I’m broke

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

I’m broke but
love me so hard you
distort my purpose
my suspicions
my woes
to put it briefly
pervert my imagination
with sentences
rich
luxurious
and we’ll pretend
we’re
the wealthiest
couple on earth.

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Writer, in the afternoon.

Writer, in the afternoon.

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

I know nothing of means and remedies. I know nothing of higher art. I mistake zeal for action for actual progress and I have uprooted any hope of changing myself. I rent my heart to words. I have never been more of a cliché than I am now. At 27, the dangerous year for artists and lovers.

I grow out of my prejudices and into new ones like a pair of leather boots. My mind clings to a superiority to overcome crippling inferiority to a universe too big for one woman to discover alone. I throw lovers off the scent. Love, it all looks rather improbable. My heart stuffs its pockets with you and I go on humming the tune that saves my life every damn time.

 

Blue Dress

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

The student shudders under his book at her dashing entrance. The blue dress, the white under skirt, the strength of her sexual enthusiasm wafts over on her perfume.

She takes her dress off on the train and parades around in her yellow underwear, six sequins on her bra straps. She says her boyfriend is a liar.

A man up the front hides a long neck VB, drunker than Christmas. He hollers at her to “put her clothes on, there are children on the train”. The student marvels at her almost endearing insolence as she gives him the finger and spits on an empty seat. A certain triumph in her bleary eyes. The suit by the door avoids her stare while the man with the little trolley smiles with pitying condescension.

She has an animal joy, burning with damaged self-esteem. The traffic cops pick her up descending like the gods of war. The drunk laughs and laughs and spills his beer, having avoided a fine. She laughs too, as the cops take her by the arm, swinging her arse as she saunters on, singing in Russian. The student watches as the train moves on.

Text Thursday: Mash-up, Shaw, hidden narratives and page X

Quick Lit shake up

This Text Thursday is brought to you by literary mash-ups. A mash-up, much like Austin Kleon’s Black out poems or Dada‘s cut up technique is about taking a pre-existing text and finding new narratives within it. Kleon’s poems are born of crossing out all but a few words to create a new text. The Dadaists cut up texts, re-arranged the words and formed new sentences. The mash-up takes a text and stretches it, filling the spaces between words with new words to form a narrative. It was first introduced to me by one of my poetry lecturers, Gareth Jenkins. He also pointed out that it’s a good idea to use non fiction texts as they are often the most unintentionally poetic (much like Kleon’s newspaper’s eh?).

But for copyright reasons because I happen to have a copy of Bernard Shaw’s Back to Methuselah (1945), I’m going to use that as an example.

I picked this book up from a second hand bookstore for $2 a couple of years ago. Check out the cool inscription.

So, page x (10) of the Preface – ‘Political Inadequacy of the Human Animal’

Ten more years elapsed. Neo-Darwinismin in politics had produced a European catastrophe of a magnitude so appalling, and a scope so unpredictable, that as I write these lines in 1920, it is still far from certain whether our civilization will survive it (Shaw 1945).

and then stretch it, add a few words (and in this case I’m taking a few out) and it might become:

“Ten more years elapsed. Darwinism drove men to politics, lovers curled themselves around a European bouquet of love, catastrophes, explosions of hearts; petals on the cobblestones, a tapestry of such magnitude, so appalling, the scope of their spirits, the trickling sound as they slip their way through the gutters, unpredictable, a doctor, a wife, gushing out the lines of pavement into storm water drains, into 1920. Still and far from the certainty of each others’ pockets, a civilization of lovers, survived only by the city.”

It’s a lot of fun and sometimes you can even get some usable lines out of it, if not a whole poem.

Other great mash-up texts might include: religious texts, pamphlets, instruction manuals, menus, bills, and so on.

Lots of seemingly un-poetic texts contain narratives, you just need the tools to find them.

                                                                                                       

Shaw, B, 1945, Back to Methuselah, Oxford University Press, London, p X.