Five Prose Poems

by Hart L’Ecuyer

from KAREN

1
In white slacks a playful fella dined in prewar splendor. Where is Queen Victoria? The messenger in a burst of generosity scrambled in zigzags across the wedding. Within days the time came for a lady of the highest rank to straight away emigrate to the film capital. The only issue to be addressed is that of the babies on top of piles of furniture. In the parlor of Coco Chanel the heathen explained that he was going away for a while. To let him return to Aubazine in a matter of days after his coming ashore can only be described as ridiculous. The widow without regaining consciousness sucked on a pipe. Those people weren’t sick in their heads!—very well. The streets of Paris were the scene of perilous moments & Stravinsky. This is Karen.

2
Became even harder the times. Karen was asking a nation that had given up its Wednesday to think of a weak army from a feudal society. Just as the trees outside the window were not plants but little speeches, the decision to drop Nixon from the ticket had fallen in on itself. Soon her friends began to worry about the wraparound veranda; whatever authority was in charge always made Karen feel as if the secrets were nothing so mundane as the largest employer in the country. She said that she knew we would all do our best to leave behind the Republican National Committee. Her voice was high & nervous; even Bill had his rain hat on. Long ago, when a little freedom was more important than security, Karen hurried across the mown grass.

3
Hazy weather intervened that spring; the established opinion is that Karen ate raisins as early as sixteen. There was, of course, a desire to avoid falling into the hands of cannibals; on the other side of the island, rightly or wrongly, Bill had plunged himself into his remarkable verbal facility. With patience & labor, Karen, in her innocence, was inclined to exaggerate the waves. In addition to looking back on her past life with horror, she could not yet scrape together a companion. Although there was no immediate financial pressure, at about eight yards’ distance Bill constituted a mast & sail for the boat that was her life. It was a truth, however, that Bill was a bad carpenter. A disappointment, chiefly. The wreck of the good life bestowed on Karen legitimate afflictions.

4
After two weeks on the tree-lined road to infinity Karen couldn’t help feeling the injustice of the parable of the sower. People began calling her Manna; Bill honked his horn gently. With alcohol & cotton swabs Karen universalized her blood. Then, in late July, Bill pulled up alongside to oppose the idea. A banquet was held in Paris to celebrate a flattened pack of cigarettes & with a dash of lavender the finest carpenter (an estranged son of the middle class) nursed a child. To convey the brute sexuality she saw in Bill, Karen applied thick strokes of unruly youngsters to the canvas.

5
At the designated time, his words hurried, Bill described the long sweet nightmare of his marriage to Lila. His story shows that a bulging brown paper bag full of stock certificates secured with a rubber band is invariably legitimate. The road to Aubazine was straightforward & nobody cared what happened to his dark good looks. The car, despite a misunderstanding or two, pulled up at the motel throughout the year. Lila was psychotic, dangerously so; to make up for lost time Karen & Bill chuckled gently in the dark, their tones taut & breaking, the blinds drawn. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were still doing well today?


Hart L’Ecuyer is a surrealist poet from St. Louis. These are the pages.
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