4 Little Love Story Poems by Carol Novack | Metazen

Posted on May 26, 2010



Auntie was prone to say: “Cheese is best when sliced thin just like life.”  She always bit off a lot of less than she could chew and avoided more than a mot of mirth, even with dessert and a spot of port. “Take little and relish it, and you will be sufficient. But that’s just my opinion.”

When I was little, I ate too fast and choked at birthday parties.  Then I grew up a little and married the first man who’d overcome me, big with an eloquent tongue.  I nearly lost my breath till death might do us part.

“When I was little, I ate too fast and choked at birthday parties.”


At Auntie’s funeral, a weeping man hugged me so brutally he caught my breath. He was the man called Happy Henry Auntie had left at the altar.  As the attendees gasped, Auntie reversed herself with deliberation and panache, floating down the aisle towards the door.  “So sorry, I made a little mistake,” she spoke politely, waving her white-gloved hands.

His Heart

Carla wore his heart under her sleeve.  The heart he’d carved said “Carla and Carl forever,” as if her arm were a tree he’d planted on his property. An arrow with angel wings pierced the dead center of the heart, “a darling, thoughtful touch,” she exclaimed, turning as red as the heart’s aorta.  When Carl left for Majorca with Mabel, the wings turned black and blue.



Short, plump Lili longed for the man on the other side of the square, the one who sat on a bench reading “Sonnets to Orpheus.”  Everything about him was grand and aquiline.  Atop the man’s mane of white hair perched a black beret.  A black tie always relaxed on his lavender silk shirts; he seemed to have a menagerie of them. Was he always going to a Ball?

The man she called “the one” reminded Lili of what she wished to remember of her childhood:  a huckleberry sundae with dark chocolate chips. She wondered what color his eyes were.  She was an expressionist who loved Kandinsky.

“Lili took to wearing a black hat to cover her dull gray hair …”

Lili took to wearing a black hat to cover her dull gray hair and a long black silk scarf to adorn her parade of lavender blouses.   She started to make a habit of walking by him, winking her hips. Then she added an accessory, a book of poems by Rilke that poked ostentatiously from her mini-tote bag.  Lili did this for weeks, months, years, oh what is time?  But he never even glanced her way.  He was too busy mouthing poems, looked as though he was eating them. Yet he was ever looking up at the sky, into the sun, with his eyes closed. Lili tried wearing spiked heels to create noises to awaken him from his Rilkean reveries.  Nada. Niet. Rien du tout.  She tried tripping and ripped her purple stockings on several occasions.  Nada. Niet. Rien du tout.

One day, Lili set up an easel in front of the patisserie opposite “the one’s” bench.  She brought her most luxurious colors and began to paint him.  A crowd soon gathered to exclaim their praises in most colorful words.  When the crowd dispersed, “the one” walked cautiously up to the painting and asked Lili if he could suggest a “minor touchup.” “Although I cannot see, I can smell the color you used for my eyes,” he said.  “They are in fact absent of color, but perhaps I should say they were, as you’ve made them blush.  I can feel you are a warm woman of wit and refinement, the one I’ve awaited to take to the Ball.”

And so they went and that was the beginning.

A Perfect Romance

Once was girl without hind-fore-mid-up-down-side-ways-brain, just crows inside head: oy such an ache. Met boy with only worms inside head: oy such a tickle. So crows flew out of girl’s head into boy’s. She so whoopsy giddy fell off cliff into glacial lake, became duck. Boy followed; also became duck.


Carol Novack is the former recipient of a writer’s award from the Australian government, the author of a poetry chapbook, and publisher of Mad Hatters’ Review. She is also an erstwhile criminal defense and constitutional lawyer in NYC. Prose and poetics may or will be found in numerous journals, including American Letters & Commentary, Caketrain, Drunken Boat, Exquisite Corpse, Fiction International, Gargoyle, Journal of Experimental Fiction, La Petite Zine, LIT, Mississippi Review, Notre Dame Review, andWord Riot, and in many anthologies, including “The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets,” “Diagram III,” and “The &Now Awards: the Best Innovative Writing.” Writings in translations may or will be found in French, Italian, and Romanian journals. An illustrated collection of fictions and poetics "Giraffes in Hiding: The Mythical Memoirs of Carol Novack" will be published this year by Spuyten Duyvil Press. See her blog for further details and hurry to Metazen blog for an interview with Carol.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 at 2:00 am

If you liked the flash fiction/prose poems I quoted in my review of Alex Epstein’s Blue Has No South you might also enjoy Carol Novack’s “4 Little Love Story Poems.”

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