A Prayer for the Prey by Paul Brucker

The sky is a mouth wide open,
waiting for whoever wanders down the lane
(you’ll do in a pinch).


That’s what became of Ruth,
tidy, quiet, cheerful little Ruth.

Even though a bag of seven wood lice was buried
to appease the famished arms of the old ash tree.


You see, you’ve only got one chance –

in fact, five seconds to make a first impression.

So, look closely into the venomous eyes.

Will your interests or wishes prevail over theirs?

Or will you be too easy,
too easy to tear, crunch, chew and swallow?


Hear the creeping in the bushes
followed by grrs, snarls and/or roars?

See the nostrils flare and mouth salivate

as lights flee into strange filaments
with no relation to the dark?


Because mother protects her baby, she’s eaten by the fox.

When baby gets to water, he’s swooped up

and gulped down by a seagull.

Meanwhile, the 180 million rats bred annually

for America’s pet reptiles

do not satisfy demand.


Nevertheless, prepare for your party.

Use sudsing action

to make synthetic cotton clean.

Throw expired cans of soup into the mix.



Chop, season, shake and bake

(as if desirable characteristics

will be — no, must be — legitimately rewarded).

But no one shows up
because of something you are or are not.

Or because your prey responded
before your stimulus, thus avoiding
the consequence of the stimulus.

After all, someone has to look bad
to make others appear less bad.

Someone has to be fettered in the field
to protect the crops from thunder and hail.


Your mother did the best she could.

God did the best He could.

You also, perhaps, did your best.


So, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Pretend you’re surrounded
not by teeth, claws, intestines and shit —
but by golden light.

Tell yourself that you’re important —
that you’ve got a customer and satisfy a need
even if the need is to taste like fresh, buttered corn.


© Paul Brucker

Excerpt form the book “Essential Existentialism”

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Essential Existentialism

Foreword …

Why are we here? 

What is our purpose? 

What is the meaning of life?

These are the questions that have plagued humanity since the dawn of time.

With the recent passing of Stephen Hawking, one of the most world-renowned physicists, known for his enormous contributions to quantum mechanics and general relativity, one has to only look to his astounding life of physical challenges and dedication to finding the answers to these questions. It begs us to continue to look for our own answers.

This anthology is dedicated to what gives life meaning and purpose personally. On a grander scale, what is the purpose of our existence as humanity?  It is both deeply personal and widely introspective; yet it is also subjective.

Various poets share their verse, prose and poetry about what they perceive to be the meaning of life.  ~ Brenda-Lee Ranta

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100% of all proceeds from this book are being donated to the “Starving Artist Fund” to assist writers in becoming published authors. Please support a writer today!

Categories: Anthology

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3 replies

  1. Thanks for highlighting a “A Prayer for the Prey.” I’ve had a bunch of poems published online since then, most recently by A Beautiful Space. http://www.thebeautifulspace.co.uk/a-journal-of-mind-art-and-poetry/the-small-dance-a-poem-by-paul-brucker

    Thanks again for helping to bring my poems to the light of print and cyberspace. Appreciate it.

    Paul Brucker


  2. I recorded a sound effect, spoken word version of another poem in the “Essential Existentialism” anthology. It’s called “Justifications.”



  1. A Prayer for the Prey by Paul Brucker — Creative Talents Unleashed | The Lyrical Journal

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