• Vince Pruis

Poems Wrestling Format

--those are the beings which follow this paragraph, which I'm now wishing I would have written as a poem... I don't post poetry on my website often, partly because once a piece is "web-published," most literary publications will no longer accept it (and I value, immensely, perhaps too immensely, the readership (and prestige (and acceptance)) that comes from acceptance by a literary journal). Partly, though, the reason I don't post poems here is that I struggle to lay them out in the way I want them to appear. I can't indent lines or precisely control spacing. So much of my life this year, however---of all our lives this year---has eluded precise control, has lived in adjustment and new imaginings and negotiation. So much has called into question our desire for affirmation from institutions and industries and their definitions of perfection. So, following, are beings which wrestle with format, not only indents and spacing, but also the format for how I'm supposed to share and you're supposed to read, and they aren't especially groundbreaking or impressive, but they're a piece of my world that I wanted to share with you, with you, especially:


(& Screen Door Snippets)


a magnolia hurricane---

bruised petals curved

like hips in the rain

A plant crashed and no one

listed the casualties:---


hairs___the dent-petal of one

lady slipper... The garden

homes such casual death

The swamp reeks___with

__primrose and jasmine---

knots of wanted unwontedness,

a woven language of accounts:

Knot, Knot,______briar

Knot knot, Knot, the purple furl

______at the center scent of fern

Knot, not Knot, Knot, bare ankles

____, braided with chiggers and

mud. Hair knotted in vines, caught

as Absalom instead of oak and

vengeance, in the written language

of swamp___and___of__delight.

Turtles swirl off from the

deck beneath me, breaking

the surface to mate;

stacks, three deep, swarm.

I look away from their

marshy decadance, an or-

gy in the light.

JUNE & Ripples divine the pond's face

__MAY___&___Light dwells the swamp


pink flowers---like

the pond portal's

door handle---float,

entrancing me,

& the heron ahead

---on my path---keeps

wading, patiently


(A bird flock frays the dusk)

I'm tided;--

a bowl tiding

with anxious

__with brim

____with graft-irises___in their yellow wilt

____in their almost____in their death-faint


desolation a fine mist

or sauna steam which coats

______the lungs

or particles from

______the mines

_____________chicken dust

a thousand needles piercing


like alpineglow's chilly


desolation like invasive lupine

smothering Icelandic hills

like "hello" at the wake

and trout listless in

______your listless gaze

desolation a metaphor

_____because you want

to write it unreal---to unreel---

_____to unhook the fish

of despair, to no longer

breathe it in, the desolation,

______that mist.

I enter the space

the wind avoids

I come into being

_______in gaps

I am lee____not

a boulder

___to insist upon


Do you ever get a word stuck

in your mind. like a chorus,

like a chant:







like a groove on the branch

that you grasp every dusk

on the cliff. like a chant, like

a chant:






_______glory and

_______pain, divine

_______(but only one at a time)

hummed over the coda beyond

the cliff. hummed like a prayer.


_______like words mean something,

like a sliver left humming

_______in your palm

___________________as you pray.

© 2020 by S.M. Vincent Pruis