This poem was written by Nicelle Davis using words generated by Terry Wolverton through fevered writing. Comments by Nicelle on the process of writing the poem appear below.
THE GHOST TOWN THAT’S STILL ON FIRE
Birds popping out of toasters
a comb in disgust says, “it’s not my problem”
even shoes are indifferent to running
mail at the front door warns:
the Ghosts are on fire!
Ghosts the shape of smoke, vessels
of territory, make the unseen spark.
Their faces a window.
Their mouths a jukebox.
Their eyes an alley.
Their hearts a bowling ball.
Sparks come to life—
I once spent a night
tangled in air
lighting up the night
melding this fire to that.
Statement About the Process
I didn’t anticipate missing so many words, especially prepositions. I never realized how important the words “into,” “over,” and “through” were to my writing life. I discovered that placement and proximity are concepts that I obsess over. I naturally (subconsciously) look for the perfect preposition to stitch the quilt-pieces of life together. For years, I’ve been trained to look for the nouns and verbs of a poem—this is something I still do and am awed by while reading my favorite poets’ work—but not prepositions. I had always been taught to cut out the prepositional phrase and I did so without question. But secretly (secrete even to myself) I find something romantic about prepositions—how they extend from one image to the next, or link an action to an object. This has been a life changing experience for me and I am forever indebted to Terry for including me in disarticulations.
This poem was written by Terry Wolverton using words generated by Nicelle Davis through fevered writing.
Even the shadow-man has passions.
Fevers in his blood hold off sleep; night
body folded into bedsheets as
the world spins into unblinking day.
His arms are sunburnt, his eyes washed in
predictions of future, joy victim
of an eternal game. He’d only
wanted a spoonful of mystery.
But want’s a plague. One time he gambled,
he found out what it’s like to lose big,
clown in the cemetery, calling
someone’s name until it burned to ash.
Must be the wrong door into language,
the wrong zodiac sign. Another
abstract lover, figurine of his
weak invention, all wonder and chance.
So, is he no more than a machine
with pants? Shadow against sky, shadow
on the ground. Dust filling every
corner, this forever lost motel.