Michael Brockley is a 65-year old school psychologist who has worked in special education in rural northeast Indiana for 28 years. He has poetry publications in Wind, The Windless Orchard, Spitball, The Indiana Review, The Indiannual, The Spoon River Quarterly, The River City Review and other journals. Tom Koontz’ Barnwood Press published his chapbook Second Chance in 1990. A video of Brockley reading his “Hollywood’s Poem,” which was published in Facing Poverty, can be found on YouTube. His poem “When the Woman in the White Sweater at the Cancelled Charles Simic Reading Asked If I Was David Shumate” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Barry Harris of the Tipton Poetry Journal.
Michael Brockley talks about composing and revising prose poems in “The Waterman’s Tale.”
The Waterman’s Tale
By Michael Brockley
I invest my money in water futures. For the time when we roof our homes with rain vats and hire 10-year-olds to rattle aluminum scarecrows and shoo grackles with slingshots. I cache bottled water in the cellar for the dust years when piss will be bullion. When every kiss will the parched. When we suffer our sorrow without tears. In the evening, I tinker in the garage, playing Dr. Frankenstein to a robot with a knack for herding rain. Soon the mailman will deliver the Hydromancy Society’s monographs on the science of dowsing. My neighbors busy themselves sprinkling peonies and topping off bird feeder tubes with hummingbird nectar. The children carry Super Soakers to drench me as I record the extinction rate for cumulonimbus. Waiters spill ice water on my entrée, laughing at “Professor Drought.” Even the mayor chuckles when I unfold maps with red clouds of expanding desert. Everyone pantomimes rain dances. But the udometer has been empty all summer. I’ve quit shaving and bathing. While others sleep, I walk through the dry night with a pebble under my tongue.
[Originally published during the 2013 Indiana Humanities’ tribute to National Poetry Month (April).]
Writing Prompt: Flip through a news source and pick a current even that you connect with in some way. Explore how this connection in a prose poem.
Definition of Terms
A prose poem is a poem that does not have line breaks.
Cliché happens when an idea, image, language is overused (sometimes to a point in which the original meaning/intention is forgotten).
Diction refers to how we use language, specifically the word choices we make.