September Fevered Writing — Donna Frazier

This month’s collaborating poet, Donna Frazier, produced this fevered writing based on four prompts given by Terry Wolverton. Terry will be writing a new poem incorporating her choice of these words.

Cowboy cologne … smells like what I imagine cactus smells like, dust and point, odd unanticipated flower just stuck there on the end of a paddle. I don’t know how they apply it, the flower or the scent, but you can feel it coming like some cedar path you weren’t expecting on the side of the street you’ve lived on for so many years you’ve stopped seeing it or the forest at its edge, saplings when you moved in. Birds are circling the trunks like lunberjacks or cowboys in that flow of herd, the river of it that they lasso and tie up.

Deer are particularly fond of roses. It’s the petals, which fall from the mouth like tongues, speech flying to the ground, unexpected thought. They eat alone, the deer in the rose garden, the colors tender, the sounds crunching in the mouth. I can’t understand the dialect of rose they speak, but they look up as I pass and I drop leaves, a conversation we leave on the trail behind us. I had tasted the buds myself but found them tough. No allergies though. Later I dreamed of clover and running.

Garden dancer cha-cha. I say they oughta waltz or stand still, but I know I’m wrong. They’ve planted snow peas and asparagus and the music is some kind of fertilizer, the dance a kind of vibration therapy. Okay. I could give in to a little swing, a little something shaking the shoots and my hair taking on a little green in solidarity, the shoots sprouting from fingers that might or might not be mine. In the shade, the dance slows to a single cha, but the plants anticipate the beats and keep on moving.

Extreme snake tattoo. I don’t know why the snakes need them. Diamonds, stripes, that “blend with sand” pattern, seem like enough. But some want more, like the red flashes on the side of a turtle’s head, that kind of bling. Snakes on the arms and legs of a human? They hang from limbs waiting for prey I guess, trying to blend in. Inside the skins, reptilian and otherwise, there’s ink flowing, needles and buzz, some identity exchanged.

Readers who are contemplating writing your own poems may work with just the prompts or choose to use one or more passages of fevered writing to inspire your poems. Best Reader poem we receive in September will win a $25 prize.

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