Zelda's Inferno exercises, December 10

Posted on: Fri, 12/15/2006 - 14:39 By: Tom Swiss

This week's Zelda's Inferno exercises:

1) take a assertion from a previous work and negate it. Take that as the starting point of a new piece.

it's not that the stars are afraid of the sun
and run out of the sky when it comes up
(the sun after all is one of them, part of the Fraternal Order of Hydrogen Fusers, member of the union)

the fact is the stars love their brother the sun, and so leave the stage to him

let him have his time to shine, his unmitigated glory
and the sun, like any performer, knows to always leave them wanting more
so at the end of the day he yields the sky to chorus of other lights
making a grand exit

the stars are not afraid of the sun
any more than we are afraid of each other
(ok, so maybe that means that they're a little bit afraid
nothing scares us as much as something that is like us but not entirely like us)the stars love the sun
so the stars fill in for the sun while he rests each night

the stars are not afraid of the sun
the stars know no fear
the stars are fearless, living in the night
fear is a thing of the dark, and a star can never know the dark
darkness is just a philosophical abstraction to the stars

2) "writing the spectrum": write a poem in which the name of a color is oft-repeated


my grandfather would often wear a brown suit
usually with a yellow shirt

earth tones, the color of rich soil
(even if the suit was probably some polyester blend)

I could never stand the look of it
You will not see me in dark brown
a tan, maybe; something green-brown, perhaps, but not that dark dirt brown
a fine color but somehow it seems to me one that should not be worn
as if the color of the rich soil were too good for clothes
a fine color for skin, brown, dark, kissed by the sun
(when I was younger and spent summers working outside by the fall my skin approached brown)
brown mud that would gather in the cracked concrete at the bottom of the alley in a puddlepond of rainwater and hosewater from suburbanites hosing down their back walks
brown like telephone poles, not like the bark of living trees, not like the beige of pine and oak at the lumber yard, but whatever the wood, whatever the preservative, that goes into the telephone and electric and light poles in this city
the brown of plastic fake woodgrain
brown like my dog (the bigger one)

the brown plastic frames of the reading glasses I wore when I was a kid
brown muddy footprints
a fine color
but not one for a suit