Write After Breakfast

Write After Breakfast: A writing workshop following the Breakfast Program at St. Andrews Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Breakfast Program provides a free meal for anyone who wants one, every single day of every single year. Write After Breakfast meets every Tuesday -- right after breakfast.

Poem in Three Parts

[For the prompt, we read “The Selvage" by Linda Gregerson. Since the poem was written in three parts, we wrote poems composed of three sections.]

“Selvage”

By David KE Dodge

Another old word, new
To my vocabulary,
Like “purl” and “baste”
Old words, second
Nature to those gone,
Now dead.

Wednesday afternoon
Spent watching TV
Courtroom, instead of 
Convening around
A frame to render
Fragments into whole
Quilts.  Time to converse,
For conversation that
Knits the community,
The counterpart of 
Men gathered for the 
Wednesday evening
Lodge convene.

What have we lost?
Baseball on sand-lot 
Diamonds?  Faux-war
Between invaders and
Defenders of make-shift forts?
In favor of what?
A direct link to persons
An unknown thousands miles
Away, to knit together resistance
Against The World Order,
While the neighbor, who
Is planning to kill a Kindergarten
Class, goes unnoticed?

What we need is a website
Where people converse, but is 
Accessible only by people physically
In Washtenaw County.
A local universe of possibilities
All close to home, and
Exclusive of the distant voyeur.

~

Bush Pig

by Matt
1
Corduroys scraping together.
Timeless memories of what could have been.
Lions winning, endless possibilities.
I plan to vote for nothing in the next election.
Why do we always wallow, wanting what isn’t going to happen.
Yellow masks, happen to us always.
2
Grumpy dumpling.
Darling, I love you.
What could have been, ended up in the garbage disposal.
We traded a game of tennis for long forgotten years.
Why do we make sense of what never lasts?
Paltry chicken, instead of eggs.
I want to be a poet when I grow up, and this is non-negotiable. 
3
I would rather rip my fingernails than betray myself.
What is wanton is almost always vexing.
Pray for the universe, for all is wanting.
Make peanut butter and jelly, instead of bread.
Dying for the future, we instead rest for anxiety.
Lovely patience, for the dead.

 ~


Preparation
by George

#1
The burger
The bun it comes in
The smiling faces used to sell it
The drive through
The fast food counter
Where to stand one minute is too long
The cheese

#2
Trucks on Route 94
Between Detroit and Chicago
Taking turns too fast at the swindle spin
Cracking up in the stretch near Jackson
Bearing down hard to the West
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters
At the wheel

#3
Crows pick meat from a carcass
Maggots and bone and hair
One eye in each direction
On watch for the vehicle
That would do to them
What it had done to their dinner
A preparation

~

Ice Tripych
by Robyn

1
Once I watched you take 
off in a sprint over a snow
and ice covered hill. The way
you sprung: like a plane
unsticking from the ground.
Like an ungulate. Like a train.
A wild thing. Without slipping.
Without a fall. Then you were
gone and the woods breathed
and each white lined branch
was an exposed finger bone.

2
Should we keep going, a man
says, six hundred feet 
from the summit, because
the way the sky creeps
frostbit gray and the wind
has teeth and Scott says,
hell yeah. Within three years,
he will be dead. But now
the mountain is cold, cold,
ice sharp as wanting, 
and in two hours, the men
will be on top, the sky will
be there, the storm clouds
gathered, they will still 
have to climb down, and they will.

3
At the end of running,
I let myself run. Not
fast but it feels that way:
a girl alone on a street.
With her gloveless hands
and her feet. What she thinks
of is bones: the deer
skeleton the dog found 
in the field, how naked 
it looked, stripped of 
fur and skin. For 
three hours I will run. 
It is March. The street 
almost snowless. 
Tonight there is one
more minute of sun.

 

~

Self-edge

by Courtney


1.
 
We live like pigs here
geese free of freezing mud above us
Henry’s snow boots a raveling of mud.
 
Now Henry is stuck in the mud beside deer droppings,
the yellow racing stripe on his pants brown,
his mouth open pink and clean.
He wants to go home, he announces to the wind,
though I’m not sure where that is.
 
 
2.
 
Morning ice-hail pelts the brown dog and the ice-mud
on her tie-out , a stripe of blue
her ears back, brown dog on brown background,
the foreground being window glass,
yellow interior light, infant in arms.
 
We won’t go out there.
Island of freezing dog, air-whining.
 
Who brings a baby outside in the ice
to spare a dog with her greasy fur,
a little fat and built for snow
though not for loneliness?
Baby tears are warm on my neck.
 
3.
 
Ana said that as a girl her uncle
let out his dog in winter
and forgot to bring him in.
 
Dog frozen sculpture in the morning light,
she saw him curled on the front stoop.
I check each night, ghost-wandering,
counting dogs and cats and children,
feeling fur and pajama backs for clean lungs.
 
Let winter be over so the grass can grow.

They Say

[We read Laura Kasischke’s “They Say”; for the prompt, we used the same title and same last line (“After that, too late”) with freedom in between the two.]

They Say
by George

They Say
We are free
Free to take the dog out
Free to pick up his poop
Free to breathe the air we breathe
Free to cough it up
Free to say the things we mean
Free to stretch the truth

They say
We are free
Free to pursue some happiness
Free to pursue some life
Free to pursue some liberty
Ain’t no one going to object
But then, that is what they say
Beyond that, tough shit

~

No title
By Matt

Run!!!

No seriously, you’re going to die.

Life is nothing but a stress-fracture, waiting to kill us, if we even so much as look at the wrong way.

Why is it, we think, everything has to be a presidential motorcade?

If what you’re doing right now is so important, why didn’t you do it last Thursday?

Mean people suck.

But impatient people really, really, really suck.

I think the happiest people I know right now, spend daily time with meditation.

Why is it we’re in such a hurry, when really we end up just leaping into the grave?

People who walk quietly and softly, are the power brokers of this world.

If I was a bandage, what would I say to the rest of the world?

Sloppiness is almost always underrated.

Skunks seem to know what’s best, patiently waited for.

And human beings seem to be in such a hurry, they don’t understand the wisp of air, that’s worth dying for.

Camouflage underground, is where the most truth seekers can be found.

Piss your pants to the next appointment, should be reserved for the gestapo of this world.

Patience, justice, peace and tolerance.

Highly underrated are the things we take for granted all the most.

Zen is the higest form of art form.

Walking shallow, slowly, into the ground.

~


They say:
by Donald

Oohhmay say they
did it, what say, who say did it?
him say ohhmay know how 2 play
some say ofay
it it at 1st did it
The 1st wit it, didn’t
fit it, dim witted


Him say, oohhmay
couldn’t walk David
walker way, all say
it away, omit; way
shit away 1st day, on the play

Anyway thisaway

~

They say
by Robyn

Everest is as large as the inside
of a skull, the way it’s white
against the sky.
Gray fingers mean open
someone’s jacket and press
them to the warm skin inside.

Outside the snow is melting
and I read about people dying
on mountains while the dog
shakes a stuffed monkey as
if it were something to kill.

A man says we climb Everest
because it is there and another
says this is wrong. Outside
my window the land is flat
flat, brown grass breaking
through the ice.

They leave bodies on the mountain
because they are too heavy
to bring down. This one called
Green Boots. One day a body
beside him.

They leave gloves, oxygen canisters,
noses, and shit. They leave
the blades of ice picks and brain
cells and food, and men, and rope.

The dog lies down with the monkey
between his paws, tearing
at its face. My whole life I have lived
at sea level.

On Everest for two nights, it is negative
sixty degrees and the tent is torn,
the oxygen is gone.

For three days the melted snow
has made puddles for the dog
to sip from in the front yard.

At the mountaintop they
say memory is different.
At the mountaintop they
say only halfway.
At the mountaintop they
say let me place my cold
feet against your throat.
At the mountaintop where
is the path when it is too snow
white to see your own hands
inside their gloves, the dark
hooded head in front of you.

On the couch, I sit
beneath two blankets,
with the dog and my tea
and my book.

Some people climb mountains
because what else is there
to do: sit on a couch, read,
watch the dog watch the snow
seep outside.

They say two fingers are worth
a mountaintop, or every toe,
or a glove.

On Everest it is night.
There are still two miles to go:
eight fingers, a nose.
Three climbers in their black boots.
Then too late.  

Long Sentence

[We read Anthony Walton’s “Dissidence”; the prompt was to write poems that were one long sentence.]

Chief Definite Him
by Donald

1. 1 long sentence why/short
2. it takes juices 2 go long, it helps 2 have a song
crafty says come along, duckin’ its/wrongs
3. the main thing is plan 2 go long/strong in spite o

~

Art Stream
by Matt

Life is a continuous motion, up and down, backward, forward and sideways, illuminating the continuum of what we have and what we wish we did, instead of moaning for things not found, but then we pause, instead, looking ever more for what would close the void, instead of thinking about what we should have done, rather than taking the longshot of simply being, knowing that we could have things we needed, if we simply paused, to darn our socks, and thinking of what we have rather than something we should have known, alas, the lamp of reason, scurries into our subconscious, rather than trapping us, looking from below, where the want of commodities outshadows what we knew we know, shining for the lamplight of what we could’ve known, scraping for the things that shouldn’t have been, knowing the beastial limits of what should’ve been, rather than groping for what’s found, down the other, foreshadowing the claw-tooth hammer of what needs to be done, illuminating the shower of things forgotten, making money instead of taking pills, when what we should’ve known is how not to offend our neighbors when we preened for reason, rather than looking for the things we need to interact with the most important things and ignoring the basic facts, where we should’ve been instead of yearning for the tall skyscrapers, which will make us nauseous, from the clay of rhythm, which is what we should have known.

~


When the snow melted,
by Robyn

When the snow melted
Teresa looked at sky:
the way blackbirds unspooled
like a thin thread, knitting
out the light, the blue ceiling
of sky disappearing beneath
each black wing, beneath
each eye like a smooth-polished
stone, each feather, each claw -
the way one day in Darjeeling
the mountains became not fists
but lungs, grass-covered and
breathing, and God’s voice
sounded like sun or the feeling
of skin or how spring means
light comes one minute earlier
each dawn, then slowly time
sews over it with its black thread,
with its blackbirds and crows,
until all you have is March:
the tangled knot of night,
your hard heart, your cold
hands, your boots in a puddle
of snow melting into mud.

~

 

Borrowing Phrases

[It worked so well last time to borrow phrases from our prompt poem, we did it again. The poem was Elena Sikelianos’s “Survey: Phototropes.” We each chose a phrase or single word and then created a group word bank, the prompt being to use those words however we choose in the writing that emerged for each of us. The work was really powerful, bonded by the game of fitting in phrases that mattered to each of us now.]

________________________________________________________

Stop Making Sense, or, Chaotic Envelope

 by Matt

 Everything must be organized.

A, B, C, no wait, C! BOOM, you’re dead.

 

Anal rententivity is a habit, only reserved for

vacuum cleaner salesmen.

 

If I’m so wrong, why does it always seem

like I could care less if I’m right?

 

The drum beat of reason makes me want

to gag.

 

If I had to pick between poetry and

engineering, I’d pick poetry, because poetry

lasts forever, and, maybe, engineering will

last till the end of this century.

 

Why does everything have to be boxed and

packaged so neatly?

 

And why is it that the most important thing

you have in life is that first crap you

take in the morning?

 

Oh my 50th birthday, what I have most to

look forward to is a colorectal exam, or better put

looking forward to an anal probe, or even better

yet, having an exam up my Hershey highway.

 

Why do we care so little about what God

cares about the most?

 

Why is nuisance such a higher crime, whereas

doubting is treated as an absolute luxury.

 

You can kiss my ass, you jack-booted plack-

leather wearer.

 

If a swastika is indeed a broken cross

why don’t we send it, merrily, rolling on

its way?

 

Messiness is an art form, with chaos as its

bedfellow, waiting for another day.

 

Rotting stump, or nutrigrain, which would you

rather have for dinner?

 

If simplicity is punished by harshness,

then what are you waiting for?

 

I want to create piles of rubbish, before dinner.

 

Photoshop. Test and prop.

 

The organizational dead.

 

Scotland is death.

 

Hope is almost always forever!

________________________________________________________

[The words are beautiful not for their accuracy]

— by David KE Dodge

“The words are beautiful not for their accuracy

but for their dream,”

As are all words uttered not to express knowledge,

But with “perfect” sound,

Expressed by the Goddess of the Muses,

And rendered by the poet as a

“Photograph of her thought;”

Rendered in a twinkling

As “the future does a backbend toward you,”

Like moments, in being lost to the past,

Enable a tenuous grip on the future

In a forever now.

_____________________________________________________

 

THOUGHT-PHOTOGRAPH

by Courtney

 

Cut the body, an onion,

he pushes the pain and vices past

muscles into my blood.

What perfect cancer, niggling.

Radiation: bodies turned toward radios.

Blood like a river rushing out.

Photograph of her thought:

Prayers color patches

cushioning, buoying. Silk thoughts.

Hot-air balloons surrounding.

The prayers are beautiful not for their accuracy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A POEM OF PLACE

[We read Bob Hicock’s poem “A Poem of Place” and talked about its theme of place as well as it themes of ambiguity, release, and acceptance. We also picked out a word or phrase that struck us and tried to use it in our own poem. A double-prompt, really.]

___________________________________________________________

“Composition on Four Extracts from  ‘A poem of place,’ by Bob Hicock”

By David KE Dodge

 

“It’s not that I believe or don’t believe:”

But what else is there?

Are there Sundays without meaning;

Sunday mornings without destination?

Fridays devoid of purpose?  Without goals?

What is missing, if you believe; what

Is present, if you don’t believe?

“There was a deer.”

Certainly believers and non-believers alike

Can understand that sentence.

Perhaps Jesus and Mohammed

Are pleased to step aside for

Belief universal:

“There was a deer.”

A belief Universal, like

“They (the stars) are only suns.”

What gives ground for Universal Belief

Once escaped us.  For eons, the

Stars were not seen as suns,

But rather as bodies distinct from

The daily solar presence.

First comprehension; then, perhaps,

“I believe.” The start of a Credo,

The basis for wars, before the

Coming of Beliefs Universal.

“I believe in Jesus.”

“I believe in Jesus Christ,

(God’s only son,) our Lord,

Who was born of the Virgin Mary,

Suffered under Pontius Pilate,

Crucified, dead, and buried;

On the third day…

‘There was a deer.’”  It escaped.

That’s all Bob Hicock reported.

First comprehension; then,

Perhaps, belief.

That I believe.

But that’s not all I believe.

And that’s not all I believe-in.

I believe-in God, the Father Almighty.

And that’s not all I believe-in,

But it’s enough.

 _______________________________________________________

A Poem of Serenity
by Matt Hiccup

Follow me.

No, seriously. I have the ultimate answers to everything.

When I was younger, I believed in the absolute answers.

Now that I’m older, I believe the answers are vague.

People who say they have the absolute answers
to everything scare me.

I believe that totalitarians bring the worst form of sorrow.

Maybe that’s just a way of saying, if God does
exist, as I believe he does, He must
be up in heaven looking at the dictators
and laughing hysterically.

I put more favor in a wandering cow
than I do with Zeus.

Why, if you are so right, have you left
so many people complaining.

This is a plea for democracy.

While food is not with us, it is the best
form of making us behave.

I believe to worship an onion is far better
than to be beholden by a dictator.

I believe the ultimate punishment for Hitler
would have been to douse his head with
PineSol.

I was talking to somebody yesterday about
how scared we were of people who think
they have the absolute answers about God.

Maybe God left it this way, to make us
find God for ourselves.

I’m comfortable with a little uncertainty.

Maybe the ultimate answer is trying to
find the right answer than than lazily
having it supplied to you.

Pomegranates for Peace.

Nothing is the actual slew.

If we are so right, why are we always
left looking for answers.

I’m more comfortable with a gnat at the helm
than the finest dictator.

___________________________________________________________


Mortality
— by Courtney


We are sitting at the dining room table
the squalling snaking through the room
two dogs four thousand short strands of
brown and black fur.
-6 degrees outside and the blind black dog barks.

Sweet potatoes mashed on my elbow,
sweet orange on the baby’s eyelashes and cheeks.
Bright orange like suns.
Napless, unblinking children.
Mashed potatoes on the brown dog’s fur.
They’re only suns.

I fold the woven dishcloth
until the edges align
before I throw it at the dog. Mean.
The husband says over the crying that
he doesn’t believe anyone returns
to judge the living and the dead. Dead.

The tumor in my friend’s
ovaries makes her swell like she is pregnant,
an immaculate conception of cells. It’s not
that I believe or don’t believe my friend will die.
Some people seem half not of this world already
so when you learn they’re sick it doesn’t feel like a surprise.
I don’t believe anyone will return

to judge my dying friend or her young daughter
or the mashed potatoes the brown dog is licking off her own fur.
The dog barks again.

Outside in the dark we finally see
the silhouette of a deer,
now two, now three. Replicated rising and bowing

in the snow. One is limping. So cold. I don’t
believe when we die we get these bodies back.

Talking through a jumbler

[We read Paisley Rekdal’s amazing poem "Dear Lacuna, Dear Lord." I had no specific theme for the prompt, just the poem itself. We talked about its subject matter, unrequited love and talking to God / being heard slant. Plus the recurrent theme in the poem of fruits and vegetables. The poem is dynamite and the work followed.]

__________________________________________________________

Nuclear Vegetables
— by Matt


All forms of evasiveness.

Stop what you’re doing.

Hunt, fish and gather.

No, it’s really important.

Stop what you’re doing, and pay attention to nothing.

Like a rabbit out of a hat, is what we’re doing to each other.

Surprise, and then defy, all sense of reason.

Waste away, and let serendipity come to you.

Why to avoid, when simple reason would supplant mediocrity.

I can wait forever, though, if not for the want of simple drudgery.

Computers should be replaced with barnyard animals.

“Moo!!!” “Bah!!!”

These are the things I way to say to you.

Reckless denial is all I want to say to you.

And yet… without God… we are nothing.

To replace the shimmer of truth is to commit the greatest atrocity.

Why do we, therefore, have to dance around ourselves.

Why can’t we simply commit to all forms of reason.

Exodus wanting. The pilot light is out.

If life is so helpless, why do we continue to striving.

Fallowed leaves. This is the genesis of all reason.

Go to the dentist. Take a vacation.

These are the things that make me ultimately queasy.

Stop what you’re doing, and run your head into a tree stump.

Masochism is the greatest form of torture.

__________________________________________________________


Paranomasia
— by Philip


Paranomasia. Pun fun. Trope and play on words
Irony Ellipsis and Declamatory writing
Understatement. Smoothly stated understatement.
Let’s skip the rest.


Stay Open

[“Just before I doze off, I counsel myself grandiosely: Fuck concepts. Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.” — George Saunders, “The New Mecca” (from the Braindead Megaphone)]

____________________________________________________________________________



[Graffiti Whoops. Graffiti and play high rise!]
— by Philip

Graffiti Whoops. Graffiti and play high rise!
Be young while you earn.
The grandma from an early seventies poster
Saying: Express yourself!
Sheldon Kopp’s: If you meet
the Buddha on the road…
Carlos Castinada’s – Show me your claws!
Milton Hamlish’s – Isaac and dispute!!
That is our legacy
We disputed.
It’s American Graffiti!
We are the slaves of the phony leaders
Breathe the air we have blown you!

____________________________________________________________


[City of a soul made]
— by Mary

City of a soul made
your images that float amid
the stars. Open for claim
A knock a call the organ
large and whole is up
for bid

An island city of cities
churned away by earth
impertinent waters known and
realized only by its eclipse
is the city fabulous-cious
imagined by one for
we future of all like a
gaseous bouquet of
flowers that will sweeten
time untouched by
concept or the real.

The End of the World

[I am writing this after the date of the end of the world has passed, but during workshop we weren’t so sure. And this just after the Newtown, CT massacre. We read a gorgeous, terribly sad poem by Laura Kasischke, “At the End of the Text a Small Bestial Form.” I almost cried while reading it, not because the world might end but because of the horrors possible in this world upon the most innocent. A heavy workshop with beautiful writing as its outcome.]

________________________________________________

To Choose Where To Go
- by George

Most people think they choose where to go
On their way to work
And home
A stop at the bar
The grocery
The idea of choice is special to them
Little souls

As in choosing to wear a gun
To represent yourself
As in deciding to kill your father
And marry your mother
As in having to take a crap
Upon breaking into a neighbor’s house
To steal some gin

Yup.  Most people think they choose where to go
And when
And how
And why
But really
Taking a crap in a neighbor’s house
Is much more complicated than that.

________________________________________________


THE MARIJUANA CHRONICLES
- by Mike

After a bound to heaven trail
That runs through consultation
I planted my military ponderment
And sat my carcass in a yoga way

The wetness took its toll but for
the God Devil it was multi tasked
to a branch of emotional suppression

Honeymooners whom believe in hoochie dope
Might graduate to the vacuum
while pitter patter feet spilled form
Mouth like Paul Bunyon and Babe the
Blue cow.

One Santa now isn’t sellin his underwear
because his wife said she smile with a
glimmer of what God will give him
Praise from one joint to another
So put your holiday smile on and warm.

•    THE MARIJUANA CHRONICLES in poetry form

By Inspiration
from Ann Arbor’s spiritual
loins
Mike C & Inspiration

________________________________________________

Laid Bare

— Bill Spencer

An instant of glaring
    Awareness
A Drip of distilled essence

A Flash of truth
In one solitary act
An undivider stripped to the
Garment
A synopsis of their life
And your perception of them can
never be the same.

________________________________________________
My Sense of Direction

-    by Matt


Where am I going?

Where have I been?

What’s the meaning of life?

Where am I?

These are the questions, most often formed
by the philosophers/

What we do with our spare time is a matter
of the soul.

For those of us down to earth, vague questions
tear down our very being.

The real questions to the middle class are,
where am I going to get my next meal, or
where am I going to get my clothing?

Waste of time. Waste of money.

With the end of the world coming on so strong,
we better get busy.

Or, why don’t we run for the heavens, rather
than spare our next charm.

Waste of life. A friend of mind used to say that
when describing various people.

If the jury is hung, whatever are we doing to do
with so much time on our hands?

The least of them is more than we ever can
fathom.

The most of them die like there’s no tomorrow,
running in the wind.

Why do we drive so hard to go to heaven, is like
we can think of nothing else.

To step on the heads of the poor is the greatest
sin imaginable.

To look on, as someone is dying, is the greatest
heresy ever thought of.

Why do we work so hard for that which is never attainable.

If the end of the world is near, then we
should be thought of as not looking out for others.

The answers are found resting in the clouds.

If God is angry, we’ll know soon enough.

In the meantime, wait patiently, and know
there is God.

________________________________________________


The End of the World
- by Courtney


The butterfly blasted into the grill of my car and it wasn’t my fault.

the butterfly’s migratory patterns and my trip to the grocery store.

On TV, I have seen human bodies lain out wrapped in white sheets

but the butterfly, I try to peel it out to show
my son before he sees the God of what happens to frailty.

I tear the wings and once again it wasn’t my fault.

The underbelly of my car is made of grease and metal,
but its skin is iridescent silver.

It matter what your last thoughts were
before the car drove over the bullet came in the tree entered you.

On the radio they said the Hawaiian governor’s last word was Aloha
and that is a grace, even if he had only one arm remaining.

The wings like onion skin, pigment coming off
onto my fingertips. Particles of color. No bones.

At some point I have to tell my son
that we are meant to suffer.


Oscar Wao — fiction

[We tend to read a lot of poetry and use poetry as prompts in this workshop, partially because I as the workshop leader am inspired more by poetry usually, and partially because a poem is short enough that we can read it through once or twice and get on with our writing swiftly enough. We also tend to have more prompts from female writers. For today’s workshop I searched for a different prompt: fiction by a male author. I was so glad to share the first few pages ofThe Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Waoby Junot Diaz. People seemed to respond to the colloquial tone, to the rapid energy that starts this amazing novel.]

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Friendship
-    by Matt


You’ve GOTTA get a girlfriend!!!

Oh, you MUST!!!

As if life weren’t complicated enough, why do
we feel life must be in twos, and nothing else?

Peer pressure, we might find, may bring down
the fall of human civilization.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with
getting married, yet, why do we feel this
absolutely, a co-dependent need, to do everything in couples.

Why can’t we simply be content, to be by
ourselves?

The happiest people, I believe, are not only
those who interact well with others, but those who
are happy simply being by themselves.

Violence is pariah.

Groups of people tend to do things, nasty to themselves.

Meditation. Zen.

If wars, and rumors of war, are the only
answer, why is it, in times of peace, we seem
to do better than any possibility.

Violence answers almost nothing,
and yet instead, leaves us with
countless questions.

The life of a rapier is one of sadness.

I’d rather be doused with mud than become
a thug.

If being gentle makes you vulnerable, then…

Here I am.

There is more wisdom in the wake of water
than all the institutions combined.

If rest and relaxation are the opposite of
success, then why do we so often bleed
when we charge?

To upset an atom is to defile God.

To count your acquaintances is His pleasure.

Fellowship is at odds with all the ends of death.


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Night Fog
-    by Courtney


The neighbors with their floodlights blasting for six years into our living room window. We want to shoot it to darkness more than we want to shoot the fat squirrels that dig up the tulip bulbs but instead, yes, we could walk over there and talk to them. But no, instead Steve turns the Jeep around in our pockmarked driveway and points his headlights back at them, tilted up at the angle that perfectly reflects bright beams from their family room window. Tulip bulbs silent. The end of the world nine days away. Green glass in the recycling. There is a feeling of change, isn’t there? The moment when the high jumper decided to jump backwards for the first time, flying and then flopping over the air particles thigh high bar the blue soft mat and flopping beautifully as he landed.

There is a moment where change has to happen, where the scissors come out and all the drawings are fluttering, kaleidoscopic back flips. Punch. Punch. Move it, Chubby, Steve says, narrowly driving through a squirrel. The buzzing of the end of the world. The world as we know t will change, the man with the gray beard and the dirty backpack says. Six years, motherfuckers, Steve says, but the neighbors’ floodlights do not extinguish.

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[1st lines. 1st paragraph]
by Bill S.


1st lines. 1st paragraph
1st pages. Glorious beginnings

It doesn’t always happen that way.
Classic literature doesn’t always
start with a great beginning
A / tentious (?), the background
must be set out, the
characters introduced, tensions
built

But when a great book does
start with a great beginning
it is a moment of wonder

Call me Ishmael. Tale of 2 Cities.
Perfume.

I find myself rereading 1st lines
1st paragraphs upentedly (?) to the
point of dysfunction
ADD. But perhaps there is
a purpose to this madness
Like repetitiously pondering the
packet of a baseball glove.
Wrapping my mind around the
story, the language, the
flow of words
And you just know. With
an unrestrained glee you just
know, this is going to be a
good read.



Talking to the Dead

[We were honored to use as our prompt a poem by Charlotte Boulay: she was one of the early leaders of this writing workshop, and then she gets a fabulous poem published in the New Yorker, “Talking to the Dead." It was a very exciting conversation about the way that a state of mind alters the things that we see.]

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THE FLOOR DROPS OUT

— by Mike C

You saw it bounce U off the Bronc
like rain from the ride within

Your eyes say man it’s manwich time
But hot dogs and pretzels are all U get

My life like a clown can make U laugh
As the prize is dangling and dazzles Ur eyes

Your dropped of on seat of pins and needles
As the gate opens stomping fear into travelers

Sit upon that throne I say
For tomorrow might be too late,
As the floor drops out.

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Pescatori Perception
 
by Bill E.
12/4/12

Canopy, fallen timbers, Brush
Deadfalls Logjams

Currents, gravel, seams

Rapids, boulders, canoeists
    nightmare

Impossible to navigate, tough
to wade

Oh boy! Here, fishy, fishy.

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Poem
-    by Priscilla
12/4/12


Her poem seems to be loosely connected, and rambles with morbid thoughts. Perhaps she could see a professional for some help regarding her anger and sexual issues. The poem does not seem connected in any way and does not flow. I feel sorry for her each time the poem is read.


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Vacation Tennis, or, Trying to Save Charlotte

— by Matt


Buying soap, my favorite hobby.

Why do the most relaxing things have to be a chore?

If the meek shall inherit the earth, why is it that the smallest of animals are not our highest administrators?

Tepid vexation.

I’m depressed, yet I feel good about it.

Why can’t there be more things to do about ourselves?

A life that’s not wasted is one that makes the most sense to me.

Carpe diem, seize the day, or what have you.

Life is a participatory sport, therefore, we better get going.

It seems there is more wisdom in a burning candle than the strongest of vessels.

Why is there so much searching and yearning, while no one decides, simply to make a day of it.

If life is so important, why do we put so much faith in vacuum cleaners?

The telemetry of sorrow is the fate for most of mankind.

Why can we not be satisfied with simplicity, rather than vying for the complexity of rhythm.

Be we satisfied with cake while we could be satisfied with more simpler things?

In the movie Lincoln, Lincoln likes to tell stories.

In the whirlwind of complexity around him, Lincoln found, the simplest story was more soothing than the most well-laid plans.

Step back and listen.

If that were my only advice, that is the one I’d be given.

Why is it, it seems, that we rent our chains, to enslave ourselves?

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Talking to The Wall
— by Courtney

Paperclips. Rejection slips.
All the thoughts I could have had without these children.

How could people not have children, my friend asks,
her child eating my child’s wooden pizza,
the chokeable disks of pepperoni.

She is squatting on my dog-haired floor.
Two babies in, one kid is enough.

I want to go to a town where my poems sparkle.
Emily Dickinson wrote about death because she loved the world.

The dogs pace. Everyone needs a walk.
Studies show stay-at-home mothers feel more depression.

I think often of that woman who drove her children off a cliff,
front page news the day the towers fell

and there was no more room for talk of other horrors.
Any small horrors. Little terrors.
Wooden pepperonis thrown across the room.