Join author & artist Joanne Brokaw on Small Business Saturday, November 27, 2021

Join me and the other artists at Central Creatives for a three day holiday pop up event on Black Friday weekend. Stop up Friday 11/26, Saturday 11/27, or Sunday 11/28 for some beautiful, unique items from local artisans.

I’ll be there throughout the weekend but I hope you’ll stop up on Small Business Saturday between 11 am and 4 pmI’ll have signed copies of “Suddenly Stardust” available for purchase as well as a selection of jewelry, bookmarks, ornaments, photo frames, and a bunch of discounted “less than perfect” items. And as an added treat, throughout the day I’ll be doing mini-readings of some of your favorite columns as well as book excerpts and new micro flash fiction. All weekend you’ll be able to contribute to a collaborative poem, and who knows? I might even give some stuff away.

Central Creatives is located at 349 West Commercial Street, in the Piano Works Mall, East Rochester, NY, 14445, right off 490. Park at the end of the plaza near Ferrari Pizza and enter through the red door between Weaving Arts Guild and Penn Fair Golf. Then just follow the signs to the second floor (via stairs or elevator). Use the gallery entrance to get to my studio. There’s plenty of free, accessible parking at Piano Works and lovely restaurants nearby – make a day of it!

Visit me at online http://www.joannebrokaw.com.

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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.

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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.

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

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THE POETS
(in no particular order) Continue reading “EXQUISITE COLLABORATION POEM: A Day In Our Room”

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: WILLIAM IS A CAT

william the cat
William, a self portrait

WILLIAM IS  CAT

William is a cat.
A companion to his humans, the mayor of his neighborhood, the center of his own universe.

William is a cat who hides his scat.
He’s not sharing and that’s that.

His tiny turds of kitty poo-poo, all speckled with litter,
Dropped into baggies. Hip hip hooray!

William the cat keeps to himself most of the time,
but his heart is big, he cares deeply, and is a true friend.

The son of Prince William
He’s a gentle fellow, soft as a marshmallow.

William is a very intelligent cat
He knows that while the birds are off limits the mice aren’t.

William is happening and all knowing, just as a cat should be.
Any further input would be redundant and superfluous.

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

THE POETS
Zeina
Al
Anonymous
Joanne
Daniela Gitlin
Crystal Hayduk
Mickey Cherry

(William’s portrait provided by Zeina Salame)

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THE POEM
Earlier this year,  I took an Impro for Collaborating class with Theresa Robbins Dudeck through the Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, OR.  One of the participants, Diane, talked occasionally about William. Most of us just assumed William was her partner, until one day she talked about William using his litter box. “William is a cat?” someone asked, and we all had a good laugh about it – and then met William, the cat, via Zoom.

What better way to capture the moment of collective, spontaneous delight than with a collaborative poem! The prompt, of course was “William is a cat”. Contributors could include the phrase if they wanted it wasn’t required. And just for fun, I asked a few non-classmates to add a verse.

This is for you, Diane! xo

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: TIME FOR THE CROCUS

Image courtesy of Penny Higgins, PaleoPix

 

TIME FOR THE CROCUS

I broke my ankle
On Saturday before last
And now I just sit

There’s no community
To show me I’m not alone
Where’s the love gone to?

Testing
Testing
Testing

Ones and zeros dash
Across a liquid surface
And pixels conform

Looking like seeing
One you can do with eyes closed
Different result

The air teases warmth
Confusing us with snowflakes
Time for the crocus

Upside down lighthouse
Hermit crabs walking on clouds
Tide pool reflections

Shuffles slowly past
Heavy burden on his hunched back
Tenacious tortoise

Instructions for life:
Explore possibilities,
Surf the waves of change.

*     *     *     *     *     *

THE POETS

Jane S
Justin Rielly
Jackie Dishner
Kay Ross
Catherine Valleroy
Anne Waterman Murphy
Joanne

THE ARTIST

Penny Higgins, PaleoPix photography

*     *     *     *     *     *

THE POEM

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry comprised of short lines that don’t rhyme but work together to create powerful imagery. For this Exquisite Collaboration, participants were asked to write a haiku following a 5-7-5 syllable structure. The following prompts were offered for inspiration.

– exploration/discovery
– joy/happiness
– fear
– technology
– community

You’ll notice that one of the verses doesn’t follow the haiku format. That’s the test entry I did to make sure the form worked before the prompt went live. I forgot to delete it from the contributions but when I saw it I realized that it still worked as part of the collaboration.

I’m trying these days to embrace mistakes as creative gifts. This was one of those mistakes.

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: AN ODYSSEY OF PHOENIXES

Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

AN ODYSSEY OF PHOENIXES

I used to be in too much of a hurry to notice the little things, but now I am more intentional and focused and thankful for nearly all of it–even the stuff I wouldn’t choose, for it all contains a lesson.

I used to be together, but now I am scattered, lonely, alone.

I used to be the happy, hopeful mother of two living children, but now I am a grieving, sorrowful mother who has lost one of them.
I used to be hopeful but now I am cynical.
I used to be hopeful but now I am resigned.
I used to be a garbage can collecting all the sin, but now I am a refrigerator that has to stay plugged in.
I used to be good looking but now I am old
I used to be a public frog but now I am nobody
I used to be moldy, but now I am cold-y.
I used to be tan, but now I am not.

I used to be troubled but now I am better.

I used to be an empty rain-catch but now I am a reliable well.
I used to be busy doing, but now I focus on being.
I used to be young and ambitious but now I’m older and wiser.
I used to be the guy saying ‘stick it to the man’, but now I am a safe, careful part of the establishment machine.
I used to be a scientist, but now I am an experiment.
I used to be the one who asked the questions, but now I am the one who knows the Answer.
I used to be unsure, but now I am aware that I don’t have to have all the answers.
I used to be opposed to opposition, but now I am content embracing hugs.
I used to be too old for this shit but now, thank heavens, I am a child again.
I used to be young, wild, and free but now I am old, wild, and free.
I used to be a guitar but now I am a trombone.

I used to be timid, but now I am fearless.

I used to be burning, perhaps not the fire, but the wad of documents, flaked edges aglow, the light hypnotic, paper on the verge of becoming ash, a supply of memory, the inked word shrinking into nonsense as they were consumed; but now I am rising, a spark gleaming in the air, the cascade of heat shimmering above the coals, the searing chronicle of the blaze.

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

THE CONTRIBUTORS Continue reading “Exquisite Collaboration Poem: AN ODYSSEY OF PHOENIXES”

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: Our Hope For The New Year

Earth sunrise greets astronauts aboard the International Space Station; taken Apr. 8, 2015. Courtesy NASA free images.

a note on the final poem of 2020:

For this final exquisite collaboration project of 2020, almost 40 people from around the world contributed one sentence expressing a hope for the new year. These sentences were then sorted to create the following poem that, despite everyone contributing independently of each other, echoed common themes of peace, health, and the desperate desire to hug again.

I want to thank everyone who participated in these poems this year. Facilitating these gave me a creative purpose during the pandemic lockdown and put into action what has been my writing motto for more than 20 years:

Connect. Inspire. Change the world.

May your 2021 overflow with all things beautiful, and may we have many more opportunities to create magic together.
xo
Joanne

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our collective hope for the new year Continue reading “Exquisite Collaboration Poem: Our Hope For The New Year”

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: THE POWER OF PEACE

THE POWER OF PEACE

If we all treated each other and the planet with kindness and respect,
Then there would be no need for war,
And the world would be at peace.

If you recall, a hooded stranger ran up to me in the street.
Then I greeted them warmly, and asked them to join me at the community faire.
And the world sang joyously at our arrival.

If the skies burn and the storms rage and the winds rush and the seas churn
Then no human life will have the privilege of comfort and safety
And the world will laugh and dance to celebrate the new life to take our place.

If I could climb to the top of the apple tree
Then I could breathe in fall like the starlings and the last of the butterflies
And the world would hurt a little less.

If they told me to go home and make crafts with my daughters
Then I’ll craft my ambition to show them what’s possible
And the world, doubters and believers alike, will watch me rise.

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

THE POETS

Kay Ross
Coriander Rainbeaux
Maur J DeLaney
Carrie the Bat
H.H. Wood

The poets hailed from Hong Kong; Rochester, NY; and Pennsylvania.

THE ARTIST

The video presentation of the poem was created by Crystal Hayduk, who also provided the poem’s title. She hails from Michigan.

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

THE POEM

For this poem, each participant wrote three lines that together form one stanza or thought.
Line 1 began with the word “If”
Line 2 began with the word “Then”
Line 3 began with the phrase “And the world”

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 one bit at a time, with no one seeing what the previous participants contributed. The goal is to encourage non-writers and artists to embrace their creative selves in a safe, supportive, “you can’t fail” environment.

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.

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: STARDUST DREAMS

Photo courtesy Pixabay

I am an imperfect beast
I am here to solve more problems than I create
I came from bigger places
I am going somewhere worse, hand basket free.

I believe hand baskets are for sale, but I can’t afford them.

I am dandelion fluff and dewdrops
I am here to enchant and to vex the minds of small mice
I came from the edge of the meadow where the pine trees nod
I am going to the midsummer fair to buy milkweed and maple sap

I believe in stardust and salamanders.

I am a masterpiece in progress,
Working on my canvas every day.
I came from the earth, the stream, the stars, the wind.
I am all those things now, and will return to their pure forms once again.

I believe we are all connected to each other and our universe.

I am me, soft, old, pliable, feminine me.
I am here to pave the way for the next generation of dreamers to become believers.
I came from the stars and to the stars I will return.
I am going everywhere and nowhere.

I believe we are on the edge of a great discovery that will change the world for the better.

I am different things to different people but to myself I am just me.
I’m here because my parents created me.
I came here from another state.
I don’t know where I’m going as long as I’m going and hopefully it’ll be fun.

I believe that someone, somewhere will eventually answer any and all questions we really need the answers to.

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

THE POETS

Lori B. Duff
Carrie the Bat
Mindy Wells Hoffbauer
Jan Heverly. Writer.
Mickey Cherry

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

THE POEM

For this poem, each participant wrote five sentences, one each in response to these questions:

Who am I?
Why am I here?
Where did I come from?
Where am I going?
I believe…

Everyone participating responded to the same prompts without knowing how the others responded and how (or if!) the verses would work together as a whole poem. The goal was for participants to turn off their internal editor and reflect for a moment on their own moment in existence. The end result, posted with almost no editing offers a glimpse into our interconnectedness.

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

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 one bit at a time, with no one seeing what the previous participants contributed. The goal is to encourage non-writers and artists to embrace their creative selves in a safe, supportive, “you can’t fail” environment.

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.

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: LOVE IN THE GLOAMING

Photo courtesy jplenio on Pixabay.

IN THE GLOAMING

The head – too full: the heart must open,
Its reddish hue pumps forward still.
Years pass; The heart grows fonder.
And as memories fade
the dusky pitch glows.
Nighttime creeps in.
It gives up
reason.
Hope.

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

THE POETS

Rick Hughson
Sara Moore
Andy Pacher
Mickey Cherry
Fred Dean
Wayne Dunbar
Coriander Rainbeaux
Rene Wazowicz
Stephanie Siuda

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

THE POEM

This group of contributors helped me experiment with a format called a Nonet – a nine line poem in which each line has a specific number of syllables, starting with the first line, which has nine syllables, and counting down to the final (ninth) line, which has one syllable.  Unlike our other poems, each contributor got to see everything that came before their line.

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

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 one bit at a time, with no one seeing what the previous participants contributed. The goal is to encourage non-writers and artists to embrace their creative selves in a safe, supportive, “you can’t fail” environment.

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.

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: THE LONG JOURNEY HOME

Image courtesy of jplenio on Pixabay

THE LONG JOURNEY HOME

I am a tree in the shape of a woman
I’m here to radiate light
I came from pine needles and leaf litter and what passed as love at the time
I am going to the place of the soaring oak, where nevermore shall a leaf fall to the ground.

I am the beloved daughter of the Most High King of Kings.
My presence at this time and place is to accomplish God’s predetermined purpose.
From infinite possibilities, the Grand Designer wove every cell, chromosome, and atom of my humanity.
I wake each morning – an heiress of incomprehensible love – to continue the adventure of learning how to follow in faith, without fear.

I am a woman, a mother, a wife, and a scholar.
I am tired and this is where I can rest.
I came from the privileged suburbs, far from here.
I am doing the best I can, then going to bed.

I am a hologram of the divine, God, the Universe, All that Is…
Consciousness saw there was a space that only I could fill.
I came from stardust, willingly.
In every moment I step boldly into the unknown.

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

THE POETS

Carrie the Bat
Crystal Hayduk
BAB
Kay Ross

The participants for this poem hailed from Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, and Hong Kong.

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

THE POEM

This was the second poem done as part of the book launch party for Carrie Anne Noble’s new release, “Gretchen and The Bear”. Four participants wrote independently, writing one sentence in response to each of the following questions: Continue reading “Exquisite Collaboration Poem: THE LONG JOURNEY HOME”

Exquisite Collaboration Poem: Into the Forest

“Gretchen and The Bear” by Carrie Anne Noble is available now from WordCrafts Press.

As part of the online book launch party yesterday for “Gretchen and The Bear”, by my friend, the delightfully talented Carrie Anne Noble, I invited readers to contribute to a collaborative poem.

Ten people participating, providing five random sentences in response to five prompts. I then arranged the sentences according to a pre-set pattern to create the poem you’re about to read. Note that no one saw what anyone else was writing, and that no verse contains more then one sentence from the same person. You can read more about the prompts and how they were arranged at the end of the poem.  Here’s what they created:

Continue reading “Exquisite Collaboration Poem: Into the Forest”

Exquisite Quarantine Poem: THE JOURNEY

Photo by Jesse Sprinkle

THE JOURNEY

I am a genderless perfectly flawed human being.
I am a healer, using sound and the written word to transform the impossible.
I arrived from a time full of fear, anxiety, depression, and suffering.
I am walking into the unknown, with faith, strength and hope.

Alas, I am a wizard.
I have come forth to warn you of magic not yet known.
Stillness has come across the land, but I have not come from a place of stillness.
It is here creativity emerges! With the swirl of time and space together as one!

I am a mother, a ghost-writer and a pianist,
reaching out to relieve my boredom.
Stuck in a city without peace and justice,
longing for a place with true freedom.

I am just another wounded soul, wandering, stumbling, hiking, running, skipping (sometimes, rarely), creeping, crawling, spinning, swirling, swaying, moving, journeying through time.
I am here to live, and then die, which is a good thing in the right season.
I came from a long line of people, starting with Verity Tree-dweller from Central Africa
and going to death

I love to love and I love to laugh.
I am here to abracadabra Magic Makers.
I came from some blip in the twinkling stars some galaxy somewhere.
I will go when my earth job is done to lands who knows.

I am the unicorn, an angel, or a mermaid-
I have come to carry you through a time of dismay.
It was human imagination and folklore that created me to
Stand by your side until you can stand alone.

Now I am an orphan —
Looking for family without the blood connection.
What began so conventional, nuclear,
Moves toward something wholly of my own invention.

I am a mighty river, slowly altering my course.
I am the result of a million tiny decisions.
I come from a sacred place, where thoughts and dreams arise.
I am sailing a course, charted by my wisdom.

* * * * * *

THE POETS
Coriander Rainbeaux can be found IntheSpiceRack.com
Fred Dean says “Writing gets me to the places I’d rather go when I do not know how else to get there.”
Judy Lam is a Hong Kong-born pianist. https://judylam.wordpress.com/
Laura V.N.
Sheryl Hooi, a curious smithy of all sorts.
Kathy Ann Morris Self-proclaimed poet since age 8
Leslie Joan Millenson
Laura Fleming

THE ARTWORK
Jesse Sprinkle – Artist of sight and sound. https://www.patreon.com/jessesprinkle

* * * * * *

THE POEM
Participants were asked to write four lines, with a prompt for each line:
Line 1 – Who am I?
Line 2 – Why am I here?
Line 3 – Where did I come from?
Line 4 – Where am I going?
None of the contributors saw what the others wrote; all four of each contributor’s lines stayed together as one stanza.

Note: this is the last in this poem in this phase of our Exquisite Quarantine Poem project.  I can’t thank the participants enough for their time and effort!

But that doesn’t mean the collaboration is over! As we begin to venture out of The Pause and into our “new normal” lives, I’m simply rebranding these projects as the Exquisite Collaboration Project. The goal is the same: to bring together strangers who will contribute individual parts to make a collective, creative whole.

You can read all of the Exquisite Quarantine Poems here.  And make sure you’re following me on Facebook or on my mailing list to stay updated on the next phase of the Exquisite Collaboration Project!

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Exquisite Quarantine Poem: DISCONNECTED

 

DISCONNECTED

As I sit at home on day whatever of the quarantine,
Contemplating how many days it takes to use a roll of TP,
I have seemingly endless hours to watch my grey roots grow,
And ponder, “Is it just a matter of choice to feel connected?”

One click to see a face long absent,
Glowing screen a beacon in the dark
Miles traversed in seconds
Intangible strands linking voices.

Phone, phonetic, frantic connection.
Hello? Speak to me.
I’m alone, lonely, bored.
Can’t you feel what I’m feeling?

I’m grateful; peaceful. I’m feeling quite blessed.
I have shelter; food, and a furry nice guest.
He comes every morning, eats, then sits in the sun.
He’s the sweetest companion; the very best one.

He’s the one who watched and waited silently as I shed my hair and picked my nose
and ate the last few crumbs of brittle brownies flung with abandon by angry children locked in high chairs when we grew too tired to chase them.
Shaking skittishly, I realize suspicions of the subtle snobbery of surreptitious scarabs savoring tidbits of that which it was he was.
Wresting the last sweet smell of baked cinnamon buns from that brown, embarrassingly frayed cardigan, I turned toward no one as I start to weep.

* * * * * *

THE POETS
Mindy Wells Hoffbauer is a professional explainer, still trying to figure out what she wants to be when/if she grows up.
Robin Murphy
Kay Ross lives in Hong Kong and is the Head Tour Guide in The Playground of Possibilities. https://playgroundofpossibilities.com.
Allia Zobel Nolan writes about God and cats….in that order.. www.AlliaWrites.com
Michele Manting is the Artistic Director, Vintage Improv Festival www.vintageimprov.com

THE ARTWORK
There were some starts and stalls with the artwork for this poem, so in the end I chose “Operator”, by Jim Croce. It just felt right.

THE POEM
Contributors were asked to write four lines of free verse. The first contributor was given the prompt “Disconnected”; each of the other contributors got to see only the last line of the previous verse.

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

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Exquisite Quarantine Poem: UNMASKED

“The Three Faces” by Daniela Gitlin

UNMASKED

Why do I have to notice everything?
Because acting aimlessly misses the target
If you take off your mask.
Then yellow became my signature color.
I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener.

Why do we close our eyes when we kiss?
Because when you don’t raise kids, you can’t mess up their lives.
If one doesn’t nurture their own personal narrative
Then Humpty Dumpty wouldn’t fall.
I wish I had tried harder.

Why do you always have to say that?
Because she put all her eggs in heaven’s basket, she stopped living in the now.
If they didn’t acknowledge me on Mother’s Day, I wouldn’t notice.
Then I would have taken more solid, pure, possibly different actions.
I wish I was a creative genius.

Why do masks make us feel both safer and more alone?
Because there’s always time to get a DeLorean.
If my dog could talk, I’d know the secret to contentment.
Then I would not be a mother.
I wish I was more aware of my personal narrative earlier in life.

Why else would it matter?
Because of that night, we never made it to Saratoga, or the concert.
If this works, we’re going to be rich.
Then maybe all of this would make better sense.
I wish I never gave birth.

Why would anyone else?
Because the collective is the whole.
If Sheila had given ten percent more effort, she would have earned that scholarship.
Then, you won’t believe it, I just got up and walked away.
I wish I had asked my mother how she felt when my brother died.

* * * * * *

THE POETS
Teri Foltz is a playwright (Teri’s Play Date on YouTube) and a poet (Green and Dying on Amazon)
Sara Moore www.hypnohelpcounselingservices.com
Sam Cardamone is a native of Buffalo, NY now living in Rochester and, as of late, desperately trying his hand at improv.
Jason Rugg Instagram: @deviations_in_the_dust
Jenean Roth is lover of words read, written, spoken, dreamt, and arranged in entertaining ways.
Stephanie Lewis is wondering should we be on lockdown or locked up? Onceuponyourprime.com

THE ARTWORK
“The Three Faces” by Daniela Gitlin
Daniela Gitlin’s first book (note the optimism) is available on Amazon: Practice, Practice, Practice: This Psychiatrist’s Life. It’s amazing how much trouble she gets into and still manages to be helpful. danielagitlin.com

THE POEM
This poem was an experiment in a word collage, similar to RESTRUCTURED. Without knowing anything about what the final product would look like – or seeing a prompt or the line before theirs, as with the other poems – six contributors were each asked to provide five unrelated sentences: Continue reading “Exquisite Quarantine Poem: UNMASKED”

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