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Raylyn Clacher and Laura Madeline Wiseman


The Visiting in Hotel In-Time


You didn’t know what choked you, the Russian courtyard adrift in jeweled wisps.

You didn’t care. You’d been praying for a diamond - asphyxiation. The girl

in the calf-length dress, stripes moving against her form, neon glowing, her seam

was the only light you could see anymore. You needed to travel here, where spies

once went, everyone worked for food, and cobbles chattered as red stars lit

the backs of skulls. But it’s a trick, the light, and the drift of night down your back.

You stand among the orange billows of drapes in a Georgian bar, overlooking

shadows that walk as if they still live. I think it was you who brought them here.

They mill under your window where the poisoned river teems. Some call them walkers,

others the free. I lock the door, loosen the belt at your throat, open the bottle

but you refuse a drink. “Open it again,” you beg, and we go on like this—

a twist and screw. You clamping it down, me opening it up.



Process Note: The process of collaborative poetry has been a great and welcome departure from how I normally generate poetry. Throughout the creation of "The Visiting Hotel in Time," Madeline and I would take turns adding lines to the poem. With this approach, I found it refreshing to follow the whims of the poem as seen through the eyes of another writer rather than seen exclusively through my own vision. The collaboration was grounding for me. Whereas I typically follow the image throughout a poem, with this collaboration I found myself following more of the narrative of the action, asking myself not just what the world of the poem would look like but what would actually happen in that world and how that action would unfold. The best part of this collaboration has been the trading of ideas and the emergence of a new perspective.