March 3, 2006

The Lines, Invisible

Q. Shenaynay

Our family has a history of making up stories in tandem -- we did this a lot when the girls were small, particularly in situations that involved lots of waiting. One of us would start the story and then we would each take a turn adding the next bit. It was super for honing listening skills, not to mention a mighty impressive exercise in creativity. Besides that, it was usually ripping silly fun.

Later, when we found ourselves sitting through hours and hours of Suzuki recitals (I'm talking 4 hour long, mind-numbing shindigs), we began writing stories in tandem in a notebook that we would pass down the row. Now these were just beyond bizarre. Maybe I will post one sometime.

But now Fa and I have taken it into the techno realm: we have come into a little habit of writing tandem poetry using Instant Messenger. I send her a line, with no comment about what it might mean, and she writes the next line or two, and so on. Okay, maybe we're a little odd, but this is how we get our kicks. Besides, we like odd.

Here's one:


The Lines

I face the lines and turn;
ducks rise before my face.
I covet their ascent, their fleeing
grey souls rise to the yellow void.
In their boundlessness I feel my bounds,
grey bounds, like all that binds.
Yellow is free, yellow is flight --
but mired I am, in clay and weeds,
all brown and binding.
Mired I am here
gazing up at gold.



Here's another, from a couple of months ago:


Invisible

Invisibility, said he
and his eyes went opaque
like shades of a closing store;
and musing on crystal balls
he smirks at finding
a glass doorknob in his hand
and feels the heavy tumble
of the lock.

My kingdom for the key, said she,
remembering other doors
left swinging in the wind;
she had the skeleton for those --
but the seventh rib is missing,
which this door requires.

Invisibility, says he
and his eyes go opaque.
He wraps his thoughts in a blanket
and wonders that he is alone.



This is a surprisingly serendipitous thing to do -- waiting for the next line to come back to you is sort of like a little dose of that big thrill of getting a letter in the mail. And since you only have to come up with one line at a time, it's all a matter of light-hearted intrigue with no big creative pressure.

We might just have to take this show on the road, so to speak. So if you ever get an email or and IM message from one of us with one strange line of something that might be poetry, you shall know how to proceed. We'll be waiting!

(I'm coming after you next, Shieldmaiden!)

4 comments:

Becca said...

we would do something like this in the car on long trips. we would say (or write) one sentence at a time. needless to say, the stories all came out quite silly and we all had a good laugh over them. good times.

Trogger said...

I love 'em. Good stuff.

Deeapaulitan said...

I just want to tell you all how much I look forward to getting here each day. Your love of God, poetry, silliness, music, reading, writing, and flat shoes & skirts have endeared you to these hearts that are miles across the US from you. We love to play this game of writing a line a in tandem and have written Odes to flip flops, peanutbutter sandwiches and riding in the old VW Bug (among others). I so enjoy knowing that there are others out there who are not only as quirky as my family, but who relish it the way we do as well. Thanks for sharing it all with me.

Calamity Jane said...

We used to write poems line by line, one pieces of paper that we folded over after each line and passed around so that the whole poem was unknown until it was done. The surrealists played this too. And once in a theater class, we paired up and recounted "dreams" line by line, trying to speak together, though the person deciding what to say switched at a word from the instructor. It was difficult, but surprisingly exhilarating.