to buy Manhattan probably wouldn't include him. The professor of American Literature at Northampton University described Jack's Essentials of Spontaneous Prose as 'hippie shit' in a lecture only last year. I forced him to admit he was wrong in a private discussion in his office a few days later, but I'm sure his submission was only made to prevent me from breaking the furniture.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Ginsberg: The Ugly Spectre of Revisionism

also published at Suffolk Punch (

The rather wonderful Allen Ginsberg blog ( reminds us that Allen's poetry has been left out of Rita Dove's Penguin Anthology of Twentieth Century American Poetry.

WHAT??? Who the hell is going to represent American poetry at mid-century and into the Sixties then? Robert Lowell?? Kenneth Patchen??

This doesn't warrant a polite "Boo!", Ginsberg people, it warrants a howl, if you'll pardon the pun, of objection. It's philistinism. Absolute philistinism. And an absurd attempt to rewrite history, excluding the only serious challenge to the strangulating dullness of respectable literary life in those times.

I recommend we all write emails and letters of strenuous complaint and refuse to buy any more Penguin books until they correct their ridiculous error

Well, I say the ONLY serious attempt, but I find that Kerouac's not in there either. Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti are, which is fine, but by no stretch of the imagination could it be said that they've written work of the same profound, original, epoch-making significance as Ginsberg and Kerouac. And I think they'd probably both tell you that too.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal: Three Poems


Without words,
books, and dictionaries,
the silent type might rule.
Without language,
there’d be no use for pens
and ink.  Our tangled
nets would fill with fish
and their smell could not
be described.  They would
not be fish.  On cold nights
we would shiver and cough.
The rotting corpses would
not have names.  Home
would be a place and there
would be no word for it.  Sound
would fill our ears and
the sky would just be a thing
like the sunset would be something
without a name.   Home would
be where we dream and like
everything it could not be
described.  The wind would be
soothing like your soft kiss.
There would be no word for love
without language.


I heard the crying woman in the yard last night.  She does not come around as often as before.  I have never seen her.  I only hear her cries.  She is an apparition, a ghost.  She only appears to some of the neighbors, who describe her as lean, with fair skin, and long hair.  I hear she grew up around these parts.  She died after she lost her husband in the first World War.   She drowned in her bathtub leaving behind a small note.  I am going to meet my soldier.  She did not sign it.  I cannot sleep a wink when I hear her cries.  She makes me feel like crying too.  It is so infectious.  It sounds like she’s pouring out her soul to love long gone.  I could not comfort her because I have troubles of my own.


The invisible woman wept transparent tears.
She sealed her heart away.
She walled her heart and remained at home
inside her homemade grave.
In the airless room the disappeared woman
welcomed no strangers.
She preferred to be alone because she could
not be with her one true love.
The invisible woman believed heaven was
in her room and thought
she was blessed and completely dead
inside her homemade grave.

Luis was born in Mexico.  He lives in Los Angeles County and works in the mental health field.  His last chapbook, Digging A Grave, was published by
Kendra Steiner Editions.   Alternating Current will publish his chapbook, Peering Into The Sun, and Poet's Democracy will publish his chapbook,
Songs For Oblivion.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

David Nix: Two Poems

Midnight Meanderings

Dark and twisty
The ash of a cigarette
Spiraling down to oblivion
Never good enough
Used and tossed away
With the filth

Tired but conscious
The ache of an old scar
Pondering endless nothings
Endless everythings
To only return

Alive but dead
Blazing into silence
I am alone.

So It Goes

Cultural boundaries hide nebulous           

All I see are dull people,
arguing dull topics,
with other dull people.
Is it enough to live?
It is enough to die, apparently.
I can’t express my deepest feelings,
but I can ride a mule.
Let’s pick and choose
because it suits our idea of perfection.

Ambitions outweigh our commissions      
          and omissions.

What even is perfection?
Is it our elitist, exclusive
communities of righteousness?
Letting no one in
and no one out?
Fuck that.
It’s not about you.
It’s about everyone.
And everything.

The meek are on a losing streak, so to      

I’m not arguing the idea,
only the practice.
I have no doubt.
I’m just fed up
with the bullshit.
Cliques reject you,
parents hate you,
job enrages you,
and you’re left with the one
who loves you.
I get it.

No one is mistaken, they just need to        

It’s global.
It’s viral.
When devotion becomes zeal,
that’s when you have to watch out.
I just don’t get it.
Live and let live.
Is my point.
Because murder is ok
if you’re told to do it.
You know.

I’m comfortable with the     

People are going to be petty and vile.
You have to accept it.
I don’t know I’m right.
I don’t know much.
But what I do know
is when that sun chases the moon
around the Earth to bring the night,
it goes on.
And on.

A few words for David Nix
Hey everyone! My name is David Nix and I am currently a student at George Mason University and an English major with a concentration in Poetry Writing. I started my college career as a physics major, switching to English because I decided I liked the power of words more than the power of numbers. I hope you enjoy my poems!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Editor's Note

All poets waiting to see their contributions appear on this august page are advised that we will be approximately a week later than planned in publishing them. This couldn't be avoided, but once we get back on schedule we'll let you know. The Beatnik.

Neil Ellman



In Love

I am in love
with stars, tarantulas and you
porcupines, pyramids
and mayonnaise
Picasso and gumbo-limbo trees
the frost on the morning cloak
shredded paper raining down
on streets
crowded with asteroids
and caviar
with you as well
as the smell of lavender
and the touch
of a stranger on the train
no stranger than
the love I have for you.


Coiled conceit
in arms
cold to the touch
the cobra springs
           shedding skin
                   (not  yet her own)—

and I trusted you
for what you were.

From Your Side of the Sun

On your side of the sun
       this     &      that
          in cold colors

         white fireflies
         contained in
         incandescent jars

it never stops
                these rumors

                age define

       dark spots on an old man’s face
       suggesting spittle from its mouth


      when there is none.


Vodka becomes me
i, it
we are friends
from the playgrounds
of our youth
old lovers
behind a barn
in the grass
we climbed
it and I
plunged to the soft
of the Mariana Trench
where no neighbors
could see us
nothing touch us
we had no shame
where shame itself
was light
no remorse
we grow old
really old
i and it
fulfilling our pledge
till death do us part.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Allison Grayhurst and Douglas Polk

Alison Grayhurst

I will not be drawn
into you – mute with treacherous emotions,
shadowy at best in this morose of need and trophies.
Love is not a possible banner to bear. Love is not
this city, painted with greed and the ‘doing anything’ for survival.
It is okay to die, but not okay for my mind to be inebriated
with euphemisms, misty without edge or sharp magic.
I will not be drawn into the giving of roses or waiting
for the things within to confirm connection with what is heavy,
tedious and demanding. I will stay in place, committed to my familiar adventure,
block the gold from clawing on my screen. I will just look
and see nothing new, feel like a shoreline on a day of perfect weather.
I will not be drawn. I will myself concealed
in my mad lagoon, immune to any intoxicating distraction or further

It Happened

It happened when
the air grew thick
as toffee candy
and love slipped into the cupboard
behind a rack full of old clothes.
That is when the lights broke and a new view
came headlong in – one that feels like
holding hands out, spread and still
under placid waters or
a photo charged with self-contained life.
That is when I stopped speaking, even praying about
the same large dream. That was the day I walked up
the stairs and accepted the marks across the wall, the dents
in the doors and my aging fingernails.
It happened then like a quote upon my door, read and
re-read at each failing moment.
It happened and has not stopped –
less words now
less of everything and less of the burden
of its heavy worth.

A few words from Allison Grayhurst: Over the past twenty years my poems have been published in journals throughout the United States, Canada, and in the United Kingdom, including The Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, Wascana Review, Poetry Nottingham International, The Cape Rock and White Wall Review.  My work was also included in the Insomniac Press anthology Written In The Skin. My book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Recent places where my work has appeared or will soon be appearing include: Quantum Poetry Magazine, Indigo Rising and Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine.


Douglas Polk

Letters in a word, 
not all letters, 
must first be a consonant, 
labeled such by the sound it makes,
like people labeled because of skin color,
 because of where it stands in relation to other letters,
 different letters, 
whose sound comes forth unobstructed from the mouth,
but not an end in themselves.
Bio: Polk is a writer of poetry from central Nebraska. Feeling persecuted most of his life he has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal. He lives with his wife and two boys and two dogs on the plains of Nebraska

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brittany Fonte: Two Prose Poems

“Why Prose Poetry?”

When people ask, more thoughtless than not, Why prose poetry?  I tell them, Just like basic Algebra, or at least addition and subtraction (and maybe multiplication—which is why we have Sex Ed) there are several solid “real world” applications for such.  They balk, of course, and ask how I live off of lines that don’t even rhyme in a time of Dr. Seuss nostalgia and online sales of Beatles’ paraphernalia.  Then, because I cannot prove to people who’ve never been moved by a d.a. levy musing, or made love to by a seriously hung sonnet, or cried to the truth of Sapphire in a barred window pane, that education for the sake of education is what separates the scholars from the downtown ballers-for-booze, I am bold as “Bump its” on ‘Shore Snookie. I offer:

Ransom Notes.  Surely your average filthy rich parent has an appreciation and often pot-induced remembrance of “Howl” in a hard-hitting Contemporary Lit class—the one with the hot professor who never wore panties and always sat on the desk in front of the class, legs crossed like Sharon Stone when she wasn’t famous enough to wear lingerie in films.   The spoken word feel of an appeal for a bank account’s bills must seem more real than the magazine cut-outs from the movies you see on Pay-Per-View (when you’d rather be watching porn.)

Baby Announcements.  When you want to detract from the new arrival via your teenaged daughter and some oily guy she met while on vacation in Ocean City, or your “darling” tramp and your (criminal) ex boyfriend who, unfortunately, had a thing for truly younger girls and not just older ones acting a character in a Disney television show in their daughter’s mini skirts, prose poetry is the way to go.  Imagine the lyrics to a sexually-charged, yet redundant, pop-song atop an electric blue (that won’t wash the baby out in the pastel wrap against the cheetah-print bra) background.  You can even give the baby a symbol—like Prince— and then, if the baby turns out illiterate like its mysterious father (or “Maury” set of fathers), he or she will still be able to sign into rehab, alone.

Dear John letters.  Think distraction, here.  You don’t want to come off as the flaming bitch in your 100-word sign-off to your one time bed buddy via tweet or status update or emoticon-filled text; he or she might have attractive friends.  With jobs.  And after all, they were hot enough to make out with in the line at Starbucks (for the heterosexuals), or the check out at Pet Smart (for our lesbian friends), or at the meth party-come-“gym” (for our pretty boys.) This temporary temperature raising (even weeks ago) means you owe it to them to at least craft a lyrical let go…. Besides, these losers will love a “goodbye” akin to a Stevie Nicks song on change and moving on (add image of falling rocks, here).

Notes to your children’s teachers (when they’ve been suspended for cherry bombs in the public toilets, or sending naked pictures of themselves to the new music teacher, or hacking into the computer system to fail all the jocks for the weekly wedgies) can benefit from some poetic license, too.  What teacher doesn’t appreciate a well-written note that uses punctuation correctly, then applauds their work with creative similes and metaphysical compliments?  If the teacher happens to be an English teacher, this apology for your child’s lethargy or antipathy can, also, double as an extra credit assignment on the intricacies of rhythm and internal rhyme in contemporary American literature.

Finally, and obviously, if you are less attractive than the average A-lister, and you can no longer stand dating the chromosomally abnormal (or accident prone) Subway sandwich maker, prose poems are excellent additives for your 900 number calls.  Somehow, the women who answer the phones find comfort in the fact that men (and women) can still string together a line of iambic pentameter in the times of “No Child Left Behind,” and rocketing tuition costs, and parental job loss. It isn’t easy navigating a higher education system in the midst of economic heresy, but one-time hookers whose breasts have fallen to hip level and whose all-nighter tips have been lost altogether, certainly salivate over such work, and may give you their home addresses for some mighty meter; they know.

She sang, ‘The Future’s Not Ours to See…’

If it rains (or we get caught lying on our taxes, taxing our mothers or mothering our spouses), we expect it to unleash an umbrella-full of hail, and we are patients in the way that we undress to the sky, model soaked paper, bend over and expose all there is to know about our fears, inside.  We wear galoshes humbly; we wear pleather precipitation hats made for ‘40’s musicals. We watch the torrents on a weather map bleep by, cry, know there will be an end, then make plans for Tahiti next month (with tissues) and buy a skimpy bathing suit with which to woo a new mate.  Maybe we meet with our counselor and sigh for one hour.  We do not learn: dukkha.

If it’s only cloudy, if there’s just a hint of humidity frizzing our hair and nothing has shown up on the haughty radar yet (we don’t know our boss has been checking our email, our identity’s been stolen, we’ve forgotten who we are), we put our eggs in a generic faith carton, instead, and carry on like we’ve never dropped one before, spilled a yolk, cost a chicken a fortune in fertility drugs and an ugly reputation for being yellow and “easy.”  We rage, later, against what seems unfair in that shelled mess and ignore: “What will be, will be.”  Silent is samsara.

When it’s sunny—not a cloud in the sky—we imagine what’s around the bend and forget to ferret away this Farenheit phase for another time, when it’s necessary.  We cannot stand still and rejoice in the rainless day, because that rain clouds our optimism and those clouds cover rules of karma.  We think, only, that sun cannot last, it won’t end our days, it’s solely sentimental, those seasonal rays.  This, we cannot accept.  So we pout.  And we spin on our individual equators, spin away

Brittany Fonte holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She teaches at the university level and works as an assistant editor at Lowbrow Poetry Press. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in journals like Literary Mama, The Wrong Tree Review, Breadcrumb Scabs and Pemmican Journal; she recently published a chapbook with Silkworm Ink (UK). She can be reached at for questions, comments, or intellectually stimulating coffee dates.