One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Collaboration - Susie Clevenger And Mama Zen

image via Pinterest

When Susie and I first began working on our collaboration, I think that we were both a little unsure.  Should we go with a form of some kind?  A theme?  We tentatively exchanged a few ideas, but it just wasn't happening.  That is, until we got out of our own way and let the words connect themselves . . . and us.


My journal is a notebook
abandoned by my mother
when she forgot how to write.
For some reason I am on a journey
to find myself within the lines
she could never fill
with will
or pills
or prayers to her own mother's vicious God.

Empty begat Empty
and didn't spare the rod.

 image via Pinterest


annell said...

Love to hear more about the collaboration. I like what you have written today about the journal.

Helen said...

Found this fascinating .. my mother kept a journal, if I'd had access to it in the last decade of her life, I would have realized she was losing the ability to string sentences together, that her memory was failing.

Other Mary said...

You blew me away with this! What a powerful piece about mothers and daughters.

Kay L. Davies said...

A fantastic write. The last two lines are so full of pain.
Little note from the old editor: should be "prayers to her own mother's vicious God" — apostrophe not necessary for plural.

Marian said...

wow, such strength in these spare lines!

Lolamouse said...

This is so intense and full of pain and longing. Great job ladies!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is the very best kind of poem - two voices blended SEAMLESSLY (wow!) - a dark tale told with strength. Such fine writing. Fabulous work, Mama Zen and Susie!!!!!!!!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Grandmothers, daughters, mothers, words.. a lethal combination at the best of times and this is such a powerful exploration of the subject. It rings so true - a writing something as contrived as poetry without contrivance is an art. I would be very proud if I had been a part of this creative process.

Hannah said...

I echo Kerry's sentiments...proud indeed. And I agree with Sherry...this is seamless!!

You two have created such a emotive powerful in its brevity as well.

This is something I've been thinking about a lot in the last few years...the idea of what/where we pick up from whence our mothers have left off...

Thank you both so much! ♥

Anonymous said...

There is so much to be said in the empty lines... That final line is the cap on a bottle of WOW.

What did our mothers teach us? Or our foster moms, etc? That would be a good prompt, and also our fathers, foster dads. Basically, our mentors from birth on up.

Beautiful work, my friends. Amy

Anonymous said...

Yikes. Very strong. Really well done. I can see each of your hands in a way (maybe)--both very intense and well done. k.

hedgewitch said...

I also could sense both of your voices in this, very strongly--Susie's with her power to create a mood out of thin air, and MZ's with the trenchant barb that sinks the hook in the jaw with a twist that penetrates. In a good way--poetry without a point is not worth reading. Sometimes the point is sharp enough to cut, as here. Excellent work, you two.

Susie Clevenger said...

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments. It was such an honor to work with Mama Zen. Her ability to say so much in such few words is amazing.

Fireblossom said...

I love those last three lines.

Ella said...

Wow, so profound and powerful! I too read volumes between those lines~
I could see both of your voices in this poem~ :D

Grace said...

Short but powerful words ~

Enjoyed this collaboration, thanks to both of you ~

gabrielle said...

We are our undeniably our mother’s daughters. Their words permeate our lives.

My mother’s pain was so deep and twisted, it destroyed our family. I’ve tried to exorcise her by writing her out of my life. But there is something that lingers and longs to be finished.

How extraordinary and moving this collaboration, My Journal. The lineage spills, the skein unspools. It makes the grief bearable. Thank you so much for writing this.

Susan said...

Here nothing eases the mother's abandonment of herself and all, including the narrator. I say her Mom may have begot empty, but the narrator's did not. What a place to meet! Strength in its brevity.

Mary said...

Really a wonderfully seamless collaboration...with a message that seems like ONE voice.

LaTonya Baldwin said...

Pardon me. Did you here that crash? Sorry about that. Is this collaboration or a single voice? Seamless, flawless. Hot damn is all I can say at the moment.

Poets it's moments of reading like this that have me sitting here daily so I can experience this.

Thank you.

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

This team effort has captured the pain.

Margaret said...

A work of ART! Wow.