Prompt 1: The Hermit and The Hanged Man — Floating Within the Inner World
Connected. The Atlantic Ocean. Is a way of entering.
An edge is a point of breakthrough.
Another word for edge is egg.
Think of the ways you enter this space.
All the ways the space and its memory enters you.
Think of the ways you can be born anew by entering at the edge:
The outer world as you've known
Broken and dry desert
Forged into a flame
Ridden by a thirst for
This dark and foreign
Biting at the soul
And here you come across
This orb of time beyond
No past no future
A cycling of energy
And in it sparks light
Shapes a new geography
Venture into space
Let the blood rush through
The body to the head
Into a bird's eye view
A leg slipping
Beyond its limits
The lightheaded feel
The dream of seeing
The whole world
The way it truthfully
Enters your eyes
The stars in re/verse
Prompt 5: Nine of Cups — Find Contentment Within Oneself Despite Discomfort
“You've got the cool water when the fever runs high” — Something So Right by Paul Simon
The magic of interconnection aka the circle of life aka Newton's third law of motion.
The borrowing, the inflation and the changing of currents.
When an external force causes trauma on a body. Digs into it and wounds it. This causes manifestations on its surface.
The body will respond.
Changes the way it moves. The way it functions to try to protect itself.
It is forced to grow in new ways.
How has your body responded to the trauma of another's violation? Digging into you?
How did it change the way you moved?
How your body functioned?
How did you try to protect yourself?
How did it grow you in new ways?
A long time to pretend. A long time to be somewhere you don't really want to be. To stand in a pew, closed-mouth, while the congregation sings glory hallelujah. Because you remember hearing the pastor say “don't sing it if you don't mean it.” But you clap and sway because you still like the music. Shake hands with members who believe you believe. Drop a dollar in the collection basket to pay for taking up space. Half-listen to the sermon to catch words to later turn into a poem or story. Sit when they ask for those to come to the altar to be saved. Eat the cracker and drink the wine at communion because it is just a metaphor for you and nothing more. Say Amen at the benediction knowing its root comes from the word for truth. Leave the church and question if you are going to come back just to please your mother who believes so much. Wish you could believe it too but know you found another way to be saved and must stay quiet about it for now. Still thankful to have oases for thirst. You still have the cool water to fill yourself. And still You are a cup runneth over to fill others.
Prompt 7: Five of Cups and Three of Pentacles — The Transformation of Divine En/Arky
The Construction of Home Always Involves the Haunting of the Other.
In our desire for "material progress,” is the pond.
The pounding. The pondering. An enclosure and the flow within it.
Currents or currency. All are hauntings. Reminders of what's there and not there in the (X)change.
The road and the edge are filled with haunting.
They carry with them the invisible flow of memory.
The reasons why we care. Why we trouble ourselves. Why we travel on journeys like this.
Ponder this: can progress be the same as a pollution? As a burial for others?
What ghostly memories are you choosing to embrace? To extend yourself towards in these homes in which we live?
What are you choosing to remember? Flow.
Opening to the Unseen A Collaboration
What to do when the world A load to carry
You held spills Becomes not only about the load
Past its boundaries But how it is carried
Is knocked over suddenly? One's posture?
Look at it as loss? One's togetherness?
As libation? The foundation
When the waters flood The knees and feet
After guarding what you loved The straightness
For so long, The spine
Do you change your name to dove The winding
And change what you see as home? The waist and hips
Do you see the light that can now shine through There are lifetimes
After the terror of letting go Those who have been
Has pierced through you? Molded in the same grooves
Maybe what falls leads you to a glistening oasis nearby To continue
A chance for what you held to expand, to connect A tradition of holding on
Or what you have left is enough to be thankful for Across time and space
Maybe you just needed to turn around To see what was always there
An eternity of work Coming together
Sherese Francis is a Queens, NY-based, Afro-Caribbean-American (Barbados and Dominica) poet, editor, interdisciplinary artist, workshop facilitator, and literary curator of the mobile library project, J. Expressions. She has published work in various publications including Furious Flower, Obsidian Lit, Rootwork Journal, Spoken Black Girl, The Operating System, Cosmonauts Avenue, No Dear, Apex Magazine, Bone Bouquet, African Voices, Newtown Literary, and Free Verse. Additionally, she has published three chapbooks, Lucy’s Bone Scrolls (Three Legged Elephant), Variations on Sett/ling Seed/ling (Harlequin Creature), and Recycling a Why That Rules Over My Sacred Sight (DoubleCross Press).