Portrait of Helen
My prose poem does not like me. “Why?” you ask. Because I have no
talent for my prose poem -- and already I am thinking of potential
rhymes: poem / I am -- an off-rhyme -- but still not the stuff of prose
poems -- prose also rhymes with rose & nose -- and suddenly my
prose poem and I are peeking through a rusty gate into Old Mr. Odom’s
fragrant garden, at its velvet magenta cockscombs, long green lawns &
a goldfish pond -- and up the tall fence his climbing roses are climbing.
“You see, you never know where rhymes will take you,” I say. Rose also
rhymes with pose, and there behind my left shoulder, I am posing for a
dead painter, sitting quietly behind myself, back there, trapped in a gilt
rectangular frame (much as a prose poem is trapped inside its invisible
rectangular frame). “How am I like a prose poem?” I ask. And my prose
poem says, “You too are trapped, but you never change. You sit there in
your high-backed chair -- in a froth of yellow tulle – white flowers bobby
pinned behind your left ear -- a pair of pink pointe shoes in your lap. You
sit there, still young.”
Helen Brandenburg's poems have won The Poetry Society of SC’s most prestigious award and have appeared in Best American Poetry blog as well as such journals as Pirene’s Fountain. A former ballet dancer, teacher, and director, she was also a long-time English teacher and has read at Piccolo Sundown Poetry. Presently, she is one of Richard Garcia’s Long Table poets in Charleston, SC.
Ray Goodbred studied at the Art Students League of N.Y. From 1948-1951, he studied with Robert Brackman and Ogden Pleissner. He also studied at the National School of Fine Arts. He taught at the Art Students League of New York, Gibbes Gallery Hasting School of Art and at his own studio. He was a member of the Charleston Artists Guild for many year.
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