I chose Marsha Owen’s prose poem “Ugly Times” for this week’s feature. A heart-breaking rant. I loved the sounds. The images are vivid and rooted in reality. The juxtaposition of harsh reality and continuity of nature makes this poem effective.
Hung a new fan on the outside porch today. Blades sliced the humidity, brought flutters of relief, but I coulda’ sworn I heard one whisper, Why bother? He’s just gonna’ start a war, you know, pack his suitcases with green roots of evil, play golf on our graves.
So I sat down with my new friends, squatters who swarm in my head now, drop by uninvited, keep me awake every night. I tried to send them away, but they stay—then sunshine drops its snarky self onto my grass as it has for eons, and just then in the oak tree, birds all lemony and apple-red catch my eye. Audacious, I thought, while warships circle each other somewhere, but I hear mothers still birth babies, brown babies, white babies, less than right babies, destined to be children (let us pray) but the rich bitch says now all must pay to play at school, lunch canceled, so I wonder if I should get a refund on the fan, get a little money, a few dollars maybe, enough for a bottle of filtered water because a child I don’t know drinks poison, or enough to fill your grandma’s prescription, maybe enough to buy a wheel for his chair and then I remember those pussy hats waving from crowds, a sea of pink sails bobbing along almost like they were sewn together and all the feet moved as one river of blood.
I watched the fan circle. I coulda’ sworn I saw a noose hanging there, the oak tree out back blackened against my scorched earth.