In John Keene’s poem “Phone Book,” from his poetry collection Punks: New and Selected Poems (Song Cave, 2021) and published on Literary Hub, the speaker flips alphabetically through a Rolodex remembering the lives of each person listed: “Yamil bending / ear to lips to read the laments, with care, tells me that Zachary, the Rolodex / Z, now gone, no longer fears those dark days. In any light, trust, the dead can see.” Mixing rhythm and narrative, Keene seamlessly threads together the names of contacts with their respective stories, never losing the threads of their often fleeting lives. This week, make a list of names from A-Z of people from your past and then weave them together in a loose abecedarian poem that tells their stories.
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