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Writers' Studio

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Welcome...  Welcome writers.  This is a place to think about writing.  Any genre, any level of completion, and any  writing-other hybrids are welcome.  Comments on writing can happen at any time, because a good comment is worth the wait.  This is an alternative to traditional structured writing programs.  In order to participate please fill out the contact form for the group.  (Please feel free to comment on the writing of this introduction to the group.)  Hopefully everyone participating will all learn something about writing and teaching writing. 

Happy writing!

jrlewis's picture

Lifting the Branch

My tree

tells me I have got you, apple.

Now hand to branch 

to yes, take my trunk.

Yell oh,

here, like hair like feathers like leaves!

Will the rustling leaves

of the swaying tree

say, no yell, oh?

Adam’s apple, 

state the roots, stay the trunk,

and lunging branch.  


out into orchard, think of the leaves.  

Yes give us a trunk and another trunk.  


loves its apple

so yellow, yell oh!

We yell over and over oh,

before falling from the branch.  


loves the leaves.

So the tree

is asking touch my trunk.

Tough the bark of the trunk,

still it will yell oh!

Telling, poem ate tree. 

Tender it is; the branch

never leaves



is alive with trunk.  


between orange and green and yell oh!

Growing to branch.

This is what it’s like making love with a tree.

Ah the apple.  Ah the leaves.  

Ah the trunk.  Ah the branch.  

Yell oh!  Ah, says the tree.

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jrlewis's picture

Feminist Sting

What felt wrong last night, was the need to explain my fear, 

to justify my fear, 

to force my fear onto you?

Into you,

I want to pour,

to open, to offer only good things.  

But sometimes the asymmetry hurts.

jrlewis's picture

Found Introduction

The great St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, 

the dome radially symmetrical,

each quadrant meets

one of the four spandrels.

Below the dome,

spandrels tapering triangular spaces.   

Two rounded arches at right angles are

byproducts of mounting a dome.  

Spandrel, a design fitted into its space, 

sits in the parts flanked 

by the heavenly.

Below a man,

representing one of the four biblical rivers 





pours water 

from a pitcher in the narrowing space.

Below his feet

is elaborate.  That we to view it

as sense of the surrounding

necessary spandrels. 

They a space which the mosaicists worked.

They set the symmetry

such abound.  

We do not impose our biological biases upon them, 

a series.

interloper's picture


The harbor shifted solid in darkness cracking, it
Came ashore with no life in it, serrated white forms lacking time.

Evenings heaving colder, our illusions tested, stuck
Inside woodframe cages with no air.

Five men, the paper said, decided not to live, all
Just as old as I knew, then two more.

The woman who pulled through before could not survive
The space between metal and pavement twice.

And the channel was not clear but the helicopter flew and
Hurling snow to clear my mind kept the ice at bay.

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She had a stroke and I followed it on Facebook.
She fell in the Métro on New Years Eve and I felt bad when
she was in a coma in France but then she got better
almost completely in just weeks. I never commented. 

I had a dream in the middle of it all that I saw her and 
I was happy she was better and we hugged and it
was warm in my dream. 

But in February at the soup party she
didn’t recognize me. 

I couldn’t ask her if it was
because of my hat or her stroke.

jrlewis's picture

If Connecticut, Then Fiction

I think it was not fit,

but friction, when his limbs brushed

my back, he was already rushing, running, resisting. 


I was writing and he was life, 

a teacher; a man whose shirt was always unbuttoned

one button too low.  He was showing me how,


in fact, I was wanting you.  Now he is not wanting

to know me, now I am growing away from him, now I am

going where I am wanted. 


He was younger than you, yet, there was such richness

in rest or rant or wanting.  There was my writing.

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Life Writing

“What do you know?”

said the sister to the writer.

“A writer is a little island, a summer land, 

what is a writer in winter?”

“What was I, when I was your age?”

I was torn.”


“Who are you, when you are not writing?  

You are the listener, the reader, the other.”

“A writer is only one who writes.  

Who I am, when I am not writing?”

“What does it mean to be a mature writer?

You should learn there are no mistakes only poems.”

“When I am writing, I am talking to you,

who are you?”

“When you are not writing, you are talking to me.

Who am I?”

“Why do you ask?”

“I am still torn; bitterness is also basic to us.”

“Well yes, we are twin cultures, where a poem

can be a puzzle, like a chemistry problem.”

“Either is interplay between the part

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More Trees


Here is a tree that is her horse away

from home; it carries her a way from her

home pain,this roaning out gelding, bay.  

Sitting at sixteen two hands; she is higher,

safer from ants and students alike.  She

is resting with her horse before the course.

She must be quiet and still for the tree

like a horse can sleep standing up, an old horse

can turn into one of the trees dotting the field.

She doesn’t stand on the second branch, it is sway

-backed, so she won’t pain the animal that way.

She is tender towards the tree, and he still yields

in a rustling of leaves and legs, he comes

to love; he wants to be her treehouse, horse, home.  

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Tree Three


She and the tree be together

in the afternoon sun.  She is gently

fingering its bark; the tree is thinking only

about her.  How her hands are slow travelers


on its trunk.  Her hands are soft though

her feet are tough.  It is the first time for the tree

being climbed.  Can I hold her? wonders the tree.

Will my twigs tear? worries the tree.   Oh!


She is sitting now, in the understory. 

Here is a tree feeling human flesh resting,

neither perching, nor running, just resting. 

She is starting to imagine a story,


where the branch before her is the neck of a horse. 

Here is a tree that thinks itself a horse. 

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The Tree Continued


Here is a tree drowsing;

there she is, walking along the trail.

She is singular, thinks the tree,

a human, out in the heat, without a dog. 

Humans, like dogs and birds, are pests, the tree thinks

heat makes humans smell most foul.

She has walked too far into the mid-west sun,

too far away from the university. 


She lets out a sigh of relief

after laying her cheek against the trunk

its thick bark.  The tree is learning it can offer relief,

if not to itself, to another, and that is a sort of power.

She is not nesting or shitting; she is only

resting; she and the tree together.

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The Tree


Here is a tree hoping

to be struck by lightening. 

It seeks relief from these dog days, 


when more water is rushing away than

is rushing toward it.  The river is leaving;

the tree can not. 


The tree is feeling invisible, to everything

Save the sun. 


Once a friend, the sun is now a foe. 


Isn’t dehydration, under the summer sun,

the worst way to die?


Here is a tree wanting

to flee from life, it was wanting to

flee from suffering, until she came into its life. 

jrlewis's picture

Copper Mine

If horses were wishes… 


I would have taken the horse

on trial, for two weeks before I left for Iowa City. 


Would he stay sound?

He has four off-white hooves and they have tender frogs


in the spring grass.  I’ve never had a horse with so much chrome. 

He was very fancy. 


How would I win the hack? 

This horse would tell me how to ride him, not why.  His mouth was soft,

but his head was hard.


Was he too much horse for me?

Sometimes, I would have to be closing my fingers on the curb chain,


hoping to hold him back, back him off, half halt.  I must make contact from

my hands to his head.  I was afraid of failing. 


This horse as he was?

I was afraid of falling from him.  I was afraid of falling for him. 


What do I know?

I am afraid of heights, though this horse, he has kind eyes.


How like a bridge is a horse truly? 


A horse can carry a person across a bridge, closing up the distance.

Oh dear, difference is seductive.

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Maine to Georgia

Maine to Georgia

by Alice Lesnick, 2012

you know this game

you are in a new place  

there’s a lull and you look around, a little up the street line  

could I live here?  the answer must always be yes

yes in a rented room in bangor, pa

where dad and uncle irving went to live during the depression

and a kite was ruined before little brother could fly it

no work for grandfather in nyc, grandma wrote her mother every day to testify

that life went on

even there

yes in downtown seattle

where you sashayed first, a loaf of bread under each arm

and a pack of cigarettes in your sexy jeans

the girl ben franklin as a young anarchist no date to keep

no one else’s time either

yes along the AT a drowsy summer day by pen mar park

where the pavillion (a pavillion!) is already set up for a wedding

interloper's picture



They filter in separately,

Discussing themselves and eachother.

I donate some electrons.

Wait for it.

The sound of two

Narcissists colliding.

jrlewis's picture


I need a goat,

to eat the gifts,

of the first year of my relationship,

I thought.   



knee socks,

green and pink lemons,

a solar powered butterfly,

et cetera …


Once, I was green. 



I know better

of our growth together,

the second year of our relationship


the goat.


I will leave

the real baby goat at Bartlett’s Farm,

April Fools,



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Is it our culture?

Microsoft Word Thesaurus connects the word forceful

with the word persuasive

(and powerful).

This thesaurus is a great dinosaur.

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“I think;

Therefore, I am,”

Said the philosopher, Renee Descartes.


“I think;

Therefore, I am;

Therefore, I can change who I am,”

Argued the neurobiologist, Paul Grobstein. 


I write;

Therefore, I know;

Therefore, I can change what we know.

Might the poet, Martin Espada, write. 

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Neurobiology and Behavior

Neurobiology and Behavior

(Thank you for this conversation Paul Grobstein)


“Maybe, it isn't

That there is something

To behavior other than the brain; but,

That there is something

To the brain other than behavior.”


“But aren’t neurons black boxes?”


“I suspect so,

Still neurons are not the storyteller.”


“This is the story of science as a story?”


“Our undertaking is subject

To the VAGARIES of the currents, winds, and tides

And our own will or lack thereof.


We must return time

And again, not only to find

But to create, and again to find and create.”


“Neurons are stories.” 


“The nervous self system…”


“Now I see

How science is living by the sea. 

Where, washed upon the shore are stories;

There to be captured

And dropped down again. 



Littering the terrain, so

The terrain is never the same, so

Know that truth and time are interwoven,”

I wrote. 



Rich powerful writing

Part of you

You have been keeping under wraps,”

Wrote the neurobiologist.

“Stories are black boxes.”



When I am storytelling my life,

People often ask what happened, and I reply,

alesnick's picture

Icy Pond

In the middle 
In the mud 
Winter stillness is
A canny 
Animating melt
Dozing open

-- Alice Lesnick