One is not born a woman, one becomes one.
As with poems, you can be as free as you like
or as restricted as you like – just say the thing
like walking on water or some other miracle of a saint
I don’t believe in.
I tell you I don’t want children. Ever.
You’re not prepared for a nappy-less existence
that is that – goodbye
it’s not a tongue twister
it’s not a breath mint
I do not want marriage. Ever.
You’ve said you always wanted a bride
in a church, with a veil and all those dumb flowers
you’re not whole without it (which I think is stupid)
so you say the thing – goodbye
As with poems, it’s hard to know when it’s done
but words are a start, the feeling will come
like ice you roll on your tongue until it gets smaller
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.
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?).
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.
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.