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The Afterlife
Louis Jenkins


Older people are exiting this life as if it were a movie… "I didn’t get it,"
they are saying.
He says, "It didn’t seem to have any plot."
"No." she says, "it seemed like things just kept coming at me. Most of the
time I was confused… and there was way too much sex and violence."
"Violence anyway," he says.
"It was not much for character development either; most of the time
people were either shouting or mumbling. Then just when someone started
to make sense and I got interested, they died. Then a whole lot of new
characters came along and I couldn’t tell who was who."
"The whole thing lacked subtlety."
"Some of the scenery was nice."
They walk on in silence for a while. It is a summer night and they walk
slowly, stopping now and then, as if they had no particular place to go.
They walk past a streetlamp where some insects are hurling themselves at
the light, and then on down the block, fading into the darkness.
She says, "I was never happy with the way I looked."
"The lighting was bad and I was no good at dialogue," he says.
"I would have liked to have been a little taller," she says.


From North of the Cities (Will o’ the Wisp Books, 2007) © Louis Jenkins.
Used with the author’s permission.



Louis Jenkins (1942 - 2019) was a native of Oklahoma, but lived in Duluth, Minnesota, for 40+ years. The state's natural beauty was a constant source of inspiration for his work, which was often humorous and always thought-provoking. Considered a master of prose poetry, Louis authored sixteen books and was featured in numerous anthologies. He claimed that pleasure, clarity, and empathy are among the most essential characteristics of a poem.





Post New Comment:
I can't stop reading this! Imagine if the world read this poem and actually "got it"...
Posted 08/28/2014 02:03 PM
A terrific poem about our usual life. Thanks
Posted 08/28/2014 11:46 AM
I love this. Thanks so much for publishing it.
Posted 08/25/2014 04:28 PM
Mary Lou Taylor:
Kept me reading right to the end.
Posted 08/25/2014 02:00 PM
uh oh...sounds pretty believable--love it!
Posted 08/25/2014 01:32 PM
Posted 08/25/2014 09:57 AM
Most prose poems that I have read were not at all good. I really like Mr. Jenkins, though. Good job, and it's amusing, too. Every poem tells a story.
Posted 08/25/2014 08:04 AM
Noone tops Jenkins at this!
Posted 08/25/2014 05:39 AM
Ross Kightly:
So good to see a prose poem given some space! A marvellously flexible form if used with the subtlety we see here! Many thanks to all concerned!
Posted 08/25/2014 12:48 AM

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