This poem was written by Karineh Mahdessian using words generated by Terry Wolverton through fevered writing. Karineh’s comments on the process of writing the poem appear below.
All night, you are stuck
in my throat; chest splits heavy—
I can’t evict you
Absence invades my
dreams filled with forgotten bones.
You declare it love.
Before sunrise, I
unfurl my punches, bury
you in my grimace.
In the center of
my life, history collects
too much emptiness.
Statement About the Process
I really liked this project because it gave me an opportunity to think outside of the box and challenged me to write differently. Even though I ended up writing haikus, I liked how I was limited in the words that I could use–although I have to admit that I liked the choices of words that I did have. At times, it was frustrating because I wanted to write what I wanted to write but I also had to work harder to make it fit the requirements.
This poem was written by Terry Wolverton using words generated by Karineh Mahdessian through fevered writing.
I yam what I yam, my sweet potato;
this wall of skin, not what you expected.
I cannot wait a day or night for your
scientists to shape a different world.
Enough is enough. No longer will I
fail in the father’s shadow. No longer
can I hide under the moon. Already
I am untamable, empty of breath.
My kiss is a rock, my body a gun.
All the broken songs hurled from the soft wound of
of my mouth. Have you held this animal?
Has your monster whispered blind promises?
If once you thought I was just some silly
daughter, topless and brainless on sorrow’s
farm, speechless as I washed my shame, if that
was the only story you learned to love,
come, walk with me, blinking into the air
of an unrecognizable future.
We can’t sleep anymore; sun’s brightness breaks
my tired name, takes you to your knees. Stand up.
Ask the hummingbird, still wild, balanced on
the arm of madness, eyes full of mockery,
what magic is this that won’t disappear?
Don’t laugh, my sweet potato. This is war.