Look, I know what happened

Here.  It’s summer.  Remember,

How we freeze in winter?  Well,

In summer, it’s too hot.

She collapsed.  She hit her head.


She feels light headed, her vision

Drifting like a cloud.  Someone,

The teacher maybe, asks her

A question.  No, she says,

She’s fine.  No, no water,

She says.  Someone helps

Her to sit.  She collapses,

Hits her head.  No, she says,

I’m fine, don’t call my husband.


They come, the EMTs, ten

Or a dozen, no one counts

As they beehive around

The still form, taking vitals,

Setting up a stretcher.

Three fire engines wait

Outside the door.  They

Rush her to the hospital.


We all wonder what



C.J. Prince


Where Do You Hide Your Pleasure?

banana split



If you leave ice cream

In the freezer too long—

Your favorite—maybe chocolate

That makes your endorphins soar,

Or vanilla, so creamy

Your mouth has an orgasm,


But never strawberry,

Always artificial, never

Succulent like freshly picked,

Sun warmed juices dripping

From the corners of your mouth

Like your grandfather’s

Labyrinthian garden,




But real ice cream

Like rocky road, cookies and cream,

Cocoanut, caramel, pistachio, peanut butter

Creamsicle, sorbet, spumoni,

Thirty-one flavors plus

One hundred and one more


But not Neapolitan

Where you try to separate out

That strawberry strip,

And you fail as you let the chilled

Sterling silver spoon whip up

A generic moosh

To hide the faux strawberry

Assault, still


You can’t keep ice cream

Locked up for months

While you pretend to be

On a diet.

It crusts over like Antarctica,

Texture slivers, bitter, freezer

Burn, stale as a dumpster—

Just vanilla with hot fudge,

like love, you must consume it now,

hot and cold,

While it consumes you.

C.J Prince

copyright 2018






After Kay Ryan


Say when a blizzard

cannot make

your nostril hairs

more frozen

or it is always

67.4 miles

to town

no matter

the season

whether you

lean forward

over the steering

wheel or try

to relax,

the distance is

always the distance.

The road might

be closed

but you

drive around


the way you

live life.

Even if the donkey

nudges open

the gate and the sheep

follow, even

then at midnight,

you escort them

back to the barn

when you shake

a tin of corn

like a ceremonial rattle.

It is not magic.

Just species

communication.  You

break ice

on the stock

tank.  No

new lambs.  Life

waits until dawn.

If you’re lucky.

Luck is incidental.

You cannot

divine nature’s whims.

C.J. Prince


Attending the Dawn



When did you first listen to the tale of Kephera?

In your grandam’s lap or at the feet of the goddess?

No life exists without the Scarab god Kephera.

Each day he rises from the dung heap of horizon

to ease the solar globe from the clutches of night.


My ancestors and I attend the daily ritual

for no dung heap exists in the galactic center

without the skill of earthworms.

We  are dawn’s assistants

to He Who Raises the Sun,

the Keeper of Cycles of Light and Dark.

It is I who attend the daily alignment of stars.


When you remember Kephera,

Remember me as one of service

to the greater good.

C.J. Prince


A Kenning of Bones



 moon, bay, tree silhouette

She ken his foot-rhythm

but did not turn.

The opal of the night

would reveal him soon enough.

Before stars succumb to Kephera’s gift,

they will stand unwoven,

sink to silent moss.

Throats cannot contain ecstasy.

C.J. Prince


Five Foot Two Eyes of Blue

-Rustic-Kitchen-Table 1950s


God damnit, man, you’re late for dinner.  Again.

Sit up straight and act like a young lady.




What did you say?


Yes, sir.


What happened to my little girl

who was all smiles and did everything right?


She eases out of the wooden chair,

Walks to the backdoor, opens it,

steps out into lemon blossom air.

Turning slowly, she opens the back door again,

Calls out


Hi, Mom.  Hello, Father.  Sorry I’m late.

I got pregnant and just had an abortion.


It is Mama who opens her arms.


C.J. Prince





I didn’t know                                     Mama said

Lily of the valley                                Agapanthus

California lilac                                    Ceanothus

Golden Seal                                         Hydrastis


We didn’t just say “avocado”

but Hass, MacArthur and Fuerte.

Any questions?  Go to the dictionary.

C.J. Prince


An Almanac of Forget Me Knots



 Everyday Bellingham rain

evolves into a dark onslaught,

bats down lilies of the valley,

smashes the koi pond like bullets.


She finds twenty dollars.

Graffiti  advice:  love.

Running now, high heels wobble on rutted

alley pavement.  She pauses, slips off shoes.

Leaning against a dumpster,

she finds a sparkling bracelet.


Numb, she turns to the stars and new moon.

Foreign languages buzz around her.

She runs the pain of others

to the bay

where Carla gives her kindness.

They hold hands

and stand on a billboard.

C.J. Prince




“Wooly Bully” blasts from the radio.

She thin-slices cabbage with a butcher knife,

smashes and dices garlic in the narrow kitchen.

Another old rented house.

She wipes a strand of red hair

from her damp brow

with the back of her hand,

scrubs dirt from carrots,

quarters baby red potatoes,

corned beef simmers.

Heat in the cast iron kettle,

Heat in her head.

She tugs at her mini skirt,

tugs at her T-shirt.

Her feet dance

but onion tears streak her cheeks.

Nothing will clear her troubled mind.

The secret will gnaw.

This morning she lied

in court for him.

C.J. Prince


Double Trouble



Three stir the cauldron

but two tell the fortune.


Spin your skirts of voile,

hip-coins jingle.

You did not ask for two.

Nor one.  Just a fortune


to play the day away.

Good or bad, unknown.


Thus comes double Gemini

appearing as four on crutches.


Perhaps it was the crystals

hanging before your eyes.


Perhaps you escape

the magician, another one.


When you double the twins,

you don’t know about the Pisces moon.


Double twice plus once again

and he looks like six.


Ask a question.

He will finally settle on one—


or two.  Do not second guess.

If the gypsy saw you mated,


she saw a far distance

you could not see.


Don’t look for anything,

No numbers or numerology.


Let the golden thread

at your crown guide you.


The single must be whole

before doubled.

C.J. Prince