Bruce Weber and I Collaborate on a Poem (It gets wackier)

The August issue of Chronogram published a collaborative poem by Bruce Weber and myself.

Lines Never Written by e.e. cummings

under a gray sky epiphanies linger like frost on the tongue
sparrows taste best when swallowed by the sea
moose live long lives without reading Leaves of Grass
schoolyard sandboxes never forget their tragedies
kerouac’s mother refused to suckle him while drinking brandy
e.e. cummings loved the way vowels shimmy their hips
walt whitman placed dancing girls on his dope scale
congress has outlawed house plants that grow the color of money
many people have tried to ruin the alphabet
but no one can stop us from writing with shadows

We followed an exercise from the January issue of Poets & Writers:

“Compose a poem collaboratively with a fried. Write one line and send it to your friend via e-mail, or by passing a notebook back and forth, inviting your friend to write another line that builds on the first. Continue composing the poem together, line by line, until you have at least twenty lines. Then, each on your own, consider the draft and revise it independently. Compare the final versions.”

On a summer afternoon we sat down together at a table in Bruce’s backyard and wrote the following draft, trading the page back and forth. From this material I later wrote “Lines Never Written by e.e. cummings.”

The world looks more honest under a gray sky
especially the shades of reality pressed into a corner
Remember, e.e. cummings didn’t die for your sins.
He merely stood up for the freedom of the alphabet
Instead, you should write your name with the tree shadows
allowing them to escape into an infinity of grays
Oh, Walt, what did you do with your dope scale?
Did you leave it around the copies of Leaves of Grass
that you sold to the New England Society of ?
Those antiquarian genealogists of witches
and moose that scared Kerouac all the way to the sea
the night he decided to swallow a sparrow
with a glass of a brandy in an old school yard
the sandbox could never forget its tragedy
and Jack lived the long life of the road
even when living at the end with his mother
the old bitch who wouldn’t let him suckle during her soap operas
and when the grayness returned I beeped my horn
at least the geese were excited
they shimmied their hips like dancing girls
in the cafes at Bob’s All-Night Rendez-vous
where Congress had declared all house plants
had to grow the color of money
and the grayness of epiphanies
lingered on our tongues list frost

* * * *

The Mother Grouse Blog is produced by Will Nixon, author of My Late Mother as a Ruffed Grouse and Love in the City of Grudges available on-line.

This entry was posted in Poems and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.