Genevieve Betts

Issue 15


Paths forked off and forked off
some more. I followed the monk
through a maze of cloisters.
We came to a quiet place, a grave.
The milky turquoise vow of silence
hung white in the twilight.
I passed through a great doorway
and stood in a network of tunnels.
The music of dulcimers lit the path.
Holy Mountain, I feel like I’ve
climbed out of a dark box and into quasars.
There are so many
cities in every single city sometimes
language can’t even read
the music of meaning, the me
that lives in me. I’m this person,
I’m that person, I’m that person too—
tiny life-form of star compost
full of the sun and the moon.


Source & Method:  Lines taken from David Mitchell’s novel Ghostwritten. After my book of poems came out in 2015, I was looking for a new way to write, a new language. While reading novels, I began underlining lines that stood out to me, usually due to their standout language or strange wording. I decided to use these lines to generate centos and found pleasure in puzzling them together to form poems. I was surprised to discover that although I was speaking through the words of others, it was my voice rising to the surface of each poem.

Genevieve Betts is the author of the poetry collection An Unwalled City (Prolific Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in The Tishman Review, New Mexico Review, Hotel Amerika, The Literary Review, and in other journals and anthologies. She teaches creative writing for Arcadia University’s low-residency MFA program and lives in Santa Fe.