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westward ho

February 4, 2009 1 comment

she pauses by the mirror,
sees a wrinkle in her fabric,
a curlicue of fear.
she fingers a trinket,
broken badge
on a chain held taut,
then prinks her face up pretty,
prominent mandibular aside
(she sees no remedy
for that bad bone).
a trick of the light, she thinks,
placing the luminaria on the sill.
hers was a temporal display.
yanked back to the now
with a colloquial howdy from behind,
she sees his face, a panorama
of wild west wink and ten-gallon charm
crenellated maw of smiling spurs.
one swish, and she is in his arms,
a dime-store bargain at twice the price.

by Leslie F. Miller and Jennifer König

Download the MP3

Process notes


she fingers a trinket

Leslie laid some procedural ground rules.

1.) We would write two stanzas, one of eight lines, the other of twelve, for the eight nights of Hanukkah and the twelve days of Christmas. Form is arbitrary in the end, though.

2.) With a total of 20 lines, we’d each contribute ten words that must be used, in any order, one per line. I would use one from her list; she one from my list.

3.) We would each start a stanza and finish a stanza.

In the end, we’d edit the poem — decide on punctuation, lines that don’t fit, etc. This way, it is an entirely 50/50 collaboration, right down to the title — we thought of the same one. Even the lines we wrote on our own were written with the other’s word.

When we were satisfied with the poem, Jennifer suggested we take a shot to go with it and post it here. We did not discuss the shot beforehand.


a colloquial howdy from behind

Below, the words we used.

Jen’s Words

west
trinket
luminaria
temporal
swish
taut
colloquial
bone
fabric
mandibular

Leslie’s Words

panorama
curlicue
remedy
pause
prink
badge
crenellation
yank
bargain
trick