We did it! Here's our poem.

12 noon

bare feet holding toes, curled on carpeted floor
i am white walls
white floor
i am my soon, this one, adore
right now there is no rain,
the door is to the left of me
racking my brain, no shame
crack open the door
shaking off edges and thoughts
crack open the door
the dog seems happy
the rain
is falling diagonal
and i have a funeral tomorrow
could be a palace of suburbia
narrow space with junk instead
dreamings in the core
bare feet holding toes, curled on carpeted floor
window slit
dried rain
computer refrain
can't complain
i see y(our) life bricked in by the windowpane
nothing left to lose, nothing more to gain
a party of books
poetry, anthologies
a snickety lott of books
and scalp
i am home
and fame
i am more
test it
and still
and one

1 pm

orbital happiness
stellar gorgeousness, a cosmic chain
and a puddle
a puddle of rain
too rough from my hands, from other than me
no grace. nothing. nothing unfolds as it should
and it should be
i felt something like pain,
sliding out of me,
aching in my chair
meandering, not melancholy
upended books, unopened bills,
unbidden offers sent to me,
a watch face down, a glossy photo,
no space left free
a neglected glass, dusty typewriter at an open door
an empty duffle tossed upon a hardwood floor
i feel a growling beat
i am but a stain
groping for
(and the rain
and the door
and a sea in a tree)
from where i sit
the view does not inspire --
papers stacked on desk, tables and floor
little time for reverie
or introspection
the job requires one to see
what is there
not to dream what could be

2 pm

factual fallacies
the roof above my head
keep the rain
and keep the dread
inane managers to abhor
photo of girlfriend i adore
writing trash
but maybe more
window slit
dried rain
my desk is cluttered and causes me pain
my excuses i use
truly are poor
what is there
not to dream
what could be
what is not there
dared to be
and queers
and quietness
and whores
coming through my door
coming through this mess
in my mind
begging, begging
staring out upon a parking lot
i am but a stain
this asphalt is hot
time holds me green and dying
i can only hope i'll find a door
tree green whispers
and pebbles in holy streams
too rough from my hands
nothing unfolds as it should
i'm begging
i'm begging
for more

3 pm

a room can make a man where there is none
so i clothe myself in air
spike windows with a wooden crutch
up high, up high
on the pitter patter stone
red prim facets of dress
i am the son of irishmen
i know nothing of my father's father
but i know his cigarettes
i know his hands
i know the hot beds of where he had been
i know the empty wine bottles and laughter
through trials and vices
i know his cigarettes
siamese question marks joined at the curiosity
we were transformed
our footprints
intrepid sleuths
orbiting obscure electrons
ragtag regiment
blame laid on lack of vision, superstition
hieroglyphic malintention
the pages of my book flew away, chasing your smile
a smile like a hero
that buffalo bob captain america smile
like i saw on tv
and then i saw
it was me
the yang approach
when others cringe in yin
the wild distance
haunts the ocean's spread
aloft on lonely rafts
in a sour, sour
seizure of expression
when leading lovers cross the slick dance floor
no one but you personifies the devil anymore
and i'm forgotten
rotten bitten
a piece of fruit that tasted good
within today and yesterday i've lost myself
in missing you, wishing you
empty, nothing
fantasies of dying
been missin' most of everything
for better than three decades now
you did not say much
when i leapt into the sky
every twist and turn of my learning boy-skull
the guitar sat in the corner like a memory
and you leaned in and told me about hong kong,
the heroin, the magazine strapped to your leg
the size of the centipedes, the size of the cell
and i wasn't like you
i could not smile
or deeply philosophize the sad engines
what a pairing, what a coming-together we were
long hair, short hair, long mind, short mind
ya see
i was drivin' home
runnin' red lights
my time in the realm
of the charmed
missing you, wishing you
been missin' most of everything
for better
than three decades

4 pm

tightly writing
loosely thinking
like a junebug
an inflatable pool raft and several
centuries crackle beneath her sunburnt skin
pictures of her
in blue bikini and shimmer-bottle
"that's you at fifty" he elbowed
"this is me without you" i thought
and just yesterday, she reminded me
that i am not my body
nor those thoughts which chain me
which battered my eardrums
in waves of salt spray
tidal bore, nineteen seventy-seven
black ace secret six temple of man
a gentle hand with the word
and the best corner man
any up and comer
could ever hope to have
erupted on the surface of the sun
scrambling all radio transmission
to bring us the music
proving it true
i miss you
i miss you like a broken link
no bandage
can mend
the loss
of you
state lines and lifetimes
away from me
chords strike me down
magnet to me
world now in different hues
voice just out of town
Wrapping me in riffs
sown by leadbelly's ghost
cushions of air
jump off the detroit-superior bridge
in suspended animation
over cuyahoga waters
there are times
when a soul strikes a path
days past, ontario,
on superior, on st. clair,
on payne, on chester,
on prospect, on euclid,
in a row of millionaires
written on a black granite wall
knew some
yet somehow i miss them all
but i forgot the sound of your return
busy humming with the faucet drips
he seemed to breathe back in response to me
as though we were in bed and i had sighed
i am thinking today, you upset me
being gone as you are, i miss you
still mad at the thought
that you could leave me
to all who i learned from carrying grace
friendship and in-jokes, all fell into place
the lessons i learned not to make no mistakes
your end-time was sure you did enough on earth
shall i move to hawai'i and dance with the gods
i am not sorry for looking to the past
these shards of crockery are the archaeology
of wistful remembering, our makeshift memory
.. and yet i can see, as if in a dream
my grandfather, young as i never knew him
at the reins of a cutter on a frozen lake
i can't say enough how water heals

5 pm

colonel mustard mustache, caribbean eyes
fat french toast and 500 rummy
swimming and meditating
ingenue woman, sophisticate child
bouquets alive, somberly grow
around this fallen human
to glance upward into the sky
but no western star met eye
just darkness
i fell face first flat
on slick surface abandon,
handed the man my ticket
took seat number 3d
watched time suspend through windows weeping,
and when the runway became as little as a line,
i counted seconds
pedro, are you gone?
only to be found in the wind and stars of the night
who invented separation? who created terminals?
a certain knopfler riff, piano sound, the shape of a lyric
it pulls you to mind and i wonder where you are
this day, a day of poetry, when i would love to hear you sing
i remember and i never let that memory slip away
a blog told by a world soul full of funk and fury
yet flavor none left on your tongue
faked you out and made you fall
for the pretty lies i told
just once i wish i could see
what it is i missed before
milk skinny throwing rocks off south docks
a death for a clown -- of course you drowned
you forgot and so will i
found solely
through needles or jesus
this i call life
and live it
in death, slow, shallow breaths
noise of want
as dawn folds
a father's hope and longing
you come back through this dust, this air,
this time, this nothing, this always
a name
and the truth of personality
but what made the name a name
is going into hiding

6 pm

cell-phoned people with a boardroom gaze
and corporate-hearted spite
there are wars within wars
the world is cruel, beautiful and glorious
but there is a light that makes the fight
sometimes i cry at night
because we're always right by night
ignite fight after fight
those sticky stories
the repetitions
the politicians with or without sound
the alarm clocks at morning
i cry every time i try
but anger is a luxury i cannot afford
little words trickle in the middle of the day
escalating into shouts of dismay
like a poem i constantly recite
like a princess with a magic kite
come what may
right of way
the very part of thee
words at play
the very heart of me
this burnin', got me churnin'
break-a-day that is
where it's gotta be
public demonstrations of demeaning by day,
right by night
fight after fight
those sticky stories
the repetitions
without sound
sons and daughters
who are they?
Who heeds their rights?
weigh down
all the souls
that i survey
the box they sent me in
was sealed just right
with bubblewrap and tape
and not air-tight
i smile and took
a bite of my toast
love is cheap i mumbled
why not give in
give up and make the most
give it up
there's nothing to fight
nothing to fight
nothing but me
nothing but me
just me

7 pm

in a chinese restaurant you have to pay
even if the fortune cookie says, "you are my sunshine and my light"
derek got into his stretch limo
with the tinted glass
to keep the world at bay
he didn't see the minimum wage video store clerk
he missed the bag lady with the rusty cart
bite no real on clang
grace to its night
what we ignite we do betray
with our fear, by what we say
by how we bow our heads and pray
the ceremony is
a lie
we sway in sacred rhythm, play
we were the crimson priests and they
those who obey in raptured fright
the prey that shall be
burning bright
a thirty-foot jesus
in a ghost robe
letting slip one righteous ray
faithless and undying
the night
is away
restless hours
i dream and i lay
whenever he leaves
i think over and over
just hit me
just hit me
just hit me
i'd rather fight
face to face
than spend an hour
i could twist into the quilt, deny the day,
fake illness, and come out smiling in the night
i could hide the things i built, and throw away
the things for which i once put up a fight
i could let my anger linger in a box of battered tin
attach it like post-it note to silence
i could barricade my anger and let no man come in
prepare myself for love
for pleas
for violence
hopeless trips
trippy day
off flights way
come to stand another day
a world missing parts unknown
burning blood of broken bone
we as kites against the wind
we as boats against the tide
a world in a world's part
called insane by the clock of pain
night comes with burning might
to play the stage another day
songs of light in darkend ray
spinning ticks of clocks time
changing pulse of forever rhyme

8 pm

carved to the enumerated nights
these elite licks of self vindication
sitting in the alabaster raincoat
speaking light, guttural, and meek
when i'm gone too long
the piano
out of tune
every key is wrong
out of tune
broken strings
sound like shouting
from the next apartment
out of tune
finally, after years of fighting
bitterly i lay tracks wayward, set my sights
toward becoming my own mother
hopeless trips
of flights way
come to stand another day
a world missing parts unknown
burning blood of broken bone
we as kites against the wind
we as boats against the tide
a world in a worlds part
magicians in the art of punctuating life with a fight
if you prefer the night, if you think a dream
would set it right, please shut your eyes and repeat
the pledge of allegiance -- while the candles flicker
on coal-tar bought from third-world countries
at rock-bottom prices -- and when you've finished
praying, thank god for the gift of sight,
and then thank him again for everything you'll never see
my anger is slow as rust
in my bowed skull a black flag holds sway
the wind, or is it a whisper, seems to say:
sharpen your tongue, prepare for the fray
no fire of holy sacrifice
lights us on our way to write
beyond the word the banished night
beyond what we incite
the truth

9 pm

the rain is purple here
more smoke than liquid.
after a nighttime battle between thunderheads and stars
water striders play jesus
and brown wet mud
in the garden
fertilizes my toes
splitting open my red letter days.
i believe that i will belong to you there
enamored, crazed with wind and hailstones,
the flutter of delicate green
camouflage eyes,
clove cigarettes, diaper rash,
boot camp, mathematics,
weeping willow branches,
television glare,
points and picas.
i will fall upwards toward the eternal
getting lost in the colors
that run too fast for speed
or pointillism upon the
shivering decapitation
of these sun golden hours
(i feel myself
giving way beneath
my own weight
eating ocean waves,
slipping through the blades of grass like mischief)
i might be a careening molecule,
for all i know.
nature rhymes me,
colliding spokes in kaleidoscope
fragments of light in spherical line --
there is beauty in decay.
i take the size of winter, splinter it into my palm,
the exquisite tension of a violin string
being drawn
a bell
into silence
nothing brings it further in
than god,
a nite lite in eternity.

10 pm

i thought i was connected once
i don't remember
bare feet
a week without rain
there was a question
that nature never asked
wash it away with water
or with a new leaf
for a new day
(who knows what speck a day might be?
probably all the rock specimens
i've been collecting along the way)
there's no respite for dirty tears
or the truth of rand-mcnally
bricked in
or let out
a window slit
prophetic puddles,
like morning sliding laughing diving into
a stream flowing or the texture of moss
in spaces between neurons, at the scale of molecules
where all the green
reminds me to grow,
just as the benevolent superman of the sun can touch
but never burn
the unconditional love of a
young child
looking forever
when we tiptoe in blurs
of moving too fast.

11 pm

cosmic debris
over and on me
like hives and clusters of moons,
bees upon magnificent flowers
gold dust and platinum particles
enriching the youth of air
my goldfish make no distinction between
real and unreal
part an antidote to the other
alone among conscious beats
in this heat right along and strong
i become
some inexpensive drywall
in the hurricane of stars
or i'm one hundred percent on a blue planet
which spins and moves around the sun.
sparks of it used to exist in me
and with these dazed and deliberate movements,
i eat earth and spit out trees
like newest spring,
i can smell rain.
and if i run and stay with the river
then there would be something missing
while the blades of grass rise above me like skyscrapers

12 midnight

through pub air heavy with noisy smoke
a love story begins
outside, blank nighttime streets
the moon, low and fat
like an overripe melon
moving forward in the rain
i'm meeting you downtown on the train
(i knew from your clothes that this trip would be right
i'm digging the trap and the fuck and the fight)
this is my recipe for fresh
with each misstep
each fight, each stumble
my way of loving is to lose
narrowing the focus of my life
like thickets along the window panes
i choke
this is who i am
and the sacrifices i make
define my boundaries and my walls
pinpoint the start of our downfall
find it
that exact spot
and i will tell you why
this rush of life into bright sunlight,
hold it sacred
it's what we have left to hold on to

1 am

november made its promises, and i became your shore
eroding wordlessly beneath your approach and retreat
staying just enough to remind you that you said you'd try
and i said that i'd fight
even though i long to touch my fingertips
to your neck or back or arm
hear your breath softly
escape from your parted lips
my thoughts are louder than
your raven hair coiled like mine
wanting the wet and the heat and the pain
simple isn't something that can contain
the night, growing heavy with memory and longing,
winding against the sky in a jealous refrain.

2 am

fragments. one looks like the moon
otherwise, pigments. churches. semi-
holy stones. someone's eyes cross
in rows or paths where hearts are as
common as watches, ticking thickly
as morning empties fire into
the night. hollow atrocities
grow heavy with memory and longing
i still remember the bloodstain
his dead body left on the floor
it was obscene, a sorry sight
i wonder
if he can hear into me
love me please love me,
alone in the night
i'm singing in my sleep
spending separate nights
sighing eyes
countless tries
believing lies
pinpoint the start of our downfall
and i will tell you why
nobody moved when i cried

3 am

softly spoken, broken
asked of myself in silence
filmy golden streetlight
listening to the sound
boots make on the floor
-- contact --
love commands
duties ignore
every ounce of myself
that was a vagabond love
and still the door shuts silent
we know the flesh, bone and shake
pulled both ways

4 am

i'm sitting and wondering
what it's like to take a chance
what it's like to draw circles through
the zippers of contemplation
while geometry argues
with algebraic variables
an alarm goes off inside the fog
cracked scattered seeds
i do this with a smile on my face
i do this where the dark binds hard on the edges, and
the price of love is negligible
when i'm collecting defeat
in piles ordered neatly
against the edge
of the brick wall
where i rest my head
and listen to the way
absence whispers
into brass tubas, genetically re-engineered
to mimic cellos in october
likely to pass with a night's rest,
dissipate with adequate distraction,
(brain is the hate of a snake
that hasn't ever bitten)
between the lines
that cut through nails, claw through
pink, and crack the ice
when voices collide:
everything will slip
nothing can be held
and i say
so long, love,
off into the peoria night
where i appear on your doorstep
my head spirals upward

5 am

parking softly at the stoplight
singing gently to the moonlight
tap tapping on the dashboard
fondling the seat cover
shouting a single line:
"you are your mother"
(johnny cash
rakes for the handless man,
and a mouth flooded with glue
circles in the room, wondering where
there will be time to breathe.
hearing the weight of screams
emanating from a device:
still a piece of
human beauty
trouble crushes between my eyes
(my brain hasn't finished congealing.)
failing an answer
filling our mornings
with the terrible death of food.

6 am

lashing myself
to an orange thought
i cannot find my step, my track
my feet are lost in a huge stack
of dying grass. and while i pass
this wondrous way i plug my ears and pace
working the clear life down the tube
at no why time all, they're
telling us to do things,
to do voodoo things,
and grin
at ragged thoughts of slices of life
(he put out his cigarette
in a knot on his wooden right leg
if he's deaf and cannot hear
then we'll bury the sleeping ear)
the night swears
its revenge,
assures us it
will come again
to release us
from our sanity
and i wonder
when will i get back home
into a swaying lukewarm sea.

7 am

awoken with the back-hoes and bulldozers again
somewhere i can sleep
somewhere i can dream
second eyelid slowly rises
amazed at glaring sunlight
get religion
kick the monkey
fall in love
write the conclusion
understand calculus
i am reborn pretending
your fate lies in my wonder/eyes
like children back to eden
humanity runs naked at this hour
before going out
to wait for the bus
once i followed a meandering river
and like joseph smith i met a prophet
"upon you i confer these tablets"
he said, so i ate, and i saw
it is storming outside
and loudly the wind journeys
yet inside all is calm
morning is a time for glints of light, the kind
that shatter into sheets that separate
the warmth from the cold
the hum from the screech
the gray buzz from the yawn into the folds of light
caught in the mania
beyond the bedroom door
this grayness is a fluid
skin and bones now grind to life
my black weight breathes
eyes push
and pull
over in the middle of the rain there
this morning, through the leaves,
a glimmer of light
and i smelled color and lived scents
and marveled at the clarity
by special invitation
the masquerade beckons
i open my eyes like curtains
on brown framed windows
the room looks the same
my first moment is neutral
then i focus my gelatin brain
immaculate visions of lunacy
tired of spinning
on this cozy piece of dirt
so we scatter the directions
get chased up ladders and over a roof
we get away and we run some more
almost get caught but spot a door
it's marked "perception"
we've passed through here before

8 am

i am not the same person at dawn
hiding behind closed eyes
and lies, natural lenses enhance my sight
see over the foreground of petty blight
and into the large unknown
tear yesterday's page out
of the notebook
window slit
a cup of coffee
if i could
i would embrace the day
taste its trips
while cups get warm
a room can make a man
where there was none before
but a newspaper can break a spirit
i won't let it break me
what waits for me outside
cannot be good
but we're snug
like a bug
in a fucking rug
and war is nothing
but a big group hug

9 am

a blur of fantastic visions
gives way to mundane images
through the leaves,
a glimmer of light --
faint murmurs shine clearer than
my faded windowpane: there are people passing,
hurriedly poking holes in the morning
and pinning it back in place
with their wire frame smiles.
all the little ants are caught in their paths
i am reborn
metamorphosis of fog and skyline
these objects so brilliant
(glassonglass stressballs)
all things are well in place
but the unknown awaits me, and
the tarnished mirror distorts
an inherent sadness that clings about my eyes
i cry every time i hear an alarm clock

10 am

father somewhat mends, and
i take my reason with a grin and a smile
carrying all my cheap stuff in my coat
kidnapped stories and pulsating air
keep my crippled mind company,
and i, a mere laugh among groans, a wink of bliss
(but not the chuckle cantankerous)
floating on the temperamental breeze that smacks the shutters wide
looming on horizons many may fail
god exists but he has myriad nicknames, and
would have invented ways to pale
in a million years you'll never get me
among coal mines and mill towns, but we
really do flutter despite a dark sky
watching them die, i can no longer gloat
i stand in the highway, wearing bright colors
the heat makes my skin tear
i am inconsistency afloat
scribing identity will always fail
let me be or take me to jail
beyond jazz
your sunken toes awail
alas until the might of night entails
a laugh among groans, a wink of bliss
a moat around your stalwart obsession
a joke intent on rowdy intention

11 am

keep ya mind open
monopoly has a jail
i ride a goat to work
i got kidnapped stories for you
and pulsating air
sparkles, sharp borders, blanks
i am a cactus
i am wigs
i am the fishboy waterfall, the pugdog membrane
i am a married, divorced, deadbeat dad
a man of honor and integrity
i do what i can
i dream of serenity
i am a breakdown in a lame town
a tent show gypsy with a medicine wheel
a fast slow mother with an achilles heel
a mad ass hatter with an empty pail
i'm a long time coming on the cyclone sail
i mother the motherless over and over
i hate myself and then play red rover
i'm a fistful of wet river clay
my mother didn't graduate but fed me words
i am an aging poet, a nurse, old
a grandmother alone in a sea of golden light
i stand in the highway wearing bright colors
i am unbottled glitter
a poem out of synch
nothing but words i wrote
a half note on the wrong score
tension unleashed
i sell words
a year ago i tried a gymnastic trick
i'm a writer whose liquid paper went stale
i am the first branch
of the tallest tree
in our backyard
sunrise trainyard
nature seems ready, but i am not

Contributors to this poem: chcknbeer, bennie, knip, judih, shamatha, steve plonk, firecracker, kelasher, lucy!, thaoworra, firsty, j8, wildmind, panta rhei, hal quest, beatvibe, four degrees, trisha ra, buk's lover, jota, zen, flood, glorious amok, wildmind, doc stray, rain70, grushenka, billectric, lightning rod, michaelamichael, wireman, bk, jamelah, elz, andeh, seajay1221, markk, carmabum, beth vieria, piph, yrag, doreen peri, philip harris, checkers, rogerf, judithkay, intre-alude, inglosolunbe, daedelus_child, cruising fool, beat_fan, dlove, kkizer, e_dog, anniefay, arcadia, ruby tuesday, divine mendacity, mnaz, eveningair, violet9ish, lefty, bluefire, unknownpoet, Kristopher, Rudra, buddhabitch, kim-chee, geranium, bluedaisy, ellipsis, inglosolunbe, majic, minfin, bohonato, pasiphae, nanirolls, khristophorous, 33, luckystrikes, herbhermit, lovey, ~k, coolazice, sacredburro, jimboloco, bohonato, dwilde, dizzykicks, karmacoupe, daedelus_child, kornringfingers, anniefay, brooklyn, rudra, kreddible trout, amandalin, hester prynne, rh8onda, silverbear, davidkm

The 24 Hour Poem

From July 23 12 noon EST to Saturday July 24 12 noon 2004, we transformed LitKicks into the 24 HOUR POETRY PARTY and created an instant epic poem with the help of writers all over the world.

Following inspirations ranging from Walt Whitman to T. S. Eliot to William S. Burroughs, we issued thematic writing challenges, suggesting rhyme and meter schemes that varied as the hours passed, remixing the responses in real time as they arrived. Our goal was to create a single meaningful and coherent work from over five hundred individual contributions. Please read the poem to your left and judge the results for yourself!

To provide context and further inspiration, we had asked a few notable poets and writers in advance to provide original new work for us to present at various points during the course of the 24 hours. We were incredibly psyched to offer original new work by Michael McClure, Robert Creeley, Bob Holman, David Amram, George Wallace, Eliot Katz and koans from Sander Hicks, Gary Gach and Gary Mex Glezner.

To everybody who participated in this event -- thank you for trusting us and letting us play with your words.

-- LitKicks Staff (Levi, Caryn & Jamelah)
-- Saturday, July 24 2004 12 noon

Check out the original poster for the event


• 24 Hour Photos

• Poetry Contributions

• Party Chatter Board

The first reading

After we closed the party up, a few of us rushed over to the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City to test the poem by reading it out loud. We were very tired and the club was virtually empty at 2 pm, but the one guy sitting at the bar seemed to like it a lot and even clapped. The poem worked! Readers included brooklyn, firecracker, violet9ish, lucy and eli.

24 HOUR POETRY PARTY is a LitKicks Production.