Terry Wolverton produced the following fevered writing based on four prompts provided by this month’s collaborating poet, Mike Sonksen.
Dying shouldn’t be so brutal, but why not? It’s a violent collision between matter and the infinite. We don’t give up easily. It takes a train crash or the invasion of the brain by cancer cells to make us cry, “Uncle.” Even then the ego holds on. “Hold on, I still have more to do.” And so perhaps we make it brutal through our resistance. It doesn’t matter who we are or what we’ve done; the body will dissolve until even the memory of the body is gone. Still the earth turns. Tenderly, brutally turns. It’s always been so.
Gentrifying LA — pick a side
The sides were picked so long ago, way before you got here. You have to live somewhere and then you do until you can’t afford it anymore. Even a flowerpot on the porch can trigger it. Being alive leaves its mark on the earth. We have a carbon footprint and we have the fingerprints of money, like a row of bruises. Someone has less than you; someone has more. The pecking order was established in the last millennium and there’s no escaping it.
Save us from Washington’s visionaries
What they see determines our reality and they can’t see reality. Those gold-colored glasses they wear shape a vision in which so many of us are airbrushed out. I can feel my molecules dissolving as their vision erases me—the women, the queers, the artists, the thinkers, the not-wealthy. Where do we go once we’ve been erased? We live in a nether world outside their vision; they can’t know what we’re doing because they can’t see us, but they fear our hot breath.
How we lost track of real happiness
It was just here a minute ago, wasn’t it? Was it mislaid like my glasses or my keys? Did I put it someplace safe, like I did with my pendulum, and then forget where that was? I should never clean up. I can only keep track of things that are in front of my face. The minute it’s tucked into a drawer, I not only forget where it is but often forget that it exists at all. This makes for a chaotic landscape, but it’s better than the empty field of my mind when everything is put away.
Readers are encouraged to write your own poems inspired by the prompts or the fevered writing and post them to comments. The best poem we receive this month will be awarded a $25 prize.