Still Life




The chair -
hard and hung-limbed, square, uncomfortably-seated;

The table -
staunch, hunched oak, heavy on turned haunches;

The plate-glass, which held the city -
an intricate, grey mural – too lofty for furniture:
the reach to refract, reflect and frame in
fat sacks of faceless grains, milled by
the lap and lick of littoral tongues.


About Luke Prater

I am thirty-five, and live in England. They say a picture paints a thousand words, but I'd argue the opposite.
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10 Responses to Still Life

  1. Brian Miller says:

    littoral, nice play on the word, but a real word in itself…nice alliteration in this, slick…and solid imagery…as a still life the elements are disconnected but then again it leaves room for our interpretation on why the chair, the table are important in relation to this building, its glass which holds a city…

  2. ManicDdaily says:

    This is very clever indeed, Luke, but its satire works super well–the hung but uncomfortably seated chair, the table which is somehow like a piece of meat being roasted (to me with the turning on the haunches), and the plate glass continues that feel–the city being something to be devoured (!) rather than to be looked at. Littoral is a new word for me, I am thinking Thames–but it also brings up the licking of chops–Thanks. k.

  3. claudia says:

    makes me think politics… not everything that reflects the city really holds them… and then… what are they doing with it… the table and chair more palpable than the glass pane.. at least, in a way they can carry something..

  4. My mind always works with double speed when I read your poetry … I learned a new word, but to tell you the truth, I will be thinking about the poem for a little while, to see if there is any other interpretation apart from the first thing that came to my mind- the system that doesn’t really work anywhere around the world.

  5. janehewey says:

    incredibly interesting read. I go from feeling solid and grounded to lifted and lofted, then to a certain indefinite stillness. The view I interpret of the outside, inclusive of your final line, brings to mind a preparedness for storm. Your second-to-last line brings forth, especially with the phrase “milled by”, a sense of being crushed/changed. The poem speaks to me of being sea-side without once using the word “water.” Nothing lasts at seaside, including hard chairs and staunch tables. It is entirely possible I have misread this completely. Even so, I enjoyed the puzzling of it, chewing on how the title provides clues, and the plate-glass offers up a complex metaphor. I especially enjoy the lack of urgency you embody in this. wonderful work.

  6. Jack says:

    Holy fuck, you made furniture into real characters. Had you wrote them as waiting for Dick Tracy, I would not have scoffed, but believed.

    Plate glass holding a city works on a few different levels for me. I always enjoy depth in a piece. Vocabulary is a bit expensive, too, which elevates a work, in my opinion.

  7. hypercryptical says:

    I have been pondering on this for days Luke.

    The chair – the coalition; the table – the electorate or parliament; the city – parliament or the HOL; the fat sacks – politicians and the littoral tongues – foreign states of to which we bow and lick?

    The chair and table – bears and bulls; the city – financial institutions; fat sacks – self explanatory and littoral tongues – tax havens?

    Probably wrong but nevertheless enjoyed trying to solve the puzzle.

    Anna :o]

  8. crbianfool says:

    Hey LP, been forever & a day but I remembered your name and had to look up your site. I see your time has been well spent improving your verse by much. Always a joy to read your poetry and I can’t tell you how happy I am to locate you after all these years. Not sure if you remember me, but we used to chat of Bukowski & poetic form. I’m still into the free-verse for reasons that don’t bear vocalization but wow. I suppose this isn’t a comment specifically about your poem, but I must say I will follow your site with joy. There is no better feeling in the world than reading good poetry, & you release that in spades. Hope you’re well & living the good life. Keep the poems coming sir. We need all the beauty we can get in this fucked up world. Until we meet again,


    • Luke Prater says:

      hey man, long time! real good to see you back, buddy. As a matter of fact, I’ve been on-and-off and then spent a whole time away completely, offline life got really fucked up. It’s still skew and I don’t manage to post or write that much but my site is still up (actually it’s the third or fourth incarnation of it). I tried to find you a few times, was kinda sad you had disappeared of the face of the net taking all your poems with you but I figured you had your reasons. I’ll be over to see the new place. Cheer

      • crbianfool says:

        Yeah life gets fked sideways at times. Same story on my end; just getting by through vicissitude & vagaries of life. Hope things get sorted out; can’t tell you how happy I was to dig up your site. We could all use a little more word in our lives. Take it easy, or however it is easy to take. I’ll keep checking in from time to time. Keep your head up. You write some good fucking poetry. Later dude.


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