Reflections on the Process — Douglas Kearney


It seems counterintuitive, but receiving a word bank from a collaborator reveals perhaps as much about yourself as it does your accomplice. For me, I kept looking at the list I gleaned from Terry’s fevered writings, desperately trying to find the words “down” and “from,” prepositions (I think I’m drawn to down as preposition more than as adverb and hardly ever as noun) characteristic of the motions my poems tend to consider. But she gave me “out,” which, like down, is mad flavorful as a preposition. The disarticulations project reminds me of the sampling work of J Dilla and license to chop and reconfigure another poet’s writing was a pleasure. I won’t risk an attempt to analyze Terry via the words provided, except that one of my favorite alphabetically sequential pairs is “weirdly Western” followed closely by “Vulgar wad,” while the quartet of “tiptoe to toasty tongues” is messing with my life right now. Even as recomposed by the sort function of Microsoft Word, these combos seem to me imagined by the same writer who turned my fevers into “Janky Mojo.” What a generous writer; what a generative experiment!


Reader Poem—Jennifer Hernandez

Jennifer Hernandez wrote this poem in response to the November Poetry Prompts:


Huaraches across the borderlands or
dinghies on the open sea. Which shall
we choose, people of color — infantilization
or demonization? Migrants. Refugees.
Illegals. Terrorists. The rhetoric bears only
a partial relationship to reality.
Swaddle us and stick a big old plug
in our mouths. Restraint and silence.

You want to know why Latinos
like horror films? Maybe
because we know that kind of scary
is fake. We got enough real. Los narcos.
La inmigrácion checking for papers.
Le deportaron a mi tío. His baby girl cries
herself to sleep. Hatemongers splash venom
like red paint. Why can’t they see that the rapists
are the pinche coyotes that steal our money
and leave us in the desert?

So the Day of the Dead dances on.
Esquéletos draped in marigolds spin
clackety-clack before altars to the music of mariachi
and banda. If we stop dancing, we’re already dead.

November dis•articulations poem — Terry Wolverton

At the beginning of the month, Terry gave collaborating poet Douglas Kearney four prompts. Douglas conducted fevered writing on each of the prompts and gave that back to Terry. From those words, Terry constructed this dis•articulations poem.


I came in with janky mojo,
head peppered with hard thoughts,
face painted with Kaiju’s blood,
skeleton in a spooky suit.

Who was that vampire in a red cape,
its song tracing through my pulse,
heckling my impatient choices,
talking shit about God?

When did I become a cold machine
that breathes frost and coughs dust?
My bone cage jumps
in the attic of my disappointment.

Lorca too was disappointed
in the magpie’s quick-like song.
My appendages cannot climb
to any honey pulse to fix it.

But egomaniacs love religion,
think it’s all about them.
Gods dance like insects in my head,
and cup my red-eyed soul.

End-times only a strobe-lit
boogeyman, just enough horror
that sometimes I look side-eye
through the flapping trees.

In the end, my fluid roots
the only curative to not bottom out.
I came in abuzz with janky mojo
and no hoodoo gonna take it back.

November dis•articulations poem —Douglas Kearney

For our dis•articulations collaboration, Douglas gave Terry four writing prompts. Terry engaged in fevered writing with each of them and gave the results back to Douglas, who then used the words from that fevered writing to create this dis•articulations poem.


we’ve places in our properties for them,
lots for growing them into lots more for us.
in the places, there, we can watch them,
our faces like hands having want. we, beaten

by a cooler outside, said they got a coat kind-of-
a-skin sewn up on their body until—beaten
by the cooler outside—we slip them out it
to wear it on us and so we

are we, for we wear their skin for us.

by our stove-like imagination,
in it, they are a wad of living Crisco,
Crisco shut up in them until we cook it
out them, them out it, into a pan, a cut of them
fried in it out a can and into our mouths,
ground inside our mouths turning us into we-
and the wad’s bodies on our bodies and so we

are we, for we cook to enjoy this insiding.

times, we’ve agreements with us
to think for them impassive bodies what they think
our love is like, so we spin answers out slashed mouths,
snipped tongues, the splatterings beaten out their they
in our lots for growing us out of them:

we say they may say we are universes gashing Earth

or baboons long ago hardened into clothes

or that by their brown livings we guarantee us
they want in our mouths, to be our coats,
to tiptoe their they through our imaginations,
graceful as, doting as mothers sewn to cries.

no no no no no—our love is nothing but goodbye.
and how we only want to love it all and so

all of them.

November Fevered Writing — Terry Wolverton

For our dis•articulations collaboration, collaborating poet Douglas Kearney gave Terry four writing prompts. Terry engaged in fevered writing with each of them and gave the results back to Douglas. These are the words he will use to construct his dis•articulations poem.

Crisco fried funk
I think of Crisco, white and bland in the can, its impassive face revealing nothing. Likely it has no thoughts, but heat it up and its complexion clears and it starts hopping in the pan, popping on the stove, splattering a little sting onto the cook’s unsuspecting skin. Drop in the funk, itself just an unformed wad of dough, and watch it begin to spin and brown and harden somehow, growing a toasty coat on the outside and a soft cake inside.

Only a partial relationship to reality
The philosopher said, “reality is agreement,” so I said goodbye to reality a long time ago. Once you cut yourself loose, there’s no turning back. You can’t even imagine how you got bamboozled into it in the first place. The imagination has no place in reality–it’s all about “what it is” rather than what it could be. Living in possibility requires adaptation to a cooler kind of light, a thinner oxygen. Your survival is not guaranteed. But you begin to love that edge, the tipsiness of every day.

Vulgar yet weirdly graceful
People have a lot of contempt for this kind of woman. They want her to be more like a butterfly, less like a baboon. They want her to wear little slips of dresses and not get her hands dirty, to tiptoe about on the thinnest heels, not to ground her soles into Mother Earth. They want her to pretend she has no body, that her body belongs to them and she may not enjoy it. She’s not supposed to acknowledge her slash, her gash, her split in the universe through which light enters.

The infantilization of people of color and women,
and the women who are people of color are the most babied of all, but not babied in the Western post-industrial middle class model of doting and spoiling and commodifying, no, more like the pre-capitalist model of property, like livestock. Like infanticide. No one is dressing us up in doll clothes and fussing over us. No, we are dragged by the hair and beaten until our cries no longer disturb their sleep. Who’s your daddy, they ask, but we’ve learned better than to answer, our mouths sewn shut, our tongues snipped out.

Readers are encouraged to write poems in response to the prompts or to the fevered writing. The best Reader Poem we receive in November will win a $25 prize. All poems submitted will be posted to the blog.

November Fevered Writing — Douglas Kearney

For our dis•articulations collaboration, Terry gave collaborating poet Douglas Kearney four writing prompts. Douglas engaged in fevered writing with each of them and gave the results back to Terry. These are the words she will use to construct her dis•articulations poem.

Hard Day of the Dead Dances on
come on everybody got a day of the zombie get down to the boogeyman up jump the spooky to the end of time I saw what you done did with  the cold pulse and then the strobelit honey to the similac. a pepper tree, naw naw naw, but you climbed and chucked down on some kinkajou mojo. It wasn’t a primate but it dilated. any way the skeleton oh and find the bones find the bones. the goofer dust is the do it fluid, the kambucha of your hoodoo fix. we be talking all kinds of roots. the alex haley to the two head I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to paint bones on a suit only to find I could just trace my own cage.

Why Latinos Love Horror Films
because of love and the old time religion that goes back further how edith Hamilton oh dear frosty edith tried to side eye anypeople who could imagine god’s powerful enough to not look like them all day. egomaniacs! the bottom line is a thought of blodd that ain’t always limpieza, but I wonder that too. thinking of Lorca and the blood shot through his deep song and anytime you think latinos why you gotta trot out Lorca. but Soul is Duende in a sketch but not janky only quick like and del toro (red cape as blood is red) as a vampire is a robot insect as U.S. looks down, breathing red eyed from its attic

Montage of Heck
heck of a job heck of a thing to say heck of a heckler of a jeckle them magpies oh Terry(toons) I’m in love! the fact of the matter is Cobain I see all in that weird fleece flapped cap looking all, well, fucking Cobainesque. we can be disappointed in a choice right but hell what would you do with them barrels looking you in the face like those times you climb something high and have to tell yourself “don’t jump. don’t jump” like how to not ogle you say “don’t look. don’t look.” or when you are impatient with Nicole you say “don’t say ________. don’t say ____________.”

Robot doctors and lawyers
Doctors for robots and lawyers for them or doctors and lawyer robots? Litigibot. Docbot. The kind of machine that knows how to find precedent. I would get an attorneybot a botister, a cyberadvocate, oh shit, like how Lety saw “mecha Godzilla” and thought it was like a chicano kaiju. I don’t know about what kind of curative a robot would need to take and I don’t have time for any more puns but I could imagine how the robot would enter on it’s conveyer, a special appendage for cupping testicles, a speaker grill buzzing *cough* cough* cough*

Readers are encouraged to write poems in response to the prompts or to the fevered writing. The best Reader Poem we receive in November will win a $25 prize. All poems submitted will be posted to the blog.

November Poetry Prompts

* “crisco fried funk” (

*”only a partial relationship to reality” (

*”vulgar yet weirdly graceful” (

*”the infantilization of people of color and women” (


Here are your prompts:
• Hard Day of the Dead Dances on (
• Why Latinos Love Horror Films (
• Montage of Heck (album title, Kurt Cobain)
• Robot doctors and lawyers (

Reflections on the Process — Ramón Garcia

Ramon Garcia

It was an interesting exercise.  The fevered writing in response to Terry’s found quotes I approached as a timed stream of consciousness experiment.  For the writing of the poems from Terry’s fevered writing in response to my found quotes, I decided to choose words in the order they were written.  This was a method that provided some sense of “form” that intuitively I felt this exercise would benefit from, and I think it did. I also decided not to alter the words in Terry’s fevered writing (to not change the tense or make nouns into verbs etc.); this rule I sensed would support the imagination in choosing the right word for it’s originality and the structure of the meaning of the poem.  It was fun and a great exercise in focusing attention on language, and for me, structuring meaning in a poem.

Winner, dis•articulations Reader Poem for October — Liz Belile


Liz Belile studied poetry at the Naropa Institute and her work has been published widely. She lives in Austin, Texas with her family, where she  teaches screenwriting at a local film school and occasionally produces poetry readings and teaches yoga, among other subversive activities.
Her poem, “When You Call for the Dead, Don’t Say His Name” was published on this site on October 9, 2015.

November Collaborating Poet — Douglas Kearney


In November, poet Douglas Kearney with be collaborating with Terry Wolverton on dis•articulations poems.

Douglas Kearney’s third poetry collection, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014) examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood and was a finalist for the California Book Award in Poetry. Cultural critic Greg Tate remarked that Kearney’s second book, National Poetry Series selection, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), “flows from a consideration of urban speech, negro spontaneity and book learning.” A collection of opera libretti—Someone Took They Tongues.—is forthcoming from Subito Press.Noemi Press will publish his collection of writing on poetics and performativity—Mess and Mess and—in late 2015. He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Poetry, nocturnesPleiadesIowa ReviewBoston Review, and Callaloo; and anthologies, including Best American PoetryBest American Experimental WritingWide Awake, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Poets in America. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts.