This past Friday, as a part of the Ron Casey Visiting Writers’ series at ASFA-CW, we were graced by the presence of Sheree Renee Thomas, who read from her latest multi-genre collection, Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, and then inspired us all with a set of feeling/thinking/writing exercises that encouraged us to shed our preconceived notions of what (and how) we’re “supposed” to write. Below the break, check out a few examples what we were able to create:
Once When We Were Air
Hovering over the dark of the water before God formed me into the world. What am I? What multitudes shall I become? Essential to all, forgotten by most. A child walks through a grocery store before asking his mother how much the world weighs, his words hover in his throat before becoming air. He asks something else. How much does air weigh. Before before, before, after, after, after. Through the air we fall, falling into heaven. But some people never have experience with air. I came to ring words, to carry planes. To die out, to breathe. Am I the air, or merely possessed by the air?
Once When We Were Air
Ain’t no better way to see the world than by flowing with the breeze. We had no home but we never slept. We made new friends instead of making plans; we visited rain forests instead of offices. Air never wondered what was next because we loved a good surprise. We saw volcanoes form and we saw mountaintops get higher. We met the sloths and snakes and we liked em just as much as pigeons. Once, when we were air, we were blown east. Once more, we were blown west. But we haven’t made it everywhere yet.
Once When We Were Water
We went wherever we were moved to go. A walk down the lane turned into day trips to the ocean, if just to see its waves and go home again. I remember we flowed as one, always smooth and dripping in the clasped palms of a baptism when you, yes, you, Father, you baptised me anew. Made me come to life again at the choice of men. When we were water I was scared always. I was always afraid of my shadow and hid in yours. The church is empty in my dreams. We sit on the altar, praying, not looking at each other as we lay at the Father’s feet. You baptised me with ice, Father. You have made me cold.
Once When We Were Earth
The Earth licks the spear of consciousness. It billows like air for the mole, always digging its whole life to see the sun, only to go blind when he finds it. We speak the tenor of harmony, a lullaby as if to shush the infant, the noise of planets, the spirits, the breath rides the tongue ever so delicately only to drink deep of the Earth, the worlds, the unenlightened children of the stars.