Exquisite Quarantine Poem: RESTRUCTURED

Photo courtesy of Lisa David Olson.


Why not, she thought, sliding her phone in a pocket and locking the door behind her.
Because I want to explore a new way forward.
If I were God, I would act more like a good parent and support and encourage good behavior and give loving correction when improvement is needed.
Then, when it just keeps happening again, I’m forced to use the power of the pen.

Why do we cower in the face of change, instead of embracing it?
Because the clouds separated themselves and scattered, wind at their backs…
If cheese is good, and you like cheese, then you must be good!
Then he tripped over the dog that was lying on the sidewalk and died from drowning after he blacked out with his face in a puddle.

Why do we hide what’s wrong with a lie?
Because like hope, the infant stirred inside her.
If Mom had gone back to Holland after the divorce, I’d have grown up Dutch, married but not my husband, had a child but not my son, had a life, but not this one.
Then if we cannot say anything, is this over?

When I’m God, I’m going to change the rules.
Because if we don’t do it that way, the universe will get confused.
If I could have my wish, we should always remember this.
Then she began her life— the day’s work done and obligations discharged, the children asleep.

Why: Is my openness the answer or the problem?
Because is a good enough reason, if no is a complete sentence.
If could run the world, if we let it.
Then the brilliant sun glancing off the diamond ripples on the lake caused me to pause, reflect.

* * * * * *

This poem was an experiment in a word collage. Without knowing anything about what the final product would look like, five contributors were each asked to provide four unrelated sentences:

One question that began with the word WHY.
One sentence that began with the word BECAUSE.
One sentence that began with the word IF.
One sentence that began with the word THEN.

As they returned their sentences I assigned them a contributor number, and when all of the lines were in, I put them together.

Each stanza of the final poem was put into this format:
WHY question*
BECAUSE sentence
IF sentence
THEN sentence

The contributors’ sentences were arranged in a round robin-type format. For example, for the first stanza, the WHY sentence came from contributor 1; BECAUSE came from contributor 2; IF from contributor 3; THEN from contributor 4.
For the next stanza, WHY came from contributor 5; the BECAUSE from contributor 1; IF from contributor 2; WHEN from contributor 3 – and so on.

I didn’t pick and choose sentences because I thought they went well together. I just followed the pre-planned order and what came out was a weird and wonderful creation that, without trying, is a beautiful poem.

* You’ll notice that one WHY question actually begins with WHEN. I didn’t ask the contributor to change it, because the spirit of this project is to embrace the concept that “there are no mistakes, only happy accidents”. It worked out in the end.

Laura V.N.
Fred Dean Writing gets me to the places I’d rather go when I do not know how else to get there
Curtis Larzelere – Forever a student of comedy
Daniela Gitlin  www.danielagitlin.com.
Kathy Ann Morris – Self-proclaimed poet since age 8

Lisa David Olson is an author, speaker, humorist, creative coach, improv ninja … oh – and she has a camera. www.lisadavidolson.com

Click here to learn how you can take part in the Exquisite Quarantine Poem project.

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