Tuesday, May 22, 2018

21 May 2018

I want to write an honest sentence. I gave each old woman a flower and asked her to describe it without using the words "beautiful" or "gorgeous" or "nice" or "pretty." It's so pretty, they said. So beautiful. “She won't let us use those words!” There were lavender petals and dots. What color are the dots? There were long stems. How long? 20 inches, they wrote. Are they all green? Mostly they recognized the flower as described. I asked them to express an emotion by adding to their descriptions, but without using those words. An Englishwoman named Fleur (how do you know who I am? Because you came to my last workshop) erupted with the story of her homeless brother and their mother killed by a drunk driver, all having something to do with a yellow chrysanthemum (though she didn't remember which flower she'd started with, it might have been purple) and by that time I had given up getting them to WCW's "The Great Figure"--the poet's insertion of the word "tense”--but I shared it with them. I feel anxious about my children when I hear a siren, one woman said. So it's you and not the truck! As I looked at them, they were pulling their flowers and stems closer, holding them to the light.

--21 May 2018
[based on a facebook post]

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