Twitter Poetry: Spinning Tickets for a Prayer Wheel

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Some 15 poets gathered at the recent Tweetspeak Twitter Poetry jam, and early on tried to guess the source of the prompts. Some thought it was Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, popular with many of us poets and writers – so popular, in fact, that some of the jam participants kept holding on to it. As it turns out, the source was Annie Dillard, but it was her poetry volume Tickets for a Prayer Wheel.

Below are the first five poems from our Twitter poetry party, collectively entitled Spinning Tickets for a Prayer Wheel. Get ready for a bank, some actors, fish, a scarlet waterfall, and bananas. Bananas?

And there are more to come.

Poems Inspired by Tickets for a Prayer Wheel

By @Doallas, @lwlindquist, @llbarkat, @SoniaJoie, @chrisyokel, @KathrynLNeel, @mmerubies, @lanearnold, @graceappears, @jen_rose, @BrighterSideblg, @flaxenprint, @Diana605, @VaporWhisp, and @MelJepson. Edited by @gyoung9751.

A bank, a troupe

Once I glimpsed round the edge
of a bank a troupe of actors,
round the edge of a bank
a troupe of actors duck. I glimpse
through a wood their backs sliding
into Tinker Creek. Ducking around
the edge of a bank a troupe of actors,
a troupe of ducks flap, twirl like actors
in a hidden wood creek
round the corner of the bank.

Some fish, a bank

Today I saw a creek acting as a bank.
A school of trout fished from the bank.
Crawfish, trout, all let out from school
for a field trip to the bank. Follow
the baby ducks to the creek’s edge,
watch them slide into the water
with their mother and then I look
at my own sons, my own baby ducks,
how they follow close behind and
waddle like my rhythm is their rhythm
and I wonder if I’ve led them straight.
I blink away saltwater tears.

A scarlet fish, a scarlet waterfall

I am your scarlet fish, a fish
in a scarlet jacket, you my hook.
From the creek, a zither sounds
and the fish slide into place on ice
just as my eye catches
that scarlet-jacketed jaybird.
I will not hook if you draw
scarlet from the zither. I see
the hook from the corner
of my eye, shifting beneath
the scarlet jacket, your scarlet fins,
your scarlet fins.

If you could just tell me
what the zither is. Is it scarlet?
Need the fin fear the hook?
I’ll stay, love, kissing you
behind the scarlet waterfall,
the scarlet waterfall, it falls
and falls and falls. Like
your scarlet poems, down
my back, down my tiny bones.

Can you fish with a zither?

Silhouette in the darkness

I glimpse a silhouette in the darkness
of the shadows. She winks at me,
I turn fast, blush, smile, stammer
away. With a ten-foot hook she winks.
I glimpse a silhouette of trees
in the creek, snow on the bank,
winter in my mind. Promise me
you’ll stay.

I dropped bananas

I dropped bananas.
I was just saying how I loved her,
how I let her years ago love me back,
when I dropped bananas. A bunch
of bananas peeled off their yellow skins.

I went to buy bananas, and they all
shriveled brown. I wished for jungle
green leaves and soft fur and the feel
of fresh bananas on my teeth.
Don’t tell her about the bananas.

Photograph by Vox Efx. Creative Commons via Flicker. Post by Glynn Young, author of the novels Dancing Priest and the recently published A Light Shining


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  1. says

    “. . . snow on the bank, / winter in my mind. . . .”: lovely.

    I like the unexpectedness of “I dropped bananas. / I was just saying how I loved her.” The poem conveys well the strangeness of love and its associations for us.

    Well-done, Glynn!

  2. says

    Glynn, this was my first twitter party and I (guilty as charged) was the rally cry stuck on Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. What beauty you have created out of lines from many. A picture of community. What a privilege to participate and then to see the “finished product”. Fascinating creative process. :)


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