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Tag Archives: song

found poem: Absence


Continuing with the everything-published-at-once theme, here is perhappened magazine, with my poem “Stepping out” published in the brand new mixtape issue. Each of the poems is inspired by a song and links to the songs are provided along with the poems.

found poem: nighttime

found poem: I think

found poem: to make

found poem: to see

found poem: sing…

The earth…

the fuzzy…



fragments…Kendra ~ 2

Kendra stirred, not yet awake, rude chirps bruising her sleep. Her wakenings were often accompanied by birds, the sparrows and starlings chattering in the large oak that shaded her bedroom window.

But this was not the friendly gossip of birds. Her ears now alert, she opened one eye. 3 a.m. Footsteps pounded across the bedroom floor in the apartment upstairs. The chirping stopped. The phone. The family calling from the old country. Loud conversation in non-English cadences.

She knew so little of these people, her neighbors, Hamill sinewy and intense, Lila still afraid, shy about her English. Kendra had heard talk of disappearings and escape, Lila huge with the twins. But they had never shared a cup of tea, or a conversation on the bench by the playground. Only occasional hellos and smiles by the mailboxes or on the sidewalk.

To Kendra they were an unfinished concerto: Hamill’s heel-heavy steps and rumbling baritone, Lila’s afternoon weeping and sweet soprano calls to the children, the muted timpani of the boys scampering, running, jumping. Scrapings of chairs on linoleum, flushings of water through the pipes. And sometimes, in the quiet of the evening, the soft resonance of their voices joined in prayer, and once, the apartment a cacophony of footsteps, in rising and mournful harmony, a song.


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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