Tag Archives: experimental poetry

Weekend Workout: Writing About Loss

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it challenging to write a satisfying poem about a loved one who has died. What words can fill the space the person held?

In honour of dear friend and poet Gabrielle Bouliane, who died of cancer one year ago today, I wanted to write something to/for her this weekend.

This workout is something I’ve never tried before, so I’m experimenting with it. I’ll post the results after the weekend.

Instead of sitting down to write a poem or letter or story in one go, eeking out inadequate language for a heart-ripping loss, I’m going to keep Gabrielle in my thoughts all weekend and carry several index cards with me wherever I go. Any time a thought or vision or image or anecdote comes to mind, I’ll write it on a card.

It doesn’t matter if I’m at the library, in a movie, on the bus, or at a party – the thought, image, etc gets written on a card.

On Sunday night or Monday morning, I’ll go through my cards and form the poem (or whatever it turns out to be) from there.

Unintentionally, the first few things I wrote were addressed to her, so perhaps I will stick with that.

The first thing I wrote on a card was:

You were so you, more you than I me. When I cry to you, you don’t suffer my foolishness.

~   ~   ~

There’s a TOAST in honour and memory of Gabrielle happening at 10 PM in Austin, TX. So 8 PM here on the West Coast. Here’s the FACEBOOK INFORMATION about it.


Filed under poetry, weekend workout, writing exercises

Monday Potes on Tuesday: Retro-Pome

I’ve been wanting to write about the birds for weeks. We have character birds in the neighborhood. They are my confidants. But alas, the poem has not unwound itself from the glue-sticky of fresh wordness. So, I am posting a retro poem.

If you can call the early 90’s retro.

I was flipping through an old poetry chapbook I printed 16 years ago and found this funny little piece.

The idea of the poem was to write 3 stanzas using all the the same words, but in a different order each time. I notice that I stayed with the same 4 commas, semi-colon and tab space, too.

But I did take one small liberty. Can anyone spot it? It’s not as hard as you might think. If you do, I will mail this chapbook to you. It feels like freshman Danika Dinsmore poetry, but at the same time, I am surprised at my own young poet mind.

the day is you, is meat
not feet, you are up my what: hunger
take a poem offering, a blood poem,
because it’s what keeps my appetite
at your parade      this is a love been
so full of moves you are always
its table

my appetite keeps because it’s blood
at your feet      this parade moves up
a poem that is love, not
a full table you are offering, it’s
always you what my hunger is, you
are of a poem meat, so take
what the day is: been

this is not a love poem, it’s a
blood poem because that moves,
my offering is what it’s always
been: appetite      you are
so full you take up the day,
you are a parade of meat
is what keeps, hunger
my feet at your table


Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, writing exercises

Monday Potes: 3:15 Rides Again

I JUST finished typing up my 3:15 poems from this August. This may be a record for me. Usually I finish a few months before the next round.

What was so amazing, though, is I barely remember writing the last several poems. As well, as the month went on I obviously had a harder and harder time staying awake (the writing grew barely legible) and the work got a bit more surreal.

Below is one of my favourite poems from the month. I remember I was reading a dystopian novel at the time where they couldn’t see stars. Stars were the stuff of myths. So, without stars, what would poets compare their lover’s eyes to?

Aug 20, 2010 – 3:15 AM
Vancouver, BC

without the stars the life of us
is a very lonely place of singular
miracles spiders without wings but webs
birds without webs but songs     a gravitational
kingdom     a jungle-gym dictionary
cats without scales but purrs and claws
seahorses without fur but delicate curls
you without me but lost me without you
but dreaming without windows
sunshine and sunflowers even a moon
even without the stars your eyes
could be compared to sea
shine to dew on glass
to two moons were there
such a thing without the stars
less poetry about the stars
without stars just vastness
chilly witness    irritable reality
oh stars oh light
oh look the stars are like
your eyes


Filed under poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, truth and beauty, writing exercises

Monday Potes: from 3:15

From this year’s experiment. This is the first 3:15 poem I’ve ever written from a hospital room. I had to take my husband in one night. (He’s fine, btw. He had a nasty virus.)

Aug 4, 2010

Vancouver General Hospital
Vancouver, BC

the moon is red
like a sci-fi planet
surreal in the night
out the emergency taxi window
three cats to the wind
then all windows vanish and replace
themselves w/white hum
disembodied voices test for cures
charts mark the anaesthetic blocks
to your hands and feet
you’re the patient under the sheet
you have a fever of 101˚
you ask if you are dead
not yet
on the TV a man kills
8 in Connecticut but you
are safe for one more red moon
rise             more red blood sun
the plasma rays reach out
touch earth skin
heat it like your neck
fevered and quiet
except for the occasional
moan                   what’s the occasion?
lying in a hospital bed
the familiar feeling of
a body breaking down
its limits
cosmic and uncertain


Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, writing exercises

Fragments at 3:15

17 more days until the 2010 3:15 Experiment begins!

Every year you think it may be the last, but you can’t help yourself. You must write. It’s like playing the same numbers on a lottery ticket each week. That poetic gold may come. You succumb. You buy a magic journal and pen. You set your alarm. You are a 3:15 warrior.

This year I know is gonna be awesome. I can just feel it in me bones.

I JUST finished typing up all my entries from last year and I pulled out a few fragments to share. The logic and wisdom of 3:15 half-dreamness. It never gets old.

from 3:15

it’s too hot to jump through hoops and
dog biscuits make more sense than

~ ~ ~

dream saboteurs keep me locked in an
office of noncommitment


the Doctor says make happy
before you fall asleep    make a
subconscious stew of feelings
of peace and love                I thought
this is me in my happy place
and still guns pointed at me
as if my blood would stop

a war


I bet          no one but insanity

knows what it’s like to run amok


If all our moments came back
to haunt us,     where would
they sleep?
Moments moping under the
accelerator, biding time in the kitchen


All edible agents
are drawn and quartered, distributed
w/out much fanfare.

Placing the lower quarter of an
idea in his mouth, he declared
all originality sin.


drawings that are purposeful
that show the ring to royalty
and unobstructed lustre offsets
become angles of the revolution


don’t go into the light I’ve decided,

no, no, stay right here   eat
sausage w/lentil soup.   be at
the poker game, mind games, keep
your mind bending     it’s exercise
stupid, this thinking.   buy
gas masks.  visit Hawaii.  Look for
a private island to return to, or live
in peace.     Go north.    Kick a
snowman.  brush your teeth.


what to do with a husband
what to do with fondue


everyone dressed to the nines
except me
about six-and-a-half.


my details like dust    mingle    in space
every time I look out now     I see space
I see us in it     hurtling     around the
sun     centripetal force     and here I am
a universe of universes     talking
to you     my random formations
hurtling     in their proper places
around the sun     all of us     me too.


I am a triangle maiden
mother crone (w/out the
mother) a childless triangle
an escape artist
put your love in a box
in a window     on the curb

Chalk on sidewalk
hopscotch     come home

I almost flew away
I could have if
I had enough speed

you can’t roll a triangle
you can’t plant
a triangle seed.


The 3:15 Experiment has a FACEBOOK PAGE. Check out the participants, cheer each other on, get the best advice from old hats, chew some 3:15 fat.


Filed under poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, writing exercises

from August 3:15 2008

I was cruising Art Predator’s blog (highly recommended as a worthy distraction) and was inspired by THIS ENTRY of one of the poems she wrote for last year’s 3:15 Experiment.

I grew DETERMINED to get the rest of my 2008 and 2009 3:15 poems typed up and logged on the the official 3:15 site!!!

As I was doing so, I came across this little goodie from Aug 2008. I don’t recall writing it, I don’t recall if it’s from a dream or a TV show or a conversation. I just thought it was really cool.

3:15 AM
August 25, 2008

pulling 3 monsters in a red wagon
no one knows how she found them
dead or how they were placed   she
was all grins    speechless but sparkling
we take her in     traumatized she speaks
not for 13 years

one day she is looking out the window
like a cat she has always been
cat-like      she turns and asks
what’s for lunch?   and
who is T.S. Elliot?
her afternoons measured     out
like spoons               her words
ring silvery in the living room
we pretend not to be shocked at
her sudden vocalization
egg salad we say
famous poet we say

she turns back to the window
I prefer tuna


Filed under Collaborations, funny poop, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment

August 11, 2009 – 3:15 – Seattle, WA

I’ve been typing up my 3:15 poems from this year (uh, even though I haven’t even finished typing up the ones from LAST year…) and this one is my favourite so far. If you don’t know what the 3:15 Experiment is, check out our FACEBOOK group or check out the Poets sharing their work on the 3:15 Experiment site.

August 11

Seattle, WA

I bet          no one but insanity
knows what it’s like to run amok
Big eyes from the galaxy     upon
him, ghosts from     the recent

If all our moments came back
to haunt us,     where would
they sleep?
Moments moping under the
accelerator, biding time in the kitchen
recipe for repetition
undisciplined action

They think the only direction
to go is up.     Could be
right, so late in the game
But she’s not taking
any chances.  All edible agents
are drawn and quartered, distributed
w/out much fanfare.
placing the lower quarter of an
idea in his mouth, he declared
all originality sin.


Filed under Collaborations, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, writing exercises

August 14, 2009 – 3:15 (Vancouver, BC)

At some point in the month, I always start falling back to sleep before writing anything… then waking up and writing at whatever time it happens to be. This happens to everyone. Just keep writing if it does.

This one was more like a 5:15 poem.

Alas     sleep has kidnapped
my night     at least
I’m well fed
you have great waking skills
tumbling     waiting for
alarm     the sound of
shapes calling
shapes breaking morning
to father the day

1 Comment

Filed under poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, writing exercises

from 3:15 – August 1

This year was a first in all my years of participating in The 3:15 Experiment… I spent the wee hours of the first day of the experiment in the hostpital. Nothing serious, but I didn’t get back home until 2:30 AM, so had just gotten to bed when 3:15 AM hit:

August 1, 2009
3:15 AM Vancouver, BC

Awake at 3:15 this is not
how I wanted to start how I
wanted to feel     infected
3 hours in the emergency room
for a box of penicillin.  the bent ear
the booby-trapped chair.  two
nonagenarians. one forgetful
and the other deaf. she told
the same stories every hour    he
couldn’t hear so he repeated them
every hour    every our     repeated

what island, dear? How many
times have we gone to Cuba?
What is that sport our grandson plays?
That’s how I’d like my taxes spent.
Lousy Americans did wrong by Cuba.

our cat should have been in the
hospital – he had heat stroke
and child protection services took
Sally Anne away. screaming.
Bipolar lies kidnapped possessions
waiting room after hours a
midnight ride.

You can still join the Experiment. Feel free to JUMP IN at any time…


Filed under poetry, The 3:15 Experiment

3:15 August 3, 2002

The 2009 experiment is almost here. I’m feeling nostalgic. I’m posting one of my faves from experiments gone by…

Join the 3:15 Experiment Facebook Group to stay in the hypnagogic loop.

from August 3, 2002
Seattle, WA

cherry blossom midnight
sneaking spoons in the
dark hollow cherished
far too many words to
not describe my heart-break
it breaks itself you know
it erases its own glee
tumbling like laundry lists
believe that memory
believe that gesture
don’t believe your eyes

touch is like grapefruit
round and sensitive
the eyes     two
vulnerable moments
of now
my god doesn’t like
traffic lights

or marshmallows

my god knows something
about picket lines
and visits to the dentist

I want more of less
much more of less
dwindling down into a single
current of          sleep
not darkness          something
lucid and malleable

perhaps I am not a poet after all
perhaps           I am a


There is no solution
this mathematics


Filed under Collaborations, do something different, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment