Cooking hot dogs when I wanted ribs
Drinking pink Chablis from a screw-top
Damn kids left me with just the nibs
Too much wine, can’t go back to the U-Shop.
Getting late, call it quits, corner bar for a pop.
Barman says, "Where you been? You look down."
I says, "That whole barbecue was a flop.
Made me look like an ass fooling ‘round.”
Back in April, Linda Wastila invited me to have lunch with the cool kids (metaphorically speaking). What she proposed was that a collection of writers and poets - Linda, Mark Kerstetter, Michael Solender, Laurita Miller, Robin Stratton, Doug Mathewson, Paige Von Liber and myself - would write a set of collective poems.
Each of us were to come up with the first line or stanza of a poem, then pass it along. Each person would in turn add a line or stanza (or couplet or quatrain or whatever), and pass it down the chain. By the time it came back around, it would be a complete poem. What you see up above is a slightly edited version of what came back to me. I tried to stay true to the intent of the other poets who helped created this, while nudging it into a smoother flowing shape.
After it was all done, Linda asked me for my thoughts on the process, and about poetry and writing in general. I have to say, it was a fascinating exercise; it made me think about poetry more deeply than I think I ever have.
I take away two big things from this experience:
1) I can now say things like "the other poets", including myself in their company of lyricism and insight with a reasonably straight face.
2) My poetry is not meant to drape itself over a cup of sorrows and passion. Either my soul isn't deep enough to achieve that kind of verse or I play my cards too close to the vest for it.
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