December 11, 2008

Live Poetry

Earlier this evening, I was trying to get more out of my social networks by engaging in more artistic collaborative projects. I hatched the idea for the “live” poem. The idea is simple:

  • Send out a request on Twitter for participants.
  • Create a Google Document.
  • Find an image from Flickr (Make sure to pick one from the Creative Commons)
  • Wait.
  • Wait some more.
  • Start to write.
  • Leave your poem as a comment on the original page.
Ideas for next time:

  • Set a time limit
  • Take a screencast of the process so as to watch the “growth” of the poem
  • Look at something like Etherpad.

Not much more to say at this time, maybe some participants can leave their thoughts as comments below.

Here is the image and the poem:

Cerulean Tide

a wall of day
and a door to night
creaking hinges
keeping time
in and out

this is where we met,
the smell of brine and barnacles
moving the sea, slaves to the moon
and desire

warm smoke escaping from a door
in flux soon to close
forever, or so we thought

our eyes consumed, engaged, divorced
time peeling another layer
pushing us together
awash in the sound of
laughter and a distant snare drum

touch gave meaning
memories embrace
did we?
if we choose to believe, we did

this is not ours to keep
never was
but what is left?
closed door, new season
but still, the blue
and blue and stillness blur

choice led us here then
and again
choice parts us after we give
"I want to fall in love with a living poem,"
you said.

another couple in
another out

I laughed and kissed your serious brow
learned the tangles of your hair, left alone too long
waiting for someone to know you
your only desire
for someone to know you

this place will be different tomorrow
in the light
we will see the decay
if we choose

what is the scale for measuring moments?
I say pain
you look away and take a drag on your cigarette
can't help but disappoint you

your eyes have moved on
I wonder if you will ever be happy
Or if you will discover there's no such thing

will you come back?
the wall was green, yellow, eggplant
your letter will say.

will your memories lie?
it was blue
it was dark.
we'll never really know.

The poem is average at best, but it is the process of creation we are concerned with here over product. More thoughts on collaborative art soon.

Later I received a Tweet from @jhawtin telling me about the sonnet she wrote. Here it is:

A wall of daylight met a door of night.
Creaking hinges kept time with our journey,
the drift of lazy footsteps, left and right,
wrapped in smoke and shadow, a comedy.

Awash in laughter, haze and amber pints,
eyes engaged then slipped across the hecklers.
We watched the distant snare drum catch the light.
Crowds moved on. In comfy chairs we rested.

We stayed here under summer's scudding skies.
Photos captured tangle haired embraces,
the buoys and bikes and lobster pots you liked,
colours rich with time and salty laces.

A season ends, the colours change, and leave.
A smile still sees you here, our dark retreat.

Leave her comments on her blog, Cranky Mango.


  1. Anonymous1:40 AM

    Reminds me of Japanese Renga. I'd imagine writing poetry in a group takes some time to adapt to. I hope you do it again soon; I'd like to join in.


  2. The beauty of it was not in the poem, but the process. The poem could be thrown away. Now that it is static, it's lost its meaning. We all create our own meaning and reality. For me, the attraction to the project was in watching a poem breathe. I saw single word changes dissolve the entire theme of the poem. I watched as darkness turned light, and then sorrow returned. It was a conversation between sub-consciences, as much as it was collaborative art. If the objective were to create a solid poem, the project would not have been a success. It would not have been art.