||Inner SalonPast Salons
|The following collection of 22 group poems was written in approximately 15 minutes on March 24, 2006 by participants in the artists' salon at Vitek Kruta's Studio in Northampton, Massachusetts. Our theme for the evening was "Shadow." |
In this exercise, each participant received a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil, and was instructed to write the opening line of a poem on our shadow theme. For inspiration, we had scattered a variety of photographs on the floor, which many people used to get started. Once the first lines were written, participants passed their papers counterclockwise, and the second writer added a line. Before passing the paper along again, the second writer folded the page so only the last line was visible. And so it continued, around the circle, until the pages were filled.
This process is very different from open-page writing since writers have only a single line on which to build. If a participant chooses to shift voice or otherwise juxtapose tones (for instance, moving from reflective to audacious), the subsequent writer has no way of knowing what came before. Once the process is underway and participants realize they cannot possibly control the final outcome, the writing very often becomes looser, and rounds speed up as the playfulness intensifies; results are variable, outrageous, and often surprising in their flow. By contrast, in open-page group poetry writing, each pass tends to take longer as participants seek to build on the developing theme, find a rhyme or bring back a refrain.
Once our Shadow poems were complete, we unfolded the pages and read them aloud to the group our evocative interpretations as integral to the process as the writing had been. Energy rose as we by turns laughed and sighed, hearing back the lines we had jotted down quickly, now in context of the whole. - Amy Swisher
His shadow blocked the sun
And moved with him even at night
Drunk on his touch, wanting more
Reaching for what cannot be reached
Searching for the question never answered
Elaborating on the absence
And yet holding back the deeper loss
Contributing to the eventual, inevitable
Avalanche of sorrows.
Light always so close always seems out of sight
So near yet so far
Too close for comfort
Get in the corner!
Circle in a square
You need to see a psychiatrist
But only on Mondays
When the dogs are out
And the doors close firmly behind them
Silence ensures that we will all be herded
There's a sea behind the columns
Which I cannot see
But I feel its presence
Yet, do I care?
Only in the shadows, if you and they know
It might become something
After all, we were stardust only yesterday
And then night fell softly
As in morning's sunrise
As in a tequila sunrise
When you reach the bottom of the glass
You reach the top of the class
Sky above an infinite reflection
Of the flock of humans below
We breathe in the shadows
We grow in the shadows
To give birth to magnificent light
And absorb the spectrum
Beyond the shadow of imagination
Is mailing my heart quite
Inscrutable script, tangled in its own descenders.
You're standing in my shadow
You're acting in my play
I think you got the part if not two or three
Why not me? Why not me?
Why not us? I give up!
It's a familiar refrain, a song on my brain
Words, rhythm, the thousandth time
Hurtling us all to greater heights
You know, like a bad smile, only different -
More like a really good metaphor
Me and my shadow dancing in the windows
Shouting in the alleys
Where trees just went to sleep
I wake refreshed
But still feel a vague shadowy ache
Not come to me, you don't
You didn't, you won't, you want, but
A star falls slowly feeling no remorse
I saw here that night
She was living a lie
But only her shadow knew how her image felt
The very touch of him stirred me forever forth
I felt dizzy.
The dust in my head, the wind in my heart -
Holy Mackerel, Andy!
Your shadow took off with someone else
Information is not knowledge
Always trust your first instinct
Then take two steps to the left
Leave the door open
Open to the shadow behind the possibility
The thought behind the word
Leaves me breathless.
God help me
Can anyone else?
If I drank too much
I might be happier with you
If you don't "know," don't touch
Cut off hands and bite your tongue
There is no redemption for sorrow
No answers for the unknown shadows lurking there
Last, first, following before night
Morning brings renewal
Here she comes
She looks a little confused
Ain't that the truth
Show me what you yourself have never seen.
OK, I will, after we eat our oatmeal
But it's so cold
So empty and forlorn: a space for fire to melt
The shadow defies time by appearing
And leaving its mark till the next time
In the footprint of mountains and loss.
Pause, take a breath, examine that footprint
Let it take you
Far, sweet and deep
Like Mother Earth's vulva
I pour forth with new placenta
Plenta a placenta
Cogito ergo sum!
Ah, if only I knew, too
Too, too well such sweet sorrow
Is really just what the nurse ordered.
The sound of the silence is in the shadow of the
Zebra standing in the doorway
Who always wanted to be loved
I've heard of her
She loves you
You know that, yes perhaps
Maybe and then some
You're out of here now
You're out of time
And then you are six feet under
But are you over it?
There was too much ahead, I did not
Care to look back at
"the very thought of you"
I was stuck in the mud.
In the brilliance of sun at midday
An oblong black stone found its way
Into my hand.
It felt cold as I closed my fingers around it
And in time, I did not move at all.
Frozen in place, my feet dark with gravity
My head lighter than air
My feet going deeper into the soil
Like shovels or those bulb-digger things
Cold, sharp pieces of springtime metal.
It turned out that the post in my root-canalled tooth
Had perforated my sinus cavity.
I bled to death
For your sad ass.
Shadow in snow cuts through
With a gentle blade
One strand in a forest
It turned out to be a flexi straw
With pink 7-11 slurpee on it
I left it to bleed on the floor.
And birth itself
Means just another journey
Another step engaging the soul's path.
While I didn't inhale weapons of mass destruction
Nor the arrow of Cupid's love
But some strange piercing
Echoing sound until beauty transcended
Exquisite spine dip and shade, finger impressions
Make a bruise where you least expect it
Oh so gentle
As deep as sorrow
On the other hand, maybe it was my PMS
I'm burning up
I shall soak in a lavender bath all night
And awake to a new day
Leaving the night behind
Open eyes and smiles
Is that your final answer?
Or once again, equivocations, variations
Sparks, darkness and you
Show an interest in the
Full moon of my heart.
I saw myself fade into dark shadows
And take flight into mercy
Have mercy on my solitude
For it cleanses me
And I need to be cleansed because
Bird shit keeps landing on my head.
They say bird shit brings good luck
When it lands on your head
And you just know
That's why she loves you
Yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that, you know it can't be bad
With a glove like that, you know
Or don't know maybe so
Ridges of snow, shadowed dance light blowing
Shapes inverted and solid, one
Transparent, revealing itself starkly
The way flesh always does, or desires not to
Not to do anything at all.
continuing: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Lulu has put herself to sleep
Waiting for Eros at midnight
Eating lunch at noon
'Twas midnight that I threw
The tennis ball of your heart
Down the Roto Rooter street.
A convening of shadows and music make "love"
I'm standing in the shadows of love
Trying my best to get ready for the heartache to come
In order to prepare, I am beating myself
With a wire-hair brush, repeatedly
A hundred times a day.
I saw that in the DaVinci Code
Or on 60 Minutes.
Hours may be wasted
But an hour? A minute? An eon?
Who knows where the time goes
It flies, flowing, alone
Light that knows.
In this artificial world
With all of wild nature filtered out
This man can be the hero of his own mind.
He can become the wild grape
On a new vine
Or wane where blood speaks of ages
And on and on it slides beneath
The quivering solace of our mystery.
A slice of quiche could do the trick
With a gentle toot
Playing celestial melodies.
Stan and Dan, the savoir faeries
Took a piss in the clearing
And blessed the new life.
The wind sculpts shadows in the snow
As the afternoon light deepens softly
The next world exchanges for this
Causing great confusion amongst all people.
Later, the confusion would evolve into bitterness
And from bitterness into something a lot greener
Or moist -
So I ate it, and gained 20 pounds instantly.
But it was worth it.
When sound takes us to that other basement
So low as if Earth itself sings
In the soles I feel it hum
And in the humming I find my shadow soul
Loud as thunder, deep as a secret wish
But bigger than a breadbox
And smaller than a secret.
So let's just forget about it
We must come out of the purple shadows
Into the mountains
We go with empty hands.
Tomorrow, I will see the black sun again
And yes.the sands are soothing
But the shadows are so noisy and disturbing
And spin with the wind
So free and wild, out there, unhinged and open
Without weight, depth or shape
A mere wisp heading into spirit world
You've got to love those pious wisps
They're so damn wispy!
Rolling pieces, misting in closeness
This is what I always wanted to say
When it began about an hour ago
We were no longer restless, rootless or well-lit
Shades of life forever glowing
Stand in the sun
And let the light pour over me
Because my soul is full
Of only the greatest love for you.
"You say that to all the girls."
Because I like to see them blush.
It only takes a slight caress,
A soft touch of promise maybe.