The Prose Poem

Brian Johnson


I pray that I continue to love the resemblance of things. When the rocks become human nipples, wheat becomes the spines of fish, the trees are a family of wooden kings, and the train from Istanbul arrives at noon, dressed as a bride, I have no questions.

I pray to the cinematic flame. It is a turn, a moment of uneasiness, the first time alone in a foreign country. The faces are strange and unto themselves, like the birds nested in their towers. I walk on the painted glass and watch the monks reading.

Before sleep, I stare at my name in the light. I search the mosaic for inscriptions. A group of musicians is visible in the center, with a goddess twisting her nearly translucent hair over someone lying on a bed. There is a carafe, and hills.

I am like mumbling in the woodshed, the prayer without name, or origin, I am similar to that. Like a horse neighing out its state of loneliness, the hunter looking for his wife s hand, the snowfall, the indifferent canoe, I am that.

Roman tombstone, pagan script, table, soul and screen: nothing is left to children. You emerge from the wood talking of miracles, thermal springs and fish-stocked ponds. And here is the oldest game: the sun putting on the robe, putting on the robe and leaving.