Current Poets - Archive - Subscribe - Links - The Editors

'This Thing Called Life'

Poetry Inspired by the
Music and Spirit of Prince

Prince Rogers Nelson


Kristie Betts Letter

About the Poet

Kristie Betts Letter teaches Hamlet to high school seniors and has won several teaching awards.

Her work has been honored by Best American Small Fictions 2016 and published in The Massachusetts ReviewThe North Dakota QuarterlyWashington SquarePassages North, Pangolin Papers and The Southern Humanities Review. 

Purple Rain: Extended Version is featured in her collection Under-Worldly published by Editorial L'Aleph.

To get to know the poet better, go to or tweet @kristieletter. She plays a mean game of pub trivia and never misses questions about the eighties. 


Spring 2017 »

Purple Rain: Extended Version
by Kristie Betts Letter

Minute 1

he approaches, fall fling, his skin, angry pink-puffy and his hair, dark-puffy thing where it wants to curl- as Prince presses strings, you step into circle, onto dancefloor, into sideline conversations.

Minute 2
this, the dance, the song, the one from FM radio, the boy, his zombie arms, straight out, on your shoulders, proximity, your sway to match his, Prince wailing about weather, aftermath, chorus drips into something you suspect in his eyes.

Minute 3
air damp with his saliva, in heated space between, a guitar contradicts itself, your body, you remember what lies beneath a Prince song, how words make you wonder what touches he describes, what slides, dance shifts, back and forth.

Minute 4
eventually everyone takes weekend lovers, a temporary touch, jockeying for position, eventually you’ll understand the words, those notes held too long near-painful across surface of skin, damp and scratchy, like this slow dance.

Minute 5
his eyes slide past yours, for that you’re grateful- who can stop the rain, the guitar complaint, emotion too damp for this gymnasium, for this middle school, too much will come after, in corners, in darkness sliced by limp streamers?

Minute 6
even his palms sweat, moisture moving through the plasticked cloth of dress, moving through the empty between you -that space fizzes with the nothing you say to each other, the bodily grind of guitar strings, Prince’s confusion - you now understand.

Minute 7
unfamiliar burrows in, takes new direction, the kinda sorta best friends swell and fade, sweaty boys, dances, special songs discovered in fall, overplayed by spring, but the knowledge, avoid his eyes because: his sweat-flecked clavicle.

Minute 8 and 41 Seconds
when does the end become the end, when do wails wind down, taper off, crescendo- when do you know Prince is done, that the dance is over, that you should return to the girls smiling behind their hands, that the air disperses, or really, is it never over?




Kristie Betts Letter ~





Current Poets - Archive - Subscribe - Links - The Editors
Content © 2017, Delaware Poetry Review. All rights revert to individual poets and writers.