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Repeated Image (after Federico García Lorca)

Poems collected from participants in Dave Johnson’s 10*10*10*2 Workshops!

Episode 16: Federico García Lorca & Repeated Image

Mandarin Lives
When the orange peels
the scent imagines
a window of forgiveness.

When the orange peels
the skin aches
for a mother to call.

When the orange peels
enemies reconsider
old boundaries.

—Dave Johnson

Maple Syrup

The empty jug sits on the sliced log—
openmouthed wailing,
waiting to be quenched.
Joyful songs from mountain brooks
wrap around it like the wind.
From under the moist earth
a mole peeps it’s nose,
unnoticed by the quivering hawk.
“We can share the sky”
whispers the moon to the afternoon sun
as brigades of lark and wild geese
parade through the clouds.
In the April frost
the wide jug embraces
the drops of viscous dew —
each week another inch or two
of sweet sap
to make the brew.


After much contemplation the little hole is found,
this inconspicuous notch organizes the painting.
A spiral grows there,
he has found it.

After much contemplation the little hole is found
Unfurling ribbons thread themselves together
Promises promises promises
“A flat surface across which the eye can travel without interruption.”

After much contemplation the little hole is found;
far as a star, far as the throat of a bird,
trembling, obscure harmonies embrace,
envelop, come so near, a woven coverlet, silk like Japan.

After much contemplation the whole comes together,
Escape and shelter, adoration, admiration.
The shepherd asleep in the meadow,
watched over by a loving girl.

-Devin Dougherty


When the rain falls
the dog is just another sofa cushion
and colors of spring dim
under a scrim of grey

When the rain falls
the air clings like a mollusk
as your nose drips down your face

when the rain falls
the house is a bunker
and we hunker down
with steaming drinks
and woolen feet.

—Gina A. Turner


When the window opens,
life comes rushing in.
Song birds start their day calling to one another like dogs in the night, woodpeckers lay claim to their meals and robins commence their daily chores.

When the window opens, smells waft from the trees letting you know the cycle continues and the shade from the sun will abound.

When the window opens, light floods in giving promise to a new day, a fresh start, a beginning. How will you use this gift to start anew, to waken a talent, to inspire another?

Push open the drapes, pull up the blinds, unfasten the shutters and let the possibilities unfurl.

—Ellen Goldstein

Dear Team at the Poets House, New York, Dear Dave Johnson
Please find my poem for the 10*10*10*2 Collection,
written at 10am Berlin time for the 24.04.2020 session the day before
inspired by the work of Gabriel Garcia Lorca and
Dave’s Tutorial… (When…).

Thankyou and best wishes,

Desert, Mongolia
When the eagle flies
I tighten the buckles on my saddle bags,
leave my family, live a nomad’s life,
to cross the Bayan Gobi.
When the eagle cries
my horse and I stop in the canyon
the trees turn yellow
and we know the sandstorm’s coming.
In the eye of the storm,
when the eagle sings, I have visions,
of a future plague,
my horse and I as skeletons
the eagle with two broken wings.
When the eagle tires,
I feel the weight of a heavy heart,
there’s ice beneath my horse’s feet
and I know, our destination nears.
When the eagle dies,
My wife cradles him in her arms,
I gently stroke his weakened head,
and whisper him my thanks.

-Storytelling Arena

When the Sun Comes

When the sun comes,
when the moon comes,
too bright, too dark.
They go up and down,
and up and down,
and up and down.

When the sun comes,
I do flips on the bed.
When the moon comes,
my shadows get very long.

When the sun comes
it makes everybody so happy
and it shines so good
and everybody eats.

When the moon comes,
I sleep with Fox
and all my animal friends.

When the moon comes,
I dream about a treehouse
and a seahorse
and a crab.

– Jacqui Andre Fabri-Baksh (Age 3.9)

When the Moon Comes

into our city, we never see her.
This is a moonless Spring.
She must be wondering
where we are, why we are not walking under her hard shape, pointing at her solid glow.
When the moon comes into
our bedroom, we never let her in. Didn’t she watch the news?
No one is allowed inside.
Not even the ones we Love. Especially not them.
When the moon comes into
our nightmare, we kiss her
like a child, hold her cold-rock
in our lonely arms, eat her,
swallow her down. Maybe
she can fix this.

– Erica Miriam Fabri

Dear Dave,
thank you for this week with all the helpful proposals!
My contribution to Friday.

About to Begin

When the fan hums
Old men with hats are waiting to play
They sit down on green plastic with broken legs
And pick up their music.

When the fan hums
Young women bare their shoulders
Lavishly spending the smell of her flesh
And the cigar between their red lips.

When the fan hums
Blue smoke shapes the air
Heartbeat cut into wooshes
Stir the young mens desire.

When the fan hums
It is time for the lights to go on
it is time for the first yellow sound
It is time for the live to explode.

-Christine Heiss

When Life Changes

When life changes on a dime
and you are left with wounds
from a rose held too tightly,
skinny dip in the impermanence.

When life once more transforms itself
and you recognize, like a mouse gripped
in a hawk’s beak, that no choice remains
but to acquiesce, savor the sherbet sunset.

And when life again alters and shifts,
as it is known to do, remember
in the game of existence, typically,
the card to win the trick is kindness.
-Carolyn Chilton Casas

wild thing

when the wind
a kind of madness
your madness
that wild thing rushed off
with our collective breath
it froze our tears

when the wind angered seas
into monstrous tides
you ripped at vines
snapped branches
and tore apart
your pain-staked buds

you whirled us round
wrapped us up and then
blew yourself out
all of us relieved
drooped and strained
still leaning

when the wind died
in your direction

-Karen McDermott
kayelemm 24 April 2020