Dillon, In No Particular Order, a prose poem by @EvryManJac






©2018 by Jack A. Urquhart

Here you come ‘round again
it’s five years now
since you took your leave
and still these parceled posts
arrive in the present tense
mementos of you come home again
in no particular order: Continue reading

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Red Dwarf Trope, prose poem by @EvryManJac

©2018 by Jack A. Urquhart

I don’t know much about red dwarfs,
no expert of celestial bodies here;
not an astronomer, not even an astrologer
casting about for friendly signs and symbols,
a star-lit chart to some heavenly happiness.
I only know that there are a lot of them,
and that red dwarfs are unfathomably slow,
interminably ancient, depleting their resources,
nevertheless, after a universally self-destructive pattern.

Also (not surprisingly), they lack luster.

Like most beings accelerating in space,
red dwarfs never achieve full-fledged stardom;
rather, they collapse slowly on themselves
becoming smaller and immaterial over time
(as well as exponentially more dense).
All the intimacies that fuel a friendly fusion,
are consumed in a dimly read conflagration,
until there is only a gravity-bound center—
no more at the heart of the matter than stillness,
a desolate mass in an expanse of space.
Just another black hole in the billions of us,
invisible to the naked human eye.

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Hobo’s Dream, prose poem by @EvryManJac







Hobo’s Dream
© 2018 by Jack A. Urquhart

In a hometown dream,
I tramp familiar streets,
gnarly stick thrown o’er my shoulder
wags a hobo’s satchel banner,
its colors bandana red, white, paisley.
Worn shoes flap loose soles
like extra maws at my feet.
With each step, they mouth off at me:
floppa-floppa, floppa-floppa,
a duet in ragged-ass reproach.
What does it mean, I wonder,
this dream of down-and-out dereliction?
Only that I’ve grown old, perhaps?
Is that too much to hope?
Only that I’ve grown frightfully old?

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Two Poems, @EvryManJac: There is a Bell; Little Wonder







There is a Bell
©2018 by Jack A. Urquhart
(for Dillon)

There is a bell
pendulous and rusting
heavy in the tower
of my still-beating heart
Amidst the calmest hour
I can hear its faintest
steely shimmering
It calls me back
Back home to you Continue reading

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I Haven’t Forgotten, prose poem by @evrymanJac











Copyright 2017 by Jack A. Urquhart

In case you’re wondering,
I haven’t forgotten,
‘though it is many years.
I haven’t forgotten
the way you came howling
into the world,
red faced and wrinkled,
your tiny hands
already curled into fists. Continue reading

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Penitence, a prose poem by @EvryManJac

©2017 by Jack A. Urquhart








Just so you know:
I have my regrets.
Doesn’t everybody?
And yes, I am sorry—
sorry for the grief I’ve caused.

That, in a nutshell,
is the story of my life. Continue reading

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Breach of Trust, prose poem by Jack A. Urquhart @EvryManJac






© 2017 by Jack A. Urquhart

It seemed like nothing at the time
all those many years ago,
no more than an instant’s frustration
when I stooped to let you go—
just the fruit of a sleepless night,
the strain of overwrought paternity set loose.

It seemed all your fault back then,
the toddling source of cacophonous discord,
and that you deserved to take that spill.
No big deal to fall from knee-height,
and surely no harm done, I thought;
nary a bruise on your fat little bum.

Yet the moment you keened,
I knew it to be something more,
and that I’d failed again, again
the limitless tests of love,
and that the damage was done:
a first fracture in the bones of trust.


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An American’s Parisian Dream @EvryManJac

Les Jardin du Luxembourg

Les Jardins du Luxembourg

Copyright 2016 by Jack A. Urquhart

Paris, winter, 2016. We are here in the French capital again, my spouse Raymond and I, visiting dear friends for most of the month. Ray, who has an extensive history of European travel to his credit, has made this journey many times; I, however, have been in Paris on only four occasions. That said, if imagination counts for anything, then I have been to the storied City of Light innumerable times. For just as the Danish author Isak Dinesen purportedly claimed, I (too) have been a mental traveler. Just so, I have visited this city more times than I can recall. That is because Paris has captured my fancy for as long as I can remember.

As much as I hate to admit the cliché, I attribute my insatiable appetite for Paris to the Hollywood musicals of the 1950s: “An American in Paris” (1951, Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron), “Lili” (1953, Leslie Caron), “Daddy Longlegs” (1955, Fred Astaire, Ms. Caron) and, of course, “Gigi” (1958, again with Caron). Those movies–set before a hungry kid living in the boondocks of pre-Disney central Florida–presented a full menu for this American’s Parisian dream; that would be Paris as the ultimate expression of everything graceful, romantic, cultured, nuanced and brimming with the understated permission to just be. The kind of place, in fact, where an oddball like me might not seem so out of place at the table.

Later in adolescence a particularly charming high school French Teacher, Mme D, encouraged that notion by regaling us, her students, with tales of her previous life in the French capital, and by recounting the tragedies and triumphs of her favorite contemporary French cultural icons: French General and statesman, Charles de Gaulle; African-American expatriate singer and entertainer, Josephine Baker; and most especially, the legendary Edith Piaf, regarded at the time as France’s national chanteuse. How delicious it was, following Mme D’s animated direction as we sang along with the recordings of France’s “Little Sparrow,” warbling in lousy French the lyrics of “La vie en rose,” “Non, je ne regrette rien,” and “Milord.” Only by attending to Piaf, Mme D maintained, could we (yokels all) hope to remedy our atrocious twangy accents, not to mention our choppy, elision-less phrasing.

Several years later, another artist’s work served to further whet my appetite for all things Parisian. I was a junior at the University of Florida in 1969 when Judy Collins released her wonderful album, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” a collection so mesmerizing–truly, every song is a gem–that I must’ve played it a thousand times that year. But in truth, there was one track that moved me more than the others. Collins’s “My Father,” a haunting homage to her coal miner patriarch’s poignant dream of escaping to a romantic life in Paris, carries me away to this day:

My father always promised us / That we would live in France / We’d go boating on the Seine / And I would learn to dance

It should go without saying, I expect, that such romantic notions as these rarely find a place at the table in real life. That is because day-to-day living serves up an endless banquet of distractions and competing priorities–enough of them sometimes to make us fat and lazy, or to see us waste away. And yet somehow the persistent fantasy of a different life in Paris–one where even a skinny southern misfit like myself might achieve selfhood–has simmered in the back kitchens of my consciousness all these years. Over time, it has become something of a favorite dish, one whose flavor I summon in imagination whenever real life offers only fast food.

Granted, there is a good case to be made that a recurring diet of make believe is nothing more than high calorie self-indulgence, and that to invest energy in imagining a life in Paris, or London, or New York, or, for that matter, in envisioning how we’d dispense our Power Ball lottery millions, is simply a waste of time. But to those arguments I would counter that my Parisian dream has kept me from starving to death countless times, has nurtured me through many a famine–through losses of employment and property, friends and lovers. Through losses of life.

Which brings me back to this current stay in the City of Light, coming as it does after a year of personal upheaval that culminated in a cross-country move, as well as the deeply troubling outcome of a nasty and soulless U.S. Presidential contest. How satisfying it has been in these times of uncertainty and seeming global scarcity to rediscover that my Parisian dream has some basis in reality. Which is to say that the city has lost none of its power to sustain me.

As when in my morning jogs up Avenue du Général-Leclerc, I experience real satisfaction and a sense of belonging, however temporary, in successfully dodging native pedestrians and piles of doggie poo (Merde happens. Even in Paris!) on my way to les Jardins du Luxembourg. Likewise, there is the pride and sense of personal investment I take in the majestic mansard-roofed apartment buildings (palaces in which I’m unlikely ever to reside) that line Avenue de l’Observatoire, and the terraces, balustrades, parterres, and tree-lined promenades of les Jardins.

Granted, there is nothing in my pedestrian reveries of Paris that comes close to the Hollywood magic that first inspired my yearnings for the city those many years ago, not even a soupçon of the grace of the Gene Kelly choreographed ballet set to the iconic symphonic poetry of George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”. But I’m not sure that it matters if the most grandiose iterations of our fantasies ever find expression in real time, for surely there is room for economies of scale even in make believe.

Which is all by way of suggesting that perhaps the real measure, the real value of our most cherished imaginings, is their ability to feed our souls when the larders of life seem to hold nothing more than a few stale croutons.

Which is surely no small thing. Vraiment, pas du tout.


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Residue: a prose poem, @EvryManJac


©2016 by Jack A. Urquhart

(for D.T.U.)

He wears loss ‘round his neck—
scintilla of ashes, bone, dust—
a steely, encapsulating talisman,
storied against his heart.
His fingers oil the patina
to a shade of smoky-gray.
This grief is a work in progress,
homage to procreative pomposity
and best paternal intentions,
a last-ditch mnemonic
to rhinestone-sparkling vanity
and false hope springs eternal.
All such tinder’d fables
must flare and burn away.
Yet, in the sooted residue,
the smallest spark may show—
to make of loss an artless art
(or so this story goes?)


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