Prose Poems

Beverly Matherne, USA

From Mighty Muddy to Shining Big-Sea-Water


          I grew up on my father’s farm, hectares of sugarcane in furious wind along the Mississippi, the Mighty Muddy, whose currents could yank you by the hair and pull you down. Below headlands in fields, irrigation canals emptied into swamp waters, gumbo by day, celestial fire by night, when will-o’-the-wisps burst on the surface like stars.
          Summer sun baked my little-girl skin, bleached my blond hair, cropped for the season. My head shone in the light-filled days, and they called me “Cotton-top.” The scent of ripe melons wafted from our father’s garden over lawns and into the house. Cucumbers, Creole tomatoes burst with juices on platters.

          When hurricanes ravaged, I knelt with siblings on hardwood floors around our parents’ bed, prayed the Rosary till dawn, hoping our house would not split, the levee not breach. With frost came the brilliant orange of Chinese pistachios, the deep red and purple of gums.
In winter, dank odor from sewers in New Orleans spoiled the air, countered only by festoons of Christmas greens on staircases, over-sized bouquets of American Beauties in Grecian urns, and lavish chandeliers in the lobby of the Roosevelt, the Windsor Court, the Ritz-Carlton.
Dogwood came in spring, limelight among green leaves, a profusion of azaleas in pastels, dew or drizzle, hail or downpour, ever present, the river rising, nothing arid in this semi-tropical paradise.
Fate plucked me from Louisiana and planted me in the Flint Hills of Kansas, grassy, rolling, neither wind-swept plane nor tumble weed, hills camel-hued in summer against skies so blue they hurt, Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the only body of water in dry Manhattan, home of Kansas State, home of the Black-eyed Susan, where I taught drama.
When hackberries and elms lost their leaves and winter came, I longed for Louisiana. In my office, on sills of windows six feet high, I grew geraniums, hot pink, the only color against limestone, snow, and grey clouds.
Then came the University of California, at Berkeley, expanse of huge-columned facades, oak groves, Tasmanian tree ferns, green lawns, winding streams, and, to be sure, the homeless in Peoples’ Park, on littered Telegraph Avenue, bare feet wrapped in plastic for winter.
A left turn through Sather Gate led to the French Department in Dwinelle; a right turn, to my own desk in the great crowd of desks in Wheeler. Teaching assistants of French, minions, all of us, and the great Michel Foucault come from the Sorbonne to address us that one unforgettable afternoon.
Then came a detour from French literature to the computer industry. Some eight blocks east of Maiden Lane, location of our headquarters at Information Management Specialists, the Ferry Building, its Beaux Arts clock tower after the Giralda in Seville, Westminster Quarters chiming, homeward throngs on Market Street. A little north-eastward, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay churning beneath. The Bay, ever-present as summer papaya, black seed embedded in pregnant flesh, as fall’s persimmon, as Blue Niles all year long.
Soon after the Quake of ’89, fate tore me from California and sent me alone on another journey. When I arrived in Marquette, Michigan, to interview for a position in English in the dead of February, I required, no small wonder, a body of water at least as significant as that of the San Francisco Bay.
I remember when, over a quarter of a century ago, the summer before my first semester on campus, I walked along an avenue of Lombardy Poplars to Presque Isle, stood on a lookout. Breakers lashed the rocky wall. Spume settled. I saw large rocks on the lake bottom, perfectly visible in clear water, the likes of which I had never seen in the South. “This will do, this will do quite fine,” I said, assured of a new home for my little son and me, a new beginning, a baptism of sorts, an immersion in cleansing water.


 Beverly Matherne, USA





Beverly Matherne (USA), professor emerita at Northern Michigan University, served as director of the Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing in English and poetry editor of Passages North literary magazine. The author of six books of poetry, she lives in Ishpeming, Michigan.




Lucie Poirier, Montréal, Canada






Cet héritier de nouveautés, au verbe herbeux, s’est réfugié dans les mots.


Avide d’images comme d’imagination, fêlé de sensations, il a composé sur les vagues de sa dérive en précipitant sa quête grâce à son envolée aux éclats romantiques.


Dans les vers de ses rêves volatiles et récurrents, il n’a cessé d’énumérer ses observations insistantes et stylisées.


Sa volonté d’abjurer une terreur inextinguible et obsédante a maculé les pages de sa poésie scandée à perdre haleine, oscillant entre les feux de l’antinomie et les mers du paradoxe.


Il a hurlé ses idéaux lestés d’impossibilités.


Son écriture est l’imploration d’une cessation, la fin d’une endurance dans l’appel d’une retrouvaille avec l’inconnu fantasmé.


Il inflige l’intolérable douleur quand je lis ses larmes dans les feuilles de ses poèmes.



Lucie Poirier, Montréal, Canada 






Lucie Poirier,  (Montréal, Canada). Maître ès arts (U de M), théoricienne et praticienne de la valorisation du choix lexical, Lucie Poirier édite ses livres d’art, expose ses œuvres picturales, interprète sa poésie sur scène avec ses spectacles incluant chansons, mouvements, accessoires, puis souffle dans sa main pour que des pétales volent vers le public.

Rebecca Lowe, Wales UK

Out of Season


The tide breathes out driftwood on the foam. Out of season. Out of time. Bark stripped to bare bone.


Knuckles nobbled, stretched skins preserved by salt of stinging years, ebbed to a liminal state of neither life nor death, but something in between, we wash up in shoals at cafes and bookshops, curled at the edges, spines bent with dust, to whisper over frothing cappuccinos, heads a foaming tide of nodding white, in this gentle, genteel seaside town. Out of season. Out of place.


A pair of hungry seagulls

Peck and fight

Over a piece of bone

Scraped clean

As a china plate


Puckered and crinkled, the crabbed and hollowed homeless crevice themselves into shops and doorways to shut out the shuddering storm. Hermits bear the trudging weight of bitter years, on bended backs.


The sea bleaches everything, sucks out all colour. The sky, a bluish grey, has turned the streets monochrome. We wear beige, abhor exotic flavours, and cannot bear excess of emotion. Our manners are impeccable. We bear ourselves upright as polished pebbles.


A clinging clammy damp that winds itself into the soul, imprints clothes, skin, hair – a stinging

dingy damp, that sticks to everything it touches, moulded and mildewed, that cleaves to rock and bone and skin, strips the flowered paper from the walls, crawls in uninvited through the cracks. The damp slips ghostly, tugs curtains, ruffles petticoats, tweaks the frills of napkins, and renders matches, lighters and all forms of ignition impotent.


And now the clocks fall –

Time going backward,

The lengthening of shadows,

The perpetual stride of time.


Birds gather in murmuration,

Iron filings against the clouds,

Trace magnetic north

Through steel-grey skies.



 Rebecca Lowe, Wales UK





Rebecca Lowe (UK) is a poet and organiser of spoken word events, based in Swansea, Wales. Her work has been published in many anthologies, both nationally and internationally, and featured on radio, podcasts and festivals in the UK, US and India. Her first poetry collection Blood and Water was published in November 2020 by The Seventh Quarry ( A further collection Our Father Eclipse was published by Culture Matters in 2021.

Marina Rota, Italy


 I found You in the silent tide


Ti ho cercato nell'idilliaco villaggio di Laugharne- “la città più strana del Galles”-, annusando le atmosfere, interrogando i volti, spiando i discorsi della gente, ma non ti ho trovato.

Ti ho cercato nel pub del Brown's Hotel, quello delle tue epiche bevute; ho trovato allegria, musica, baldoria e nuovi amici, ma non ho trovato te.

Ti ho cercato nel tuo capanno verde, il tuo writing shed. Ho trovato qui la tua scrivania, con pochi semplici oggetti- la scrittura è la più frugale delle arti, la traccia dei tuoi pensieri labirintici, il vigore creativo delle tue parole, le allusioni oscure che ci hai donato con  maestria da funambolo e raffinatezza da bardo;  ma non ho trovato te.

Mi sono allora distesa sulla spiaggia- la sabbia come un guanciale- in quel particolare momento, prima del tramonto, in cui il mare si tinge di un luminoso giallo; quando l'acqua si sublima in aria e luce, e diventa impalpabile come un pulviscolo dorato. Ho pensato al tutto che si scioglie nell'oceano dell'oblìo; al rimpianto delle cose perdute, al senso di displacement che mi fa sentire sradicata ovunque, straniera  fra i miei simili.  E così mi ha avvolta una malinconia, “under the windings of the sea”, quella marea silenziosa che agisce continuamente dentro di me, nell'andirivieni delle ore e dei ricordi.

Poi,  improvvisamente, la risacca mi ha portato la tua voce. Mi  giungeva come la musica delle onde- più vicina e sonora, più lontana e confusa-; suadente e evocativa, declamava i tuoi versi immortali. Ho avvertito allora la voglia di vivere fino in fondo questo frammento dorato, quando il tempo è sospeso nell'invincibile pienezza della sua eternità e l’attimo è ingabbiato dalla luce.

Non ero più sola, tu eri accanto a me, We lying by seasand, watching yellow/And the grave sea... Ti ho trovato, Dylan, finalmente.

E ho pianto, ma senza dolore.


Marina Rota, Italy




Marina Rota (Italy). Giornalista, consulente artistica di festival e rassegne letterarie, organizza incontri letterari e presentazioni di libri e di mostre. Per il Centro Pannunzio ha organizzato convegni su Guido Gozzano, Elémire Zolla, Guido Ceronetti, Gabriele D'Annunzio. Ha pubblicato Il Sillabario, ed Gribaudo , con la prefazione di Vittorio Sgarbi e Amalia, se Voi foste uomo... con la prefazioni di Claudio Gorlier e Vittorio Sgarbi. E' stata recentemente pubblicata la biografia del professor Mauro Salizzoni, Un chirurgo tra bisturi e cronometro, con prefazione di Piero Bianucci. Nel 2021 è uscito Sotto le stelle di Fred, biografia romanzata di Fred Buscaglione, prefazioni di Vittorio Sgarbi e Paolo Conte. Per la sua attività ha ottenuto numerosi riconoscimenti, quali il primo premio di giornalismo Mario Soldati, il primo premio di saggistica Mario Pannunzio, il primo premio di poesia Guido Gozzano, il premio internazionale Città di Cattolica.