Poem #3: Prose poetry chain

Julianna Spallholz


They have closed off the underpass for rebuilding. Everyone is mad. Now we must go around, climb over the tracks. There have been accidents: homeless people, drunk people, friends. Homeless drunk friends. One bad one in particular. He lived. It was a miracle. The neighborhood was very concerned, which is good, which says something good about our neighborhood.

The neighbors across the street have a pit bull terrier that gets loose and comes over and terrorizes my cats. I scream for help. I scream and scream. I scream obscenities. The neighbors do nothing. They watch from their porch. Eventually I am triumphant. My cats are unharmed. I drag the pit bull terrier back across the street and put it angrily behind the neighbors' fence. I look angrily at the neighbors on their porch. I do not speak Spanish and the neighbors do not speak English, except the children, three little girls who told me I was pretty once when I went outside in my nightgown to take out the trash. They are also very pretty.

The 24-hour bar and diner has been closed for three days because of plumbing problems. There is a terrible smell. We walk by or ride by on our bikes and we look sideways at the bar and diner. No one says anything but we are rather uncomfortable. We don't know where to drink or to eat eggs together. We are out of sorts.

They are tearing down a building. We think that they should not tear it down. It is an old building, very beautiful. I don't know what they will build there. Probably something boring. We talk about it on the sidewalk and are mad. We have not been to any meetings. We should go to meetings. We should not have to go to any meetings. Jesus. They should know enough to not just tear it down.

A friend down the street started a chicken coop in his backyard. He got twenty-five chickens. A neighbor complained. The city intervened. Now he has to kill half the chickens. He does it with the help of neighbors. They spend the day wringing the necks of chickens. They are unskilled. While it is happening, the others of us go to each others' houses and speak quietly, over coffee. We discuss death and responsibility and the lives of animals.

We are up all night drinking and then we decide to drive out to nature. We climb up on a rock. We watch the sunset. It is beautiful, amazing. This is why we live here, says one of us, and I think it's embarrassing. I do not think we need to discuss how small we are.

Read poem #4

Julianna Spallholz

Julianna Spallholz's prose poetry and short fiction has appeared in Caketrain, Cranky, Gargoyle and Sleepingfish, among others. She teaches in the Writing Program and at the School of Art at the University of Arizona and is the Managing Editor for Tarpaulin Sky journal. She lives in Tucson.