Dan Pinkerton

When he went away to junior college, Walter studied art: Pop left him cold, expressionism he found so-so, but he took a real interest in the ancient haloed ladies. Walter shared a dorm with an unassuming lump named Ned and a pair of spittlebugs under glass. Five weeks into term and the maladies began—a nasty case of trench mouth, then strabismus which caused the paintings to split in a murky twinning. Schools blurred, periods mingled until everything seemed too oblique; needless to say, Walter failed and went away in undiagnosed shame, his muscle car no longer haunting the lot. Some say he took it too far, vanishing into the woods with a haversack over his shoulder, hobo-esque, harvesting cuttlefish and selling the bones to Ernie's Pet Bonanza. Seeking an end to his strabismus, Walter chewed wintergreen leaves, ate the berries, drank from the stream (not a great idea); strangely his ailments passed. Back to town he came bearing stalagmites as gifts, handing them out to hussies along the route. We asked when he might finish his JC degree, but Walter merely shrugged. Why bother when all the great art was so near at hand—stalagmites, nature's well-honed spears; and the hussies, who followed Walter like remorse.



I like prose poem/flash fiction-type things, and I like things with recurring characters, like Berryman's Dream Songs. I've been inspired by the recent prose poem stylings of Sabrina Orah Mark and Zachary Schomburg. I also think James Tate is really good, but this almost goes without saying.