Reb Livingston

Two Prose Poems

Volume 14:4, Fall 2013
Prose Poem Issue

from Bombyonder

You will see the church and trees, the gravel road and the graveyard, the altar and the limp snake, you will see my neighborhood as picturesque and you will take a photograph to post on Facebook.

You will see the death announcement in the softening ice staring back and wonder who put it there.

You will smell the burnt scriptures and humorless smoke.

You will blow the ashes out your nostrils and wonder how much reached your lungs.

You will wonder did I make all that fire just to kill a snake?

Even if you don’t see my matches or smell my accelerants, you will know that I brought the fire.

You will see no flash or gleam in my eyes, you will see I no longer have the strength to carry a torch and you will wonder how I was able and what could be incinerated next.


from Bombyonder

Advice about food, noodles in bulk, advice about placement and presentation, to remain calm and not react, contests are the systems that keep us in check.

Love advice or wisdom in general?

To meet the challenge, be low key and off the radar, become a woodworker, sell large substantial things, sell small things to people who won’t buy the large things, little things add up, big doesn’t sell everyday, get up and approach people, in person, use a phone, advice on bicycles, go to the casino, move to the mountains, cut the skin behind the fin, run between their legs in such a way as you won’t get trampled.

The cameras in her eyes doesn’t hide what’s happened anymore.

If money is a hurdle in your relationship, write off the money to charity. I don’t feel qualified for health, I find it difficult.

Only someone thin should ever try something so caloric.

Don’t download that software you don’t know where it came from. Don’t compare cooking, or salary.

Never leave a wet spot.

Never drink from the swamp.


Reb Livingston is the author of God Damsel (No Tell Books, 2010) and Your Ten Favorite Words (Coconut Books, 2007). Her work has appeared in The American Poetry Review, Action Yes, The Rumpus and the Best American Poetry 2006. She's the curator of The Bibliomancy Oracle and Gilt Gilda. She is the former editor and publisher of No Tell Motel and No Tell Books. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and son. For more by this author, see the Winter 2007 Issue, and the Audio Issue.