The Challenge

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As promised earlier, for JP, Banzai or anyone else who would like to participate, the 15 minute challenge. For the uninitiated, which includes me, the test is to base a 15 minute piece on the following photo by Joel-Peter Witkin. Here is my attempt, though I should be disqualified 'cause it took me 20 minutes to write and about a half-hour to research, but the idea came unbidden and I could not close the door. Medha I will no longer tolerate your eyes upon me Your throw-away fascination Your dissembling sincerity. Would that I could truly turn you to stone One scream and your sophistic notions crumble to dust. I am the daughter of Phorcys Yet you have woven for me a cloak of imposture Threaded through my skin. I am worthy enough to be defiled By the God of the Sea. Yet I bleed from a wound you cannot see And for this you curse me as holy dread Witch-woman in league with the moon. But it is only my battle wound And as the bloodflow will at last dissipate So will my patience. When the sun breathes his last It is I who will replace him. Then will I reveal myself as I first was A conflagration to sear the skin from your bones. And the cracks in the earth from the fall of the moon Will be your only place to hide

411 Responses to “The Challenge”

  1. Blogger jenn see 


    Archetypal every-woman,
    Figure Enthroned circa now,
    circa sepia tones, her knees
    & the way she holds them,
    parallel, a sphinx.

    Still-Life: Supervillainess
    with White Dog.
    Featureless, characterless,
    an ancient Kore resurfaced.

    Movement is evident &
    surrounds her limbs; her sphere
    revolves. Light & shadow break away
    & turn on each other. She's
    the chiaroscuro in the nightmare,
    shape of evening waiting
    with the Dog-star.

    this poem took 1 cigarette to write. that's what, 7 minutes?

  2. Blogger Carpathian 

    What do I say, when he returns ?

    Do I open my mouth to speak and hear my silence break the air or allow the words to fall free yet be ignored as if muted.

    Do I listen for the slightest sound, the slightest giveaway ? Do I make noise and block out the real world.

    She sits there, by my side, blindly trusting whilst I sit here the same yet different. We both rely on those we love.

    I can feel the air on my legs. Though I can't see my skin I can map every inch of it as the draught passes over it. It reminds me I'm alive.

    The ties hold me, loving me with the embrace of an unconditional love. Not too tight but there, always there. Even when I'm elsewhere in my head they are still there, faithful in their task.

    When he returns I'll love him.

    As the hood is removed I'll see him focus in my sight, see him form into the figure I already know by inch.

    For he trusts me enough to go with me, to slide the hood and leave me, no question as to why.

    One day he'll realise why I do this, why I allow my mind to run unhindered.

    On that day he'll sit and take the blindfold in turn, and he will love me all the more.

  3. Blogger Carpathian 

    Oh, and thanks for the inspiration, by the way. I've cross linked to your challenge and image from mine so you may get more people having a go.

    Hope that's ok, of course.

  4. Blogger the wheel 

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Blogger the wheel 

    Sitting here for this photo was one of my ex-girlfriends, from many years ago. Sitting next to her is her pit bull named Spider, whom she loved more than me. He was a bad dog, always causing trouble, and though she beat it without mercy, he stood by her with faithful obedience.

    Her name, though I've tried to forget, was Diana. Lord knows how hard I've tried to forget that cursed name, and the face that went with it. I burned out the face with the burning embers of a lit cigarette in an attempt to forget, but her dark brown eyes still seem to peer through the black hole left behind.

    Diana, the princess of darkness, the one I first fell in love with, the one I first bore my soul to, the one who first broke my heart.

    Damn, times up. You never said it had to be a poem, so I went for prose. Keep in mind that I had a few glasses of wine, which is why it's so short.

  6. Blogger banzai cat 

    FM: Hold on, will link this to my post...

    ... geez, that's one creepy photo. Plus your poem added chills on my neck. Brrr.

    Also, am a prose-whore so that's what I'll use. ;-)

  7. Blogger the wheel 

    By the way, I'll confess to taking an additional 2 minutes to edit my first post by deleting one word and adding two phrases (hence the deleted post you see above). I guess I'm disqualified too ;-).

  8. Blogger JP 

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  9. Blogger JP 

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Blogger JP 

    As the apparent originator of the 15-mnt challenge, I hereby rule that no one is disqualified. hah!

    Here's mine: Severian Dream

  11. Blogger JP 

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Blogger JP 

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. Blogger JP 

    Sorry for the multiple comments. Blogger comments is teh suxx0rz.

    PS: As owner of this blog, I think you have the option to permanently delete the amputee-stub deleted comments, so they won't hang around and lower the tone. I think.

  14. Blogger the typesetter 

    Hi there.
    This took me 25 minutes, but it was the dog that delayed it.
    Have a go:


    The breath that fogs the glass
    Carries rumors that I maintain to be untrue.

    They say the apple was poison
    That the heart of a pig pulsed in my hand
    And the girl of course, beautiful.

    For all that I have done in service
    They tell me I am to perish in fire.
    Actually, this is the one truth:

    Each time they look in on me
    I see lust glistening in that one eye.


  15. Blogger Hans the Destroyer 

    And I sit, swathed in Darkness.
    Alone in the deep nothingness from whence I came and to where I will return some day.
    The world spins at a dizzying pace about me
    In my world I stay the same- enraptured by the slow fall, like honey dripping from the comb.

    My shadow stays with me in here,
    I hear her rough breath as she crouches silently beside me.
    And my soul lolls by my side- white and panting.
    The rustle as she brushes against me.

    And my lank figure leans back into herself, exuding a calm watchfulness. And we wait for him.

    Resignation takes hold at the point when he'll return. And in this dim oasis, where light refuses to make entreaties about me, the world goes on and I sit alone.
    In the dread of anticipation my darkness proves itself a prison.
    Where once I came for sanctuary, my savior now the accursed and every breath strangled from me.
    The filmy shadow clings to me as my screams are muffled- and that's when I hear the scrape of a worn boot at the eave.

    Suddenly breath doesn't seem to carry any weight, and my labored intake ceases. Obscured in a dark world I hear the door swing wide and I see his outline- a dark angel.

    Horror as his shadow slings across my bare legs, enveloping my senses in a balmy chaos.

    Alright, I'm proud to say it was fifteen minutes precisely when I finished- though not so sure about the content.

  16. Blogger scandal 


    Greasy fingers run rough
    Pet and brush,
    is her Death to the touch
    Not unsure
    yet with smirking demure
    A dark grained texture
    is hidden in the comical mixture
    Naked but for the photo
    dodged and burned
    Lonely freedom…

    Welp, that’s that. Couldn’t think of an off rhyme for burned. Maybe its best left alone.

  17. Blogger mysfit 

    Alright, I figures I'd give it a go, but since I'm at work, I'm not sure how long this actually took me to write:

    I have fifteen minutes to
    worship at your feet,
    my lady of abandon—
    but where others hear
    the whispers of gods,
    and see the goddess
    in your shadow,
    —I see only desecration

    In despair
    I would wrap fists in your hair,
    Smash blood from water,
    And sit in your empty throne.
    But I am stuck staring at your picture
    And there is no time for miracles.

    Behind your divinity veil
    your eyes are closed
    and Cerberus stands resolute before you
    but if you can’t face the world,
    how can I?

  18. Blogger gatsby 

    i'm breaking down my participation in this challenge as follows-
    1) write for one minute.
    2) contemplate my writing for 7 minutes.
    3) microwave a burrito.
    4) further comtemplate my writing for an additional 5 minutes.
    i hope this paradigm does not upset the judges, who i revere, truly, as gods.

    here we go...

    i like this dog,
    but not so much that i want to see him.
    i like my pants,
    but not so much that i want to wear them.

    i dream in sepia of antique sheepia.
    my sundial watch is an affectation.
    i choose the coke over the pepsi.
    get these grass stains out.
    get these grass stains out!
    put them back in.

    can you guess which of my legs is real.

    i await judgement.

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