Exquisite Collaboration Poem: The Land of I Don’t Know

(c) Rebecca Flanders; used with permission

THE LAND OF I DON’T KNOW

I used to be in a town called Panic
in Charleston, SC,
floating in a lake of despair wondering, “How many clouds do I swallow to keep my head above water?”
I once was lost, but now am found,
involved,
trapped between layers of ether,
in steamy heat and a cacophony of cicadas surrounding me

I don’t know where I’m going now.
To the land of I don’t know?
Let it go, let it go, that perfect girl is gone,
back to Alaska someday
to trust my inner voice again and walk into the thick mist which seems to wrap its arms around me.
I’m going to create magic, mischief, & mayhem
wherever I choose.

I learned what everyone else learns – adulting can be hard sometimes.
I’m going to continue traveling because I enjoy learning about history
to embrace the chaos in order to organize it.
Together we will seek out and entwine our arms around each other like the roots of the tree and walk onward grounded in our truth,
everything, and nothing at all.
If it makes you happy do it!
You belong among the wild flowers; you belong somewhere you feel free.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

THE POETS

Justin Rielly
Laurie Borcyk
Penelope Horan
Mindy Wells Hoffbauer
Mickey Cherry
Coriander in the Spice Rack
MNL

PHOTOGRAPHER
(c) 2021 Rebecca Flanders

* * * * * * *

THE POEM

This month’s prompt asked contributors to respond to three questions:

Where did you used to be?
Where are you going?
What’s something you’ve learned along the way?

Originally, each person’s responses were going to stay together to form each stanza, but when I saw the submissions it was clear that if I removed the the sentence intros of “I used to be” or “I am doing”, collectively each person’s responses to each question  organically built on each other.  So in the final poem, the seven answers to “Where did you used to be” make up the first stanza; the seven responses to “Where are you going?” make up the second stanza; same with the last.

I confess that this might be one of my favorite pieces so far.

Thanks to Rebecca Flanders who has been chronicling her up close and personal interactions with cicadas all summer, and was willing to share a photo to go with this poem.

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

This Exquisite Collaboration Project is based on the Exquisite Corpse, a technique created by Surrealists in the early 1900s, in which participants add to a work with no one seeing what the other participants contributed. My goal is to encourage non-writers and artists to embrace their creative selves in a safe, supportive, “you can’t fail” environment.  What began as a way to maintain some sort of connection with other people during the early days of the Covid lockdown has continued to unite strangers from around the world in creative collaboration.

Click here to read the series of Exquisite Poems done during the Covid lockdown along with other collaborative projects.

To learn more about my workshops, visit my website.

To be part of future poem projects, follow me on Facebook @joannebrokawwriter for prompts or join my mailing list by filling out the form on my website.

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