dVerse—Prosery Monday—Lost/Found/Lost Children (12/06/2021)

From the bar at dVerse, Lisa pitched me the Prosery Monday poem, “When We Sing Of Might,” by Kimberly Blaeser (see it here).

From the poem, Lisa lifted a line for me to fold into a piece of prose of fewer than 145 words of my own making but including the line, “I dress in their stories patterned and purple as night.”

I had to use every word of the entire line. I was allowed to change punctuation and to capitalize words, but I was not permitted to insert words in between parts of the sentence.


But for the Grace of What?

I walked the muddy road through the depressingly disgusting homeless camp. There was nothing but mud everywhere; muddy tents and muddy mad people totally demoralized and pissed off at the world that had put them here. They were angry about being in this place and they refused to come to terms with what they themselves had created, not just a camp, but a metaphor for their lost lives, an intractable bog of stink and decay. The city provided piss pits and shit pots smelled to hell and back. These lost souls were in the grips of unshakable petulance. It was in their eyes, posture, and the way they walked. To report on this homeless debacle, I knew what I had to do. I would be in Rome and do as they did. Briefly, I dress in their stories—patterned and purple as night.


Look both ways to see all that’s there.
Mind the gaps, but spare judgement.
There, but for the good grace of random fortune, go I.

Access other prosery pieces here.

41 thoughts on “dVerse—Prosery Monday—Lost/Found/Lost Children (12/06/2021)

  1. Oh, that was so well done, Bill.
    I have to admit, though prosery is my favourite of the prompts… I am loathe to try my hand at this particular one.

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    1. Thank you, Dale. I wanted so badly to change the line just a wee bit, but I am not one to test the ire of dVerse. 🙂
      At first, I wanted to write a story in ‘purple prose’ just for fun, but I surrendered to my darker side. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nope. Not allowed! It is best not to 😉
        It’s hard not to succumb/surrender to the darker side considering the reason for this prompt…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill it’s difficult to escape your reasoning and conclusions here. The physical state is a metaphor also for the sordid conditions for those in the homeless camp. It is a miracle any of us get out of what we’re put into alive. Oh wait, we don’t. Do you believe in reincarnation? I’m on the fence with it, but if it exists we’ll be trying out lots of other existences than the one we currently inhabit. Thank you for your thought-provoking prosery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I made a wrong turn once in Austin and drove through a homeless camp. I got and asked directions.
      It was not nearly as bad as I used here, but I knew immediately were I was.
      The description I used ironically echoes other places (not homeless) I’ve seen and read about.
      Thanks for the compliment, Lisa. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The truth is dark like this in some places, and it shouldn’t be hidden away. This reality should be told, if only to highlight other’s privilege. A thought-provoking write, Bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In the body of the piece, I get a feeling of mitigated sympathy for the people in camps, migrants and refugees, but you set the balance straight in the final lines. Nobody lives in a camp if they have a choice, and the people who criticise them for trying to find a better life for themselves should look to the reasons for them leaving home in the first place. Look at the labels on the military hardware for example, look at the labels in our clothes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jane. I used to think that no one chose the “homeless” life, but I was surprised to learn that some do. In any case, it is a huge social problem for which I have no solution.

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      1. I’ve met people who have lost their home because of unemployment divorce, illness especially mental illness, and I’ve met people who choose to sleep on the streets rather than go into a shelter, but I’ve never met anyone who had a home and chose to leave it. Our cities are full of people with nowhere to go.

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      2. True. And I still think that 99.9% of the time what you say is accurate. Until I read “Travels with Lizbeth: Three Years on the Road and on the Streets” by Lars Eighner, I never believed anyone would make such a choice. Walking in downtown Seattle, one sees many “homeless” with enormous backpacks. I called them urban campers. In one camp outside of Seattle, people would get up and ride the bus into work every day. I cannot attest to their mental status, but by appearance, they were nothing like what I depicted in my prosery. 🙂

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      3. There are probably many different kinds of homeless people. You probably don’t get the same camps full of migrants fleeing wars in Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, Sudan. There must be camps of Central Americans who have crossed the border, but I imagine they’re localised. We have migrant camps everywhere. The poor world is moving.
        The others, the young people with dogs and backpacks I don’t count. They had a choice and they’ve chosen a lifestyle. They’re marginal and a nuisance and they don’t live in camps. I think many of them go home to ma and pa to sleep. But the families just wanting to get away from famine or shells, they’re tragic. They’re the people I see in your prosery.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Homelessness is a perpetual issue here in NYC. Affordability is a problem, mostly for working families, but many if not most who “choose” to live on the streets have addictive or mental health issues. But there is no money or political will for halfway houses where they would get the treatment they need as well as shelter. We pretend not to see and move on. (K)

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