Let me begin by saying I’m a huge fan of the Lantern Review Blog and the folks running it. They list events, write reviews and feature poets and writers in Asian American and people of color literary communities across the country. They also post “weekly prompts” as exercises for writers.
The other week, they posted this one, on “questions without answers,” which reminds me of Neruda’s Book of Questions.
This exercise is designed not so much to produce polished verse, but to move you into a mind space in which no question is ‘unaskable.’ A single question such as “What secrets did you parents keep from you as a child?” can give rise to a thousand others, which may guide you into totally new poetic territory. As you might imagine, the result can be both wonderful and terrifying.
Here was my response, which I posted on their blog:
Who still remembers the island of witches,
the faith healers who spill rooster’s blood
on a honeyied hill?
Along my body’s horizon, where does the darkest
planet rise and set?
Does a kiss on my mashed mask, snarl of teeth
Who feels the temblors, crashing waves of coral,
their red crumbs at the ends of my feet?
Is it me who is beautiful
or the magic that chanced me here?