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.
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