Step 1. Write word-centos of poetry by Chad
Parenteau, Debbie Tosun Kilday, Clif Mason
and Constant Laval Williams. Listen to
Charles Mingus, “The Clown” (1957) full
album while writing word-centos of Chad
Parenteau and Debbie Tosun Kilday.
FORGET FRESH AIR
(a word-cento of Chad Parenteau’s
Mirror minds touched remembering
after drinks cannibalize love.
Lock your hallways,
disguise death and regret
green, neon isolation.
Surf regret and forget
Death will be changing
in the mirror, opening high-speed
Your life in rear view,
in the books.
You retire to your bathroom,
traverse flashback, disconnect
to live in the woods,
to live longer I-love-you
a happy isolation.
* Original poem by Chad Parenteau
published in Life in Quarantine.
IN THE CROWDS OF OLD SAVIOR
(a word-cento of Debbie Tosun Kilday’s
“I Am YOUR Test” *)
Test “The Way” of compassion
and run from pain
I sent your riches to die—
Nothing saved you
from the test!
Transgressions outwardly show
how I perceive crowds who die
blue from days of thinking
I deserve riches—
(Embrace me within you.)
Will you be without repeat
in the crowds of old savior?
Will you be saying—
You were sent astray,
only to embrace
those common crowds?
Will you be saying
Show me who I am,
me thinking about how we met
in the crowds of old savior,
wanting you to show me
who I am?
* Original poem by Debbie Tosun Kilday
from Tantric Love Suicide (Kilday Krafts,
(a word-cento of Clif Mason’s
“Skydiving & the Body” *)
Drift into buoyant defeat,
from bombs of ourselves,
struggling under snow,
almost-forgiving air for dreaming
Surely, air is the heartbreak
the past version of ourselves—
float into stasis, suspended
* Original poem by Clif Mason
from Knocking the Stars Senseless
(Stephen F. Austin University Press,
TETHERED TO HEAVEN
(a word-cento of Constant Laval Williams’
Again, pixelated intangible
Sisyphus on a cloud,
floating through somewhere
my eye or the cupboard
tethered to heaven
corrupted again, trapped open.
You are my first day and my grave.
You are sitting in my palm.
Again, you turn the dead audio
becoming a piano or the crack of heaven,
glowing over years like a phantom.
* Original poem by Constant Laval Williams
published in Paris Lit Up, Vol. 7.
Step 2. For this week’s meditative insert, write
thank-you responses to Facebook comment posts
from friends about one of your latest publications
in The Somerville Times. Type thank-you responses
as poems or prose poems. (Before you hit send,
omit the poem part as you might want to publish
the poem elsewhere, such as I’m doing here in this
column.) But do be sure to send it to them
and share the love via Facebook Messenger.
For Alicia Viguer-Espert
‘Tis a time to reflect with that sweet, honey-nectar
and invite ourselves to contemplate the meaning of
our souls, our solace in the time of transitioning, in
the time of trembles and tumult—as we roll from
the hills onto our backs, and like a bug (we think)
we are unable to get up… and yet, we’re up and
moving, rolling into the new year with that very
invitation that composes our souls, which enshrines
our bodies and the entire surround-sound solace that
is the world, our own dayenu and diaspora, a drama
of dreams and imagination. May we be invited back
again and again, as we roll into the sweetness, that
sweet sense of renewal and fresh air.
For David Dephy
Love conquers all the lust of ambitious forgetting,
and when dye our hair black as the night, a songbird
cries our name: love. And when we breathe each
syllable L O V E, we become that songbird that
sings into night, issuing an aura of humility and
honoring the cloak which enshrines the most
beautiful and wonderful smile you could ever
fathom… and that smile is no longer masqueraded
by the macabre and morose minutia of going about
our days and crossing ourselves, surrendering to the
daily grind, our teeth numb upon the clenched white
of another to-do list left unfinished. No, David. –
LOVE is part of us all.
Can you hear the songbird breathing down your
neck, chirping the meaning of life? … Well, I do.
And it reminds me. . . it reminds me to say thank
you . . . to say thank you to the world . . . to the
waters, to sunshine, to the birds (those blessed
songbirds of dayenu and self-sacrifice) humming
tunes timeless, the memory of the moment, never
forgotten… Never forget it, my friend. Never forget
your call, the calling of the mountains, taking you –
and me – home, that special place where there is no
more fear, and the night is full of L O V E, full of
song— songbirds pressed against our lips, ears,
mouths; songbirds filling the world with the
presence of God, the beauty I see when you fall in
LOVE with the blessing, the prayer that is written
across the sidewalk, when you go to the bathroom,
when you eat dinner, and wipe your face (your
smiling brilliance outshining even heaven and
filling the darkness with light & with LOVE). May
you never forget it. May you never forget this song.
For Regina Higgins
May the wind blow back your hair with all the
brilliance and bright blessings that we wake up to in
the morning, when we go to the mirror, arms
outstretched wide as the wilderness beauty in your
heart, and let out a big sigh of sunshine, and head
higher than heaven, release the willful ways of woe
and walk into the corridor-depths, the chasms
within your own soul; your body a temple of
talismans, markings of the most sacred lyrics—
lyrics which the wind whispers when you whistle,
when you hum and when you say I LOVE YOU and
give yourself – and all of humanity – a hug,
thanking the mirror for allowing you to be you, just
for today, just for this moment, where everything is
all right and full of love.
For Megha Sood
I know it may seem like everything is going
downhill. Like the world is going to hell, blown
apart by the wind of jumpers, not realize the love in
And I know it may seem like the jumpers are full of
fear, but they know you will catch them.
And I trust you with my heart.
And though it may seem like there are no more
words left to breathe…
And though it may seem terrible how everything
aches upon each breath…
Don’t forget the beauty that is your image, your true
resilience, the silent nuclear core of the universe,
saying “thank you” for reminding me WHO I AM
as I peer into the window and talk to the wisdom
that encompasses us all, flowing down the river of
realization, the realization that you are not some
floundering spirit or some conjurer of tricks trying
to make ends meet, trying to b ear your heart for
some bread. No, you’re none of those things.
You’re the whole entirety of it all. And though it
may seem hopeless, helpless and entirely
cumbersome, as you drift back to bed and
remember an ocean of stars, fade away into
slumber, that beautiful and magnificent meditation
full of meaning in innumerable ways, gifting silence
with sound… you and I both know. . . that there is
more to smile about than meets the eye; that the
chimney is not on fire, — and those birds you hear
croaking and creaking on the floorboards of
heaven’s attic: They aren’t ravens at all; they are
doves, songbirds, bringers of hope, harmony, peace
The same rest I speak to you when I breathe a spark
into your eyes.
[NOTE: No Step 3 (combo) for this week.]
Joshua Corwin, a Los Angeles native, is a neurodiverse, 2-time Pushcart Prize-nominated, 1-time Best of the Net-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 Mystic Boxing Commission Festival of Sound and Vision, read with 2013 US Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, Michael C. Ford, S.A. Griffin, Ellyn Maybe, among others. 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,” writes the weekly Incentovise column for Oddball Magazine 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). Corwin is editing and compiling Assiduous Dust: Home of the OTSCP, Vol. 1 (forthcoming April 2021, TBD) featuring 36 award-winning poets, all demonstrating a new type of found poem (OTSCP) he invented.