Step 1. Write word-centos of poems by the late
Diane di Prima, Hedy Habra, Martha Collins &
Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer.
(In non-shpiggidity-shpaggidity speak, a word-
cento is basically a rearrangement of the words
of a poem however you see fit, but only using
the words of the poet, particularly the words in
only one poem of said saint.)

 

MEMORY

(a word-cento of Diane di Prima’s
“An Exercise in Love” *)

Dawn cannot remember him.
He walks on moonstones.
I give him my scarf.
He cannot remember.

* Original poem by Diane di Prima
from Pieces of a Song: Selected Poems
(City Lights Books, 1990).

 

DISAPPEARED AMERICA: PUTIN’S SONG

(a word-cento of Diane di Prima’s
“Rant, From a Cool Place” *)


for Shastri, Stevenson, Marietta Tree, Marilyn Monroe,
Jack Kennedy, Oswald, Jack Ruby, Tim Leary, Bob Dylan,
Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones & Malcom X

Plot to keep western man a cancer
Soft-mad bloody beads of buddhahood blessed out
on SS money & TV-meat.
Bow America dying,
torn
in warm-winter genocide,
waiting for the Red Third Reich
to swamp reformation
in the middle of progress, now dead,
dead as wind for christs sake,
——–Honey bees wept for the CIA at night,
leveling old, sad revolution—
waiting
with “sit” & plague away many others
who don’t need to live…
——exposed Buddhas
from a long line of facts
to radiation in a sea of autopsy.
Bow America dying— grinding nearer-to-nothing.

* Original poem by Diane di Prima first published in
The Evergreen Review, Issue 88 (1971).

 

I FOLLOW YOU

(a word-cento of Hedy Habra’s
“The Dance” *)

I follow you, hissing altercations into the sun,
arguing with a mind at ease,
over broken bodies beating shadows
you once taught me.

I follow and hide with every spin,
you draw the astrolabe with twists of sound
dancing my heart to an equation, motion.
I’ve learned a body,
Unwilling to glide into oblivious awe.
Hide me.
Serpents stop the music and sway the floor.

You measure my shadow.
Lines play, and the pendulum melts
mosaic motion.

I watched you rising words over and over,
arguing into the broken sun for so long.
I slide through my own mind,
forced into a body,
forced into time.

* Original poem by Hedy Habra from Under
Brushstrokes
(Press 53 2015) first published
by The Smoking Poet.

 

BLOOD-LAWS

(a word-cento of Martha Collins’
“White Papers [1]” & “White
Papers [2]” * +)

Because blood protects skin,
my father burns us white.
My mother says skin
wants to marry TV Flesh,
never crayon paints of
Gwendolyn Brooks &
George Washington Carver
who whispered deep skin
under blood-laws.

* Original poem by Martha Collins
from White Papers published by
University of Pittsburgh Press in 2012.

+ Note a word-cento is usually of one
poem by one author; however, White
Papers can be considered a single, long
poem sequence.

 

IN THE TEMPLE OF MILK

(a word-cento of Rosemerry Wahtola
Trommer’s “Fleeting (2018)” *)

Infinity was a moment,
its own metaphor,
forget,
a mask wore a mask,
until clarity came with sunflowers.
A moment—
how quickly it ripped the garden
in the temple of milk
and others
masked,
working, feeding a second,
another thought disassembling itself
with the mystery,
along the tiles of the temple,
old shirts, making macaroni
into huh,
until we don’t discern
the beets and bricks,
a bell that out-lasted
our thoughts.

* Original poem by Rosemerry Wahtola
Trommer published in Poetry and Covid.

 

Step 2. Write a meditative insert while listening to
Press 53 Silver Concho Reading Series on Thursday,
October 28 on Zoom on your iPhone, from Hotchkiss
Park in Santa Monica, CA. While you are listening &
meditating, write on blank/scratch paper — a few words
or a line every min or so, or whenever you’re so inspired.
(A meditative insert is kinda tough to explain. Really,
it’s whatever gets your grooviness going… but in
a meditative way and with a hard-on for poetry.)

(NOTE FOR READERS: I’m omitting the
meditative insert here because this column would be
way too long, it’s already very long, and I’d like you
groovy readers to enjoy the aftermath, combo piece
in Step 3.)

 

Step 3. Combine word-centos and meditative insert
while listening to Grateful Dead, “Sugar Magnolia / Scarlet Begonias / Fire On the Mountain” (WinterlandArena 12/31/78) in Hotchkiss Park (Santa Monica, CA).

 

AMERICAN RANT (combo)

Grief-stricken silence soars above sight,
beyond evergreen groans of
rose garden pilgrimage boarded up
wormwood cogs of the earth.
I follow you, hissing altercations in the sun,
arguing with a mind at ease,
over broken bodies beating shadows
you once taught me.

Metaphorical segregation regurgitates itself, its cell
repeatedly plays Brahman revolution.
I follow and hide with every spin.
America, why do you shriek shivering sunrise calligraphy?
Why do you draw the astrolabe with twists of sound
dancing my heart to an equation?

Motion. I see silhouettes wallow endless breath hollow as
monsoon solipsism soliciting Indra’s neck wringing
clairvoyant startles black
mountains drown in long-ago draught.
How quickly a moment ripped the garden
in the middle of progress
dead, dead as wind for christs sake!

Eyeballs separate sorcerers against the bleak,
floored by its own metaphor—
Gwendolyn Brooks &
George Washington Carver,
Shastri, Stevenson,
Marietta Tree,
Marilyn Monroe,
Jack Kennedy,
Oswald,
Jack Ruby,
Tim Leary,
Bob Dylan,
Allen Ginsberg,
LeRoi Jones,
Malcolm X—
even honey bees weep for the CIA at night!
leveling old, sad revolution—
because blood protects skin
glass breakdown at dawn. Bow America dying,
screeching wearily
Today’s Goal: Be at war with self,
drink your own absence.

Who drags this collective corpse
into the waiting room?
My mother says skin
wants to marry TV Flesh,
soft-mad bloody beads of buddhahood blessed out
on SS money & TV-meat.

I go on living under blood-laws in the temple of milk
unwilling to glide into oblivious awe,
against the crimson-rust deep
of masked gargoyles
arpeggioed by Cloister Impermanence,
stagnated deep in embryo vivacious—
Bow America dying,
torn
in warm-winter genocide,
waiting for the Red Third Reich.

I watched your words rising over and over,
arguing into the broken sun for too long.
I slide through my own mind,
forced into a body,
forced into time
until we can’t see the garden.

I’ve learned this body,
learned how to forget
a mask wears a mask,
waiting
with “sit” & plague away many others—
working old shirts making macaroni,
feeding a second Buddha exposed to radiation
in a sea of autopsy.
Who doesn’t need to live?

Light me on fire, please! screams my soul,

disassembling itself.

My father burns us white.
Dawn cannot remember him.
He walks on moonstones.
I give him my scarf.
He cannot remember.

Music clocktowers breathe crystal clouds of anonymity,
never crayon paintings of
a servile city panhandling embers
in the psychosis-polluted streets
against the maelstrom of moments, hail. — Hide me.
Serpents stop hydraulic birth of ashes
and sway the floor.

You are my shadow, asking questions without answers.
Cyclic ceilings serene, dogmatic as the wolf-moon whispers
curtains,
which lassoed vibrato vibrations from the primrose biosphere.

Melodious melancholia proselytizes Earth’s elastic waistband
across goddess nape, never panicked by quicksand storm—
Troops of children sing themselves into solace soldiers,
skin sagging reincarnates
of cheery-eyed cherry blossoms who feel filthy
quivering alongside the trailblazing sewer more meditationless
than wildfire alps avalanching a single oceanic ache over
humanity’s helicopter propeller slumber,
the damned orb cooked rotten by alarm-clock awakening
a taxed-prophet
blind to the mirror of self-loathing Infinity.

Infinity was a moment.
Infinity: a triadic rapture to rupture
a whirlwind of words, which
embalm the living who grieve fortune along
the straight and narrow
marrow of tomorrow underground with bones
breaded by sages senseless,
preaching forgetful darkness,
but without the fountain to end all violence—
Why must satori pledge crisp secrecy to daylight, soaking
in the fractal meandering,
the somatosemantic overture of a dope fiend?

Lines play, and the pendulum melts
mosaic motion.
Still, I follow you, hissing altercations into the sun,
arguing with a mind at ease,
over broken bodies beating shadows
you once taught me.

I am faceless, melting into the wind’s wink,
which wrinkles cigarette cartons,
cartooned by a bibliography of questions
we dare not sweep, nor weep a raspy, clandestine fantasia

hope-orificed by invisible fade, outraging Death,
which carpet-capered salmon streams
dressed by hungry aviators
armored with darkness
upon mosaic lamplight, moss & Neon Nazis
justifying River Demise—
a plot to keep western man an illusion cancer,
to swamp reformation.

I leap from neon Everest lights
as Apollo skips across the bleeding water,
until clarity echoes sunflowers,
until a bell out-lasts our thoughts,
until I become a child,
falling down to Mexico,
a breath of fresh-pavement.
Serenity slices sold for a BOOM ! BOOM ! BOOM !
along the temple tiles.

Bow America dying— grinding shells nearer to-nothing.
Bow America dying— waiting for the Red Third Reich,
author of Peace,
to teach us how to write our own Salvation
in our already sated hearts.

 

Joshua Corwin, a Los Angeles native, is a neurodiverse, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and Spillwords Press Publication of the Month winner. His debut poetry collection Becoming Vulnerable (2020) details his experience with autism, addiction, sobriety and spirituality. He has lectured at UCLA, performed at the 2020 National Beat Poetry Festival, and his Beat poetry is to be anthologized alongside Ferlinghetti, Hirschman, Ford, Coleman and weiss late this year (Sparring Omnibus, Mystic Boxing Commission). He hosts the poetry podcast “Assiduous Dust” and teaches poetry to neurodiverse individuals and autistic addicts in recovery at The Miracle Project, an autism nonprofit. Corwin’s collaborative collection A Double Meaning, with David Dephy, is currently seeking publication. He also has forthcoming collaborative poetry projects with Ellyn Maybe including Ghosts Sing into the World’s Ear (Ghost Accordion series 1st Wave, Mystic Boxing Commission).