Revisiting Backcatablogs: Say No To Clowns and a response: 40 Minutes.

As this week draws to a close, I am happy to report that my week spent with saynotoclowns was valuable beyond words. Digging around a fellow poet’s back catalog not only feels respectful, it is also a chance to connect to the larger human beings that we all are. In this week’s adventures I discovered a great writer, a deeply spiritual soul, and a musical kindred spirit whose taste in music already has me thinking about which musician I want to tackle after I finish my National series; Nick Cave comes to mind. Fortunately, I have a few more weeks to think about it, but I am pretty sure the Bad Seed is planted (so sorry, couldn’t resist).

My response poem to saynotoclowns tries to encapsulate the humor I found in her writing (…this woman’s first post was of a donkey for crying out loud!…) while also respecting her deep spirituality. Somehow, while on a too-rickety airplane from Singapore to Hong Kong, I began riffing off the title to her blog and ended up on a conversation that Jesus had with the Devil in his final 40 minutes. While this falls far short of the deeply hysterical but very reverent book, Lamb by Christopher Moore, I do hope it shares its spirit of both being respectful of faith while also being respectful of the humanity of Jesus and therefore he had to have had a sense of humor. Oh, and there is a Nick Cave reference in there for good measure.

As always, I encourage my friends to go back to the beginning and see what the writers posted when they were just getting started, there are some gems back there! Finally, as always, there is more to be found at saynotoclowns… please go explore.

My response poem:

40 Minutes

Say no to clowns, rode in on the donkey thinking
The end of this adventure will require humility.
So when we departed one another in the desert
I had no regrets, but second thoughts do come
Every now and then. Couldn’t I reach more souls
If I was the one king to rule them all?

Say no to clowns, harder to do in a crown
Drops of blood and this will take some humility.
What were those offers? Could I choose to fly,
I might catch his son as he fell off the cliff, but for
The sake of art could I just accept the tortured gift
His soul sings to help us say goodbye to our fathers?

Say no to clowns, even as they raise me off the ground
The wound in my side burns more on this skeleton tree.
Why couldn’t we have just turned some dust into tea
And discussed, like distant cousins do, connections
Our stories have to the greater Narrative? We could’ve
Shared a few laughs at His expense. Now, though, it is

Finished. Just say no to these clowns, then invite me
Down when they show up and we can share that tea.

Spoken Word Renga(s): Solving Lonely Winter Nights and Spring Responds to Winter Loneliness

My dear, Brave and Reckless friend, Christine has recorded the first mass-collab from the Go Dog Go Treetop Cafe. Gina has suggested that they be read together as one piece, so below the Soundcloud links of Christine is the combined piece. The list of stanza authors is below that along with links to the original prompts for the two separate strings.

I look forward to doing this again soon, already have several folks lined up and will welcome more – just post a note down in the comments below! One of the things I love the most about this poem is that it represents writers from: Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Australia, the UK, India, and the US. Next time, I would love to include more great people from more nations to this truly international collaboration!

Most importantly, though, thank you, Christine for your excellent readings.

Lonely winter nights
watching street lights cast shadows
—the world looks better

under a fresh blanket of white
a pure, stretched canvas
to paint stardust dreams
curled up under my grandmother’s quilt
sleeping dog breathing gently at my feet

And for tomorrow
thoughts of dancing snow angels
repel sleep’s shadow

Myriad colors
refracted in dream’s landscape
non shadows refined

Dawn unravels late
Snow built a world in silence
the outside feels like a room

– crossable. Those
dog-print steps, a march
carrying soft shadows; mud
quilt-stitch, a bark

Waiting inside winter bedrooms
Follow street lamps Snow Angel
Built from dream snow. Soon
Melts lonely ice shaved hearts
Lie together on snow mattress.

petals opened wide ~
beckoned in the morning dew ~
then blushed, satisfied

grass hang head
droplets glisten pearls
all around

new leaves on trees
dance in the wind
It’s Spring 🌸

wind carries sweet sound
like cherry blossoms soft cry
the heart keeps sighing

bees and butterflies
buzz and flutter about
kissing flowers on their route

Clouds cry raindrops
As birds sing their happy tunes
A zephyr caresses passing shadows.

angels melted from snow slip
between open pedals blushed
waiting for spring winds to warm
softness now drips melted snow
dreamed inside a bedroom alone

Above: a combined collaborative effort loosely based on Japanese poetry styles by Storyteller, Christine, Mr. D, Vanessa, Hana, Bronwyn, SailorPoet, Tanya, Sangbad, PS, Gina, Chuck, Fiona, SailorPoet (in order).

Starting prompt from storyteller can be found here:

Hana and Bronwyn are poets and ex-pat friends here in Singapore; ex-patted from Germany and Australia, respectively.

Starting prompt from Tanya Cliff can be found here:

Come sit with me dear friend

I wrote this piece last December for a friend and thought it would fit nicely on this site. I was going to change the name because of the similar name on Gina’s recent posts, but decided it reflects perfectly the kindred spirit we’ve found here. We are all so different with different stories, but we respect each other and hope you will feel welcome here too! Vanessa



“They I said it wouldn’t happen again,

this flooding”

a sight not to be seen for another __ years.

“My ears filling with expert voices

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