Sunday, February 10, 2008

New Poem

It's taken me days to get to a point where I can call this a draft. And I'm not sure about the format.

In New England, Jimmies are know as chocolate sprinkles, which is different that the multicolored rainbow sprinkles used on ice cream and desserts. But recently I had a conversation about Jimmies and the myth that they were named as a reminder of the Jim Crow era.


How is it that chocolate sprinkles can make that old hurt ache. Jimmies. Jim Crow. My father, 16, USMC and underage, traveling to boot camp at Parris Island. August 1953, he rode in the back of the bus with the other Negro privates. Their lunch, a small, bare table in a restaurant’s corner. Ham steak and cold fries, and after, vanilla ice cream—the rub—half-melted, doused in brown speckles, color amidst the absence of color. My father, who has always lived in harm’s way, swirls his spoon against the bowl looking for something good. He does not look beyond this moment, puts up no defenses, not that this confection could substitute for the rainbow and what is missing. So don’t tell me the history of Jimmies. Let them remain a sweet confection cascading down my father’s summertime swirl. Let the hard candy crunch and dissolve between his teeth. Let only the faint taste of chocolate reward my memory.


chiefbiscuit said...

Wow! Great poem! Love it.

jillypoet said...

I really like this. It seems to fit naturally into the prose poem format. How do you decide to go with that form, then set about writing a prose poem? Recently, I've had the urge to write one, but I hesitate...not sure why.

January said...

The poem started out in stanzas but I couldn't make the line breaks work.

Usually, I never start out writing prose poems. But the content sometimes dictates the format in my poems. But putting the poem in this form helped me see words I felt were unnecessary.

If you feel the urge, do it. I find prose poems work best if there is a good story behind them.

pepektheassassin said...

Excellent! Vivid and concise. Prose poems are fun to do. About half of my Uncle Pepek stuff is done that way.


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