triptych — a poetic collaboration

©2022 krista marson | michael raven | towint

Below is a “blind” collaboration several of us put together based solely on three random tarot cards drawn from a standard deck, The Crow Tarot as designed by MJ Cullinane. Krista, Towint, and myself independently wrote three poems with no more than 100 words total based on those random tarot cards. None of us was aware what the other had written while we wrote out own contributions. The text colors are consistent for each author throughout the piece: Krista=beige, Towint=yellow, and Michael=blue. The text follows each panel of the triptych for those people who utilize screen readers or only have handheld devices.

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He stood his ground
grasping the nearest weapon 
causing the world to say,
“He is the man I want to follow.”


When all seems lost
to painful shadows,
decide on the cost.

What will you give,
offer, and sacrifice?
How will you live?

Cane is the tower.
Not a clutch,
a wand of power.


outside the pale
a song beckons to the trail
stout blackthorn steadies
his way


Former friends,
now current enemies.
A bitter betrayal 
fell out of the clear blue sky
and colored the wheat fields 
a blood-stained red.


Here in the now,
in glorious triumph,
take a proud bow.

You did it, dear.
Forget the modesty.
Listen to the cheer.

Comfortable in your skin,
make a toast
and celebrate your win.


tangled in fevered bedsheets
& poppy dreams of you
tumbleweed scarlet    
               & falling...


Betrayal and deception
take center stage on
the theater called life.
But what kind of life is it
when someone can press a button
and take that life away?
The invader stands in the crosshairs
in the scope of the entire world.
Yet, no one pulls the trigger, 
for that’s always the job
of someone else.


Trivial people despise might.
They alienate prosperity.
You're a fearful sight.

Worry not about fools.
Swords they follow
and dark obsolete rules.

Forget the jealous eyes.
Spread your wings.
Fly away with prize.


  having left behind only
  your scent and
  lovebite memories
  to show you
  were ever here
  you fade into shadow

There are some concurrences here, likely because of the generalized tarot card meanings, which was my intent by using them as prompts. There are also some distinctly different interpretations of the rendered meanings because of our lack of coordination, which also was my intent. To the more prickly (see my post from last night) folks, the lack of complete alignment might drive those people slightly batty. I tend towards the more “gooey” end of the spectrum, more so as I age (I had a period where I was more prickly, but I’m over that), and I like the messiness of not quote dovetailing with each other. Again, it was my intent when I first proposed this three-way collaboration. I wanted something that felt internally reminiscent, but fiercely individual.

Thank you, both, for agreeing to this slightly bonkers way of collaborating without expectation. I like how it came together and I really enjoyed having the minor side-chatter I had with each of you behind the scenes. I would love to do more with each of you.

15 thoughts on “triptych — a poetic collaboration

  1. I like the results!

    I read it all kinds of ways, but I most especially enjoyed reading them across. Here are my two favorite lines that resulted:

    enemies in glorious bedsheets
    wheat fields forget the falling

    so very poignant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These work really well, Michael. It is fascinating to see and read different interpretations of the same stimulus and interesting too to see how the meaning often overlaps despite the phrasing being so unique.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was an interesting exercise, definitely. I love doing group things if everyone can have fun with it (less so when people get terribly anal retentive about the process).

      One of the other things I’d like to do sometime is write a poem or story with a group of at least three people. I’m sure it has a name, but it would be one of those (assume three people), Person A writes 1-3 lines/sentences, Person B adds the same number, but erases Person A’s contribution before forwarding it to Person C. Person C would mimic Person B’s actions and return to Person A.

      We used to do that in HS, just folding the paper over to obscure the text instead of deleting. In this scenario, it might help to have a Person D who is CCd on all communication to pull it all together when participants think it has run its course (alternately: one of the three uses an alt-account for an email that received all of the communications that they don’t check until it is “done”).

      It often has hilarious results, especially when one of the participants is warped AF (that always seemed to fall to a classmate calling herself “Skye”; she liked to put in phrases like “reticulated penises” into the works).

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Unfortunately, there are too many elitists out there that aren’t nearly as gifted as they would have you believe.

          I tend to like being around the more modest crowd. That was the whole goal of my spoken word night in Seattle, honestly. Limit the elitists’ megaphone and give the quiet, modest folks with as much (or more) skill a chance to shine.

          Liked by 1 person

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