Friday, March 30, 2018

#14 Backstory of the Poem - Ibrahim Honjo's "Colors"

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***This is the fourteenth in a never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem.   All of the BACKSTORY OF THE POEM series links are posted at the end of this piece. 
Backstory of the Poem
by Ibrahim Honjo

Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form?  I developed the first draft while driving to work one morning. Every time I stopped at a red light I quickly scribbled down what was in my head until the next red light. Sometimes ideas for poems come like this to me and this is the only way to keep the idea alive. Sometimes I’ll be thinking of different things and an idea sparks in my head for a poem; this is what happened with this poem. I finished this poem in my car at the office parking lot before work that day. 
When I came home I typed up this poem into the computer. I corrected it along the way while putting it into the computer. I re-read it when I finished typing it so I could fix the mistakes, and try to replace some words for better ones. A week later I went back to the poem and tried to improve it as much as I could again. Before I decided to publish it I read it again several times and make sure everything sounds right.
Where were you when you started to actually write the poem? And please describe the place in great detail?  When the idea came to me I was sitting in my red car about one kilometre away from my house. I was about nine kilometres away from my office in the city. Driving there I passed so many different buildings, cars, and people. Being on the move it’s difficult to describe something in great detail. Everything goes in fast motion like the way my poem came to my head. I didn’t have time to look at my surroundings I wanted to keep the idea alive. (Right Ibrahim Honjo in his red car in March of 2018)
What month and year did you start writing this poem?  It was February of 2007 when I wrote this poem. (Left Ibrahim Honjo at a poetry event in  2007)

How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?)  My first draft was done on paper with pen. My second one was done on a computer that went through many phases of revising. I edited this poem from February of 2007 and I was satisfied with the poem in March of 2011. Since I wrote all my poems first draft on a tiny piece of pocket sized paper, it is difficult to track where I filed them. My handwriting is extremely illegible for other people. I alone have a difficult time reading what I wrote which frustrates me and tends to lead to me throwing the papers away once they’re on the computer. I keep everything in my computer so it is easy to read for everyone and easy to edit. In my lifetime of writing I have learned that a poem is never finished. Sometimes, after I publish a book I go back and find words that I would’ve liked to change and I do so in my manuscript.
Were there any lines in any of your rough drafts of this poem that were not in the final version? And can you share them with us?
I feel that this question was also answered in question four.

What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem?  I want readers to carefully read the entire poem and to take these verses as a message:
let love break from its own shell 
and flow from your poem 
flow from your picture 
let the Earth and space hug each other firmly like the two of us
let the universe love the Earth 
so that love can break down all barriers
I would like to break circles and to destroy boundaries we are all winners 
a test of love and geometry and the test of tolerance (Above Right - artwork attributed to Ibrahim Honjo)
Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why?  This entire poem is kind of emotional, but the emotions cannot kill our heart. The best part of the entire poem I presented under question number six. I wrote this poem because I want to tell people what we all almost forget in our lives, and we don’t care about it enough or many people don’t care at all. (Left artwork attributed to Ibrahim Honjo)

Has this poem been published before? And if so where?  Yes. This poem was published online in several poetry groups and on my Facebook timeline. It was also published in my book “Poems didn’t want to write, some other dreams” 2011.

Anything you would like to add?  Your blog is really excellent and very interesting. I love it. I’m very happy to be part of your project. Thank you for this opportunity. Congratulations dear Cristy and good luck on your way. (Left Photo attributed to Ibrahim Honjo)


I am a black cloud
You are an angel

You are a black cloud
I am an angel
We are from the universe

We are hugging each other without end
Somewhere between the beginning
and the end

Some other eyes are around us

And between us

For some reason

Look at me my angel
I am red

You are green

I am yellow
You are blue

Do we have enough magic arrows
To protect this world from itself

This is new geometry

Everything belongs to circles

Even you and me

I have encompassed you
with the circle of my hands 

the measurement is two feet 

imagine red-black 

black and green
black and blue

dancing tango 

let’s dance too 

here in the moonlight to make millions of circles
in the centre of the globe
let’s dance
so that we scatter love

and its benefits

and the Earth

and the universe
with the speed of light
let love break from its own shell 

and flow from your poem 

flow from your picture
let the Earth and space hug each other
firmly like the two of us 

let the universe love the Earth 

so that love can break down all barriers 

I would like to break circles
and to destroy boundaries
we are all winners
a test of love and geometry

and the test of tolerance

Ibrahim Honjo was born in 1948 in the former Yugoslavia. Since January 1995 he has lived in Canada.
 Honjo is a poet-writer, sculptor, painter, photographer, and property manager who writes in his native language and in English.  His work has appeared in many magazines, newspapers, and on radio stations in Yugoslavia where he worked as an economist and journalist. He was also a book editor; newspapers editor; marketing director; and organizer of many poetry events and festivals. His poems have also been published in several magazines and radio stations in Canada and USA.

He is the author of 25 published books and one book with another author. His work is represented in more than 20 anthologies. Some of his poems have been translated into: Italian, Spanish, Korean, Slovenian, Bahsa and German.

Honjo received several prizes for his poetry: - Award for book “Stone to stone” 1976. Yugoslavia
- Word poetry life time Achievement Award 2010, Canada
- Several editors’ awards and awards for excellence in Canada and US - Pentasi B Award 2016, Ghana
- Several awards in India 2016
- Award R.M.P 2017. Morocco
He attended to: - Reckoning 2007, an appraisal of BC writing & publishing, Vancouver, Canada. - Word on the Street (National Book and magazine festival) 2009 Vancouver.
- Africa Day Festival 2007 and 2008
- Pandora’s Summer Dream Festival Vancouver- Denman Car free festival Vancouver
- At least 20 poetry festivals in former Yugoslavia.(1971 – 1991.) - Poetry Festival Pentasi B, Accra, Ghana.2016
- Poetry festival in Jaipur India 2016
- Writers conference in Udaipur India 2016
- Poetry festival Rabat Morocco 2017.

001  December 29, 2017
Margo Berdeshevksy’s “12-24”

002  January 08, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “82 Miles From the Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café”

003 January 12, 2018
Barbara Crooker’s “Orange”

004 January 22, 2018
Sonia Saikaley’s “Modern Matsushima”

005 January 29, 2018
Ellen Foos’s “Side Yard”

006 February 03, 2018
Susan Sundwall’s “The Ringmaster”

007 February 09, 2018
Leslea Newman’s “That Night”

008 February 17, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher “June Fairchild Isn’t Dead”

009 February 24, 2018
Charles Clifford Brooks III “The Gift of the Year With Granny”

010 March 03, 2018
Scott Thomas Outlar’s “The Natural Reflection of Your Palms”

011 March 10, 2018
Anya Francesca Jenkins’s “After Diane Beatty’s Photograph “History Abandoned”

012  March 17, 2018
Angela Narciso Torres’s “What I Learned This Week”

013 March 24, 2018
Jan Steckel’s “Holiday On ICE”

014 March 31, 2018
Ibrahim Honjo’s “Colors”

015 April 14, 2018
Marilyn Kallett’s “Ode to Disappointment”

016  April 27, 2018
Beth Copeland’s “Reliquary”

017  May 12, 2018
Marlon L Fick’s “The Swallows of Barcelona”

018  May 25, 2018

019  June 09, 2018
Alexis Rhone Fancher’s “Stiletto Killer. . . A Surmise”

020 June 16, 2018
Charles Rammelkamp’s “At Last I Can Start Suffering”

021  July 05, 2018
Marla Shaw O’Neill’s “Wind Chimes”

022 July 13, 2018
Julia Gordon-Bramer’s “Studying Ariel”

023 July 20, 2018
Bill Yarrow’s “Jesus Zombie”

024  July 27, 2018
Telaina Eriksen’s “Brag 2016”

025  August 01, 2018
Seth Berg’s (It is only Yourself that Bends – so Wake up!”

026  August 07, 2018
David Herrle’s “Devil In the Details”