Winner, dis•articulations Reader Poem for June — Donna Prinzmetal


Donna Prinzmetal is a poet, psychotherapist and teacher. She has taught poetry and creative writing for over twenty-five years to adults and children. Donna often uses writing to facilitate restoration and healing in her psychotherapy practice. Her poems have appeared in many magazines including: Prairie Schooner, The Oregonian, The Comstock Review, and The Journal. Snow White, When No One Was Lookingwas published in May of 2014 by CW Books, an imprint of WordTech Communications.  This is a book of persona poems in which Snow White speaks, often in a contemporary voice, and includes multiple versions of the fairy tale.  It is Donna’s first book.

Her poem,  “Treasure Hunt,” appeared on this blog on June 21, 2015.

Donna will receive a $25 honorarium for the prize. We encourage readers to be inspired by the process and play along. Each month, we’ll award one $25 prize for the best reader poem we receive.


Reader Poem by Donna Prinzmetal

Donna Prinzmetal wrote this poem inspired by the dis•articulations process, and the prompts and fevered writing exchanged by Terry Wolverton and Elena Karina Byrne in June.


I want to dig in my garden under the tomatoes through the cities of earthworms and find a map. I want the map to be quiet and torn and have the impossible marked on it: everything luminous and easy to find. I can look on the wrinkled paper, yellowed and uneven as skin even after all the ablutions. I can hear the jukebox playing Crazy over and over while the couple wraps themselves around each other for a dance slower than slow. And there, just to the left, is the abandoned house in filled with thousands of flowers, relics of an apology no one believed. On the map you can see the secret passage behind the dresser, the place the stars slid off of the mobile, as the baby reached for them, the grandfather clock stuck at 10:17 with no working second hand but a sturdy insistent heartbeat you can almost hear through the skin of the map. What grows there under the bridge, behind the mimosa trees, what grows under the claw fence, beneath the sludge of that underwater garden? There is a small silvery thing, you can barely hear it, a canticle , a moment that undresses itself until your only company is amnesia, and that’s on the map too, that mishap of memory. Let me find that place on the map where a rivulet of water sluices down the window, but not just any window, the window with an eagle just on the other side and on the map you can see that lilac scented garden bustling with bees. . I’m sorry to tell you this is not my home. I’m out there where the urchins hide, behind the mirror. On the map I can see where my skin used to be, when I had skin, when I had a beginning and a middle. Each object you meet on the map, refuses to be found anywhere else, in midair, in what you might assume is the “real world” but you would be wrong.

Reader Poem by Donna Prinzmetal

Donna Prinzmetal wrote this poem in response to Terry Wolverton’s  prompt “Sundown Over Ghost Town.”

Sundown Over Ghost Town

Without a zero we cannot make ten or a hundred. Similarly
with emptiness: It is emptiness and at the same time it is
the basis of everything.
The Dalai Lama

The question is where are the ghosts?
The question is who will mourn them?

When the sun descends
each tumbleweed moment dries the edges.

Can something absent be quantified?
That is the question.

Can the town that’s gone
have a parade? Or is it like zero

buzzing silently with possibilities
still an open gash.

The question is if we take away the glass
is a window still a window?

Oregon has more ghost towns
than any other state.

We cannot see them shimmer
on the hillside

the way the living shimmer
when they’re afraid of the darkness,

when we’re afraid of the darkness
that comes just after burning.

Reader Poem by Donna Prinzmetal

Donna Prinzmetal wrote this poem in response to Elena Karina Byrne’s prompt, “Set Yourself on Fire.”


As if you can hold a magnifying glass to your own synapses
As if you are an ant and the sun holds you hostage
As if lightening started in the gullet
As if you are a stick rubbed against someone you love
As if you don’t love him any more
As if the wind flurries your hair into ash
As if you could say goodbye even if you wanted to
As if you are a beached jellyfish drying in the heat
As if all your summers are hidden from you like secrets
As if the secrets won’t stop whispering among themselves
As if you could find what was lost in flame’s blue heart.
As if you could ever find what was lost