Archive for the ‘prose poem’ Category

Don’t Tell Them You’re Not the Center of the Universe

I am humble. I am the gold-standard of pleasing. I am monumental and un-sabotaged. My sweet defies the vinegar days and the bleached-out nights. I return to the day and weather whatever is worn.

Of all the magic tricks, of all the annoyances, of all the clutching, the wolf at my neck is obligated, not obliterated. She emerges. She falls in love. She settles on the wish that all lovers are not doomed. That all flickers are not dragging hopes.

Don’t tell them you’re not the center of the universe, because sometimes you are.  And while I am confessing,  all these rights trying not to be wrongs, all these fears holding back loves are just an ever-changing  tone. A vibration too high for our ears.

Maybe I am the center of the universe, ever-orbiting around a heart of gold.  A universe of one. Someday, I will bring you into my spin.


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The greatest harvest has been tucked in, buried. Some would say marooned, gathering toward ambition. Is it a weak purpose, or a somehow lodging of a brief changing world?

The greatest harvest of my life is sun-plucked and drained.  Not great. Not pert. It is still enfolded, still orbit-spun, still defeating its surface. 

We travel at so many speeds. We are harvesting every possible moment.  I am a field of knowings; a possible sky. We compete with sound and heaven.  So much time passes through our points. So much time. It is hard to know where our feet actually land.

The fast-forwards burnish a haunting beat; a deep thrust of heart and breath. The tragic nevers we try to restructure. This startling, that wedge of change, consider it. Consider the flooding over as the most exquisite tremor you feel today. The world outside; this is all the greatest. 

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To This


Sometimes the thing is to keep the worth to stave-away, flaunted, and to kind what is uncertain. Sometimes the nave of a barrier is wrapped in story; the vice of what seems innocent is easily imitated and horned. Sometimes vestments are just barricades; careless wounds are just applied sadness. The afternoons are just wide-losses. The pleasure of what we see with our eyes is brief and the love we want is in the boughs. Sometimes the gathering of delight is seething and we are born into this too late.  Sometimes time is a trick;  the trick is time, or the trick is to not think about time. Sometimes we feel we have come too far already. Sometimes is a long word. Days feel moved. What is cast, is netted.  I want a sea-wind to roam in; a call to send me home.  Sometimes I show the last-times to my heart. I hold the wide-open with prongs. I want to free the crimson that hovers. Sometimes, I sing to the very end. I change the legend.  Sometimes, I am the legend. Sometimes, the legend becomes this.


© Umansky 2014


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A Page Turns



            “Oh, you would’ve liked a better ending!” she exclaims.  “That’s too bad. Next time, show up to the right story.” She opens her heart and says, “Hmm, let’s see what is given to me today to write about.” She is hoping for a new page.

             I want to be a self-starter, she thinks, I want to finish with sparks.  And then she is little girl, catching fireflies in the summer.  Each glow, a story; each glow, an ordinary sun.  

            She paces on the line; squeezes between two words and then line-jumps. She is glad to see the margin, and leans there for a minute. It bends, bridging into another margin.  Even the heart has architecture, she thinks.

            This is her great love: this figuring; this terror-slaying; this air raid of wonder.

I want to be involved with a stanza, she thinks. She wants something to call her own. A page turns.  “I love you,” it says, “I love you.” “I love you.”

© Umansky 2014

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When Don puts on the Revolver LP it is like I’m back in my childhood bedroom asserting that it is not the 1990’s. When the Beatles terrorize his penthouse apartment, I wish I could sit on his lap and sing to him.  Don says, “Having a dream is admirable.”

He can drink all he wants, as long as when “And Your Bird Can Sing” comes on he promises to dance. Whiskey could do the trick. Those Drapers are pretty predictable. Drapers do whatever they want. Even if Don is an “ideas man,” he knows better than to say no to a woman.

Don says, “I was raised in the 30’s. My dream was indoor plumbing."

Megan says, “Don, You’re everything I dreamed you’d be and more!”


            Let’s not talk about my dreams…





I thought I’d hate Don, like everyone else, but I don’t.  I long for him the way kids long for the turning of the Ice Cream Man.  I hear that elevator door DING and I rise on up.


Sure, he’s troubled like the rest of them, but beneath that designer suit is a good, strong man. He’s a warrior.   He treats Joan like she came out of that goddamn Trojan Horse with the soldiers, all woman, all beauty and all power-hungry as hell.  She’s everything a man is and more. Don can’t plead with Joan; she’s a woman who’s ready to kill her darlings.


I know advertising is based on moments, but so is life.  Don has changed this moment for me.                                                         




When Don falls asleep on Peggy’s lap, you can feel the continents shift. He almost tells her she’s beautiful, but doesn’t, which is good, because she doesn’t need that from him.  When her number’s called, she gets gone.


When she gives her notice, he takes her hand like she is royalty. He is tender and sensual. It is almost erotic in the way he lingers there in the twilight of her moment. She is rejecting him and he won’t let go of her hand.  She feels his lips, not on her face, but on the top of her hand; her fingers; and her nails.


He is proud of her; she’s her own glory now. She’s got the guns and the ammo, but inside, I bet he’s thinking: I’ve created a monster.


Peggy resists all the clichés and wraps herself in strength.  She takes Don on in a way that children learn how to fight back tears.


This is tough-love at its finest.


It’s a man’s world, but not for all of us.  


© Umansky 2013

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I’ll try and play along; any word would not be able to be enabled into a good way of handling.


If a brass tendered; or a brass-membered a message changed in coloring, I’d discuss it here.


I would take three courses, (for I’ve got a nasty tongue) and a pile of saucers and these old stories would tell of the so-simple exchange. A fault in syllable and letter started with a right-jerk, andandand a left-jerk; and, where I left-off,I shall then begin again.


Again, any dull man can and any dull man could and would. There’s no more to explain of this dance;  it is a love-sweet thing and when salted or stale, it grows over-boiled and tart.

© Umansky 2013

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“The love of endings is a love of form. It is a tributary. [ I will lead you down the river of this] It is triumphant, even.   Challenging and channeling; measuring the  riff. The world hurts. The world pains. The world cuts into wounds and we let it let on. We let it let on us. The gush is good.


The lucky is in the happening. The lucky is the way that the stitches run. If we were to take this in a musical direction, first, I’d want a motorcycle jacket first. 


This is a direct address:  “You! Come here!”


This is where I realize the recognizing has fallen.  The report should have stated:  this is precious. This is all a master letter on: wandering. If this is woven together, it will be satisfying. I  promise, what comes is promising.  I will make light dance.  You will believe that it will be.  I will collect the shatterings with my own teeth,” says tomorrow.  


© Umansky 2013

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Before You Know


I am told and I like being told some things –especially when the wandering steals over me as a hand. I want to say that it is precious, but it is scarfed around the crux. This is a battle with the back. With the back of days. With the back of calves and hands and necks and sides and how will it feel then?


I can remember the liking, but I fear it. Yes. Yes. Yes, of course. That’s it. It’s like being a child: the being picked and picked on. Call this delicious, but it is a delicacy that starts with vomit. It is the only knot I got stuck on. And I am stuck and I am whole-heartedly holed. It is an unknown that I have no thing for. Nothing at all. 


And, I recently discovered that I don’t have a dictionary.  It is okay. I will stay mannered and functional and wondrous in the back of being, and I will remember what it was like, back there, in the happy hour.


© Umansky 2013

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You’ll like this poem, because you should.  Because we all fight for the underdog. It has a nice ring to it, jewess.  Draper invents their dichotomy, but I, I imagine their kiss is sweet, like an apple halved. Fresh, yet sour, and of course, verdant. Very verdant.

 [which is close to virgin].


She reminds him of        ofofof   something pure, and of value and  charm. An antique. A throw-back to a day of glory and grain, a day of the humble and pain. She is something unseeming, or appears to be so, until he lays his paws on her.   She wants to love him, but he grows clingy and pale, recoiling from what she is:  jewess.Her kiss is both a mother and a smother. Her wild heathenness beckons and stirs, beckons and purrs, and then, look what the cat drags in:


In her, he sees nostalgia. He sees what is sundogged, dawned and near-death.He sees pennies and scrapes and his scraping-by but also sees clarity and calm. In him, she sees his goishe American ways. They are Napoleonic, bionic, and myopic.  They could take over the world, but, she, she is a businesswoman. Her guards [and garters] rise to his touch. If he wants to invest, he will need to earn his shares just like everyone else. She is the Empress of Fifth Avenue. She is a rose, and he is a hornet.

  [ Now, who’s the one with horns?]


He abandons his life. In her, he sees how the other side lives, but he forgets she is a proprietor.  She knows what she values and manhood is golden.  The Jewess does not get what she wants, but either does the Don.  He’s got nothing.                 Zilch. 


© Umansky 2013

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It isn’t a myth. All stories are based in truth, so I’m gonna tell you.

There were two horses:  Carl and Hans.  Carl came from the air.

No one knew his whereabouts; no one cared. He was a good horse.

He held magic in his hooves.  If that horse bled, it bled gold.   Hans

was a thoroughbred. He came from tradition. He came from hay.

[Haystacks, so high, you wouldn’t believe] He bled oats; he bled

blue ribbons. Together, the two made something metropolis. Before

anyone knew it, they were brushing their manes like Hans, and if

Carl said you needed plaid horseshoes, you better believe you got

yourself not one, but two pair. They captured this town by taking

the lead, and made it a little Ungashtupt. No one had ever seen

anything like it. They turned stables to skyrises. Then, they took off

the blinders, and saw. They saw The World, and it was their Apple.

They made this city; they made you and I. And we’ll carry their

banner into the dawn, into the New Age.

© 2013 Umansky

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