APAD – 24 (And Syllabic Verse Showdown)

A Dark Vision
(a cento in syllabic verse)

The road crowds houses almost into
the lake. On one side one day they may
go plop! A short drop down a bluff — popped
out of the ground and unfurled at your
feet, in the palm of your outstretched hand.

In real life, I am on a small bridge
over a small creek. Then it isn’t
a bridge but a stadium. Put on
the preservers!
they announce. Nothing
is real except the well-timed traffic …

There are two choirs, one poised in space, of
unimagined sounds; the other one
is abstract, compelled by summer and
the noise of cars deflected from their
courses, gathered like bodies floating.

And I had to go down in the earth
for something. Thus began … episodes
of quiet, under the silt-covered sun.


Note: Bardi’s choice for the number of syllables in this showdown was nine. Please join us in sharing your syllabic verse!

Credits for the cento: First stanza from “Along Overgrown Paths”, by James Schuyler; second stanza (and title) from “In Your Version of Heaven I am Younger”, by Rachel Zucker; third stanza from “Songs of the Valley”, by John Koethe; fourth stanza from “The Formation of Soils”, by Brenda Hillman.

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