Student work: 80 Flowers poems

The danger on all sides with this exercise was Staying On Topic. Some of the ones below manage to get gorgeously off-topic once and again. Others stick to a putative topic but the texture and resonance of the language exceeds all topicality. In several you can see a hesitant limbering-up in the first line or two then a far more confident soar. I’m really struck, once more, typing these up, how good they are at what they do.


The dull dust-bowl craggy-exterior couch
rotten kitchen five-pound-bag wrinkly-skin grocery
Ireland-famine Idaho-farming scarecrow rolling dry
yellow dirt ground roots economy
thin-sliced thanksgiving mashed boring lazy
cook-it boil-it bake-it fry-it mash-it
vegetable grimes lumens old-man harvest
french-fries electrical-currents round brown gun
suds buds crud grudge spud


Carefree ciaos binding sinners dawn
hairless in feature gruesome quenched
disease be sweet with June
a cloud full as cups
streaking glasses wiggled off noses
revenge useless teeth rotted sunflower
quick slandered years opium swander
easiness night wish us eve


Jump man castle princess save
brick gold life die pit
plant tube bite pants small
underground black greenness gone warp
spring cloud shell wing lift
ghost browning night gap stairs
air fish bridge leap straightaway
fire spin axe fall finish


Eyeballs until milky bubbling wave
Spiced wet sun sugar thumb
Porcelain Ukraine melts heated eve
Ancient opaque petals stir temple
Black steam with heavy blink
Soothed pinky stains marriage peel
Waking garden hearth quiet pour
Tea-leaf enjoys museum whisper sip


white knife winter’s home again
green blade red between lips
ardor-arbor again wet as knife
shoots green movement legs-in-ground come
bouqueted breath mist kneads moon
like-I-scent foxlog winter breathing hoarfrost
tendrils fungi frankly disputing sparrows
youth-blood sapling lusts sorrows spring

Eat coffee grounds running morning
downwind wine orchards grapes making
beans process tea leaves scatter
summer flowers foating dirty water
fallen babes hotchocolate system milk
crash liquid brakes warm throat
stove appliances cats meow food
sleepy timer Nyquil roses out


Winter parks ground cup nests
Forests breed westward rare vagrants
Stock speckled dark low wings
Underwing reddish releases nature song
Well known high melody altered
Unassuming harmonic ethereal modern media
Descending spiral pitches uniquely simple
Delicate earth tailed feathered hermit


Pearls of wisdom sea salt
green blue glass sand shimmering
wet sting bare feet black-and-brown
aimless below thirty hot disappearing
sails tossed-up stones cuts grins
angel-kisses your game gulls aquamarine
ocean push-and-pull drops chilled out
in cycles shore between toes


Pinwheel wheat fields spinning desert
hotel room hills slow hands
discovery channel children turning sun
energy lights dry crisp miles
telephone wires tattoo distance golden
white semis rise and fall
old highway birds spinning dusk
Columbia Gorge asphalt passengers flicker.


blue plum slits skin ink
clotted pulled clocks push death
tidy pray box shine we
kneel love spin wheeled wilt
eggs crumble each star reels
breaks brew dolls plotted temples
glum lots drew sticks mud
castes loamed castle knots giggle

Finally some individual lines I really admired:

bone saw reek red cross

stub cylinder opiate lounge chair

Large not purple fat water

treasure wild paper golden by

Lives green in room mountainside

roof yellow circle entrance tree

Spring-bent sprung-scent love

Split-infinity slips toes tips

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I write draw teach blog in and from the Pacific Northwest of America.

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