Reader Poem — Olga Garcia Echeverria

Olga Garcia Echeverria wrote this poem in response to the prompt “Burn Down the World.”

Burn Down the World

take it apart
piece by piece
like a jigsaw
like an erector set

Dump all the world’s trash
into the gutters
and then into the swollen gut
of the ocean–fuck it!

Watch the carcasses of fish float sideways
dull tattered scales
empty eye sockets
tiny fish mouths quivering
ceaselessly in the sea drift
(as if they were trying to say something)

Burn down the world you all
and then walk on the bones
of the salted and the charred
take a selfie with the powdery gray ashes
Post on Facebook
marvel at our survival and this conquest
that extends beyond the moon
and into the stars

Burn it all down like there’s no tomorrow
and then go to a march
any march
and march on towards Whatever

Laugh at the tag on the wall that says,
“If trees had guns, we’d all be dead”
and answer,
“But they don’t.
They don’t.
They don’t.”


Further Reflections on the Process — Olga Garcia Echeverria


Olga Garcia Echeverria was our collaborating poet for July. She was so gracious to give this project a shout out in this article on La Bloga:

She offered these further reflections:

When I got to the “disarticulation” part of the process I was puzzled by how exactly to reconstruct. I tried just drawing words from your fevered writings onto a note pad, but that wasn’t working. I fantasized about breaking up the words in categories (by parts of speech) like I had seen in an example you sent me, but that didn’t happen. Finally, I enlarged the font of your fevered writings, double spaced, printed out, and then started to cut and cut. I ended up with strips. I was reminiscent of ESL sentence strips or magnet poetry. Then it was so much fun! It was like the puzzle on my kitchen table that I kept playing with.

Reflections on the Process — Olga Garcia Echeverria


This collaborative writing exercise was quite a journey. I liked that I didn’t really know where I was going. Most challenging was the act of sitting with someone else’s words and trying to inject my own poetic voice and vision into the disarticulated mix. I played a lot during the past couple of weeks and put together several drafts of different poems, but in the end, the image that kept tugging at me was that of a purple-colored woman, bellowing through time. I didn’t know who she was at first, but at some point in the writing process, I realized that the story of Sandra Bland was weighing heavy on my mind and heart, and that fragments of her were bleeding into the poem I was piecing together. This disarticulated poem is for her.

July dis•articulations Poem — Olga Garcia Echeverria

At the beginning of the month, Olga gave Terry four prompts. Terry engaged in fevered writing with each of them and gave the results back to Olga, who then used the words from that fevered writing to create this dis•articulations poem.


Bam! Just like that.
Another woman of color
eradicated by the system.

Why not start a wildfire
with all the newspaper articles?

It makes as much sense
as anything.

She needed
more hummingbirds
more salvia
more seconds on the Universal clock

She needed
more nectar to sip
more time
to let it all hang out
to sit serenely, thinking
to small talk at dinner
to gossip with friends

She needed more time
to write
to birth
to live

to sleep
inside the safest place, her own navel,
spinning wheels of energy, yellow
Chakra vibrating, the mystery
of the undulating Universe
dripping from her fingertips

She needed more softness,
this purple-colored woman
bellowing through time,
wildfires in her eyes…

July Fevered Writing — Olga Garcia Echeverria

This month’s collaborating poet, Olga Garcia Echeverria, 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.

Space is hard to decipher. Whenever I try to be an atheist, I look up and get baffled by things I cannot see, like moons made of ice. Jupiter’s menstrual red hot spots. La Luna’s fierce chalky gray cratered face. The Milky Way—fuck! Space is hard, but I imagine it soft, plush to the touch, a down pillow wrapped in silk, cold, littered with glitter, metallic dark blues. Space is hard, but I imagine it liquid, the blackest of oceans with infinite depths.

Dolphin leaps onto boat, injuring woman…and sharks that keep attacking people at the beach baffle scientists. Last time I walked along the shore, I spotted/dodged black rubbery oil spill blobs. Charred jelly fish. Dead seagull. Plastic water bottle(s). Amber seaweed. Scattered red and yellow long stem roses, altar to the sea.

Poetry is against gravity. A haiku, so small boned, can weigh 1000 pounds. It rains upward. We all become unanchored to the surface of the earth and spin like dirty laundry into space. Freeways melt into mercury rivers. Snow hardens in the sun. Space space space is a breath, an opening of the mouth, the beginning of a kiss, or a final goodbye, gasp. It’s the slit of an eye, an ocean in my heart, hot hot pink, translucent amethyst purple. I went to the Falls and saw ghosts in the mist. I went to the Falls and saw ghosts in the mist.

Guns in Paradise—you can take it with you, you know, your gun because God, like us, loves guns and it’s sad to say but even in Paradise its good to be armed. Nowadays they’re kinda letting everyone into Heaven, those homos, for example, what with the legalization of marriage, first it’s Civil, then it’s Church, then, mark my words, it’s Heaven. Even women who’ve had abortions are being let in. Paradise used to be like, like…well, like Hawaii (minus all the native Hawaiians, of course, since they’re pagans), like that but with a shit load of guns. Now it’s gone to shit, but I hear it ain’t all bad. You know in Paradise, you can hunt freely, no permits needed, no animal rights organizations (at least not yet), just you, you, you, and your bad ass guns to shoot shoot shoot…

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 July will win a $25 prize.