Tag Archives: poetry

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the 3:15 Experiment

I’m a bit at the eleventh hour here with this invitation (SINCE IT BEGINS TONIGHT), but truly, you could join the experiment at any time. And I wanted to write this invitation especially to those who don’t necessarily fancy themselves to be poets.

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Since August 1993, a shifting menagerie of writers has been waking up each night at 3:15 AM for the entire month of August to write. The original idea was:

to discover what connections would be made while writing separately, but together, at the same time for a month while under hypnagogic influences.

The experiment was so intriguing and inspiring it kept growing and morphing. Many writers have come to look forward to it every year. Many have created their own guidelines and experiments within the format. We love this as long as people maintain the point: to write in the hypnopompic/hypnagogic states (between sleeping and waking / waking and sleeping).

Anything posted to any “official” 3:15 publication or website maintains the RAW unedited material. Though many writers choose to publish their edited poems elsewhere. We like that, too.

To Join:

A facebook page to stay in communication during the month:

3:15 Facebook Page

Some samples from years past:

The 3:15 Experiment Website
Though not everyone chooses to post their poems (or even types them out).

And here is a thesis paper written by Gwendolyn Alley on the topic:

The 20th Anniversary of the 3:15 Experiment

My invitation to you comes in the form of a poem.

you don’t have to be a poet

to write poetry
my father built greenhouses
and filled them with orchids

I believe people are meant
to get along with each other

the Indian taxi driver waves
me into my turn
gives me the right
of way      as I cruise
the summer streets on my
hand-me-down bicycle

I stop at the Holy Cross Anglican Church
to write down that line
about my dad’s orchids
before it spills into the road
with my juggled thoughts
of the two cherub-faced Mormon boys
who came to my front door
struggling to respond
when I told them:

Think of the metaphor of the ocean
how we can be drops
yet still disappear
into the One
universal consciousness

before thanking them for their good work
and sending them on their way
tripping tongue-tied through the gate

no, you don’t have to be a poet
to write poetry
you just need to write
yourself
an open door

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Filed under Collaborations, do something different, poetry, The 3:15 Experiment, truth and beauty, writing exercises, writing life

Mid-Week Mourning Poem (for Victor Gato)

I haven’t posted in so long I think the three people who actually read my posts have probably given up on me. I guess I’ll have to make some new friends.

If you are new here, hi, hello. I generally leave a weekend writing exercise at the end of the week and post a new piece of writing at the beginning of the week, but today I’m bringing you a mid-week exercise and a poem.

One of the reasons I haven’t blogged in a while is because my cat was very sick and it became clear several days ago that he wasn’t going to make it. It was that delicate time when one has to decide in the cat’s best interests rather than one’s own. It was time to let him go.

I find the periods of my life when I am in mourning to be inspiring creatively. In particular for poetry and song. Emotional pain might not feel “good” – but it’s powerful stuff. I’ve learned to just be in it.

This week the workout is to write a “3-Stage Mourning Poem.” By “stage” I basically mean stanza. With each stanza, you need to “switch direction” but keep them related.

If you aren’t mourning a person or a pet right now, mourn anything. A plant, a favourite pair of shoes, your youth, your favourite restaurant, your ignorance, your idealism . . . whatever, just pick something to mourn.

Most importantly: bring in TANGIBLES. Familiar things we can see, hear, touch, etc. We so often feel pain when we see objects or hear songs that remind us of our loved ones. Show us those objects, weave them into the poem. If you start to get abstract, bring it back down.

And BTW, It doesn’t have to be a serious poem. (or piece of prose for you prose peeps out there)

In Mourning Cats

I know many cats in heaven.
All grandparents, a dad, cousin-in-law, acquaintance,
and at least three friends.
I may know two mice, if mice go to heaven
but my thought is mice
get an automatic rebound
back to the material world maybe
in the form of squirrels

They say cats have nine lives and I believe it.
Once you get to be a cat in heaven
you get to choose your next life.
That’s why cats always act like they own the place
because they do and when they commune with the mother ship
we are the butt of their jokes
how we suffer
how we break our hearts
how they just walk off in the middle of the night
without so much as au revoir

merci

We get close to the void
and write poems about getting close to the void.
Death makes us narrative.
We need to tell it straight
so family members can slip into the words
weave through remnants of troubled dreams
the stories weighing us
like magnetic ghosts

Victor Gato (1995 - 2011)

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Filed under aw... poop, poetry, random poop, weekend workout, writing exercises

Interview on Blog Talk Radio

Mende Smith interviewed me today on her Blog Talk Radio show Writing on Demand.

LISTEN HERE:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/btrplayer.swf

Listen to internet radio with World Wide Word on Blog Talk Radio

OR DOWNLOAD HERE


Books mentioned in the interview are all available through en theos press


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Filed under every day angels, her red book, poetry, Reviews and Interviews, spokenword, writing life

More Her Red Book, Too

I’ve continued my Her Red Book, Too Ritual almost every day since I gave the assignment as a weekend workout. I don’t know how long I’ll continue. Perhaps until my book tour. Perhaps until I have enough material for a whole new book! All I know is that the results have been pleasantly surprising considering my whole life right now is working from home on my book marketing/touring strategies. I mean there’s not a lot of drama going on other than in my head, so I have to make use of the mundane.

Like writing about the crows daily migration east to west and back again. =

On the Morning of the Crow Migration

She does not recall when began
her fascination with birds
Prehistoric miracles   defying the mundane

It could have been when she settled
into the new home
It could have been when she
gave them all names
Ahab on the chimney   a seagull lookout
or buoy
with a waddling of followers
willing to topple off the roof
and the Tweets Family Robinson
house sparrows in the eaves

Throwing open the curtain this morning
she catches the daily crow commute
West with the sunrise
each day   a clockwork
Nature Call
And what if she went East
followed their route
to the border of their nesting trees?
Would she find the feckless crow
muttering   waxing poetic about
the futility of flight
on a Winter’s Day?

Or is it All for One
One for All
No matter what the Ha Ha birds says?

(SEE my previous Her Red Book, Too entry: On the Day of the Bicycle Mammogram)

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Thought About You

Okay, a singularly unoriginal title for my experiment.

The last writing workout was writing about loss. I had wanted to write a poem for a friend on the anniversary of her death, so I experimented by writing snippets, thoughts, images, mememories of her out on cards over the whole weekend and then collaging them into a poem.

At one point I had gone out for the evening and forgot that I was “remembering” Gabrielle over the weekend until the next morning, then felt guilty for forgetting. So that’s in here, too.

Thought About You

For Gabrielle Bouliane, One Year Gone

I’m done baking and remember you.
Remember that I’m supposed to be remembering.

I want to say I’m sorry for every minute gone by,
but that is mortal guilt and not for angels or sunflowers.

Your candle lit in the livingroom and I must leave the house.
Someone once told me
never blow out reverent candles,
but snuff them with metal.
I hear you laugh through my superstition.
Motorcycle lipstick, coming down at me love.

Is it better to leave a candle nub or burn it to the end?

I think about my old motorcycle,
wonder if I’ll ever be that daring again.
I bet you ride sharp and clear like a sting.
I bet you leave star dust, kicking into cosmic gear.
I bet your kiss could wrap humanity,
and we’d all grow suddenly hungry.

Oh, Gabby, I’m afraid
the world has gone crazy.

I wish there were more of you
of your voice    of your word
I can hear your tone your eyes your stance
I can hear the waves of you on stage
I can hear you working next to me,
cranking through ideas.

First day on the job at The Poetry Factory,
you spilled a coke on the new Mac keyboard
and it didn’t work for a day.
But it was just us, and we could laugh it away.
What isn’t done in the sticky hours isn’t what strikes us down.

Oh, Gabby, the only thing I fear
more than this crazy world
is not living in this crazy world.

To be alive is to get uncomfortable,
to get up on stage and tell the world
I’M DYING and you’re all coming with me,
my friends, my beautiful beautiful friends.

You caught us with our genius showing,
a challenge dancing in the wind.

You came into this world gifted and aimed,
and I can’t help wondering
what target would you have hit
in your Golden Days?

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Filed under every day angels, monday poetry thang, poetry, writing exercises

Monday Potes: ReFound

For kicks and giggles I randomly opened an old journal to see what I would find. I found the original version of a poem from my book Every Day Angels. Because my kicks and giggles quota is down, I decided to edit the original journal poem again, to see what I would come up with. My only rule was that I couldn’t end or start with the same lines.

I ended up with something completely different.

HERE: mysterious one HRB is the version that ended up in Every Day Angels

BELOW is the version from today.

I highly recommend this as a writing exercise if you are having muse issues. Take the original (hand written / in journal if you can find them) from years back, another lifetime ago so that you are in a new place, wiser, more experienced, more cynical, whatever. Write an entirely new poem from that place.

the field

I was up all night
(she said)
turning pages
pulling weeds

we drown or swim or let the tide
take us somewhere new
we are ships
even in (the) afterlife

I dreamed it was the
end of my world (she said)
and wrote it down

knowledge is a kind of rotten fruit

little deaths
are what save us
from wanting
too much

smells like tornado weather
(she said)
high above the plains

for a thirsty world
touch   is matter
not minutes

or anything anticipatory in the mail

but I exist in books
(she said)
and

things on earth are definitive

squirrels die in trees
magpies gather in roads
we run out of gas and ink

the sun admits clouds exist
the foot
a path

it goes or doesn’t go
(or becomes something else)

my hands are tied
(she said)

we don’t imagine pain
but imagining there is something else
keeps us here

I think I’m going a little crazy
(she said)
and did

no plan
just dizzy in the sea

***********************

I don’t know which I like better. The one in EDA has some lines that are not in the hand-written version and I’m not sure where they came from. The one I wrote today doesn’t flow as much as the other – it’s more fragmented. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it just reflects something about my state of mind.

Here is most of the hand-written version. You can see that it was written in fragments even then.

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Filed under every day angels, monday poetry thang, poetry, Previous Lives : Poems ReFound, writing exercises

Weekend Workout: Unfinished Business

Your weekend writing workout is the PERFECT exercise for the New Year. It’s called “Unfinished Business.”

When my father died one of the things I found most depressing was all the projects left undone. Big things, small things, broken things, unopened things . . . but the truth of the matter is, none of us ever leaves this life a completed checklist, inbox empty, all correspondence returned. At some point we’re going to have to let it all go, so why not practice now and lighten your cosmic load.

I feel like I’m dragging myself into this new year, and strangely many of my friends are feeling the same way. So we’re practicing the art of letting go of stuff that’s holding us back and down. Whatever’s left unsaid and undone, that’s been haunting you for weeks, months, years, STILL has a piece of you – your mind and energy – if you let it. And if there’s nothing you can do about it, or you choose to do nothing about it, then the healthier decision is to let it go.*

(One of my favourite quotes on this comes from dear friend Mauri Bernstein who said, “2010, just jiggle the handle and let it go.”)

So in whatever form pleases you in the moment – letter, poetry, flash fiction, collage – create a piece about letting go of some piece of unfinished business, or heck, even ALL your unfinished business if that’s possible!

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

the clouds, the pink bricks. of beauty.
who is going to finish the touches of them?
I am no bowed box. I’ve scattered myself up
but good. especially now since the world
has wound itself so tight.
I’m in Germany. I’m in Lapland.
I’ll soon be in outer space.

have you ever followed the crazy jet paths
of flocks of birds? if I don’t do it who will?
and if they go uncharted,
will the world be a darker place? See,
this is what the brain does,
lies prone to in the “insomniac days.”

youth is a wind. and my firecracker heart
is now melancholy for it.

what’s unwritten, undone, has won.
so I say, into the great open mouth,
that just leaves now, and then, then . . .

*Another good practice after you have done the “letting go” is to replace it with a positive thought. i.e. You let go of the fact that you stopped going to the gym and replace it with thoughts of loving yourself unconditionally.

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Monday Potes – Dropped Pages

“Dropped Pages” is a series of poems that were, for whatever reason, left out of my books. I can never really finish tweaking them or being totally satisfied with the results. This one was left out of Her Red Book

On the Night of the Flood of Ghosts

For M.L.

He says we’re those kind of friends
some day
one of us will be at the other’s funeral

She pulls the death card
scythe and burning vardo

in Texas flooding takes their friend’s home away
and homes in Russia and the streets of Prague
as Nigerian women sit
on the dock at Texaco and threaten
to remove their clothing

from around themselves
everything breaks

She taps the deck
the further we get from heartache
the more we can love the ghost of it

recalling the decree of separation
that left her a Toyota Corolla darkroom
equipment piano and one cat named Quincy

all night They turn over old loves
now with new loves              lost
in the tarot deck         seeking advice
from kettles and feathers and stones

She says         handling the pain of His Heart
despite the cards
Let’s everything around Us grow wild

 

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Monday Potes: more 3:15ness

More middle-of-the-night workings from this year’s 3:15 Experiment

Aug 3, 2010
Vancouver, BC

measuring the good people of the universe
their birth    their celestial footprint

when she left she became star dust
arriving to see the aftershock
travelling unladen     as a dying wish

granted
we sped past the farmlands
what’s left of them in the urban creep
fresh blueberries blocks from the highway the
super highway the burning desire

sun stroke us down     past the islands
ferry hopping                        past the passengers
en route from their holiday
get away     gotten     the stars      we too
become star dust     memories
it is the only thing to become
when all
is said and done

make me a shooting star
spotted by farmers across the galaxy
looking up after toil     after burn
let me burn up    burn out
light the way

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Monday Poetry on Tuesday

Cycle of Dizziness

I want to touch the matter in front of me
and say I am recording you
to reassure my science

when I go inside to have a conversation
to appear days later in a foreign place
with David Byrne singing in my ear

ginger is the new black

I’m getting old and all the things
the peace-resters told me are True

little bang little
bang            bang

my medication is grief
I make a tea with
get burnt and sober

sipping my choices

grind myself helpless and thin
or open up wider     to
fall limitless in

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Filed under monday poetry thang, poetry, truth and beauty