Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tales from the SOUP Poetry Workshop

Yesterday, the Society of Urban Poetry held their monthly poetry workshop at The Dudley Cafe. SOUP member and co-facilitator Tu Anh Phan ended the night with a writing prompt for the group.

In short, we were told to draw three rows of three boxes. Then in each row, we were to draw in the boxes part of a story about something in our lives we had regretted. Some of the group wrote a poem based on their own drawings. Some of us, like myself and other facilitator Crystal Beck (aka Navah The Buddaphliii), took it a step further and traded our drawn sequences. Crystal and I ended up writing short pieces interpreting each other's drawings, which was a lot of fun.

What follows first is Crystal's drawing along with the poem I wrote in response. I tried not to guess the identity of who she drew first (which is easy to do if you've ever looked at her Facebook). I succumbed before I was finished).

The singer with a face you only half remember
had called nine-eleven years before it happened.
But from what  building could he have possibly lived in?
Either next door, downtown amidst ashen carnage from his staircase.
You could never remember. You picture this prince of prophecy,
his picturesque home under siege and in flames,
unable to wake him up by his bedside.
With your superior senses somehow able to hear
the mixtape he promised to send you after you called
the number you lost along wtih your gloves, your ex's dog
and everyting else you obsessed over
in your fear of finding new faces to haunt you.

What follows next is Crystal's interpretation of my own drawings from last night. I cheated a little on the prompt and used a few words, like anyone would if they grew up reading too many comics. First I ended up trying to tell my loss in a karate tournament due to lack of practice and discipline. Then I moved on to the night before my high school graduation where I got lost, panicked and crashed a car after deviating from plans and dropping a classmate off when I didn't have a good sense of direction. The third sequence was more conceptual (i.e. I ran out of time), meant to convey the potential consequences of being inert and not moving through life. I have to say, Crystal picked up a lot!

Us the same but different colors
We want more, we want to win,
we are all just running to the finish line
But what is waiting there for us? (death)
A daybreak journey
This car ride to nowhere and everywhere
I want to sleep now but not too long
To when I don't wake up again.

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