Two prose poems about remembering San Francisco

Two pigeons fight over a soggy piece of fried chicken in the gutter. Despite his size, the bigger, oilier one can’t seem to peck quickly enough at the little crumbs of crunchy skin. The smaller bird moves rapidly. Each bite leads into the next one like fingers in the middle of typing. They both toss flecks of rotting meat above their heads, gloating in their spoils. As they dart and shred stringy pieces of flesh from a “j” shaped bone, they don’t seem to notice their own steps, crunching up the sports page of a newspaper.

***

This man’s streaky combed hair never stands up to the wind. He wears the same tan jacket—paper thin around the elbows. Running his hands over the window of a booted car, the shiny grey paint of a parking meter, a door’s mailbox slot, the bark of a tree stuck in a hollow sidewalk square. He collects discarded particles from the city in the grooves of his fingerprints. Watch him over there, across the street with his weighed down march of zombie progression. He’s the guy who’s locally famous for lacing his fingers together like a basket and locking a cigarette in his knuckle. Everyone says how he only shows zest and determination when he huffs the cigarette in and out in and out till it’s down to the filter in no more than thirty seconds. Look at him shuffle like the motor of a discarded refrigerator. The underside of those bricks that form walkways through mud.

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  1. Jenn

    1. Props, dude. I gotta start writing prose poetry again.
    2. Dunno if you’ve read this one, but:

    BREAD
    Russell Edson

    I like good looking bread. Bread that’s willing. The kind of bread that’s found in dreams of hunger.
    And so it was that I met such a bread. I had knocked on a door (I sometimes do that to keep my knuckles in shape), and a woman of huge doughy proportions (she had that unbaked, unkneaded look) appeared holding a rather good-looking loaf of bread.
    I took a bite and the loaf began to cry…

  2. Good work on the pigeon fight. I would much rather watch that than read the sports pages anyway.

    I really need to take a class or have you explain how to read prose poetry to me sometime. It’s definitely one type of writing I don’t know what to make of, but it’s fun to read. By the way, that smoker is me in twenty years…




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