The Collective Poetic: Collaborative Poems from the Residency

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From the student-faculty-staff reading

At the February 2017 residency, different groups of students wrote collective poems, often writing a line, folding the paper so that the line previous to their own was hidden, then passing the poem to the next person to add a line. All the poems began with this first line: “Come, come whoever you are.” Here’s the results of our mysterious foray in the collective poetic.

 

 

1.

Come the tender,

come the sweet,

come the sacred.

the bubbly dancers,

the different-doers,

the new-thing-builders,

the life-bearing planets in search of a star.

 

Come the angry seed

to this place of earth and air

and find your breath

among the trees.

 

Remind them what it is to be new to this world,

to push up and break through,

to toil after an unseen sky.

From the student-faculty-staff reading

From the student-faculty-staff reading

 

Let them teach you of roots,

these small and fibrous fingerings,

this dark river that spreads beneath you even as you rise.

 

Let them, the old trees, teach you of the sky you’ve yet to see.

 

So come the survivor,

come the queer,

come the holders of many truths

and the one sweet body in which they are held.

 

Come those in need of rest.

Come the wearers of wolf-skin and the givers of stories.

Come the respecters of boundaries.

Come the sacred “No”

Come the joy of the freely given “yes”.

 

Come the platonic culddlers

and the friend-defenders,

the outward-facing spikes and the

inward-facing blankets of fuzz.

 

Come the friends of the plants,

come the pray-ers of new prayers,

the casters of new spells

the builders of new worlds –

 

come and be welcomed.

 

 

2.

come, come, whoever you are

bring your beautiful self to the table

and your ugly mess, too –

we’ll get you some sparkly glue

the cracks are the most sacred of spaces

to be cherished like the very pit of the ruby cherry

after you drank the whole jar of juice

felt really sweet, fiery and convicted to be in harmony

the harmony of the spheres

the aurora borealis of your life

 

 

3.

come, come, whoever you are

because you have something secret

because your secret has a voice

because we are listening

 

 

4.

come, come, whoever you are

the sun is out

and so are you

everything is warm and pushing up

 

 

5.  come, come, whoever you are

we miss you already

our future memories

our almost nostalgia

for that one time we wrote these poems, remember?

 

6.

come, come, whoever you are

no matter how whole or broken you may feel,

breathe, breathe into yourself

breathe into your work

breathe into the world

breathe like the dragon that lives next door

your fire is power

and your power is fire

burning down all that gets in your way

 

7.

come, come, whoever you areimg_3100

whether it be soft or hard

a salty sweet balance

lipstick on everything

put it in my box when you’re done

 

8.

come, come, whoever you are

my darling, my dear

i cherish your ear

and darling those most precious of words

hold me on my swaying branch

and listen to the song of my sweetest story

hear and listen to the truth, lovingly

feel it bathe you

nurture you

you were always whole

 

9.

come, come, whoever you are

with red rainboots or yellow flip flops

ducks so giddy – fly swim walk

the geese watch in wonderment

as songs of clouds whisper by

and sun dogs bark behind closed doors

while on the couch the cat sleeps with eyes open

having to write English feels very imperialistic

 

10.

come, come, whoever you are

bring the bubbly

to the party of the swing-ling

where an upside-down bohemian waxwing sings for her supper

finding the sustenance to stand right side up and speak, saying

I love you

 

11.

come, come, whoever you are

come to the place to find your true, inner star

while learning from the past you glean wisdom in your roots

yet not linger too long in history before putting on your boots

boots to take the burning questions where others have not tread

all the while being supported to help stamp out the dread…

“what if they don’t get it?”

I heart often in the dark

as I reflect on all the knowledge and experience as I park

all of my ideas in the chambers of my heart, to finally process

messy details into the beauty of my art.

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