Two Prose Poems

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Two Prose Poems

By Mike James

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That One Singer

Seems to know your life…How you lift yourself, just a little, from your seat when she reaches up past the ceiling, the roof, the trees, up near that first cloud to hit a high note…Or how you almost brace for a train to thunder by when she growls down and down with low ones…It’s like she looked out the window, for no good reason, the night you got your first streetlight kiss…As if she knows how you got that knee scrape from belt buckle dodging at ten…

 

Beyond The Land Of Misfit Toys

Drop that bucket into the memory well and it’s never what you wish. You pull up clown porn. (Yes, that’s a thing.) Shot glasses serve as telescopes to galaxies you’d rather not see. Even one night stands, much heralded in the movies, offer minimum relief. Every woman you end up with wears heels or boots you desire more than her. You beg to be her carpet, her footstool, her bath mat. If the question is lust, the answer is confusion. You look at every closet and hope for big locks. More than the butterfly you love the butterfly tattoo.

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About the Author:  Mike James is the author of eleven poetry collections. His most recent books include: Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He has previously served as associate editor for both The Kentucky Review and Autumn House Press. After years spent in South Carolina, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Georgia, he now makes his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his large family and a large assortment of cats.

Music Lessons

John at the piano, a few years before beginning lessons.

John at the piano, a few years before beginning lessons.

Music Lessons
By John Unger Zussman

Last month, I wrote about a misguided art lesson that undermined my creativity as a child. Here I recall my early music lessons—with a decidedly different result.

“Sing!” commanded my piano teacher, Mrs. Maas, at my very first lesson. Even at seven, I understood that she did not want me to vocalize along with those first simple explorations of the notes around middle C. No, she meant make the piano sing. But what did that mean? And how to do it? I had no idea, and apparently it was too obvious to ask.

Whatever she had in mind, I somehow had a talent for it. I practiced diligently and progressed quickly, encouraged by the lavish praise of my parents and teachers. At my first-year recital, Mrs. Maas practically had to drag me off the stage as I played, from memory, every piece in the Bernice Frost first-year method book READ MORE