Richard Pelletier

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Prince of the Lake

This is the lake.
This is me at the lake.
I’m nine.
I’m alone.
There’s my fishing pole, my Sword of Loneliness!
That’s my bait—the pink pastry box filled with nightcrawlers.
There’s my fishing spot at the Picard’s; four weeping willows along a fine stone wall.
There’s two perch, dead on the beach.
That’s my house under the trees.
That’s my father, smoking.
That’s my father, mowing the lawn.
That’s him, teaching me to swim.
That’s him, sweating up a rage.
There’s my mother in her sunglasses, reading Leon Uris.
That’s Danny LaPointe over there,
sunning himself on that rock.
That’s him saying, here’s my cock.
That’s him saying, go on touch it, it don’t bite.
That’s me touching it.
That’s him saying, stroke it.
That’s me, stroking it.
That’s me.
At the lake.
I’m nine.
I’m alone.
That’s me,
with the buzz cut,
the paisley shorts,
not breathing.

Creative journey

Can’t draw. The map scared the daylights out of me. I think I wrote ten different stories. Or six. Or eight. Nothing felt right. They launched on a specific memory and damn if they didn’t drift into weird ‘writing’ that was off point, not specific. The battle was to tell a story, be real, cut close to the bone. (As it were.) As I dug around the archives, a lot of other stuff showed up. Making the map was like shifting something inside. Felt powerful. Like those places in the world where the water meets the land and things happen.


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