Step 1. Sit in a park, have lunch with a friend you
haven’t seen for a while (socially distancing, of
course), and then write word-centos of poems by
Lauren Camp, Jubi Arriola-Headley, Tom Zampino
and Clif Mason. (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.)

 

I HOLD A KNIFE TO SUMMER

(a word-cento of Lauren Camp’s
“Wavelengths” *)

Torn summer, unspooling months
spoken with each boat’s brackish delay

dawn vanishing with
green gaze ceaseless

to hunker my vision with the sweetest harrow
of a knife

warms unstable, holds morning
to tread with a sprig of surging

toward home, toward release, toward sky endlessly
a peninsula of braided captivity, cards

of consequence at last. To finish my watch,
wallow with opinions quick to salt

my mouth steady with routine.
I’ve torn whales from water.

Here I lug a want— spend slakes me,
with soft-pinched pulls and chases

back intrepid sky from ceaseless green,
releases and repeats of sky, grasses, summer untied

by my eagle majestic, like a
dark fist, lapping winter petals frozen

by morning, by waves of unstable light, unspoken floral.
This isn’t my nimble-nectar home.

This isn’t my body brimming
with eagle-longing for

the far-end coast, moist
with intent,

careening for sun beside the dark-water,
months of grass untied

by me, as I hold a knife
to summer.

* Original poem by Lauren Camp
published in Psaltery & Lyre.
October 12, 2020.

 

BE

(a word-cento of Jubi-Arriola Headley’s
“Transubstantiation” *)

God would rope the spaces
between booms in butter, bitter butter.
Be. Be hip hop. Be. Be resembling
a kink. Be. Be the late legacy
not wilting yellow hymns of hope,
of teeth. Be. Be the wool you think
you stand for breaks in a voice
of fix. ——Fix that face, smile
better, roiling in Be. Be. Be
spirit vesper resembling joy without lash,
without nerve, without Be. Not coaxed into

feast on received blackness—
you shift form when you lock
hogs’ Be without BE.
BE! BE!! & BE!!!

Be without breaks, be
without better, be
without wilting, be
without a Dawn that could Be
be hooves you into Something

you think is innovation
resembling God—
that lock & kink
of transubstantiation,
without Be.

* Original poem from original kink (Sibling
Rivalry Press; October 12, 2020) by Jubi
Arriola-Headley.

 

POWERLESSNESS

(a word-cento of Thomas Zampino’s
“Our Lazarus Moment” *)

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus,
raised envy forever
to the Phoenix of Limitations,
flawed leaves that face determination
where “begin” breaks ashes with unending force.

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus,
freed mindful moment renewal, rebelliousness
desperate for broken.

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus,
existed drenched in a lingering past,
a moment unlike nothing unburdened,
taught us always we react.

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus.
Might we just start today broken for attention,
broken for a moment,
that moment where we find ourselves again
before our unusually broken face,
with its death-knowledge stench forward
with yet another death still ahead of everything?

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus,
yet we remain clamoring for help, heaped upon
“die continually.”
And even unusually aware of our Powerlessness,

We are not.

* Original poem by Thomas Zampino from
Trees in a Garden of Ashes Anthology
published with Local Gems Press
(August 2020).

 

THERE ARE NO WORDS

(a word-cento of Clif Mason’s
“Depression” *)

Amnesia automobiles incite shuddering fields rebar
sleep & sense sapphires & desires collapsing bones
& satin tongues from jellyfish vocations & nothing
but

falling cicadas vast showers of mirth
bent skyscrapers & eyes of squid
like radios, waves & crickets
sheered sky & poisonous roses mid-air
bud-locked dissolving shells
of lions’ liquid planet, spill every
silk ghost on the street, shaking,
falling apart with who’s left broken
& switched sand of malarial ashes
leaving everyone OFF on the street,
in the whale sky water,
raging with brazenness bravado &
plutonium filigree fallacy of
shopping malls gentrified by red-rust
eyes, renaissance requests
for selfies resisting caricatures &
karaoke into darkness, politic islands.

It’s too early for halogen razors,
if humid ghosts can only pretend
waterfalls aren’t monuments for
panic-quandary seizures,
shallow as war & dogs
fighting nothing &
everything
too late.

Impermanence is gold, seeks rank flame,
steals tone beyond tone, sleeplessness &
questions of subtexts ambiguous resurrection.
Less love-eyes, star’s feather famine with
persona & deceit, parchment parable protozoa
garbled coeval blessings undeserving
anti-rich & counter-poor, tattered flags
of secrets & disquietude ideograms
when I hear the world build again, then
like a faint, we cannot arise from the
jade-air river of muddy vertical waves,
flying like a voice or a shadow swept
earth-bed currents daring to walk & avow
pigeons of panic, raging deafness
for no one, but unknown ocean sings
forests of words with theater intentions,
farrago breaths, bowling for nothing,
but regretting happiness, really
really shallow cities
wet from fades off the Falls
falling, falling new—
failure of star’s panic
rimmed free
gallop,
gallop,
gallop like a ghost

like a ghost prism elegy of air,
skimming rewards from rich & poor
words hippogriff giraffe sequins sail
under loose peril danger down
Linear A braids.

We become Namimbia’s skeletons
deliquescing tongues, ashes on our tongues,
ashes & rewards, guts of wind,
tracks of eyes, rain of bodies,
& fevers & ghosts.

Ghosts. Ghosts like the inchoate Islands
I hear when I obscure waves
of bodies under ocean,
street-streaking out mirth & daisies,
daisies & chrysanthemums of panic & pelts
shattering through those blessings after
blessings
around the shells of thought
& depression,
vacant dreams & hallucinations, riots,
bridges we heard collapsing
make darkness & elegy
rampages red as impulse—
blessings free blessings
breathe
blessings of blessings free,
blessings & blessings…

We feed off purchases.
We harvesters
dissolving,
dissolving with our blessings

into opposition & sleep.

* Original poem by Clif Mason
from Knocking the Stars Senseless
published with Stephen F. Austin
State University Press (2019).

 

Step 2. Turn on the fireplace, pray for a friend,
and write a meditate insert while listening to
Neil Young, “After The Gold Rush”; Stephen Stills
“Do For Others”; Fleetwood Mac, “Landslide”;
Dido, “Thank You”; Neil Young, “The Needle
And The Damage Done”; Simon & Garfunkel,
“I Am A Rock”; Neil Young, “Heart Of Gold”;
and lastly, The Doobie Brothers, “Black Water.”
(This 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 the meditative insert and word-
centos while listening to music: Loving Spoonful,
“Summer In The City”; Sugarloaf, “Green-Eyed
Lady”; Chicago, “25 Or 6 To 4”; The Chambers
Brothers, “The Time Has Come Today”; Eric
Burdon & War, “Spill The Wine”; Rolling Stones,
“Paint It Black”; Traffic, “Dear Mr. Fantasy”;
Santana, “Soul Sacrifice” (1969 Woodstock); and
Vanilla Fudge, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”

 

THE FIREPLACE

            Might we just start today broken for attention,
            broken for a moment,
            hold that moment where we find ourselves again
            with yet another death still ahead of everything?

As I look at the fireplace
and peer into the stars,
I see amnesia automobiles incite shuddering fields
rebar sleep & sense sapphires & desires collapsing bones
& satin tongues from jellyfish vocations & nothing
but

unspooling months,
not wilting yellow hymns of hope-torn summer,
falling cicadas’ vast showers of mirth
between booms in butter, bitter butter
bent skyscrapers & eyes of squid
like radios, waves & crickets,
dawn vanishing with sheered sky
& poisonous roses mid-air
to tread with a sprig of surging
bud-locked dissolving shells
better, roiling in Be. Be. Be
spirit vesper resembling joy without lash
of lions’ liquid planet, spill every
silk ghost on the street, shaking
toward home, toward release, toward sky
endlessly
falling apart with who’s left broken
& switched sand of malarial ashes
leaving everyone OFF on the street,
freed mindful moment renewal, rebelliousness
desperate for broken
in the whale sky water, drenched
in the lingering past
a moment unlike nothing unburdened,
raging with brazenness bravado &
plutonium filigree fallacy of
shopping malls gentrified by red-rust
eyes warm unstable renaissance requests
for selfies resisting morning caricatures &
karaoke into darkness, politic islands,
a peninsula of braided captivity, cards
without a Dawn that could Be.

It’s too early for halogen razors,
if humid ghosts can only pretend
waterfalls aren’t monuments for
panic-quandary seizures,
shallow as war & dogs
fighting nothing &
everything
too late.

I see questions, shaped
as people.
Impermanence is gold, seeks rank flame,
steals tone beyond tone, sleeplessness &
the far-east coast, moist with intent,
Be. Be hip hop. Be. Be resembling
a kink. Be. Be the late legacy
of teeth. Be
without nerve, without Be –
questions of subtexts ambiguous resurrection.
This isn’t my body brimming
with eagle-longing for
loveless eyes, star’s feather famine with forever-
envy persona & deceit,
before our unusually broken face,
parchment parable protozoa –
my mouth steady with routine –
garbled coeval blessings undeserving
without wilting, be
anti-rich & counter-poor, tattered flags
of secrets & disquietude ideograms
when I hear the world build again, then
like a faint, we cannot arise from the
jade-air river of muddy vertical waves,
flying like a voice or a shadow swept
earth-bed currents daring to walk & avow
pigeons of panic, raging deafness
for no one, but unknown ocean sings
forests of words with theater intentions,
wallow with opinions quick to salt
farrago breaths, bowling for nothing,
but regretting happiness, really
really shallow cities
wet from fades off the Falls
to hunker my vision with the sweetest harrow
of a knife
falling, falling new—
failure of star’s panic
rimmed free of consequence at last!
Gallop!
Gallop!
Gallop like a ghost!
They keep talking to stars,
hopeful into the sky.
Powerlessness walked like Lazarus,
like a ghost prism elegy of air,
careening for sun beside the dark-water
skimming rewards from rich & poor
words hippogriff giraffe sequins sail
under loose peril danger down
Linear A braids —

be hooves you into Something
you think is innovation
resembling God—
that lock & kink
of transubstantiation,
without Be.
Raised months of grass united
by me, as I hold a knife
to summer.

I welcome my fingertips to glitter
gems against the flames;
harmonic rapture captures soul.
I’ve torn whales from water,
oceans of pain planted
in my windowpane heart
no longer know how to dart.

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus
away from a voice raspy,
cool as a gun, I want none
other than the chosen
loading freedom,
as hopeful crystal as lasso stars seeking

silence

grounded by space & time. Allow them
to be joyous, tearful harmony.
There is no tomorrow, but you.
You are here to breathe freely
with witnessing starlight for three.

Days are dark, and nights are young;
I cannot complain into the residue.
Noise plunges plagues of priceless tears,
sorrow; but I cannot borrow free

whisper the blue. Whisper the ensȏ true
with your god,
to the Phoenix of Limitations,
flawed leaves that face determination
where “begin” breaks ashes with unending force.

Lonely into places I am pieced,
ringing throughout history as the
landslide plays mountains, drown—

and I soak through my reflection,
hillside rouse. I moan for mothers
all around
the changes, sheltering my eyes

from the storm placeless, saved by
graces
I couldn’t have borrowed
from you…

No, there’s no timber in the oil-less
woods
of change,
of freedom spoken by noticing
children grow older,
as I breathe in the dew.

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus.
BE! BE!! & BE!!!

So, I breathe in the seasons
and wrap my arms around this tapestry,
no mere weight can separate the clouds.

Clap. Clap your hands in the mirror,
watch. Watch the flames sincere.
Be the wool you think
you stand for.

Alone is a loneliness I go,
so solace is my name. —
And that’s not so bad. I twirl

away
into the mosaic mask of God,
universal bliss— Be without BE.

questions of children answerless…
Go. Go & play your heart’s content
upon continents beaming brilliant
against shadowy thoroughbreds I knew.

But oceans still moan for you
as you grow,
and I want to thank you
for one last
timelessness,
bestill my heart, —
O, silent, you are

hallowed by forgiveness
uncorrupt.

I knock on your gardens
awaken fringeless frost;
city bleeds each upper hand, —

gripped by guitar strings I pray
on without looking up above,

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus.

I know everyone throughout the land
of moss,
covered up trust,
with its death-knowledge stench forward

But you can still
crisp the night whisper’s winter;
raise new nearness;
glide on the resilience bay
with otherly love for poetry
and invasion, mothers I am free
godly as Moses,
I can be true,
if you let me incite reason,
deep in my memory I have swept —

Now is the ring.
Courage is here to protect me.

Wander deep, climb high,
as ocean teardrops bright the sky
nameless as miner for murky tolls,
laughing self-noble kindness
for an unseasoned truth:
Where were you? —
When I grew with redwoods bold?
When I stole their time
for you? —
thinking I was doing

this dance,
this dark & dreary dance
of heavenly plight
for you,
to beseech your name nameless
as the world’s endless cloak,
upon which I dig
for you hogs.

We become Namimbia’s skeletons
deliquescing tongues, ashes on tongues
feast on received blackness—
ashes & rewards, guts of wind,
you shift form when you lock
tracks of eyes, rain of bodies
& fevers & ghosts
glittering with silk black-water magic,
nostalgic for crashes’ jumpy pitfall flame;
golden alleys— always shine for me.

Ghosts. Ghosts like the inchoate Islands
I hear when I obscure waves
of bodies under ocean green gaze ceaseless
street-streaking out mirth & daisies,
days dark and nights young,
daisies & chrysanthemums of panic & pelts
shattering through those blessings after
blessings
around the shells of thought
& depression,
vacant dreams & hallucinations, riots,
bridges we heard collapsing
fortify darkness & elegy
rampages red as impulse—
Be without breaks, be
without better, be—
blessings free blessings
breathe
blessings of blessings free,
blessings & blessings…

Yes, you always shower holy notes
upon forest free!

Here I lug a want— spend slakes me,
with soft-pinched pulls and chases

back from intrepid sky from ceaseless green,
releases and repeats of sky, grasses, summer untied

by my eagle majestic, like a
dark fist, lapping winter petals frozen

by morning, by waves of unstable light, unspoken floral.
This isn’t my nimble-nectar home.

You sink time with gold!
Sold on hopeless glory never
always cheerful blessing plenty, –
gardens awake in the ether of pride.

You are here without a fear.

We feed off purchases.
We harvesters
dissolving,
dissolving with our blessings

Powerlessness walked like Lazarus.
We remain clamoring for help, heaped upon
“die continually”
into opposition & sleep.

Questions oracle along algae-grace waterfalls
at seashine intimate
upon Solar Sinai.
Questions, songs,
baritones all night long…

 

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).