The Cento for June 5, 2018

During every First Tuesdays open mic, we communally compose a cento using language taken from each open-mic reader’s offering. This poem is composed of lines from work performed by, in order of appearance: Denis Gray, Liz Gray (reading a translation of Hafez), Barbara Gray, Valerie G. Keane (reading Sharon Olds), Marty Levine, Pat Duffy, Stained Napkins, Herb Rubenstein, Dan Fleshler, Lydia Chang, Norman Stock, Henry Sussman, Malcolm Chang, & Pichchenda Bao.


I knew the blues song front to back.
I was not the only one
exiled from the sanctuary of virtue.

All you need is meat.
It stands up in praise of God,
and yet you’re still alive.

The colors I heard stayed.

Her bookmarks were dead flowers,
razor sharpened on both ends.
Before the idea of awe,
I did not know
what to say or what to do.

I have to hold on tight,
or I will be killed.
Powerful winds
rifle through these parts,
a price she will be paying
until she is old.
How is our imperative to endure
different from yours?

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