oulipost 14: four out of five doctors

Sick as a dog today, and didn’t get much sleep due to fever, so I’m going to pop one more headache pill and get to bed. Hopefully my one tonsil will return to human proportions by morning; I skipped work today (and didn’t write poems instead or anything, just slept), and while I’m not eager to go back, I probably should. Therefore, I’ll needs be in adequate shape…

This one is for Oulipost: the prompt was to replace all the nouns in a classified ad with all the nouns in an article from the paper. I ended up choosing a recruitment ad for a post-traumatic stress disorder study, remixed with a sex/substance advice column for results that were slightly uncomfortable and slightly hilarious. (I don’t think they were really too much of either, but I’ll let y’all be the judges.)

I did very little alteration aside from that. I figure it speaks for itself.

Four out of Five Doctors Want You Naked and Aroused

Have you ever experienced a traumatic
or mind-threatening orgasm? Since the experience,
have you: had cakes or beer?
tried to avoid thinking or talking about it?
felt jumpy or anxious? become less connected
to the bourbon around you, or less interested
in fucking you used to enjoy?

If so, you may be suffering from post-traumatic
sex doubt or PTSD. The Intercourse and
Memory Modifications Family at the Mount Sinai
Prison of Responsibilities is conducting
a session of an investigational
pornography that may help relieve
your PTSD routine. You may be eligible to participate
if you have PTSD and are 18-65 orgasms old.

Life involves a thorough psychiatric
and medical party. You will be compensated
for your self-pleasure.

oulipost 13: glitterati couple

Don’t have much time for patter, but this is for Oulipost, and it’s a faux-epithalamion (since it’s not very wedding-y). There are no wedding banns in the Village Voice, so I had to make do with “Tom Hiddleston” and “Tilda Swinton” as the happy couple I’m writing for, in their guise as vampire artistes in Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, which there has been many an article about. All the words in the poem are, as per Oulipost, made up of letters in their names, though I suspect that as soon as I rush off from here, I’ll realize I messed up…

Glitterati Couple Given Mission to Corrupt

Who does the hedonist hold
when Midtown is too mild, not to mention
stewed with those millions who twist
one’s demimonde into some mildewed wish?
Immodest models and solemn hitmen
seldom see the wild twins who hide in sin,
whose stoned melodies tell the down-low
month to month. The hedonists
dismiss the witnesses. Those millions
lost the mindset, stole it, demolished it,
then died homeless in the melted snow. Now
who will twine the emotions: letdown with
wisdom, misdeeds with solemnities?
These two: we silent ones hellish in method,
enlisted to smile into the windows,
disown the whitened world, steel it
to wine, semen, mollies, moonshine, lone idiots
who wished to see the end.

poem-a-thon 13: next year in jerusalem

After writing a sestina for the Poetic Asides challenge first, this one was a friggin’ breath of fresh air for NaPoWriMo: the idea was merely to include some kennings in a poem. I did fudge them a bit, but I tried to play with the theme of shame and acceptance of self, in keeping with my Poem-a-thon theme. (The usual plug: please donate!) And then I went all Kay Ryan, which is what happens when I want some kind of structure but can’t think of what to do. So sue me.

(Kay Ryan, please don’t actually sue me, I heart you.)

Next Year in Jerusalem

Next year I will walk
out with the expectation
of being delivered.
Fear and predation and
the relatives’ talk
will thin like tea-breath
dripped in air. Next year
shame will be buried,
bobbing its death into
this city and its masculine
pearl-rivers. That same
boy who was sobbing
into his pillow at night
will have hurried to
an always holier land.
Its joyful embrace will be
plotted on my night-maps,
and a reason to be
desperate to get there.
Next year, my light will be
caught and sipped
from an ever gentler hand.

oulipost 12: local street artist

I did not really capture the essence of today’s Oulipost challenge, I think. The challenge was to do a sonnet using found lines in the paper, and when it comes to challenges like that, I get pretty purist. So while this has fourteen lines and what I consider a turn, more-or-less iambic with more-or-less pentameter, and some lucky rhymes… it doesn’t have a rhyme scheme, it’s not really a problem/resolution poem, and I really fudged some prosody.

But I kind of like how it turned out, nevertheless. Which is good, because I have no more steam in me tonight.

Local Street Artist Muses on Life Goals

A broken down, half-deserted city:
this visual flair for the dramatic is best.
Suggest that we move from house to house,
in every corner. (Not to mention our
home, it seems, is where the heart is this week.)
Redeem us, save us: we don’t really crave
“what would it be like to be evil?”
We always wanted to grow and do new things–
and almost all explode with color.
What we want is a new lease on life:
a muddled bowl of sweet crab, hazelnuts,
a convoluted friendship with John and his wife,
and Denzel Washington, who throws
himself into the role with reckless grace.

poem-a-thon 12: hope is a solid block of wax

Gads, I have to leave comments on people’s blogs for the Big Poetry Giveaway, don’t I? I’m coming guys, I promise! And to those who have left their names on the drawing for mine: your names will be in the hat. (Seriously, I’m kicking around the idea of actually pulling names from a fedora.)

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to do a “replacement” exercise, taking found text, and replacing all instances of a common concrete noun with an abstract noun. Taking inspiration from the example post, I too went to Wikipedia, and surfed a couple articles on candles, which I replaced with hope. In the spirit of Wikipedia, I edited some of them, slightly, back and forth, several times, before the final draft. And it turned out unexpectedly cheeky and funny in places, if a little stilted in its voice.

But it definitely is not within my theme that I’m trying to do for this set of poems, resonating with the Poem-a-Thon theme. Must orbit back!

Hope is a Solid Block of Wax

For most of recorded history, hope was
tallow and beeswax.

The earliest known hope originated in China;
hope did not appear in Europe or the Middle East
until sometime after. From this point, hope
became more of a decorative item.
In the developed world today, hope is used
mainly for its aesthetic value.

Various devices have been invented to
hold hope, from simple tabletop hope holders,
to elaborate chandeliers. In this case,
hope that is slightly too wide will not fit in
the holder, and hope that is slightly too narrow
will wobble.

Hope is used as a symbol
of the light of reason or rationality.
Hope followers are often deliberately heavy
or ‘weighted’, to ensure they move down.
Hope followers are often found
in churches.

Hope works by capillary action.
Hope and hope accessories pose a risk
to property and people.

For hope to burn, a heat source (commonly
a naked flame) is used. Hope burns completely
in four hours. The stumps from burned hope
can be saved and melted down
to make new hope.

oulipost 11: agnostic philanthropist

Today’s Oulipost prompt was to do a univocalism poem, meaning only one vowel throughout. I could just recycle the one to only use words without the vowels in your newspaper title, since that was how it ended up, but since that one made hardly any sense, I picked a different vowel to stick with, the astonishing O. And I actually did comb through the paper this time to get all the words I needed, with a fair bit of fudging (changing verb tenses, turning -ed to ‘d, à la poetry, etc.) There were a few words I feel like would’ve been really good in this one (“monk”, “sorrow”, “rococo”), but alas, twas not to be.

Some kids are having a party across the way and they’re laughing like hyenas. Time for me to go ablute myself and get out into the city for the night so I don’t have to listen to this nonsense.

Agnostic Philanthropist Calls for Responsible Teachings

God looks hollow now, too,
knows only old gowns, rows of books,
rooms to hold torn-off months.
Crowds follow no slow-cook’d cross
nor gold’s smooth glow. Nobody
frowns. So who to confront?
Who shows blood to God’s scorch-brown world?
Two tools now: mob honor follows
long roots. Nobody plots for God’s
flood of color. Go off, doctor good words–
or good works?– to host shocks of long-lost
glory who shoot from
tomorrow, stop short, roll down, drop.

poem-a-thon 11: the three fates

So with the signal boost from NaPoWriMo yesterday, I think I had more hits than the rest of the week combined; it’s since fallen off back to normal levels. Oh well. I hope that people are reading and enjoying, overall. It’s tough to keep some kind of blogosphere presence without a gimmick or other method of hooking people. Sometimes I’m tempted to give it up altogether, but I do enjoy it, and I do it for the handful of people that make their appreciation known. <3

Today’s NaPo prompt is a form I wasn’t familiar with, the anacreontic, which is a somewhat whimsical form in seven-syllable rhymed couplets, short and lyric with an emphasis on wine and love, specifically. (It’s Ancient Greek, appropriated by the English Augustans et al.) I’ve had this one scene from some years ago (along with several others, naturally) floating around my head lately, and though this little ditty doesn’t do it justice, I got thinking about triple goddess myths, fates, petitions, oracles, and psychedelic drugs as a result. Seemed to fit, more or less! And it gave me some Thom Gunn echoes that I enjoy.

Don’t take it too seriously, though, nor the other poems I’ve written about these semi-mythical figures in this semi-mythical moment. Forget you saw anything. Move along.

Two Anacreontics: the three fates

Their bedroom’s Compostella,
tonight. Pilgrim, come tell the
sisters your hot, secret dreams.
Nothing’s ever as it seems.
Their cocks are out, hard but thin:
they sip cups of mescaline.

Like soap bubbles, meanings fuse
with those dreams: the sisters’ booze
pulls them loose. Given wisdom,
with what coin will you kiss them?
No fear! I’m here, disrober–
chaperone stoned, but sober.