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Rebbecca Brown

informed by fog or ocean


the sounds of your tongue billowed in the fog, wrongly

identified.  you drifted through thick, thinly

disguised.  your shadows slivered.


the shadows are women dancing.  wavering like white

caps or cups full of water.  their hair snakes when

leaves blow through or over.


fog breath swallows you, exhales into shadow

and the women dance their swaying leaves

insisting the world you belong in.


the days lengthy and elusive are not wholly

days, occasionally placed by night.

oceans and fog and cracks of thunder.


your voice erased moment after moment,  

hums faithful replace it.  this is why

the fog vowels your mouth to lisp with.


this is why the women dance with leaves

that remind us.  this is why the ocean looks

the other way when we disappear. 




the evolution of violence


blood and cuts strike fists splintered

pound trees for sap bees for honey

hunger makes the light weight round the empty full

a line straight without source through the belly


thrash who have strike having not the skin knots

bruises blue across all oceans and waters broken

out howling and slapped beginning purely to have

love or luck slowly thumped right out


draw days with one lump or two taking

want to thin flesh back into water filled

with ancestor fin those thin films flailing strong

enough to bend a wave’s submission


seep through fish battles that reel

without ending memory makes blood matter

split yet remain a residue lined somehow

inside to beat beating by beating to be beat




Fairy Tale


            Once upon a time there was a girl who was born to a mother who said she would marry a wonderful prince who would whisk her to a far away place where the sun shines gold brilliant and the people in their fancy fashionable clothes would know her name and the name would come from her husband the prince[1].  The mother, a beautiful kind of mother with yarn in her voice and soft in her fingers, always prepared the daughter for meeting the prince by brushing her hair three hundred and eighty five times a day with a comb that ripped out tangles[2].  The daughter was taught the biology of frogs and horses because one day the prince would ride up on a horse even if he was a frog and all she had to do was kiss him or touch him or anything to get the prince to turn prince-ish even if it meant doing things in the back seat of Chevys that good Catholic girls only dream of[3].  The girl lived her life with the mother waiting and waiting for the prince to come as a frog on a horse in the forest when she was sleeping or talking to animals and singing in a beautiful voice that enticed the deer or the blue jays[4].  One day the daughter was walking in the forest and lo and behold a handsome man popped out of a river holding a cello and lamenting the sorrow of rain and its anguish[5].  She asked if he was her prince even though she just knew he was because no one else would come out of a river holding a cello and lamenting the sorrow of rain and its anguish[6].  Yes, he said, yes I am your prince and you must kiss me and I will take you to far away places where the sun shines gold brilliant and the people in their fancy fashionable clothes will know my name because my name is mr. romantic kiss you on the ocean prince[7].  The girl blinked and blinked and there wasn’t a genie and she knew that he was the prince and that soon she must kiss him or else he would return to the depths of the river[8].  She kissed him and the sun broke into a million pieces and rained down upon them and they were whisked away to a beautiful place and lived for ever and ever happily ever after[9].         


[1] The mother grew up poor on a farm in middle California and always wanted better so it is in fact true that she believed in princes.

[2] The mother actually wasn’t that beautiful.  She was sort of average, really, and had often been told she was short and scrawny and should eat more potatoes.  The comb that the mother used was made of metal and always pulled and tore the daughter’s thin fine hair. 

[3] Once when the girl was in seventh grade, she dissected a frog.  The boys in the class threw the guts around the room and flicked the eyeballs at the teacher’s back.

[4] The girl lived in the desert where there were no deer or blue jays.   She was also always told that her voice could crack a glass.

[5] The girl, when she was old enough, frequented a bar called “The Chimney Sweep” to drink whiskey and watch a local band play Metallica cover songs.  It was there that she met a man who she thought one day would be her prince.

[6] He had problems with depression and was only happy when he took his medication, which wasn’t often because Xanax, he said, was known to kill the sex drive.

[7] The guy really couldn’t take her anywhere because he was just a broke musician who worked as shipping manager in a foot fetish porn shop.

[8] She should have pushed him into the river, but there wasn’t a river, because later on he ended up cheating on her with a cocktail waitress from North Carolina.

[9] After a short but sexually fulfilling relationship, the girl moved to New York to pursue her love of acting.  mr. romantic kiss you on the ocean prince still lives somewhere in California, and has three kids with the cocktail waitress from North Carolina. 


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