POPcraft: Counted

by K.G. Strayer

Though this prompt utilizes the numerology of the Tarot, what it is truly about is inspiration and connection. Let us lean on our art in this time and allow it to sustain us. Now, more than ever, we are connecting through our work. Use this prompt to allow a poem you love to inspire you to write a new poem. This prompt works best if you use a poem that you’ve returned to over and over again, so that you have immediate, almost visceral reactions to the cards that reveal themselves to be connected to it. 

Once you’ve chosen your poem, assign a number to each letter in the title corresponding with that letter’s place in the Roman alphabet (or whatever alphabet you use most). Double-digit numbers are added separately; for example, the “W” in Gwendolyn Brooks’ “We Real Cool” is the 23rd letter in the alphabet, but I begin adding with “2+3,” not 23. 
W E – R E A L – C O O L
(2+3) (+5) – (+1+8) (+5) (+1) (+1+2) – (+3) (+1+5) (+1+5 )(+1+2)
The total when each individual digit is added together is 46, so you add 4+6 to get 10, which can be further broken down to 1+0 = 1. If your number falls somewhere between 1 and 21, you can choose to break it down to a single digit, or leave it as is. I pulled the card corresponding with 1 in the major arcana, The Magician, as well as the 10 card, The Wheel of Fortune, for the purpose of this prompt. I found I liked thinking about Brooks’ poem in the context of both of these cards at once. 
When you’ve located the corresponding card or cards in your deck, lay them out in front of you as you write (or, if you don’t have your own deck, look up a depiction of the card or cards online). Quickly jot down as many of your first impressions about the connections between the poem you chose and the cards you drew as you can. You can choose to look up what that card traditionally represents in the Tarot, or simply leap from what the physical card brings up for you. Write a poem that grapples with the space between the cards and the inspiration poem, including yourself as a third term—why did you choose this poem? What does your experience bring to this connection? How are you traveling in the space between?
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