In prison Pat pens poems,
crafting convolutedly constructed concoctions
bursting with aggressive alliteration, almost antagonistic.
He makes use of an unabridged ultra-dictionary,
upgrading the obscurity of every other word with its
comprehensive, alphabetic aid.
I am not grateful that resource lives with him,
in his cage. Because of it I can't convince him that archaic's
code for “not in use.” He's sold himself some concept
that each entered word's existence in the ledger
acts as evidence that it's legit, and still exists,
fair game for modern use.
He's more concerned with strands of words
connected for their common consonants.
He counts how long his chains go on,
cares less about them making sense.
Pat's proud to drown each line in sound,
and read aloud his poems rip, like paper,
off the tongue. Words ricochet in rhythm,
rapping fiercely off the page.
But translating his poems into sense takes
too much effort. He conflates his diction incorrectly,
swapping synonyms with no regard for part
of speech. He's got gerunds gapping everywhere,
missing -ings like hockey players' teeth.
And he cuts out prepositions, all of them,
as their presence all too often disrupts his alliteration,
undercuts his hasty stacks of consonance.
Each phrase is disconnected and ensconced with commas,
floating islands on a white and pole-less sea.
Pat, my brother, imagines it's impressive to stymie his
And he believes that stumping experts is an accolade,
one he'll achieve almost immediately, once his writing
comes to light. I just think it's good he writes.
No one will have me any more.
I used to be ubiquitous, each artist's
chic accessory (or was it tenant?)
There was one century I ruled, at the height of fashion.
Any avant-garde artiste that searched for credibility could
respect from me. Pope linked his arm through mine,
led me like his lady through the court.
Later how the Brontes kept me company!
Alone with me, Anne opened up,
her mouse-loud secrets shedding, single layers,
off her chest. She could confide in me.
I never left, did not (like Branson did)
abandon Anne. I watched her handkerchiefs turn red.
I tracked her spasmic coughs.
I was at her last collapse, and no one else
knows what I heard, or saw.
From her first infected breath, which marked commencement
of her death, Anne never was alone.
At the end her secrets fled, unweighed her narrow chest.
They slipped out from between us lovers,
writhing, dying in the sheets.
A single moment satisfied,
after so much struggling.
Anne's oarmen rest, no longer pull her shallow breaths.
And I? Before her body cools, or her blood has set,
I'll move on to her sister, the brunette.
E. H. Brogan is a graduate of the University
of Delaware with a B.A. in English. Her poetry has appeared or
is forthcoming in Downer Magazine, Chantarelle’s Notebook,
Caesura, and The Main Street Journal. Recently, she has won the
Brew Haha Short Story Writing Contest. She is also an active,
founding member of a local poetry performance group, and she
moderates an online poetry community of nearly 200 members.