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In the Middle of the Bench

January 26, 2012 3 comments

by Joe Zealberg

After Carlos Drummond de Andrade

In the middle of the bench there was a black patch and cane
there was a black patch and cane in the middle of the bench
there was a black patch and cane
in the middle of the bench there was a black patch and cane.

I’ll never forget that young veteran
clenched in my unblinking eyes.
I’ll never forget that in the middle of the bench
there was a black patch and cane
in the middle of the bench there was a black patch and cane.


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Joe Zealberg, MD attends an ongoing poetry workshop in Charleston, South Carolina with a group known as “The Long Table Poets,” under the direction of Richard Garcia. This is his second appearance in qarrtsiluni.

Categories: Imitation Tags:

A Week of Kindness

April 13, 2009 Comments off

What do you see?
A woman falling into water.
What color is the water?
The color of Monday.

A woman falling into water.
She is naked — stark — her hair
the color of Monday.
She, like Ophelia, needs flowers.

She is naked — stark — her hair
nothing like leaves in spring.
She, like Ophelia, needs flowers.
Buds refusing to open

nothing like leaves in spring
Stems on her seashell hat
with buds refusing to open.
Her Fredricks of Hollywood corset

pokes out from under her seashell vest.
The naked water polo was a bust, she said.
Her Fredricks of Hollywood corset —
too much mercury, unwanted guests.

The naked water polo was a bust, she said.
Drowning on Thursday, she scolds the dogs.
Too much mercury, unwanted guests.
Resigned to headaches, like an angel she dives in.

Drowning on Thursday, she scolds the dogs.
Victoria’s Secret hottie wears a clamshell teddy.
Resigned to headaches, like an angel she dives in.
Goldfish swirl around her day-of-the-week panties.

Victoria’s Secret hottie wears a clamshell teddy.
Lace laps at the shores of her hedge fund.
Goldfish swirl around her day-of-the-week panties.
What color is the water? The color of Monday.

by the Long Table Poets: Helen Brandenburg, Richard Garcia, Barbara Hagerty, Kit Loney, Susan Meyers, Deborah Lawson Scott, Katherine Williams, and Joe Zealberg

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Process notes

Richard Garcia writes:
This pantoum was composed at a class one evening at my house. Each student had a page from a collage novel by Max Ernst, A Week of Kindness. We also wrote the pantoum as a kind of exquisite corpse. The paper was folded so each student could only see the preceding stanza. To keep busy while each student worked on their section they were also writing a separate draft of their poem in any style they wished.