Prose Poem: Containment Narrative – The Feminist Wire

Prose Poem: Containment Narrative

By Clare Louise Harmon




I dressed blackunderwearredbra I worried that the strap would be seen & then I remembered I didn’t careatall fucktheorchestra and its fuckingdresscode skinnyjeansblackboots and crammed concertblack balledup I walked to the hall wrinkledclothes writhedatthethought of performance unpacked the viola to violentclouds of rosindust slippedpegs & then I remembered the timeofyear changeofseasons is such a bitch for stringplayers I shared a stand with Luciano casanovawhosmelled of toomanycigarettes greeted me with discoloredsmile he was thirtyeight that year and I oftenwondered about the last time he was at the dentist weplayed a concerto and otherpieces I barely remember overturesymphony butwhichones I couldn’t tellyou like I said I really didn’t careatall applauseandovation brightlights reflectedwhite on mapleplank despitedust no matter how shitty you play you’re supposedtosmile at the endlater atthebar I drank ginandtonics one oldfashioned met someone new at lastcall wewalked to the parkinglot waxedpoeticon BillieHoliday&BessieSmith at his apartmenteerilyimmaculate welistened to pressedvinyl JohnnySmith a guitarist likeDjango I should lovehim but I can’t listenanymore notnownottodaymaybenotever. It was four in the morning I took his hand I was freezing low blood sugar no dinner no heat no thing to eat he had only a sheet and bedspread my body shuddered as if some precognition told it what was to come I showered immediatelyshed myclothesuponentering my basementapartment everythingached mybreasts ached myskinached mybody ached and I scrubbedlikehell I made a small load of contaminatedclothes pacingshaking in still Tourette’s broughtonbydisbelief bytheblackunderwearredbra skinnyjeans waddedcruddy cummyconcertblack the rest tainted theapartment a taintedapparition teemingoverflowing mymother’s scarfaprayershawl a carrier I cured it with essentialoils teatreeandtangerine postulated the halflife of cheapcologne sometimearound nine a.m. I calledmysister.

Things like this happen all the time.




Clare_Harmon-2014-10-01_10.43.18Clare Louise Harmon holds a B.A. in Art History from the University of Minnesota. She later pursued graduate studies in music performance at Michigan State University. She has been invited to present her research on music, violence, ethics, and bodies at symposia and conferences in Europe, New Zealand, South America, and throughout the United States. From 2011-2012, Clare taught violin, viola, and chamber music at Drake University. At present, she is working toward completion of an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. Her poems have appeared Quaint and PANK Magazines. Her book, The Thingbody: Hybrid Verse Memoir, Sounding & Illuminated, is forthcoming from Instar Books.



A version of “Containment Narrative” previously appeared in Quaint Magazine, Issue 2.