One Stop Poetry 2/9/11: Origami



I am driving to nowhere

when my stomach folds into

a paper crane

and flies across my lungs

to nest in my ribs.


The red light stops me

and the crane scrams

in my chest.


If you can fold a thousand

I’ll grant you a wish.

Across my body

cells become paper

ripping turning,

folding tiny wings.


A car honks and

987 cranes burst

from my pores,

escaping into

the bronze sky.

I drive forward

to nowhere.



Rough, rough draft of a brand new poem. Opinions and thoughts welcome as always!

Posted for One Shot Wednesday Please go check it out and read all of the amazing poems shared there!



  1. brian miller Said:

    wow…i like that you start with the one crane then burst forth with many…but leaving you behind heading no where leaves me a bit sad…this is a great write…def evocative…

    • Judy Black Said:

      Aw, sorry I made you sad, but I’m always happy to get an emotional response to my work, so yay!

  2. Chris G. Said:

    Interesting. I like where it’s going – evocative, as Brian says. I certainly can empathize with the feeling of a man being folded and condensed and crumbled up by life, tugged in a thousand ways. The ending image leaves me thinking – the origami birds in flight, bursting out from us…is it the self slipping away from us? And the mindlessness goes on…

    • Judy Black Said:

      Very glad I could get you thinking. I’m happy to see this poem has started some wonderful trains of thought here. Makes me see that it is working, just needs to be polished now.

  3. coalblack Said:

    do you mean scrams, hun, or screams? just wonder.

    i love how the paper birds move through her as she moves through traffic. and i like that they seem to have more sense of where they are goin than she does.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Excuse me while I go hide my head in the sand with embarassment.

      Okay, I’m back.

      The moving of the birds and the speaker in two different ways but together is one of my favorite parts of this poem so I am very glad you enjoy that aspect as well.

      And thanks for spotting my little typo.

  4. randallweiss Said:

    You should get a gps, so you know where you’re going. And the folding origami while sitting at stoplights thing will get you honked at often.

    I like the image and the emotional appeal. I think you can clean up the lines a bit, but I know it’s a first draft.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Once this gets a little more tweaking you may receive a copy of this floating into your inbox for some help.

  5. Gay Said:

    Ah one thousand cranes – wishing you fortune, wishing you love, wishing you insight. I love it. Maybe a touch more polishing, but this is a winner. Gay @beachanny

  6. jenneandrews Said:

    This is terrific– you stay with the image and make it surprise us– a hallmark of a true poet. xxJenne’

  7. Claudia Said:

    A car honks and
    987 cranes burst
    from my pores,
    escaping into
    the bronze sky… these lines..

    • Judy Black Said:

      Aw, thanks so much Claudia! Those are some of my favorites too!

  8. Eric Said:

    Why 987 cranes? Sounds like an oddly-specific number.

    Why not say ‘a thousand cranes’ instead? More lyrical and less halting than that sudden appearance of out-of-place numbers. (Just my opinion)

    Over all, a very nice piece. 🙂

    • Laura Said:

      I don’t know, I think it’s important that it’s not quite 1000. The wishes are unfulfilled, so shouldn’t the sudden appearance of numbers be jarring?

    • Judy Black Said:

      Thanks! I chose 987 because I like the sound of it said aloud and it wanted it to be clear that there were’t a thousand cranes.

  9. hedgewitch Said:

    Perhaps next time the driver will fold all her cranes and get her wish, but the sense of it being impossible is pretty strong, as perhaps it should be. So many wishes are better left unfulfilled…rough, perhaps a bit, but not much, I think.

    • Judy Black Said:

      Oh yes, very rough, this is probably the closes to a very, very first draft that I’ve put up here. I think that it will always be an unfulfilled wish.

  10. Laura Said:

    This reminds me of the book “A Thousand Paper Cranes” about a Japanese girl who was a baby when the atom bomb was dropped and gets cancer ten years later. She sits in the hospital making paper cranes, and though she dies before reaching 1,000, her classmates make the rest of the cranes and put them on her grave. It’s based on a true story.

    Anyway, what with having read that and the body imagery in this poem, I wondered if this was a poem about cancer. Of course it could just be a poem about someone’s wishes and dreams, or a literal poem about someone folding paper cranes at a stoplight, but that’s just the association I made. Also, I’m not sure I like the title “Origami.” It’s general, where this is really about cranes and the person making them…

    • Judy Black Said:

      Oh wow, that sounds like a lovely book. I think I will have to look into it. I agree that the title isn’t right, a work in progress for sure!

      • Laura Said:

        You know, you could turn this poem into a series…use this speaker/character and write more poems about her and the origami or the road trip or something. Just a thought! 🙂

      • Judy Black Said:

        Ohhh, that is a very intresting idea… hm….

  11. Shashi Said:

    Dear Judy

    Beautiful and stark images bursting out within.. and the ending was so perfect… great write…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya

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