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Posts Tagged ‘Gwendolyn Alley’

arriving at form : : 3:15 am

April 29, 2009 1 comment

slingshots hold no
thunder and lightning
inside a shoe that doesn’t fit
imagine cramming all that eternity back
in the middle of summer

pulled around the building
i sat in the living room
opened the window
here: it’s hot
my dream angel   solid and

burning mind   no time for feathers
HOT we wished for
slashes of lightning
physical form is no small feat
let’s not fool ourselves

drowned for safe
thunder and lightning
arriving back from the dead
thawing a bottle of wine
with a drum roll please

my dream angel   solid and
when the light flashes
fiercely beautiful   down the hallway
let’s not fool ourselves
inside a shoe that doesn’t fit

shed some clothes
roam the house
of my youth   more human than
closing windows and
slowly warming coal
my dream angel   solid and
thunder and lightning
inside a shoe that doesn’t fit
us now and the light
in the middle of summer

whether the baby was
arriving back from the dead
physical form is no small feat
and the thunder rolls — i
sneak up on us the

slingshots hold no
burning mind   no time for feathers
such as these   doors
i pull the blankets over him
his hand a squeeze

by Tod McCoy, Gwendolyn Alley, and Danika Dinsmore

Process notes

This collaboration was born from a larger ongoing collaboration that has been around since 1993. The 3:15 Experiment is an annual creative experiment in collective consciousness. Every year a shifting menagerie of poets wakes up each morning at 3:15 AM during the entire month of August to write. If participants choose to share their work, they can present it unedited on the project’s website. The importance of the unedited poems is so the purity of 3:15 AM mind stays intact.

When Danika, Tod, and Gwendolyn decided to write a collaborative poem for qarrtsiluni, Danika’s suggestion was to use their poems from a specific day from the 2008 3:15 Experiment. They randomly selected Aug 15, since it was the middle of the month.

Continuing on the “15” theme, Gwendolyn suggested they each pick 15 lines, work on them independently, and each form a stanza. They selected 5 lines from each of their three poems (equalling 15 lines) written at 3:15 AM on August 15, 2008. They selected the lines independently, so as not to influence each other, and did not know which lines the other two poets had selected until the stanzas were revealed (hence the repeated lines). Danika and Gwen selected lines from the poems purposefully, while Tod cut up the lines and selected them randomly.

Danika arranged hers first, then Gwendolyn, and then Tod pulled together the final stanza. They then broke the stanzas up into an agreed upon final poem and rearranged the lines until they were satisfied. There were only minor edits (for continuity and verb tense conformity) other than arranging the lines. Their intention was to keep the language as close to their original “3:15 AM mind” writings.

They collaborated solely via e-mail, and much of the time they were multi-tasking as they arranged lines. Gwen was taking notes at a cultural tourism conference. Tod was evaluating a bootstrap program, rewriting the messaging on another bootstrap module, and cruising craigslist. Danika was juggling two jobs: posting an episode of a TV show and working a night shoot on the set of a horror film.

If you would like to read the original poems from which the lines were taken, go to www.315experiment.com/2008 and click on Tod, Gwendolyn, or Danika and then on Aug 15.