Oulipoem 30: April 30 — Patchwork Quilt

30 Apr

So, here we are, at last. I hate to let it go. It has been an extraordinary month of camaraderie, learning, and poetry. So many thanks to everyone for the fun, but most of all to Jenni and Beth who orchestrated the project and Doug who designed tools to help with many of the prompts. You can find all three over at the Found Poetry Review, as well as the final poems of my fellow Oulipoemers.

For our final prompt, we were asked to ‘Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates the words and lines from all of your past 29 poems’. As happens so often, the poem went in its own direction. I couldn’t shake the train conductor.

The poem:

Crow woman is a season

— this was one piece
out of a moment,

a study of patterns
in isolation
even imprisonment —

when a train conductor (who secretly
has a story to tell locked in)
dances in a shaft of sunlight.

(all we can do is trace out patterns,
an exclamation point
missed moments,mercurial moments)

Night brings his lips tickly with still.
He ignores his thin chances,
never stops to think —
feels the power, sees no threat —

(don’t try to cool the fires
let tempers flare fierce and bright)

a door closes
carefully    — important —

a death sentence on the run
lost terrified and besieged by the wild forest
the fictitious focus

(because we know what happens
— the real reason they jump —
a recent misstep,
a sense of abandonment
the end of the world —
the pieces will fall into place)

where a girl hangs
ghost-like from the washing line
roots cut loose
a duration in search of a translation
(her world     her window     her strange inspiration
takes flight — cyan woe. Pull.
The kite has small wings.)

Dahlias, acacia, jasmine,
long-stemmed roses,
powdery stephanotis, lilies
and hydrangeas —

the spreading of her ashes was at sea.

The sources:

The material is from my last 29 poems, therefore from the San Francisco Chronicle and The Wall Street Journal, whose writers I give all my thanks.



Posted by on 30/04/2014 in exercises, oulipost, poetry


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11 responses to “Oulipoem 30: April 30 — Patchwork Quilt

  1. barbcrary

    30/04/2014 at 10:41 am

    Aw, Margo, this one is amazing. This was not your ongoing theme, correct? If so, I didn’t recognize it along the way. (And there are no mobsters…)

    • margo roby

      30/04/2014 at 10:50 am

      Thank you, Barb! Remixing is my absolute favourite form of found. No, no ongoing theme. That would have hamstrung my mind. (Grin–I thought of the mobsters)


    30/04/2014 at 4:20 pm

    Wow! The title drew me in – your poem reminded me of a Victorian patchwork technique known as crazy, made with patches of all colours and textures.

    Sorry, I haven’t been following the Oulipost, as I was ill at the start, and in any case didn’t really understand the instructions. Perhaps next year?

    • margo roby

      30/04/2014 at 4:43 pm

      To next year, ViV! I’m already wondering what the FPR will come up with.

  3. whimsygizmo

    30/04/2014 at 7:52 pm

    Okay, so I started to cut and paste some of my favorite lines from the poem above, and then I realized I was butchering it, and didn’t know where to start or stop. This is, by far, my favorite of yours this month. From title to last stunner line: WONDERFUL.

    I’m here:

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for indulging me in coming along for the ride, and coming over to comment amidst your own April madness. I have one poem left to go (three challenges each day all month), and I am what can only be described as punch drunk. Whew. I think a (small) poetry fast may be in order. 😉

    • margo roby

      01/05/2014 at 7:14 am

      Thank you, de. I felt more myself, being allowed to remix my way.

      Don’t disappear entirely! It has been so good to ‘see’ you again and to have you along for the ride. If you do disappear into life, I’ll see you next April 😀

      • whimsygizmo

        01/05/2014 at 9:34 am

        I’m always around, ma’am. When I’m not briefly fasting, I write at least a poem a day (or its equivalent). I shall try to come your way for those weekly prompts more often. 🙂

        • margo roby

          01/05/2014 at 9:36 am

          😀 I know the problem: I’m following you, but do you have a ‘land in my inbox’ feature on your blog.? I never seem to have time to go to my Reader.

          • whimsygizmo

            01/05/2014 at 9:52 am

            I’m the exact same way! My email is my only good inbox! 😉
            Yes, it’s supposed to, and I just checked widgets and it says it DOES, but then I when I pretend I want to sign up, I can’t find it. I shall have to explore in the next day or so, when I can breathe again. 😉 I will let you know when I’ve got it solved. And thank you for asking! Have a restful day!

            • margo roby

              01/05/2014 at 9:54 am

              Okay, I spotted it. I signed up. [It’s a little unnerving that it didn’t need to ask my address.] I’ll let you know if nothing comes in.
              Ditto 🙂


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