Cento Stitched from Spoken-Word Poems
As I elongated each minute
This adventure became a tragedy
And to celebrate I’ll plant a tree.
We going make it out the mud.
Ideas piled up bodies on the ladder to discovery of nothing
Choked by the void between you and me.
You see the covers of the cold-blooded and the unfazed:
Didn’t you know the world would hate you
Before you even knew there was something
Inside you worth the hating?
But flowers still thrive in the same ground
Where the dead are buried
In a box collapsed under the strain of my last hopes and dreams.
Nobody will know the extent of your hurt.
They’re all so much happier than you.
How do you look from their point of view?
Time for some water.
More drunk isn’t hotter.
To what do I owe the days?
By Sarah Goldberg, Tommy Begley, Eliot Precetti, Henry Williams, James Gosfield, Michelle Zhong, Io Zhong, Wills Martin, Weid Hassan, Julia McNeill, Graham Myhill, Josh Rouzer, Seth Lobo, and Elliot Richards.
Explanatory note by Lynn Levin, Drexel University: We covered rap poems and spoken-word poems in my advanced poetry-writing class at Drexel University the summer of 2019. The class presented their poems in an improvisational fashion. We began by having one student read his poem. The class listened carefully to the poem, and then the student whose poem related in some way thematically or imagistically to the first read her poem. We continued in this fashion of reading by connected texts until all the students had shared their work. As each student read his or her poem, he or she was asked to write one line from the poem on our cento-building sheet. Then I typed up the lines on the cento sheet. What emerged was an intense poem of philosophical and emotional angst. I borrowed this improv and cento technique from Hayden Saunier’s poetry troupe No River Twice.