Four Prose Poems

by Maureen Kingston

after the housing crisis, a badly shingled life

collapsed hives : collapsed lives : a cottage industry of pre-retirees : a fragile swing set : their endless road dead-ended : upended at 45 : at 50 : no longer Kerouac-cool to sleep in a friend’s barn he says  : bowing his head : his story a crushed compass : the punctured wineskin of a failed quest : his house deed : his bonds : sold off : blight-bundled by an invisible hand : start again I say : napalm your nightmares : don’t let the bastards win : & as we laugh I see trace flames rise from his vortex : a momentary flicker : lava red & blue : a last gasp of anger : before yellow silence engulfs him : before he’s absorbed : once & for all : by the bruise


over his cabeza on the industrial farm

she begs the crew to climb faster / to use their jaguar jaws / to shred
the corn bin’s flesh with their circular saws

the quest / one of childhood’s first tests / how long can he hold his breath
the rescuers know / hope for the rare pocket of air

will he be the lucky one / to strike the piñata’s sweet spot / to ascend
the corn ziggurat in a single bound

any god’s party favor would do / would serve to undo the negative siphon /
the silence of the balloon sucked backwards


the searchers

what’s olde is nouvelle again / heirloom tomatoes & heritage hens / the latest fads in corner shoppes / in roving food carts / hachure lines of upright parasites swirl in exotic sauce / marinara & mole / connect stomachs present to farms past / ingredients out of tense the foodie’s mantra / his rupturing creed / only the sweating globe protests / burps / undigests / there’s always one / a finger-wagger in every crowd

hair of the dog & hairworms / hindgut outlaws frozen for eons / are roused to life by some tanglefoot’s clumsy drop / by an ice core’s tuna melt / which is all it takes for the badass worms to jailbreak / to mosey into town / fatten themselves at ye olde shoppe / the hash house / take center stage at the wild west show

a fine performance too / we laugh when the squirming pistoleros play survival of the fittest with the vegan cowpokes / when they ride bareback through Oakley Annie’s alimentary corral / when they inflatulate the rodeo clowns / a roaring spectacle / until they gut-shoot the lot of us / chain-gang our retching forms to a flatbed float / parade us down the main drag / our dry-heaves trumpeting regime change / proclaiming a new civilization in town


saturday night welder

my husband belongs to the torch song society : dedicated to melding gloom : to bolstering every weak-kneed Gus who walks through the door : So, set ’em up, Joe : his voice scratches : a forgettable match strike : a galaxy skip from Sinatra smooth : from Etta’s tingling At last : day in : day out : he juggles divorced parts : solders one thing to another : his alloy-melt plying : coaxing reunion : on weekends too the same work : his voice sinking into us : (his audience fiends) : becoming the shot we need it to be: a night fix : a night of fix : for our sake he takes the spotlight’s body blows : the mic’s red-hot jabs : defiantly asks the lightning gods : Is that all there is to a fire?


Maureen Kingston’s poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Beechwood Review, B O D Y, Gargoyle, Gravel, Gone Lawn, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Misfitmagazine.net, Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, The Screaming Sheep, So to Speak, Stoneboat, Terrain.org and Yellow Chair Review. A few of her pieces have also been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart awards.

2 thoughts on “Four Prose Poems

  1. Good lord, these are strong! Wooo! That may not be a poetic thing to say, but “Woo!” nonetheless. I’ve been experimenting with prose poems lately and this is the perfect shot straight to the brain pain. Thanks to Random Sample for sharing them, and thank you, Maureen.

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