Here’s a new prose poem I wrote after attending a wonderful poetry workshop given by Valerie Martinez http://www.valeriemartinez.net/at our beloved local bookstore, Bookworks http://www.bkwrks.com/.
From the Train Window
How did I ever end up on the Super Chief going from Chicago to Los Angeles? Here I am, with my daughter and granddaughter to see my son Paul before he gets shipped to the Philippines. When Pa sent for me from Sicily I came over here with Frankie and Carmelo. They were still little. Frank always was a brat, but he did help me. He liked being a know-it-all and thank God because he learned English and figured out things for us. I’ll sleep with my granddaughter tonight. She’s small. And Carmelita is so pretty, I’m glad Charlie let her pay for this trip. It’s true what people said – America is the land of opportunity. Imagine me getting that huge box of shoes from Stewart’s to send back to my family. Pa’s job isn’t great, but it’s steady and they never laid him off, even when most people lost their jobs. I guess factories always need a janitor, someone to turn the heat on and off and be sure nobody breaks in. And now they’re busy all the time. Pa even got a raise. I hope Paulie will be OK. He’s really my favorite, my baby. Of course if Rosie hadn’t died . . . . But this little one here looks just like her. Well, I only lost one. Our house is always warm and clean. And Pa always has that garden out in the back. We always had food. And Charlie started bringing us meat when he told us he wanted to marry Carmelita. He still brings us food even though they’re married. Well, I hope Paul will be OK. Those goddam Germans and that terrible Mussolini. We’re lucky we’re out of there. And now the Phillipines. I hope he’ll be OK.
From No One to Wake
Forty-three days since you passed.
An unremarkable number.
The peace lily from your brother
is finally opening,
a leaf of it burned as if by a child’s
magnifying glass. Was it you?
I look for explanations.
The answer to all is Life.
I’ve already changed, been unafraid
to say my mind, and nothing bad happened
and I feel like a strong tree in winter
with all of its obscuring leaves gone.
It’s all about me now.
I haven’t cried at the mailbox again.
Today, tears seem far away.
I’m eating too much ice cream
trying to wrench my life from old patterns.