Friday, July 6, 2007

The 3:15 Experiment

Some of you may know about The 3:15 Experiment, but most of you probably don't.

In a nutshell, since 1993 a shifting menagerie of poets has woken up at 3:15 AM every day during the month of August to write. Any form, any length, any topic (although there have been themes).

We began a website in 1999 so that poets could share their work. Not all choose to post. We just ask that if poets do decide to post, the work is completely unedited. Fresh from the 3:15 mind. That's the whole point, to examine middle-of-the-night mind. We like spelling mistakes, strange twisted grammar, illogical conclusions, etc.

I am tardy and just finishing up typing my 3:15's from last year. I just typed this one and was especially impressed. My 3:15s are usually a combination of things that happened the previous day, dream images, and wacky hypnogogic thoughts. In the following poem, I was recalling 2 documentary films I had seen and a trip to a museum.

Usually I do not remember writing the poems, so they are always just as much of a surprise to me as any reader. That's one of the things that makes it so much fun.

August 27
Vancouver, BC

There are girls whose skin
could kill them who
must scrub themselves for hours
each day and butter themselves up
so they don’t dry away there’s
a boy whose skin fell off
he watched @ nine years old, as his
legs were wheeled away
both arms, too, eventually.

We are not our skin. Or
hands or feet. I say this
over dinner. Stripping
corn off the cob. I have
been that immobile. This
is not a metaphor. Sometimes
I cannot move. I
haven’t made fists in years.

Modern science makes me walk
hold a pen
hold a thought w/out it
suffocating upon release
Far from the shore
intelligent design rests like
a spider in a web.
The girls are sisters and go to
The boy joins the
paraplegic rugby team
I make love on a Saturday night
all life echoes between
moments of forgetting the vessel
The vessel is a pulpit
not a machine

The Master of Long Fingers knew
where the magic was contained
He laughs now long gone
his work hung in museums
because he left a trademark

How to be immortal leave part
of your body behind
In this case elongated phalanges
Like waves
from the palms, arched
impossible inhuman
although his earth name
is still unknown

The boy dreamt once
of flying over his Grandmother’s house
w/arms and legs like superman
and longed for the freedom
far from the mad crowd

We are not our bodies. We are not
our pain.
We survive each moment
through that moment
be here now

Whatever form
with or w/out fingers
legs bones and those
who live symmetrically
are in for a surprise
when the grid becomes
brittle the glass breaks
and they are left w/
the rope in their hands
and no words
to explain how it got there
eloquence my friends
hot or cold
is what will make you whole.

If you are interested in joining us this year, e-mail me at "info at"


my darling clementine said...

I'm not sure how I got to your site, I was just looking around for poetry sites. I went to your 3:15 Experiment site and it's really something else.

I am a single mother who sometimes writes poetry (only for myself in a journal) and I also write about my dreams. If I didn't have to get up so early in the morning I might try this. I did enjoy your work.

There is something strange on the 2005 pages. Alot of the poems are repeated more than once. I think it's a glitch in the system.

OpenChannel said...

Hey MDC,

I'm not sure how *early* is early, but if you could get up 10 minutes earlier, you might try a related experiment:

One time I filled up a journal by writing a short poem just before going to bed and just after waking up. It's another way you can experience that 1/2 dream state.

If you do decide to do that during the month of August, I think our new website will have a place to post these *alternate* experiences.

Thanks for the tip on the website. Yes, I had noticed that before and we're working on the glitch.

poetry-lady said...

Hi Ms. 315 Goddess, the Purple Poetry Goddess here.

Just wondering if there's any 2008 3:15 happenings. Haven't heard anything, am sort of pondering the whole thing. The website is having a DB Connect error right now.

I've been away from the web for a while now, but am slowly starting to dive in again, so I'm going to subscribe to your blog finally. :) My latest blogging experiment is Twitter--when I can, I am trying 140-character poems (or stanzas, depending). poetry_lady on twitter-and there's a small group of twitter poets. :)

Have a perky one!