This poem was composed as an exercise in shaping your poem around a random set of words, and a cliche phrase. We were given 8 words (road, cloud, whir, blackberry, lick, voice, mother, and one other I forget), and told to use 5 of them somehow in a poem, which we had ten minutes to write. The poem had to include at least one proverb, saying, or cliche.

I was head over heels
Walking down the road, upright and normal.
How else would you walk?
The clouds were nailed securely to the sky
Instead of cottoning along under my feet.
I could not lick the feeling, though,
That something was whirring along gloriously out of whack
Because my heart was full like a blackberry
Ripe with the sweet richness
Of your lovely voice.

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Two

The two feet that carry me
Through my Sunday-blessed,
Sun-blessed world,
They carry me past those two squirrels,
Chattering in their tree-war.

Those two dogs, one black,
His brother white,
Chasing eternally cheerful
After the ball, the ball,
The wonderful ball
Look look look there it goes –

And the two lovers talking
Side by side under the sleeping bag
On the stage in the park.
They know they have a good thing,
However their hearts came by it.

And there were two robins,
But now there are three,
Worm-grubbing with sidelong glances,
Maybe to balance me,
Here alone in the afternoon:
But they’re wrong, for I am sitting with the sun,
Chance companions,
Both beaming,
The two of us.

None of which is to say
That I would never seek another
To walk by the side of.
And she and me
Would walk under the sun where
He waits, expectant, now that I have someone else,
Waiting for his own beloved moon.
That’s the way the world works.

After Rehearsal

Gleam-black beetles crinkle over the night-sidewalk
Seeking my brown shoes for shelter
From the orange light-throb.
The night is a sound-slate, black with silence
Ready to be filled with psalms
And the joy of sheer isness.
Measured step by purposed tread,
I wander home
Through fog and silent streets.
Echo claps back my shoebeat,
A pulse in the solitude.
I accompany myself.
Haydn rises to my beetle-audience.
I wonder if they hear me,
I wonder if later they will dance
As heaven’s music sinks into their tiny brains.