Carine Topal


Louis Jenkins says to "Think of the prose rectangle as a suitcase." So I do--and I pack it accordingly, never quite sure of where I'm going, until I get there.




Whereas Our Boys Are Dead

          -after a photo by Alexander Gardner, Gettysburg, 1864,


Like fallen birds they must have upturned in the sun. Eighteen thousand on the ground or in the canon’s mouth. And see, the fog lifts like musket smoke two hundred yards away, where the living - what is left of them  battalion boys, thin and ready with rifles. There is eloquence here, though I am feverish and cannot cry. And there, the men we held as boys, how warm they were on such a day, petty two by fours rising from a field to summon up their names — staffs bathing in the flimsy light; were it easy to plant them so, to bring them back. They must have upturned in the sun.




Carine_TopalCarine Topal, a native New Yorker, writes and teaches in Los Angeles. She participated in the grassroots organization California Poets in the Schools. Since 1982, she has anthologized the poetry of special needs children. She was the Poet-in-Residence for the city of Manhattan Beach and the Poet-in-Education for Manhattan Beach elementary schools. Her work has appeared in Water-Stone, Caliban, The Best of the Prose Poem, Pacific Review, The Louisville Review, and many other journals. In 1994, her first collection of poetry, God As Thief, was published by The Amagansett Press. She was nominated for a Pushcart in 2004, and awarded a residency at Hedgebrook, as well as a fellowship to write in St. Petersburg, Russia, 2005. She is the recipient of several poetry awards including the Robert G. Cohen Prose Poetry Award, with a special edition chapbook, Bed of Want, forthcoming from Black Zinnias Press. Carine conducts poetry workshops in and around Los Angeles.