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Tag Archives: bones

found poem: milk birds

found poem: They’re wearing out

found poem: consider

found poem: In summer

found poem: after

found poem: mistake

found poem: in the grave

found poem: bones

found poem: Forest

found poem: fascinated

found poem: stained

found poem: cloud

found poem: found

found poem: does

found poem: lance

found poem: I HEAR

found poem: memories…




whale scapula
Photo by AnMorgan Curry

During an exhibition of bones at Mindport Exhibits (Bellingham, WA) in 2009, poet Luther Allen invited a group of writers to participate in an evening of collaborative poetry.

Twelve people gathered in the gallery space, sitting in a circle among the bones of a gray whale that had died some years before on the shore of Lummi Island. After a period of contemplation, each person wrote the first line of a poem inspired by the bones. Each paper was then passed to the adjacent person in the circle, who had a few minutes to add another line to the poem. This continued until the poems returned to the first writer, who wrote the final line of the poem. The poems were read aloud.

Later, the collaborative poems were deconstructed and the lines written by each writer assembled in sequence to create new, “accidental” poems. Finally, the collaborative and individual poems were collected in a chapbook, Bone Poems.

What follows is the accidental poem created from the reassembled lines written by j.i. kleinberg in the order in which they were written; of course each line was intended to follow someone else’s line in a collaborative poem.

Teach me to fly these wings of bone
These ribs a stringless harp song of tidal memory
Their weightless feet the gnawing of time’s teeth
No heated pulse, no marrow, only this hardening silence.
These wounded symmetries of shadow
Dive into the indigo forgetting
Ancient aching wrist, gouged rib, tidal knot
Digits curled toward Bering shore, fluke, no fluke.
And does cartilage remember the wide curve of desire
Frozen in a receding glacier of truth
Breach, all weight, all weightless, through this viscous blue
The dream’s gallop: hooves mired in wet sand,
     remembered fragrance of sunheated hay,
     long bones stretching toward flight.
Spread this fan of wings, loose this frozen memory,
Break the rules: sing me the sandpiper’s song.

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