Commune Exercise Day 3: Find Your Inspiration

Today’s exercise asks us to utilize our senses when we write a poem. I’m here watching this video, smelling my sweat, greasy hair stuck to my brow, thinking, duh.


But, Ms J Suskin, let us honor the gods with our five senses! Below are my five and a bonus one:



More than dust enters

my nose

in the fragrant city of Bucharest

charred corn on the cob

wet grass and the clean smell of sunlight

mix with the fumes of a brand new

exhaust pipe

of a Dacia car

all of it telling my nose

to keep on going




I see stillness

at my wooden desk

resting pens and pencils

the bubbling of a mineral water

next to an empty espresso cup

which reads

Love you More

It isn’t mine

But the feeling’s mutual




If this apartment were a person

it would be a teenage girl

always antsy, always fidgeting

always talking

making noise

tinkering away

those drops from the air conditioning outside

the hammering on the fifth floor

the sweeping of dust above us

the clattering of keyboards in the bedroom

and the living room

this place is a living place

making noise


saying go, go, go




The most sensitive part of my body

is not the one you’re thinking

it’s the soles of my feet

the part of my body always touching something

except when it’s not

and then the sensation is unbearable

electric tickles carpet my sole

when dangling off a cliff

even before that, falling asleep

blood veining through the course

my feet catch on fire

with the thought–yes they think–

of falling off the ledge


at this chair, typing, my fingers echoing the feeling below

my feet roar

with excitement




I may not be from Buenos Aires

but I need my bitter black

washed by the bubbling clear

I may not be from New York

but I need my coils of meat

slathered in seedy cream

I may not be from Bucharest

but when I order a roll

the shiny stuff better be boiled in the crunchy stuff

My mouth, were it a passport,

would need hundreds of hundreds of hundreds

of stamps

with so many names plus yours



So the bonus poem also comes from today’s exercise, and basically it asks for us to explore pain and joy. I always think of Khalil Gibran’s work on these two subjects–particularly with how he juxtaposes them. Off the top of my head, I believe he says you need one for the other, or, closer to his words: Pain is the knife that carves the cup we will with joy. Something like that. Just google it. (Or was it sorrow?)


In other news, here is a poem that explores those subjects together:



I’m tired of my old pain and old joys

tired of them like old gods

who stuck around after the party was over

call them by another name

or ditch them dump them

but give me new ones

new pains to give new poems to

new joys to drink wine with

let my life take a new direction

new is the pain of tomorrow I want

new is the joy I share I want

I am ready

I am wanting

give them to me now now now

that I may heal

that I may grow

that I may help you

help yourself


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