On “Honeymoon Suite in Honolulu” (#49)

We had written nine poems. Actually, we may have written eight. We may have written “Honeymoon Suite in Honolulu” concurrently with “A Lone Star Stomachache.” But the process was different. Rather than writing start to finish, we wrote lines out of order. John presented two lines and a pattern:

TITLE

Steve McGarrett found the heroin packed in cans of low-sodium Spam.
Martin1

Martin2
John2

John2
Martin2

Martin1
In the Hawaiian language, Honolulu means “bomb shelter infested with

John3
Martin3

Martin4
John4

John4
Martin4

Martin3
John3

John5
Martin5

Martin6
John6

Martin5
John5

John6
Martin6

The idea was to volley back and forth, like usual, but to do all the 1’s first, the 2’s second, and so on. We also planned to come up with the title at the very end.

Surprisingly, we stuck to the plan. Martin came up with the title. He provided a handful of options, nominating the third, “Honeymoon Suite in Honolulu.” John seconded the motion.

We finished the poem on August 23, 2009, after changing a couple of lines, particularly the lava-lamp couplet. Despite the weird process, certain details remained consistent: John started the poem, Martin ended the poem, and Martin tweaked some of the phrases after a while.

Did this poem help inspire Martin’s poem, “Ring Finder at the Hawaii Honeymoon Hotel,” about the guy saving marriages with a metal detector at the beach? We just don’t know.

“Honeymoon Suite in Honolulu” first appeared in Confrontation Number 105/106 (Winter 2009/Spring 2010). It is the forty-ninth poem in the final sequence of Poets’ Guide to America.

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About poetsguide

A former altar boy and a former U.S. Army interrogator, respectively, John F. Buckley and Martin Ott were born and raised in Michigan, meeting each other at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before separately migrating to California in the early 1990s to attend graduate schools, their friendship evolving into a writing collaboration – what they refer to as poetic volleyball. They both currently live in Southern California, John with his wife, Martin with his wife and two children. John teaches English composition at several local colleges, while Martin works as a marketing strategist for a global company. John still affects a strange piety; Martin still finds himself asking a lot of questions. Individually and together, their writing has appeared in over 150 periodicals and anthologies, garnering three Pushcart Prize nominations for Martin’s poems “India Ivy” and “When Bridges Fall” (available in his collection Children of Interrogation, which has been a finalist or semi-finalist in eighteen poetry prizes) and John’s “Poem for Christy’s Daughter” (available in his collection Kinks in the Hose). Martin has also optioned three screenplays. His chapbook Misery Loves was published on Red Dancefloor Press. John’s chapbook Breach Birth was published on Propaganda Press.
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