can you believe we're two weeks in to national poetry month? be sure to dig through our april archives to catch all the wonderful poetry that's gathered here already, and stay tuned for more to come! today we are thrilled to feature another fantastic, prolific local poet, Caitlin Pryor, and her poem MARCH MADNESS AS MAMURALIA. Caitlin not only holds several degrees in writing, but is a vigilant supporter and participant of creative communities around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. she'll be joining us at our Poetry Party next weekend to read some of her wonderful poetry alongside a whole lineup of literary awesomeness. don't miss out!
Caitlin's writing prompt for you today: Describe a place that doesn't exist: a movie theater that only shows old television commercials, an island inhabited only by miniature donkeys, the waiting room of a doctor for broken hearts. What goes on there? Why do you want this place to exist? What would it mean to you, to us?
MARCH MADNESS AS MAMURALIA
On the Ides of March... a man clothed with a goat-skin would be led in, and they would strike him with long, slender rods, calling him “Mamurius”... Mamurius himself was beaten with rods and driven out of the city... [because] difficulties had befallen the Romans.
It started with a fresh sports section, a paper from the corner store.
You loved the way I’d snap open its leaf-thin folds, let it settle on my desk: clean sheets
on our marriage bed. I read up on ancient rivals, learned each college town by name.
The basketballs arced over our screen, the sun setting and setting
and setting. Each team gripped by its own mythos; each contest broke someone
else’s heart. Their sigils went on brawling in my head: a Bulldog mauling
a Gael, a Blue Devil fleeing a ravenous Wolverine. I loved you, and showed it
by scanning the Sagarin ratings, the newspaper sunning its wings. We hung
handwritten brackets on the freezer door, kept score
in green ink. You loved to lose to me, happy to have me
in your world. We yelled at the referees, our bodies
adjacent chapels, praying for our teams alone—our fandom
arbitrary, like the words for our foulness: technical, flagrant,
personal. I loved to make you happy; you didn’t return
the favor. The books I’d stacked on your nightstand were rimed
with dust. You snoozed through readings from the cheap seats while my spit
anointed the mic. Your games meant more than my poems. Your games
meant more than me. Later I would dream of beating a furred mascot
with a stick, driving him from the arena. You, the bearcat; you,
the swing in my shoulder blade—you, the bludgeoning bat.
Caitlin Pryor's work has appeared in Pleiades, Entropy, Gulf Coast, Poet Lore, Boxcar Poetry Review, The Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. She holds degrees from The University of Michigan, The New School, and The University of North Texas. She serves as the Associate Poetry Editor for Pleiades, and writes for the Dallas Observer, American Microreviews and Interview, and other outlets. Spiderweb Salon has reminded Caitlin of the deep importance of literary communities outside of academia, and has helped her recapture the un-self-conscious joy in writing that she first felt as a child, penning such classic poems as "Roses are red / Violets are blue / I love flowers / With your face in it" for her mother at age 4.