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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Wen Chang

I wake monastic
to a morning of spare light,
and an itch to be
tetchy lingering from last
night's candle-lit creeps.

A quick rummage through closets
where I keep hidden
pantechnicons of surplus
garments discarded
by near houses of worship,

finds a never-worn
surplice cut to my liking,
and I slip it on
starched and musty white
atop wrinkled blue

jeans. In the hall, I perk up
primula bouquets
laid at feet of ivory
and I ignite
a joss stick, letting its curls

of fragrance implore
the deity to bring down
his leather-bound book
and nobble my stubborn mind
until its ructions

subside. But Wen Chang keeps words
clutched dear to his breast,
and I'll need another means
of making myself
a muggins with romper thoughts

new freed, ever penned
to bounce about. So I head
to the scullery
and peal yellow and red blotched
skins from twelve pippins

to bake in two tarts, bubbling
up brown: One I'll eat,
the second use finally
to coax a musing
from my still stiff friend, Wen Chang.

Francis Scudellari



This poem is written in response to Read Write Prompt #108: a mechanical approach, by matthew zapruder at Read Write Poem. Matthew outlined a mechanical process he used to create his poem The Elegant Trogon. It involves working through a dictionary to find interesting words. I did the same, moving backward from T through J, but I didn't end up using the chosen words in the order I discovered them. I've linked each to their Wiktionary definitions. In researching "Joss Stick," I happened upon the Chinese God of Literature, Wen Chang (picture above courtesy of Wikimedia user Captmondo), and he proved my guiding spirit throughout.

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