EXQUISITE COLLABORATION POEM: A Day In Our Room

12:59 pm. Building a kitchen, Dansville NY
(photo courtesy Mike Clemons)

Note: This collaborative work was created during National Poetry Month with participants across the US and around the world. At the end, you can see a list of the participants and information about the prompt.

A DAY IN OUR ROOM

A chilly, rainy spring morning
In my Springboro, Ohio, US kitchen
Shiny granite countertops, stained-glass back splash, a blooming white orchid, new leaves emerging from acres of trees, a sleepy ginger tabby tom
My bougie cat’s water fountain, the refrigerator humming, typing fingers click-clacking away in fits and starts, slow deep breaths
A chair warm from sitting too long, the lined texture from my mouse’s scroll wheel, the random whiskers on my chin
The kitchen hand soap’s lingering vanilla scent, freshly ground coffee beans
My cinnamon toothpaste

8a.m.
Bedroom, Rochester, NY
Cat, morning light, curtains, photos, memories
Purring, birds, quiet, hope
Fur, bedsheets, comfort
Candle, morning
Peace

9:30 a.m.
Rochester, NY, 2nd floor home “office”
“I Voted Today” sticker, jar of butterscotch candies, upstairs hallway, calculator, Wi-Fi thingie
Keys on my laptop, Pandora music stream, my breathing, scratchiness of unshaven face
Fingertips on fingertips (spider doing push-ups on a mirror), computer mouse, scissors
Soapy smell of hands, coffee – really, you too?
Triple berry yogurt

9:30 a.m.
Living room, sitting in my rocking chair, looking out the window
Snow, trees, yellow, pillows, hands
Birds, furnace, thoughts, breath
Mug, pen, heart
Heat, citrus
Coffee

9:32 a.m.
At my desk in an international school in Hong Kong
Smelly markers, green grass, masks, lipstick, my lunch
Vowel practice, playground chatter, air con humming, chair squeaks
Curly hair, a new wart, tangled phone cord
New Jo Malone, bleach
Lavender toothpaste

10:25 a.m.
My couch in Texas
Squirrel, creek, tree, sculpture, sky
Airplane, siren, traffic, voices
Laptop, blanket, mug
Fresh air, leftovers
Coffee

11:16 a.m.
My desk
Computer, lamp, mug, scissors, frame
Chirping, snoring, raindrops, train whistle
Paper, printer, phone
Lotion, lemon
Water

11:29 a.m.
My favorite chair in the family room, Vero Beach, Florida, US
Mug, sofa, cat, computer, bookcase
TV, traffic, air conditioner, husband talking
Keyboard, computer mouse, pencil
Remnants of breakfast, coffee
Aftertaste of peach yogurt

11:30 a.m. in the morning
Sitting at the table in my great room looking outside in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA
Birds, butterflies, books, bench, beauty all around me
Music, wind chimes, clock ticking, birds chirping
Mug, table, chair
Coffee, wet plant soil
Coffee

11:58 a.m.
East Rochester, NY, US
My sister, the television, three lamps, a dreary day outside, dog toys
Voices on a TV show, music from the same show, dogs outside talking to each other, birds chastising the squirrels in the food dishes
My iPad screen, my coffee mug, the remote
Coffee, air freshener
Coffee

Morning work hours
A safe place, USA
Roses in a vase, computer screen, credit card, reminder note, rain
Children bustling, husband’s work meeting, food wrapper, rain
Wood desk, smooth keys, cozy sweater
Dust (ha!), rain
Oatmeal

12:25 p.m.
On a couch in my daughter’s home in Lititz, PA, USA
Folded laundry, three lime green pillows, a bag of Reese’s pieces, a pencil with a cow topper, a charging cord
The fire siren, an amber alert on my phone, a ticking clock, clicking of laptop keys
A TV tray, my laptop, my coffee mug
Rotting lilies in a nearby vase, a watermelon candle
My morning coffee

12:55 p.m.
Rochester, NY, USA, my bedroom office
Computer monitor, window, printer, wall, calculator
Rain, computer fan, grandkid singing, cars on wet road
Chair, desk, keyboard
Cat box, the shoes I just took off
Left over pieces of lunch in my teeth

2:00 p.m.
Home office space, in a comfy office chair, green screen behind me, in Bangor, Maine, USA
Zoom screen, cup of coffee, water bottle, cell phone, cat
Zoom meeting, keyboard, can of air, cat
Cat, keyboard, cushion
Coffee, litter box
Coffee

2:45 p.m.
Sitting in my home office
Coffee, cat, dinosaur, cape, sword
Fan, chewing, computer humming, rattling
Lunch, keyboard, phone
Smoke, litterbox
Pineapple

3:10 p.m.
Rochester, NY
Cup, wallet, books, boxes, stars
Car horns, rock music, water dripping, bees buzzing
Alabaster, apples, records
Barbecue, cough medicine
Chocolate

3:43 p.m.
Computer room chair
Daffodils, tulips, bunnies, chicks, dogs
Birds, trains, church bells, rain,
Fur, dirt, skin
Grilling, grass
Mint

3:57 p.m.
My dad’s recliner
Acorn TV, old chairs, a journal, a flat box, an old microwave
Thoughtful dialogue, telemarketing spam, flutes, mom’s remarks
Phone screen, denim jeans, Bic pen
Dad’s recliner, clementines
Pizza

4:36 p.m.
Maine, USA
Citrine, beads, dragon, mug, box
Whirring, creaking, breathing, clunk
Blanket, pillow, mattress
Garlic, yeast
Pumpkin

5:50 p.m.
My Office Chair, Georgia, US
Paper, computer, mug, deck of cards, stapler,
Hum of the computer fan, clicking of the keyboard, my own pulse, notifications
The letters on my keyboard, the linen of my shirt, the plaque on my teeth
Leftover lunch, stale coffee
Fermenting sugar

6:00 p.m.
A Dining Room in Western NY
Chinese Checkers board, Thimk board, Parcheesi board, Chess board, Scrabble board
Neighbor’s ATV, the Thruway, clock ticking, footsteps
Laptop keys, notebook, placemat
Hand soap, coffee
Werthers

8:15 p.m.
My kitchen, Chelsea, Michigan, United States
Houseplants, ceramic piggies, stove, bananas, plates
Pages flipping, refrigerator humming, dog whining, husband talking
Measuring cup, spatula, oven timer
Bacon, peanut butter
Syrup

10:45 p.m.
In bed in Rochester New York
Philip Glass reminds me
The hours that pass by blindly
While it snows in April
I am lost in thought through mines
From borrowed ideas recycled like the cans on these pages

12:30 a.m.
Bedtime in an American suburb
Two black cats, one yellow dog, my 4-year-old daughter, a wall full of art
White noise, crunching, a snoring cat, my own heartbeat
Fur, a warm cheek, a cool window
Vegan cheddar puffs, damp sphagnum moss
Cinnamon

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE POETS
(in no particular order)

Nancy Purdy
JT
Sue A. Fairchild
Jane S.
Janet L. Pierce
Mickey Cherry
Jill Marie Thomas
Elise Scott
Frederick Shopenhouser
Penny Higgins
Judy W
Fred
Robin Murphy
Lori B. Duff
Anne Waterman Murphy
Crystal Hayduk
Jack L.
Laurie Borcyk
Mindy Wells Hoffbauer
Alyssa
HW
Justin Rielly
Cori Rainbeaux

Photo: Mike Clemons

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

THE “POEM”

Participants were asked to note the time and place where they were when they responded to the prompt, and then list:

5 things they can see
4 things they can hear
3 things they can touch
2 things they can smell
1 thing they can taste

Each person’s response formed one “stanza” of the “poem.” These stanzas were then, for simplicity’s sake, ordered by time of day as if everyone was in the same time zone. Let’s call it the Creative Time Zone.

OK, yes, technically this isn’t a poem. And yes, there’s one entry that didn’t follow the prompt “rule”. But I’m not a poet anyway – just a creative encourager, or enabler as one journalist called me. I like prompting people to share something and then watching those steps of creative faith play out however they choose to play out.

We never know what we’re going to create together. Poem, not poem, who cares. Isn’t it a grand thing to see all of these entries come together – especially the one that was outside the box – in a picture of a day across America and around the globe? It’s perfect!

You can see more Exquisite Collaborations, along with each month’s prompt, here.

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