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Louis Jenkins


It is pleasant to lie on the rocky shore in the sun
exposed and open. It’s all there--the sound of
wind, the sound of waves--the meaningless
journal of a lifetime. Nothing is clear, not even
the obvious. One loses interest and falls asleep
within the water’s easy reach.

This driftwood on the beach, dry and bleached
white, white as a bone you might say, or white
as snow. If an artist (wearing a sweatshirt, blue
jeans and tennis shoes without socks) came
walking along, he might, seeing the possibilities,
pick up this piece of driftwood and take it home.
Not me. I fling it back in the water.


From Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970 - 2005 (Will o’ the Wisp Books, 2009)
Used with the author’s permission.

Louis Jenkins is a native of Oklahoma, but has lived in Duluth, Minnesota, for the past 30+ years. Considered a master of prose poetry, he is the author of dozen award-winning books and has been featured in numerous anthologies. Louis says that pleasure, clarity, and empathy are among the most essential characteristics of a poem.  

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