I go out to the garden, see
I go out to the garden, see
the hummingbird is at the feeder.
The sky is cold. It is dark and rainy
as it should be
and here we are, you,
were that blue,
ball of human
the swollen creek
There is a pause
and the conversation turns
and here we are, here
at the end of things,
the perched birds,
crying and unseen
among the branches—
they are the hardest
to keep down
Yesterday, anger was a sanctuary.
Every two weeks I came home,
tried not to look at the tree
that leans so far–it was like hunger,
Today it is the crows who speak, finally.
The splintered oak
has leafed out, the sun
in our wingless,
Source & Method
Cento, source: First lines: Welch, Carolyn. The Garden of Fragile Beings. Finishing Line Press, 2019. Print.
Kathy Douglas is a Bennington MFA with recent found poems in Unlocking The Word: An Anthology of Found Poetry, Lamar University Press (2018). Her current centos celebrate her adult son’s return home after a near fatal 7 month descent into addiction and homelessness in SF.
Photo by Joel Naren
Open this when you need me most
Don’t you know? A mother’s love can’t sleep
Instead, let it be the echo to every footstep
Suppose you do change your life
Tell me it was for hunger, a finger’s worth
of dark from daybreak behind the fallen oak,
a scar’s width of warmth on a worn man’s neck
where everything has a price afterward.
I woke into the red dark. There was a door
& then a door
a b c a b c a b c Red
is only black remembering we made it
Don’t be afraid
I approach a field
I pull into the field
& cut the engine
& close his eyes
& this is how we danced
Source: First lines. Vuong, Ocean. Night Sky With Exit Wounds. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2016.
Method: Selected first lines are transcribed in list form, and the poem is written using the list as a basis (including title). No words are added. Not all lines are used. Lines are moved, blended, restructured, and truncated (at end only). All words are kept in the order in which they appear in the original line of text.
Kathy Douglas is writing a series of centos on estrangement using first lines from individual books of poetry. Kathy has three poems forthcoming in an anthology of found poetry, and her work can be found in Right Hand Pointing, After The Pause, shufpoetry, Unlost Journal, Calyx, Drunken Boat, The Cafe Review, Noctua, and Poetry WTF?! She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College.
Source: Cut outs from issues of The New York Times Magazine, and New Yorker Magazine.
Kathy Douglas is writing and photographing a coffee table book of coffee table poems. She has two poems featured in the current issue of Right Hand Pointing, sympathetic magic, Issue 118. Kathy’s work can be found in Unlost Journal, Calyx, Drunken Boat, The Cafe Review, Noctua, Right Hand Pointing, After The Pause, shufpoetry, and Poetry WTF?! She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College.
Sources: Flying includes cut outs from issues of The New York Times Magazine, The Sunday New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, and local advertising circulars. Selected words and punctuation marks are made by hand.
Process: Part chance and part deliberation, the coffee table poems are written by selecting words and phrases based on size, color and themes. Starting with a loose selection process, choices progress organically towards themes. The cut out “bank” of text is placed on the table and moved around to find connections.Then poems are written by synthesizing syntax, meaning,design, and elements of poetry. Initially written in one sitting, the editing process may last through the week, provided the dog doesn’t fan the table with his tail.
Kathy Douglas is writing a coffee table book of coffee table poems. She recently completed a book of blackout poems entitled On The Ward of Omens based on Mary Daly’s Beyond God the Father: Toward A Philosophy of Women’s Liberation. Work can be found in Calyx, Drunken Boat, The Cafe Review, Noctua, Right Hand Pointing, After The Pause, shufpoetry, and Poetry WTF?! She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College. medium.com/@kathrynd Tweets @kathydouglas