Caroline Misner

Memoirs of a Bootlegger

It was so easy at first,
waiting out the protracted day
until I thought the night
would never come, but when it did
I dreaded the light of the moon
and cursed the stars.

Our goal was to go unseen,
skulking in shadows, hiding
among the brush; even the trucks
made too much noise, idling
like panting dragons by the road.
The trees stood out in cardboard cut-outs
such as a child’s petty hands
would snip into filigrees 
from blank paper.

And the hooch.  The only reason
for us to be out at such an hour.
With each suave step
we carved the spaces between us,
swaying to the rhythm of our
own beating hearts, every inch a minute,
as a gentle snow fluttered down.

How I longed for a tepid breeze
that night the sky dropped
needles into my face, so sharp
I could feel my skin start to peel.
Our cargo clanked like cracked
church bells in the wooden crates
we carried on our shoulders, our breaths
puffing cold steam into the night.

This would be my last time, I vowed.
We’d already untied our tidy selves
for a few quick dollars and the thrill.
I only did it because
I had no interest in being a thief
and besides, the money was good.

We loaded the trucks in a nimbus of snow
while the clouds clipped their froths
against the vault of the sky.
The trucks swallowed the light
their headlights made, making me
fear I’d step through the darkness
into a deeper abyss.
I had already plunged too far.


Greetings one and all and welcome to my brand new website!  Please bear with me  portraitI work on filling its pages with news and musings. Being technologically challenged, it may take a while to work out some of the glitches and I hope to have it finished within the next few weeks.  In the meantime, please feel free to browse through the archives and have a look at some of my work.  I've been writing poetry ever since I could remember and I've decided to include a section of Juvenilia in the archives.  Most of the poems listed there were written in my early teens and many of them are just plain awful!  But a few gems do stand out and I hope you enjoy them.  Also, if you would like to know more about me and the work I do, please feel free to click on "About".  There I have posted a brief biography of myself.  I'm not trying to be falsely modest, but I really loathe bragging about myself.  I feel an author's work should stand on its own merits and where an author was born or where she lives or what she eats for breakfast are completely irrelevant.

I would also be remiss if I didn't included a big Thank You! to my oldest son, Kevin, who with a friend designed this website for me and programmed it so that even I could manage it.  And another big Thank You! goes to my dear father Jan Kurz, who was in on it the whole time and provided the stunning photography behind the text of the daily poem.  And another big Thank You! goes out to all the editors, publishers and fellow writers who have supported me and my work over the years and gave me a chance when I needed it, including a Journey Prize nomination and two Pushcart Prize nominations!

"...And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt."
--Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)