Closer to Day
by Mary A. Koncel

ISBN: 0-9656161-5-0
Saddle-stitched, $5.00
Publication Date: 1999.
5.5 x 8.5 inches, 28 pages

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Weaving through sleep, dream and sleeplessness, Koncel’s prose poems do bring us, with each reading, a little bit “closer to day.” There’s always an attentive eye on the folk who live close to the earth, the earth’s animals as well as close to fellow humans. Read these pieces and to appreciate lyricism merged with humor and sadness.

Mary A. Koncel is one of our strongest North American practitioners of the prose poem. Her prose poems, meticulous works of wit and ambition, perform extraordinary feats, even while they ask us to imagine new forms of freedom and compassion.
—Lee Upton

From Closer to Day...

Emanuel on the Tightrope

In this small corner, snow drifts higher than the last flock of swallows, and the wind beats cherry trees as if they were cheap tin drums. But 1,200 miles south, in the big city, a man sits on a tightrope, eating cheese sandwiches and watching a television strapped to his wrist.

His name is Emanuel, and, 600 feet above sidewalks and cigarette butts, lawn mowers and potted palms, he’s no longer a man with a dozen lug wrenches and a weary blonde wife. He’s the man on the tightrope.

I know the truth. Today, as I shiver again while another round of winter pounds on my front door, repeating, “you, you, you,” I know that this man is afraid of the earth. I am sure of this as I am sure that sky and lake can freeze together, that February follows January like a well-trained mutt, and that this man too has shuddered in his sleep.

Emanuel blows kisses to the crowd below. “It’s a dream,” he tells them, “the dream of a real, everyday man.” He turns away from the sun that drags itself across the horizon, straightens his shoulders, and waves two fingers as if they were his flag.

Up there, he is safe. Yet all over the earth, people are shrinking back. Wrapped and huddled, they think of Emanuel growing taller, his bare chest catching last night’s drizzle of stars. “Hold on, Emanuel,” we whisper through our clenched right fists. “Hold on.”

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