The Poetry Game

Push me Pull You 1

Now and then you meet someone with whom it is just so much fun to play. You sit down together and your minds start bouncing about, ricocheting off walls and exploding with laughter. … We call these people friends. And I have been blessed with more than my share.
Still… the poetry game is something quite special.  And I’ve not had the pleasure of playing this game with all my dearest of friends – for whatever reason:  sometimes we’re just too busy catching up on life and, thus, playing with words doesn’t come into our precious time of sharing. The poetry game does demand some moments of leisure but, beyond that, it requires little: two friends, a sheet of paper, a pen, and whatever words fall.
It goes like this:
You flip a coin to see who goes first.  One person writes a line or two and the other follows with a line or two or three. There are no rules carved in stone – it’s a game, after all … and so it goes. It need not rhyme … although it can. It could be stream of consciousness prose  or a story that builds from beginning to end … shape it how you will. As an artist, I’ve also played this game of collaboration visually —for example, with other artist friends, sharing a palette and a couple of brushes, we’ve played around on one canvas … Sometimes it works, other times not, but it’s  the process – be it a battle or a dance – that is, at it’s very least, amusing.  At it’s best, it challenges one to release control and when that happens there’s a bit of magic in the game.  Whether with words or images, the point is not to create something great and masterful. It’s just an exercise. It’s play. And, occasionally something quite nice comes out of it.
Sitting down with my friend Gordon in my studio the other night – a place he affectionately calls wonderland – I brought a sheet of paper and a pen. As he loves words as well as I, it’s a game we’ve played several times. So, we flipped a coin – and he won the place to begin it all. And so it went …
 As yet, it’s untitled.
 If you’ve any ideas for a title, do send them!


 And so, our simple poem:

The common push me pull you
The tangled shuffle on floors
The wrenching ventricles
of the heart
Leading us from wars

Those battles falling from thin air
The whirling chaos, an art
Where life falls into pieces
But never apart

Moved from within, then straight ahead
Another hill to climb
We rise to higher places
Of heart
Soul and mind

 By Gordon Gower and JT Winik

About JT Winik

A Canadian visual artist whose figurative paintings are psychological explorations of isolation, interpersonal relationships, gender analysis and female sexuality.
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