Let’s All Write a Collaboration!

by Paul Mathers

Kevin MacDougall is a songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee. He has been a dear friend of mine for many years and it was a great joy to collaborate with him on a poem.

Our poetic form for this week is Collaboration. Put simply, this is a form when more than one poet co-labors on a piece. This can take many forms. You can each write a line, you can rewrite other people’s poems, intersperse your own lines into their work. You can do it through the mail, email, in person, or even ravage the work of defenseless dead poets. Ron Padgett writes,

“A poet who in this century helped write a linked poem in the tradition of the Japanese renga said that poets are like trees, all united by their roots in the earth and their branches in the sky, and that there is a moment when the poetry of all people is alike, and that there is one voice which always says the same thing.”

I highly recommend collaborating. It shakes you out of your grooves and, I have found, often flows so much easier than when you roll the rock up the hill by yourself. 

Kevin and I decided to do a simply rhymed couplet back and forth. This is what we came up with:

On Fear

By Kevin MacDougall and Paul Mathers

Every single day my thermometer tells me I’m a hypochondriac,

and I think that mole’s grown darker down around my sacroiliac.

The streams of malevolent media have me convinced I should be wary

Of interfering with the weights and burdens of each piece of propaganda I carry.

A moment of serenity is a thing I cannot dare.

Without that virtue of panic, people might think I don’t care.

And care I must, it seems, for being careful I have idolized –

While consumed by care, I stand to lose the “me” the care has paralyzed.

For rage regarding impotence and discomposure above,

That’s what good little customers are made of.