And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden And there he put the man he had formed Eddie. And Joanie his woman. And kids Frankie and Angela. And toll-collectors excited by quarter rolls. And McMansions. And everywhere mortgages leapt and municipalities rolled in shortfalls. And lo the smog did foment and the kids had children. And in the Pine Barrens geese took bets. And barges towed shit to Teaneck. Then did the shore rejoice with casinos. And Frankie begat The Boss who begat Latifah.
A few potatoes winked from the dirt. The kids ran around like deer. And those syringes in the tide? They chimed like merry bells.
Lissa McLaughlin is less interested in language—verbal or visual—than in what it does to us to discover it. Her short fiction has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The North American Review, and in the Best American Short Story series. Burning Deck Press published four books of her prose poems, the last of which, Quit, appeared in 2015. From 1985-2005 she taught fiction writing at the university level, and continues to work as an itinerant editor of fiction, creative nonfiction, and writing for children. Since 1998 she has worked as a clinical expressive arts facilitator, initially with acute psychiatric clients, then with children visiting family in Hospice and kids on the autism spectrum. She also volunteers as a tutor of ESL. She has seen language arise spontaneously in people who, pushed to the edge of experience, and with small assistance, make coherent worlds the rest of us can't comprehend.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan