Blue on Blue Seasonal Challenge – The River

You can read my winning poem for the Seasonal Challenge at The River

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Dancing with Words: A Dark Duet?

The  blogs I have linked to in this post contain adult material.  The poems are in no way offensive but if you choose to explore the linked blogs further please exercise your discretion because they contain material some may find offensive.


My post yesterday sparked some great discussions. I focus here particularly on the discussion I had with Monocle who has been writing  duets for a while.

Monocle drew my attention to a duet he wrote with Scarlett Greyson. Both are writers of erotica and will be familiar to many in Twitter as Monocle and Aislingweaver. The poem is called Castle Walls ~ A Senryu Story. Interestingly Scarlett says that she thought of Twitter as a social media to keep up with friends and “kill time”. She posted an exploratory senryu and unwittingly started a collaborative  narrative poem using senryu as verses.

He also wrote a poem with @Your__Dreamer called Fallen Angel. Both authors posted the poem on their blobs. Dreamer’s is here. What I found fascinating is the different kind of layout each poet chose to lift the poem out of the twitter environment. What I found fascinating was the way Monocle distinguished the different points of view  through his layout. I felt it really added another whole layer to the meanings a reader can take from the words.

In a duet, two voices each take a part. In a Fallen Angel, however, something different was happening. If you look at Dreamer’s version you can see a pattern of a dialogue, however Monocles reveals something quite different. The poem is polyphonic.

This got me thinking ~ I wonder how many forms are being brought in to dances with words? And how many points of view can entwine in a single poem?

Dancing with words: performance poetry

On January 6, Moondustwriter’s feature, “The Duet of Poetry” extolled the fun of collaborating with another poet.  The form of the poem was a lighthearted duel between two voices, each representing a character. I loved its theatricality. It reminded me of the dialogues in Restoration Comedies with the use of conceit to build an architecture of desire and seduction. This started me thinking. What is it about Twitter that encourages these kinds of collaborations?

I do not know the provenance of The Duet of Poetry, perhaps it was written via email, like the parlour games of old. But I found out about the poem through Twitter.  And I have watched and participated in duets through Twitter. If someone’s haiku or gogyoka catches my attention, I will respond in kind and sometimes people will respond to me. I have also posted photographs and images and had them returned with poetic lines. Such moments are very touching and enriching.

There are precedents for this kind of composing. I remembered Andre Breton and the Exquisite Corpse game of the Surrealists which in turn was a variation of the Victorian parlour game Consequences. I thought too about differences: no paper or pencils, and we see the words and/or pictures that come before, unlike in Consequences and Exquisite Corpse.

I have recently also collaborated with a Twitter friend to write together. On New Years Eve (western), I posted a poem – a unique poem – Moonlight Dancing. It was written by MissyPoem and me using Twitter.We had been wanting to write together for a while, perhaps using email to flick ideas back and forth.

We wrote it as an improvisation exchanging lines through tweets using a hashtag #mmpoem. We chose to write it on the public timeline quite deliberately after deliberating because we felt our friends would enjoy seeing the poem emerge through our exchanges. We had no set shape or direction – just two themes – dancing and love. The writing became a dance between us. As we were writing it, parts were retweeted and we received direct encouragement from our followers. The audience didn’t simple sit back and ‘watch’ our improvised performance rather they joined in our dance.

The experience was different from a parlour game. The act of writing was fluid and contextualised in what had gone on before within poetic text itself . We were also potentially influenced by the responses from our followers on the side. We wrote the poem in an open system as well as in an interactive public space. We received guess about the identity of the dancer and the absent lover. We also knew who our key audience was and we knew they were there. Indeed we chose a time when they would be there live online. We discussed the outcome of the poem in public – whether to provide closure or leave a sense of mystery. We opted for the later to tease our audience because of all the questions.

Since then I have had approaches from poets who would like to dance with words with other poets impromptu in the Twitter stream. The permutations are infinite – duets, trios and so on. How many can join before the poetic integrity is lost? I feel we are on the brink of something quite magical.

Perhaps the better question is: Can I have this dance with you?


Moonlight Dancing

This is a unique poem. It was written by MissyPoem and me using Twitter. We wrote it as an improvisation exchanging lines through tweets using a hashtag #mmpoem. We chose to write it on the public timeline quite deliberately after deliberating because we felt our friends would enjoy seeing the poem emerge through our exchanges. We had no set shape or direction – just two themes – dancing and love. The writing became a dance between us. Our poem  is performance art.

In the Moonlight

Her sad eyes shone
only in the moonlight,
she danced beneath
the silver canopy of rain kissed leaves.
Her sadness turned to joy
when she started to dance,
the earth turned to dark green velvet
at the touch of her sweet feet,
no storm could stop her dancing
her desire was endless…

Her nostrils flared greedy for his scent,
she sensed it in the air,
She knew him and knew his pace,
felt him from distances.

The warm air caressed life
into every pore of her skin,
every drop of rain
reminded her of the past tears,
of long melancholy nights
spent walking in the woods
searching, wishing on the moon,
walking on the path of emotions
at the end of dreams
in the moonlight.

Canal life

 

Softly flowing water,
Debris bobbing
In the ebb and flow
Owl eyed
boatish heterotopias
Line up proudly
Scorning life on land.

 

 

 

Reluctant

 

 

 

 

River children
Dawdle to school
to boast of life on water
And a home that floats
Most wondrously
Between the city
and the delta;
Both places
alike to them
Watched
by protective eyes.

Raindrops

A little sestina silliness

She sits with her hands on the window
watching the rain splashing outside.
She spies two fat raindrops having a race
on the glass pane. If the one on the left
wins Mama will buy her a doll, if the right
wins,  Mama will tell her a beautiful tale.

Which raindrop will come first and tell the tale?
The raindrops slither and turn on the window
stopping and flowing  in streams to the right.
She watches holding her breath, first the outside
one trickles away, but no, wait, it is the inside left
raindrop coming up fast wanting to win the race.

Wistfully looking, she thinks of a story about a race,
she imagines herself as a princess in a tale,
the  kingdom with princes and castles is to the left,
she  pretends to see dragons out of the window
flying around in between trees in her garden outside
A prince will rescue her from boredom and  be right.

It seems that one raindrop has won, right
in front of her eyes, in this fabulous race
while she was imagining playing  outside.
The dragon who wins will be kind in her tale
he will understand her and come through the window
To look for a prince over there, on the  left.

She sighs deeply and  looks at the sky on the left
pondering how she will know if prince charming is right
for happily ever after? Again she sighs at the window.
She’ll make grueling tests and a dangerous race.
She wishes she could a pretty princess in a fairy tale
where it is always summer and sunny outside.

The raindrops are tired, they’ve finished outside,
there’s beautiful rainbow.  The dragons have left
with promises to come back for more fairy tales
with scary adventures, where things turn out right,
chasing boredom away, making everything race.
Sunbeams spill into the room through the window.

Now she can run outside, everything has turned out right,
the rain is left behind and she starts an adventurous race,
the prince from her tale is smiling at her through the window.