Thursday, November 19, 2009

"So Norman Died Of Course" Recieves Special Mention in Pushcart Prize Anthology

I'm sure my publisher would rather I not do this, but I've had several people ask me where they can see the poem "So Norman Died, Of Course," which received a Special Mention in the new Pushcart Prize Anthology, so I'm going to post it here. Of course I'd prefer that you buy a copy of "The Fractured World" from the Main Street Rag online bookstore at You could also buy a couple of the other fantastic books MSR has published recently. My personal favorites have been Irene Honeycutt's "Before the Light Changes," Paul Hostovsky's "Bending the Notes," Sara Claytor's "Howling on Red Dirt Roads," and Joanna Catherine Scott's "Night Huntress" (maybe that plug will defuse the publisher's anger a bit). The poem first appeared in the now defunct "Charlotte Poetry Review," edited by A.J. and Lisa Jillani (true patrons of poetry), so it's no longer available in any other print form. Anyway, here is the poem.

So Norman Died, Of Course

So Norman died, of course,
like everyone, but being
Norman, of course,
he couldn’t die like everyone.
He couldn’t die no
ordinary death.
He had to die
all over the place at once.
He had to die
all into things.
He had to spread himself out
like a warm day
and lie there like everyone
dying, slowly turning
into something else.

So he left his fingers
on the ground and they
turned into earthworms
and wriggled away.
And he let his ears
fly free, the wings
they’d always wanted
to be. And he let his eyes
roll into the ocean
to become pearls
held tight in oysters’
clamped shut shells.
His hair spun itself
into spider webs
that stretch across your face.
His skull opened itself
for chipmunks and night things
to nest in. His face
became a flower with one eye
that winked open
in the morning, winked
closed at night.
His leg became a persimmon
branch, its unripe fruit
turning your mouth
inside out. His heart
hardened into stone.
His bones picked themselves up
and wandered to the river
and threw themselves in
and flowed downstream
until a beaver gathered them
together for his dam.
His lips turned into blades
of grass that whistle
with every breeze.
His arms transformed
into wild lime trees,
covered with spines
and yellow fruit,
inviting, forbidding,
letting nothing go easy.
His tongue flew into the wind
and was never heard from again.
His skin had grown so thin
it easily changed into birchbark
and started peeling away.
And his hand,
his hard right hand
which never learned to hold
anything gently turned into
a leaf that held wind,
rain, sunlight upon it,
then let everything go.


  1. Such a joy to read this poem...congratulations on the recognition!

  2. I do love this poem! I feel as if Norman is family I've come to know him so well. Recognition well deserved!

  3. So glad you posted it but everyone should go and pick up a copy of The Fractured World and pre-order Paternity (which I am reading now for a book review and it will just tear at your heart and make you smile! which is a fantastic book combination :)