Slice of Life (Day 27): Lifting Lines and Making Poems

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write all through March, every day, about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

I’ve been know to lift lines, to steal words from other people’s blog posts and write poems as comments, and leave the poem as a gift from a reader. I admit it. I am thief.

That’s what I was doing yesterday morning – lifting lines. I do it as an act of close reading, of paying attention, of remix. I do it to honor the writers, whom I hope won’t be offended when I wrangle a thought and remove it from context, in order to spin something new from their writing.  I do it, for myself, to write.

Yesterday’s line-lifted poems have now become today’s Slice. I hope you follow the links back to the original posts. Thank you to all the Slice of Life bloggers who didn’t know they were giving me paths to poems. Your thoughts became inadvertent inspiration for me as I rambled around the Slice of Life sharing.

(Note: see below for a podcast reading of the poems. The audio is part of an exploration of voice with another adventure altogether known as Networked Narratives.)

Slices aren’t always eaten,
they are nibbled,
chewed, discussed,
enjoyed, often with a side
of surprise, joy, and possibly
sadness and surely, compassion.
We train our microscope towards
a single small moment
in hopes it transforms into
a telescope of the larger human experience.
Go on, then.
Nibble away.


You act out the poem,
as if you were dancing
inside the lines, as if
the iambic pentameter
was a rhythmic beat
for your feet, as if
the seats in the hall were all full
with an audience, instead
of just me, as I read, to you,
with your eyes closed,
watching the ghosts
of the past come alive
on the stage, too.


I hear the smile on your face,
a million soft melodies
of love, and as I tune myself
into harmony, we sit here, quiet,
the silence merely a resting point
the notes.

from —

She dug in her heels,
carved indentations in the dirt,
hands clenched on the rodeo rope
and no room for give,
while on the other side of the arena,
me, the bull, refused to be slack,
my horns pointed upward in exasperation
as she danced around me,
the crowd, holding its applause,
wondering how the standoff might end.

from —

The real work lies in the weeks,
months and
years ahead;
It won’t be enough to stand
and watch,
to complain
and shout.
Armchair pundits can’t call the shots
on Monday morning.
Change happens between neighbors:
handshakes and discussions
on porches, shopping lines and
at mailboxes.
Change, happens, but slowly.

from —

This slack-jawed teen,
stretched out with his headphones
and eyes closed,
ponders the world from above,
strapped into his seat, secure and safe,
never knowing that, for now,
the earth is forever in motion,
and not just spinning for him,
for gravity will yet pull him closer to us,
eventually, perhaps not without a fight,
even as his soundtrack plays to the audience
of one.

from —

Then came the retainer.
So I empty my pockets
and hand you my coins,
the last remains of a life’s fortune,
as you pull me in close,
and whisper a fortune’s worth
of words.


Here we are, living the writerly life,
building homes out of poems;
shacks, out of words;
fires, out of feelings.

Each day, every day,
we sharpen our thoughts,
pencil into the machine, the soft hum of gears
set in motion as we wander our imagination.

We live the writerly life,
for without these stories,
the walls would be barren,
and life, more lonely.


Finally, since we have been talking about Voice and Audio in the Networked Narratives course, I decided to record myself, reading the poems.  Nothing fancy here. Just me, reading.

Peace (in poems),

Share this post:
  1. Amazing!! I loved reading these yesterday and am honored to be one of the posts that gave way to this inspiration. I love that you included the piece of reading the poems aloud. You light the way for possibilities! Thanks Kevin!

  2. Wow, when I wrote that I lifted lines, I had no idea you wrote whole poems for each. I’m honored that you wrote from mine, and love each one, touching and celebrating all this month filled with words “wrangled” from each one’s lives. Beautiful, and a keepsake! You have a wonderful voice for recording, Kevin. Thanks for all!

  3. This is amazing. So honored that my post was part of your inspiration. For years I have enjoyed reading your SOL entries. You are creative, daring and original. Always a gift to read your writing.

  4. “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn,” are the words that adorn your blog site. Your horn sounded beautiful today as it echoed the words of fellow Slicers, mine included, with your own variations. If I had to choose, this would be one of my favorite Slices of the March Challenge for the way you weave together our words, set them to your own music, and let them sing out to us!

  5. This was such a treat, Kevin. I have always enjoyed and marveled at the poems that you have left on my blog after reading a post.

    I listened to the poems and now will travel back to the posts. Thank you for this.

  6. I’m so honored to be part of this, and I actually read most of the posts that you used for inspiration! Thank you, Kevin! What an amazing thing to do. I’m gushing. I have more reading and listening to do from this post.

    Really, really cool. Really, really wonderful community.

    Thank you–I know I already said this, but thank you again!

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