the nigerian prince

Today I am a nigerian prince in his off-time, inspired by franciska to give up all of his inheritance for the sake of poems, and I will give you details instead of sentences.

1. The morning is cold and I am wearing a gingham shirt that I don’t really like but it hides my tattoos and my hair is bad, dried sort of stiff and stuffed behind my ears, it’s ugly the way that my brain feels when I am late for dreams in order to not be late for work

2. That was a sentence. I will try harder.

3. This is hard.

4. The parrot, ringing the metal bell with his beak, adjustable pliers for a face

5. Ice-cream cone from the freezer, covered in stale peanuts, stuffed with goo

6. East of Eden at work, getting so lost I don’t know what to say when a boy says “Miss Quinn? Miss Quinn? You look like a Joey.”

7. Walking home the air is damp and gray. Someone killed the summertime again.

8. The smell of rain is living things. I don’t know what I would do without that smell.

9. Peanut butter and Concord HFCS Jelly on injera. The sting of sugar in my throat. “Some people are acclimated to this, this sting of sugar,” I think. “and won’t eat anything else.”

10. Lady Gaga keeps creeping into my brain, I have internalized each of her pop hits. I am infatuated with her the way I was infatuated with Barack Obama before he was elected, my friends were all “no-one for president!!” but I had read his book where he talks about smoking pot with the Marxists and radical feminists and so I thought that I could see into his soul. Somehow Lady Gaga is the same…

“Some artists want your money so they can buy Range Rovers and diamond bracelets, but I don’t care about that kind of stuff. I want your soul.”

11. Green light from the photocopier
Printing ink
Debbie’s one thousand workbooks from value village
stacked six-hundred deep
Kids smiling obscenely in high-waisted pleats
pages untouched

12. The thirty-thousand dollar golden retriever who
Speaks English
Intuits with her bottomless brown eyes using her gentle dog soul
Smells like rotten smoked bones and acid stomach saliva
Vomits up half-digested dog shit from the yard
Will leave soon, to fulfill her destiny as a dusty-coated service dog who never
gets walked

13. Just because I’m not an alcoholic now doesn’t mean I can’t decide to become one at some point
I’m glad I at least have that
And smoking
And coffee
Maybe when I’m old

14. I will never get tired of the way the alder leaves move in the wind

15. Yesterday on my walk I felt there was something watching me, in the forest, that had not been there before and I kept turning, turning, seeing nothing, calling out “show yourself!” just to break the silence, smelling broken fir needles to keep the fear away. And then I realized- oh- it is the mosquitoes.

15.5 Once in a friend’s unfinished cabin I was sleeping and I had the same feeling. Something is watching me. Something is watching me. A monster? A monster come to eat me? I shined my headlamp around- it was a bat, found its way in through the gaping door.

16. The mosquitoes are born. Biting eyelash kisses. Stray hairs that rise from the swamps. They beat their wings at the entrance to my nostrils, making me panic.

17. I remember what happens eventually. I become zen, and they do not bother me anymore. Same thing as adjusting to the rain in Portland.

18. They are only giving definition to the air. If I were Annie Dillard I would appreciate the extra detail, the excessive hand of god.

19. There are so many of them, and with so many edges- and for what?

20. Hares, stupid and brave, eyes milky, cracking in the underbrush. If I found a bunny, I think, I could keep it in my van that I do not yet have.

21. I am late to dreams. I will take a nap.

4 thoughts on “the nigerian prince

  1. nigerian prince! you have risen well to the challenge.
    why inherit my poems for yr fortune when you have yr own? [we could trade a little here and there… my poems, yr fortune, yr poems, my fortune… throw some stories in there too…].

    mebbe i can write a guest-blog story on yr page. [i’m so into the consistency of only details, i’m not sure i could bring myself to put it up on my page.]

  2. your details are like lifting pebbles from the stream. b. werley and I went up to the hobo symposium in white river junction vermont that you were invited to. it was lovely. they had an umbrella on display there. the caption said
    born. 1912, died 1940
    umbrella skeleton. gender: female. lived during the raging twenties, found by the side of the road in rural vermont.

Comments are closed.