Friday, 15 April 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: "A Story about the Orgasm" by Nin Andrews

I read this poem in the latest issue of jubilat and was delighted when Nin Andrews gave me permission to reprint it here. Read more about her and her work on her website here

A Story about the Orgasm

after Robert Hass

A young orgasm joined an artist colony, thinking he might want to be an author, but instead of writing, he watched a certain woman all summer long. She was Vietnamese, a poet, almost fifty, and the more he watched her, the more he wanted her. He wanted her like a seeker wants God, like the starving want bread with butter and a pot of warm tea. It was how she moved him with her thoughts that drew him, how, when she stared at the ceiling, clouds moved through her mind along with biscuits and summer rain and dreams. He wanted to ask her questions. He wanted to answer her with his own tongue, if only he could form words like hers. One night when the woman was preparing for bed, wearing nothing but a men’s large tee shirt, her pale legs bathed in moonlight, she felt his presence. She addressed him directly. I think you have been watching me, she said.  I think you want to have me, not just once, but night after night.  She was that kind of woman. She spoke her mind. She knew the difference between an orgasm who lusts and one who loves. But then she said, I’m sorry. I have lost my desire. It left with my lovers. I had three, but they abandoned me soon after I had a double mastectomy. Lifting her shirt, she showed him the space in her chest where her breasts once were. She expected him to look down or away, to apologize and leave as the others had. But instead the orgasm ran his fingers across her slender scars, tracing her pain with awe. For it is the scars of humans that attract the orgasm.  Such beautiful pain, the orgasm sighed before he stroked her neck, her lips, her thighs. All night he held her while she wept. The morning after, the woman felt as if she had bathed for the first time in years. A warm   glow filled her chest and belly and between her legs. She felt so calm then, poems flowed from her pen. Swallows came to her window and sang to her as if she were one of them.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Sudden Prose Reprints: Peter Riley's Greek Passages (Shearsman, 2009), seventh and final selection

Here is the seventh and final prose poem from Greek Passages: 

Bright sunlight, sharpening the edges of the house, the blazing secret of it, the day. / A reason for coming here. And gathering messages from petals on the stony hillsides and the feathers of birds in flight, and small moths hesitating on grass stalks. / The hopes and fears of peoples, cast on the sea shattered into particles of light

You can purchase the collection directly from the publisher here.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Sudden Prose Reprints: Peter Riley's Greek Passages (Shearsman, 2009), sixth selection

Here is the sixth prose poem from this admirable collection I wanted to share: 

(3) Dear Rough Guide, Some of the eating places you recommend in Plaka are little more than dens of food bandits. One you don’t mention is Kapnikaréa, tucked away in a corner of the square of the same name. They don’t give the stuff away but it’s good food at reasonable prices for the area, casual, friendly, and seems to have impromptu live bouzouki music from about 2 p.m. / People doing things well. If you can’t find it in poetry look for it somewhere else.

You can purchase the collection directly from the publisher here.  

Friday, 11 December 2015

Sudden Prose Reprints: Peter Riley's Greek Passages (Shearsman, 2009), fifth selection

Here is the fifth prose poem from Greek Passages I wanted to bring to a wider audience:

I lie in bed dreaming the street plan / corners of dark northern towns, complex of small back streets I can’t quite remember / My mother held my hand at the street edge / long ago, and we had our thin riches / there too, the future sailed up the bay as the potential, it seemed, of the entire land / held in the local hand // I dream this. Sound outside, swishing / of trees in gusts of wind / the red earth under the sky’s black cloak / That I should come so far from such streets / rejoicing in the same fear.

You can purchase the collection directly from the publisher here.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Sudden Prose Reprints: "Sunday, with the television off" by William Letford

Sunday, with the television off

I think of the future. My death bed. I imagine the man I will be. Then I pay that man a visit. Ask him, what would you do?

So I leave the car and walk across town. Knock on my father's door to say hello and listen to his stories, the ones I've heard before.

It's like I've travelled in time. Now he knows that someone is listening. On the way home, the sun falls behind the buildings, and I walk into a supermarket.

William Letford
Bevel (Carcanet, 2012)

My thanks to Carcanet Press for permission to use this poem. You can buy Bevel directly from them here


Friday, 27 November 2015

Sudden Prose Reprints: Peter Riley's Greek Passages (Shearsman, 2009), fourth selection

Here is the fourth prose poem from Greek Passages I'd like to share:

But you will turn, in the end / and look back across the silence waters, the / roaring gap // deep and wide, perfect justice / on the other side. Listen. Small bells.