NaPoWriMo Poem #11 Retribution

Another attempt at a prose poem.


When she told me to call an ambulance and take my eighteen-month-old baby girl to the nearest emergency room, the tension in the doctor’s voice was made more obvious by her forced attempt to sound calm and in charge. It was the panting, swift and shallow, as well as my description of the baby’s calm, which to me had been a welcome relief after a night and morning of high-pitched crying, that later the doctor said convinced her of the danger. My daughter lay quietly on her stomach throughout the ambulance ride, her eyes open, but blank, asking nothing and expecting nothing from me. Later, at the hospital, when they took her from me, I called my mother, and when she asked, in that familiar tone, what we were doing with her granddaughter, I screamed into the phone, “Thank you mummy. Thank you very much for your help.”

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

NaPoWriMo Poem #10 Leaving New York

This Three- Or Four Sentence Prose Poem assignment, found in In The Palm Of Your Hand, by Steve Kowit is to take an experience and write about it “… with great conciseness and tell the entire story in three or four sentences.” This is my attempt.

Leaving New York

The November morning I left New York City for the San Francisco Bay Area was not as cold as the night in February fourteen years earlier when I had first stepped through the automatic doors of Kennedy Airport into a freezing brilliance that hit me like a narcotic, needled the skin of my face, cramped my teeth, and, despite my twenty-one years, made me whimper for my mother. The departing and arriving passengers ignored my tears, this was New York after all. Five years later I was obsessed with the city, chasing it through summer nights so thick with stench-ridden heat, deep breaths were a dare. I was seeing a girl, a dark-skinned lesbian-on-hiatus, who after sex, became convulsed with a silent, violent sobbing, which I took for the appropriate acidic juice of our coupling.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

NaPoWriMo Poem #9 Hail The Philistines

Okay, so the point of NaPoWriMo is not to get hung up on editing. This is very much a poem that I would normally work on quite a bit more, before putting it out there. Not that that is not true for the other 8 poems I’ve published on this blog this month, but as it is “Hail the Philistines” is an unwieldy piece of writing.

Hail the Philistines.

The philistines are busy

going about their days.

Imagine their surprise at the scud



the sky like locusts.

Sharon walks out,

the door scurrying after her until it is stopped

by its inadequacies. It is just a door

after all.

Nighttime in the city, a locus

of dimensions, a heat driven expansion

of time, adjacent to a razor-thin compression

of minus zero

degrees in the shade bitterness.            Who

is to say that Persephone

did not find in Hades solace in the respite from fucking

that she craved from the moment she slid

out of Demeter’s womb

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

NaPoWriMo Poem # 8 purple/blue


it is so comfortable,

after a long day,

after the jolt of the morning alarm,

after the jolt of the too short snooze

after the jolt yet again

ten minutes later

after the shower and the shave

and the tears

after the toast and juice

after the cymbalta,

the hydrochlorothiazide,

the labetalol

after the simvastatin,

the lisinopril, and the fourteen hundred milligrams

of omega 3 fish oil

after the drive to work through bumper

to bumper traffic, shallow breathing, racing

heartbeats, still more tears

after parking the car, checking the mirror/

putting on a forced smile under puffy, terror filled eyes

after walking into the workplace, holding my breath

until i walk out hours later

after the bruises of the day

after driving home through bumper

to bumper traffic, nodding head, half-

closed eyes

after parking the car

and opening the front door

and closing it behind me

i strip off my clothes

and fall into a dark purple/blue

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

NaPoWriMo Poem #7 untitled

i spent the day

as i always do

visiting the day

breathing its air

sometimes tentatively, like a wild animal, testing

the limits of its territory

where it begins

where it ends

what’s out there

some days i suck in the air as if

i had the nose of a proboscis monkey

vacuuming in

honking out

vulgarizing the air with a carnal indifference

most days the in and out of my diaphragm

the anemone like waves of my nostril


happens behind the closed windows of my day

and i’m lucky if, as i stagger along the streets

of my day, i notice so much as a curtain shivering

in a dark window.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

NoPoWriMo Poem #6 Thoughts of Leaving

Thoughts of Leaving

It is late when I get off the bus. The curtains doze, drugged by the still,

heavy, heat. There is no

breeze off the sea tonight.

The mosquitoes whine, but do not pounce.

Ganja smoke rides the night. There is a whispering

in the mango trees. I hear the sound, but

not the meaning,

and think it an invitation to sleep.

I am a working man.

Three months out of high school.

I am a character in a short story

written by a Caribbean Chekov.

In the city of Kingston

a certain young man works as a bank clerk.

In the top right drawer of my

chest of drawers twelve

razor sharp twenty dollar bills

kotch like rude boys.

My first paycheck. My salary. My ticket out

of this small, beautiful, wretched,

storybook island that is stifling me every day.

My dreams are of eye blinding, red-orange

shirts bought in Miami; Jet Magazine photographs

of long legged, slow eyed girls from

Philadelphia; television shots of Manhattan skyscrapers,

and second hand stories of stories of

after-hours parties in the  Bronx. But

this is not the United States of All-Dreams.

It is Jamaica. Jamdown.


I wake one night to a gun

in my face. There is a cipher

behind the blue-black chrome, but it is not to him I silently beg for my life.

“Wheh de money?”

I think to lie for less than a second. “In de top draw,” I

answer, and close my eyes and wait. It is enough. The gun

leaves, with the money. A year

later I too have left, but the

thick, weed stink of fear

will not leave.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NaPoWriMo Poem #5 Portraits


In my father’s younger days,

when he was a young man, a couple of years

out of boyhood, and I a boy-child,

a couple of years removed from my inarticulate

infancy. he was an artist, and I loved him

for it.

His pencil sketches of me, mostly when

asleep, how else to catch a child who will not stop talking

—Daddy, when Daddy?

What Daddy? Who Daddy? Why?—

were all over that damp

London flat.

The wispy drawings done with smoke

colored charcoal, lay across the plaid

of the comforter, were taped to the water stained walls,

floated in the air like fairies in that

dark apartment. The London damp leaking in

was nothing to the warmth of my father’s voice

that told stories as warm and light as his drawings,

and covered me with the same smoky magic.

My mother, in nursing school, worked nights,

so the dark, damp evenings belonged to the young artist

and the boy—Daddy? Why Daddy?

There were paintings too in that flat.

Leaning, one on top of the other

against the wall by the front door.

I pulled them apart to read them like the heavy

pages of a large book. A glass bowl, two flaring red apples, and a yellow banana.

The front of our flat from the street,

the snow-white walls, the oak brown door, the thick tree trunk, the quick green gate. The woman, her face darker

than the door, her brows darker still, her forehead


I saw that face years later. My father no longer

painted, or drew. I had returned to my inarticulate

infancy, no longer recognizing the questions

that needed answering. I walked the house, miles

away from that London flat, late in the night,

passing her sitting in the dark, her face darker,

her brows darker still, her forehead creased.


Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment