First Tuesdays |||

The Cento for April 2, 2024

To Keep You Over and Over Performing Your Loneliness


Like a blob of snot dangling from god’s left nostril,
everything is becoming artificial quickly.
Give me a voice, give me a new face,
jaws endless, stomach bottomless.


One hand on her hand, one hand on aluminum bars.
Her eyelids spread over the top of her eyeballs,
pinwheeling like lovers over a precipice.


Step forward. We hear you are a good man.
Bury you with a good shovel in the good earth.
That was the year the rains came, all in a whisper.


The curse you gave me keeps me up at night.
In the spotlight of Death,
Life shines in its brightest colors.
In this life and the next, may the Muses take your hand.


The last call: I wish it wasn’t
steel heated to the color of the morning sun.
You tack your promises to the wall with nails made of ice,
the thinnest ice anyone had ever seen.


My first real home, my first real love:
if one steps on it, they fall into another dimension.

During every First Tuesdays open mic, we communally compose a cento using language taken from each open-mic reader’s offering. On September 3rd, those readers were: This cento is composed of lines from the following open mic readers: Richard Jeffrey Newman, Monija Rahman, Bruce Whitacre, Robert Kaplan, Herb Rubenstein, Martha Hollander, Noah Bumas (who read from Bertholt Brecht), Henry Sussman, Kristi Hart, Adina Dabija, Adrienne Fihenakis, Amina Irving, David Siller, Andrew Dick, Scott Bankert, Kate Cuapio Galvez, and Ronit Malekan.

Many thanks to David Siller, our trusty scribe for writing the cento down as we composed it.

Photo Credit: Transly Translation Agency on Unsplash.

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