The Kingdom Comes I


This past Tueday, TweetSpeak Poetry hosted another poetry jam on Twitter. Fourteen intrepid souls participated, jamming to the prompts from Kingdom Come: Poems by John Estes. And the poet himself joined us, and at the end offered this observation: “The poetry-tweet-jam is a thing like no other. An exquisite corpse on ritalin. Nice invention.” We think that’s a compliment.

We posted our review of Kingdom Come here in May. In 2009, we reviewed his chapbook, Breakfast with Blake at the Lacoon. John’s web site is here. He is an assistant professor of English and driector of Creative Writing at Malone University in Ohio.

The first five poems edited from the jam are below. In honor of the poet and his new collection, we’re entitling this group of TweetSpeak poems “The Kingdom Comes.”

The Kingdom Comes I

By @llbarkat, @SandraHeskaKing, @gyoung9751, @jestes, @Doallas, @jejpoet, @CeliaNickel1, @togetherforgood, @PensieveRobin, @kellysauer, @sethhaines, @theeagleacademy, @mdgoodyear, and @elizabethesther. Edited by @gyoung9751.

If I Am Guilty

If I am guilty, let it be
with moss, never with
milk, not linen nor silk;
silk, like moss, appears
between the cracks of
innocence with rain
innocence with woods
innocence with poets
and authors and love.

I love you by moss, in rain
beckoning like white stitches
against the grey, stitches
between layers of skin,
fastening tight, holding,
overrunning with stories
remembered no longer
the stories I write,
the stories of clouds,
white galleons sailing.

The Woods of Ancient Trees

The woods of ancient trees
are calling, beckoning;
the echoes of trees
are crying, sighing.
I am called by the tears
of the woods, come be
washed innocent.
My guilt drips like
Spanish Moss, a tangle
of ancient deceit.

I am full of deep clouds,
falling rain, climbing up
and up. I am grown heavy
with burdens, echoing deep
Can you stitch a tree?
What would it take, what
echo might it make?
Tears evaporate, become
the clouds grown heavy like
roots and underground rivers
coursing through canyoned walls,
washed with canyoned tears.

History Speaks Here

History speaks here; I hear it calling, carrying
words we dare not speak. Unspoken, sapped
of life, soured tastes, scoured from our mouths,
they fall heavy, tinder underfoot. Meant as
nevermores, they move away, trading
innocence for embarrassment

Laugh, laugh, wash all guilt away with sweet
cleansing laughter, with laughter and pain,
birth tears. I laughed at a river, once, and
the river laughed back. I didn’t know
the river smiled, staying true yet always
running away, meandering in woods.

I Hear Echoes Laughing

I hear echoes laughing, stitched
from nether parts,
I see galleons laughing, stitched
from rivers of roots,
I feel birches laughing, stitched
from roots of rivers.

There’s a galleon, and a canyon,
galleon ships on canyon shelves,
tilting tips toward sandstone waves,
galleon ships and canyon laughing,
echoing where the river used to be.
I can jump off into water or
jump down and fly.

A Child’s Quick Wit

A child’s quick wit
brings us to a close;
a child’s quick close
brings us to a wit.
A river’s a river,
So let’s drink tea.

Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Jejpoet says:

    I thought I was paying attention, but so many of these lines seem new. Good work!

  2. Wow, this is beautiful! I’m glad none of my cheesy lines made it into the final draft–at least, they’re so beautiful now I don’t recognize them! :-D Awesome work!!

  3. L.L. Barkat says:

    Some great tweets from this party! Can’t wait to see all the poems.

    From this set, I especially like…

    “the stories I write,
    the stories of clouds,
    white galleons sailing.”

  4. You’ve stitched these words well. Beautiful work. I salute you with my cup of tea.

  5. You all are amazing…

    The woods of ancient trees
    are calling, beckoning;
    the echoes of trees
    are crying, sighing.
    I am called by the tears
    of the woods, come be
    washed innocent.

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