So, here we are, at last. I hate to let it go. It has been an extraordinary month of camaraderie, learning, and poetry. So many thanks to everyone for the fun, but most of all to Jenni and Beth who orchestrated the project and Doug who designed tools to help with many of the prompts. You can find all three over at the Found Poetry Review, as well as the final poems of my fellow Oulipoemers.
For our final prompt, we were asked to ‘Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates the words and lines from all of your past 29 poems’. As happens so often, the poem went in its own direction. I couldn’t shake the train conductor.
Crow woman is a season
— this was one piece
out of a moment,
a study of patterns
even imprisonment —
when a train conductor (who secretly
has a story to tell locked in)
dances in a shaft of sunlight.
(all we can do is trace out patterns,
an exclamation point
missed moments,mercurial moments)
Night brings his lips tickly with still.
He ignores his thin chances,
never stops to think —
feels the power, sees no threat —
(don’t try to cool the fires
let tempers flare fierce and bright)
a door closes
carefully — important —
a death sentence on the run
lost terrified and besieged by the wild forest
the fictitious focus
(because we know what happens
— the real reason they jump —
a recent misstep,
a sense of abandonment
the end of the world —
the pieces will fall into place)
where a girl hangs
ghost-like from the washing line
roots cut loose
a duration in search of a translation
(her world her window her strange inspiration
takes flight — cyan woe. Pull.
The kite has small wings.)
Dahlias, acacia, jasmine,
powdery stephanotis, lilies
and hydrangeas —
the spreading of her ashes was at sea.
The material is from my last 29 poems, therefore from the San Francisco Chronicle and The Wall Street Journal, whose writers I give all my thanks.