Exquisite Quarantine Poem: RESTRUCTURED

Photo courtesy of Lisa David Olson.

RESTRUCTURED

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.

* * * * * *

THE POEM
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.

THE POETS
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

THE ARTWORK
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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Exquisite Quarantine Poem: MY HEART IS

Image by Katie Rae Hayduk. Used with permission.

MY HEART IS

My heart is deluged with grief–my own and of countless others experiencing losses great and small.
Yet my heart is also flooded with rolling waves of love expressed, received, and witnessed–appreciation, compassion, generosity, and kindness.

My heart is beating out a rhythm.
A staccato jitterbug longing for a waltz.

My heart has a beat, different than the music I hear all around me
My soul, confused, performs choreography known only to the bees.

My heart is captured by the dance, dizzy and exhilarated, but afraid,
And begins to flail, turning around and around, wild to find the light.

My heart is lost, searching for the breadcrumbs I left months ago when I feared the day would come
when the maps would do no good.

*     *     *     *     *     *

THE POEM
The contributors were instructed to write two sentences; the first should begin with “My heart is”. Each contributor got to see only the second sentence of the person who wrote before them.

THE POETS
Crystal Hayduk typically wears many hats while running on the hamster wheel of life. During quarantine, she exchanged a couple of hats for a mask. The wheel slowed down just enough for her to cook lots of comfort food and catch up on sleep.
Lori Davis originates from Dayton, OH
Laura Fleming
Susan Chapel stays as sane as she can in upstate NY, with the help of the
turkeys and deer in her back yard, the laughter of her partner and dear
friends, and the occasional mindful breath.
Teri Foltz is a playwright (Teri’s Play Date on YouTube) and a poet (Green
and Dying on Amazon).

THE ARTWORK
Katie Rae Hayduk is currently a music education student who enjoys petting her dog. You will often find her listening to fiddle tunes and very poorly cooking up a pot of spaghetti.

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

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Exquisite Quarantine Poem: BLIND

ICU Daniela Gitlin Group 4
“ICU” by Daniela Gitlin. Used with permission.

The tabby cat swatted the wooden blinds.
This was his method of waking me daily
The sadistic brother held tightly a stick
with it he calmly scratched just a bit
An aching world breathes the healing charm.
It’s myth to think that we would do no harm
The scared people hoard the vital toilet paper
When will our collective nightmare be over?
The distinguished Gentleman woke the sleepy dog.
“REM sleep is over-rated” he thought.

*     *     *     *     *     *

THE POEM
The contributors were instructed to write two lines of free verse, with the first line following this pattern:
“The (adjective) (noun) (verb) the (adjective) (noun).”
The other contributors got to see only the last line of what the previous writer penned.

THE POETS
Jane
Timothy Shea
Sara Moore www.hypnohelpcounselingservices.com
Elyssa Klein
David Avery is a wild and crazy guy…

THE ARTWORK
“ICU” 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

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

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Five Minutes From The Funny Farm: Exquisite Poems and Folk Songs

It’s been fortyleventeen days since the last Funny Farm update, which included some tears and an update on my gray hair. Today, it’s play time! I introduce viewers to my Exquisite Quarantine Poem project and play a song or two on the recorder. Make sure you have your earplugs handy.

This is what happens when you lock a humor writer/improvisor who doesn’t know how to use a video camera in the house with two dogs and a cat during a pandemic. I warned you it wasn’t going to be pretty. Or professional.

Click here to learn how you can take part in the Exquisite Quarantine Poem.
And here to read the poems.

Visit my website http://www.joannebrokaw.com
Follow me on FB @joannebrokawwriter
Check out my latest book, “Suddenly Stardust: A Memoir (of sorts) About Fear, Freedom & Improv” wherever books are sold. Available in print and ebook editions.

Exquisite Quarantine Poem: JOY

Molly Stevens Joy
“Welcome Sun” by Molly Stevens. Used with permision.

JOY

I laughed out loud with
the sudden knowing,
We all have a heart.’
… Do I tell them?

A secret is important to keep, but in this case,
I feel like it’s somehow written all over my face.
Or could it be telltale cookie crumbs stuck to my lip?
Proof I devoured our quarantine stash—choc chip!

I knew I should have confessed first –
yet we all know the thrill of imagining we can escape undiscovered
I live with the knowledge that if I could turn back time
I’d totally do it again

Except maybe this time I’d wear a disguise.
A detectives hat and a monocle!
It gives the air of authority.
Then maybe I’d get away with it.

*     *     *     *     *     *

THE POEM
The first person was given the prompt JOY as inspiration, and instructed to write four lines of free verse. The other contributors added the same and got to see only the last line of what the previous writer penned.

THE POETS
–  Rick Hughson “Oh dear…”
-Stephanie Lewis is wondering if should we be on lockdown or locked up? Onceuponyourprime.com
– Miriam Lerner is a sign language interpreter, currently working from home, trying not to eat and drink too much…with intermittent success.
– April M. has been practicing isolation since before it was cool and is having adventures at home with her kitty side kick, Inari.

THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Molly Stevens is a retired nurse who has adjusted well to isolation, especially since she adopted a rubber chicken as a pet. https://www.shallowreflections.com

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

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Exquisite Quarantine Poem: WINGS

Give and Take Tonya Wihelm
“Give and Take”, by fine art and portrait photographer Tonya Wilhelm. This image is part of her Couch Project Series. Used with permission.

WINGS

I don’t know how it happened today.
My feet came off the track!
I was minding my own business.
What are these feathers on my back?

With labored effort, but growing strength
I steel to flex my curious appendages
Slow, stiff, I rise
Past life, loves, and sins now long gone vestiges

What will be there for us to come back to?
What awaits us on the other sides of our walls?
Will the divisive ones remain strong in their ways,
To crumble down the peaceful bridges, once and for all?

To careen and crash across interstates
Careless and proud, angry and a fool
Courting concussions from blunt truth
With abandon and a trickle of drool

If flavor’s your wheelhouse and cravings abound,
Just do what the old canines do,
And salivate so unabashedly, dude,
Like zebras who live in the zoo.

*     *     *     *     *     *

THE POEM
The first person was given the prompt WINGS as inspiration, and instructed to write four lines, with the 2nd and 4th lines rhyming. The other contributors added the same and got to see only the last line of what the previous writer penned.

 THE POETS
– Alyssa is from Twin Cities, MN
– Jenean Roth is a lover of words read, written, spoken, dreamt, and arranged in entertaining ways.
– Justin Rielly is a playwright, theater artist and radio host based in Rochester, New York.
– Ty Gagnon is an improvisor, cook, writer, weirdo.
– Debbie Miller is a Brooklyn, New York writer who writes magazine articles, plays, humor, and monologues.Visit her website at www.DebbieLMiller.com.

THE PHOTOGRAPHER
“Give and Take”. Tonya Wilhelm is a fine art and portrait photographer. This image is part of her Couch Project Series. See them all on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tonyawilhelm.artist/

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

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Exquisite Quarantine Poem: DAWN

 

frozen wave against sunlight
Photo by Hernan Pauccara on Pexels.com

The first poem in our Exquisite Quarantine series was written in February, just before life came to a screeching halt. It was part of an exercise I did with a group at my monthly creativity workshop.

The instructions for everyone were to write four lines based only on the last line of the person who went before them; I wrote the first line. No rhyme or other structure was required. The first names of the participants are listed at the end of the poem.

Here’s how you can take part in the Exquisite Quarantine Poem project.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

DAWN

Over the hills, the sun appears
Orange delight, aglow with life
Heralding the hope of a fresh start
A new dawn breaks.

And I see it all again
I look forward to night again
It hides all the ugly.

The mask can’t hide it all, though
Some starts to seep out like a
bit of silly putty in a mold and
looks a bit sick.

Love is an affliction!
But best not an addition
I’m not likely to fall again
Said the little red hen.

Life is running away from me,
I cannot reel it in.
What can the future hold,
Oh dear wren?

Wren, oh wren, sweet, sweet wren.
She had a bird-like figure
which explains the name her parents c hose.
But why didn’t they choose Robin? We’ll never know.

All we can do is move on, and look to tomorrow
The night will end when the dawn breaks
The light will shine and the fields sparkle
Morning always brings hope of a better day.

Except Monday mornings
Everybody hates those
When you woke up mourning
Wanting your alarm to enclose.

These people are so quiet
I think they are planning to kill me
There are enough of them
I think they could do it.

Absolute action will lead to satisfaction
Something so simple will never cripple
Calming airs and perfect pairs
Affairs that never cease.

THE POETS
April, Aprille, Chloe, Ian, Jeff, Peg, Curtis, Laura, and Jennifer

 

Catch me in “Duesy”, part of Teri’s Play Date play reading series

Greetings, my friends! I hope you’re staying healthy and finding ways to stay creative during The Pause!

With everything cancelled this until at least June, my very busy calendar of events has come to a screeching halt, and that includes all improv shows as well as being part of a local theater production. Fortunately, my very creative and clever friend Teri Foltz came up with a way for her theater friends to still perform – with recorded readings of her short plays!

I was delighted to read the role of Teri in the short play “Duesy”, about her dog, Duesy. Fred Tacon read the role of Duesy.

I also read stage directions for “Magpie”; you can find all of Teri’s Play Date videos on her YouTube channel.

Welcome to The Funny Farm

Greetings, wonderful reader, and welcome to my blog. Or as I like to think of it, my big laundry pile of words.

Regular readers know that I’m technologically inept even on a good day. During The Pandemic Pause, I’ve been slowly updating the blog and trying to make sense of more than a decade of posts – most of which have confusing categories, no tags, and even no titles. It’s like trying to sort socks and finding a spacesuit in the basket. Where did that come from and where does it go?

While there’s still much to sort, I’ve separated some popular posts by topic, which you can access via the menu. To keep reading posts in chronological order, just keep scrolling. The most recent posts will show up at the top.

Stay healthy, take care of yourself, and take care of each other!
xo
Joanne

Join me for an Exquisite Quarantine Poem Project

sutterlin-4984882_640
photo courtesy of pixabay

Here in NYS, The Pause is extended for several more weeks. Boring! If you’re itching to try something new, join me as we create an  Exquisite Quarantine Poem.

This 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. I’ve done this in my in-person creative workshops and I thought it would be a great way to spur some creative thinking and connect with others during this weird time of isolation.

Here’s how our Exquisite Poem will work: Continue reading “Join me for an Exquisite Quarantine Poem Project”

Five Minutes From The Funny Farm: Joan Baez, Gray Hair, and I’m Sick Of This (Part 2)

After whinging on about being sick, I forgot to give an update on my hair. Priorities, people, priorities.

Part one of today’s update: https://youtu.be/cUsZ7TmI3yM

This is what happens when you lock a humor writer/improvisor who doesn’t know how to use a video camera in the house with two dogs and a cat during a pandemic. I warned you it wasn’t going to be pretty. Or professional.

Visit my website www.joannebrokaw.com
Follow me on FB @joannebrokawwriter
See all of my videos on my YouTube channel
Check out my latest book, “Suddenly Stardust: A Memoir (of sorts) About Fear, Freedom & Improv” wherever books are sold. Available in print and ebook editions.

Five Minutes From The Funny Farm: Joan Baez, Gray Hair, and I’m Sick Of This (Part 1)

An update after a week of being sick of being isolated, and then being sick. Pffft on all of this. And then I got a present in the mail.

Part two of today’s update: https://youtu.be/0DJzE4SmsY8

This is what happens when you lock a humor writer/improvisor who doesn’t know how to use a video camera in the house with two dogs and a cat during a pandemic. I warned you it wasn’t going to be pretty. Or professional.

Visit my website www.joannebrokaw.com
Follow me on FB @joannebrokawwriter
See all of my videos on my YouTube channel
Check out my latest book, “Suddenly Stardust: A Memoir (of sorts) About Fear, Freedom & Improv” wherever books are sold. Available in print and ebook editions.

Five Minutes From The Funny Farm: Sunshine, Birdsong And A New Day

It’s a new day! On today’s episode, let’s go outside, where winter has left its mark but spring is peeking through the debris.

 

This is what happens when you lock a humor writer/improvisor who doesn’t know how to use a video camera in the house with two dogs and a cat during a pandemic. I warned you it wasn’t going to be pretty. Or professional.

Visit my website http://www.joannebrokaw.com
Follow me on FB @joannebrokawwriter
Check out my latest book, “Suddenly Stardust: A Memoir (of sorts) About Fear, Freedom & Improv” wherever books are sold. Available in print and ebook editions.

Five Minutes from the Funny Farm: Are We Having Fun Yet?

Today’s episode of Five Minutes from The Funny Farm.

If you’re struggling during the social distancing and self isolation required during the Covid-19 pandemic, call the New York COVID-19 Emotional Support Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to talk to a mental health professional at no charge.

This is what happens when you lock a humor writer/improvisor who doesn’t know how to use a video camera in the house with two dogs and a cat during a pandemic. I warned you it wasn’t going to be pretty. Or professional.

Visit my website www.joannebrokaw.com
Follow me on FB @joannebrokawwriter
See all of my videos on my YouTube channel
Check out my latest book, “Suddenly Stardust: A Memoir (of sorts) About Fear, Freedom & Improv” wherever books are sold. Available in print and ebook editions.

 

Five Minutes from the Funny Farm: A Toilet Paper Update

 

Today’s topic on Five Minutes from the Funny Farm: A Toilet Paper Update (and Bandit makes his Five Minutes debut).

A few days ago (March 18 at 5:30 PM, to be exact), I put a new roll of toilet paper in the bathroom and told you I’d let you know when it was used up. Ta da! That happened on March 23 at 6:30 PM. One person (give or take), one roll of 1000 sheet single ply toilet paper, five days. The original post was here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU3Xm…

This is what happens when you lock a humor writer/improvisor who doesn’t know how to use a video camera in the house with two dogs and a cat during a pandemic. I warned you it wasn’t going to be pretty. Or professional.

Visit my website www.joannebrokaw.com
Follow me on FB @joannebrokawwriter
See all of my videos on my YouTube channel
Check out my latest book, “Suddenly Stardust: A Memoir (of sorts) About Fear, Freedom & Improv” wherever books are sold. Available in print and ebook editions.