Month: February 2017

A Mad Intercision

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“Surrealism to me is reality.”  John Lennon

“A Mad Intercision”

Pulled back by the wind, fog lights jumped over

Knocking pressure below the air plane,

She went off the road ‘cause her mind

Let-out-line for a memory, a mad 

Intercision, and I remember I

Was the one next to her as the

Hospital bed ran the motorcyclist

From screaming children into

A river where we swam all summer

Ate at the park pepperoni pizza, green chili fruit pies

We flew, thrown high from it, our kites in spring  

Sucked hard warm gasses along the jetstream

Conical shells, road piggy back

On joyous ants, split soul per diem

The sky was like glass

And I tugged you mom wake up, the er nurse

Needs you to get her ice Why? She’s flying

We laughed ‘cause we made one moment right

Before we forgot we were in route

To moralities where everyone stared us right out of class

You took one long, yellow leg with us to snow summit

We chewed into lobster rubber,

I wiped the tomato paste off the molcajete and the

Motorists hung white linen sheets in the wind

As that silly snowman with the middle finger,

Cigarette, and beer can smiled

I thought he needs a winter coat, so he doesn’t lose his beer

Or a friend to remember how he was, a

Nice chunk of ice, an intercision 

A memory mad for your undivided vision,

Flying glass kites on chain smoke marinara

I walked right off, out of the hospital window

With sangria fireflies

Attached to my arms

 

Thank you for reading,

Clburdett

Feb. 2017

Blackbird #14

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There’s comfort in understanding what works and what doesn’t work in language. But what happens when a man like John Cage gets “uncreative” and wants to take syntax out of language to make language more “un-understandable”? Cage claimed the linguistic status quo was “demilitarizing language” and would continue to bang his head against a wall until he achieved what he wanted. And this passionate want to emancipate language inspired me to place Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” into Cage’s beloved mesostic generator (click here to view mesostic generator). And once generated, I concluded this new poem, Blackbird #14, as 1.) a clipped visual representation of conceptual art with new sounds and linguistic experiences, and 2.) a computer generated WOA (aka work of art) regurgitating cryptic language with a deterministic message hidden in plain sight.

Looking at a mesostic poem is like looking at conceptual art. It appears Stevens’ blackbird was clipped in physical length (mesostic generator only condensed). The poem’s focal point was centered around a ‘spine phrase’ which ran down the length of the poem. The spine phrase was capitalized giving the poem “lifts” in mid-words (i.e., “among tWenty snowy mountains…the blAckbird walks”). Since the original poem omits syntax we’re left with tongue-tied phrases (going against formal language). It was very beautiful to see words doubled-up (and and, the of the…). My favorite part of Blackbird #14 (incorporating visual and sound) was the “ii” and “iii” and “eyes.” The “i’s” flowed nicely within the poem. The Roman numerals had new meaning (i.e., the numerals changed and appeared as a reference to time). The “iv” appeared to look like “I’ve”. And “x” followed the word “marked” as in X marks the spot. The line “euphony over equipage be all,” was a pleasing alliteration.

Blackbird #14 does not die in its complexity. Lines including “indecipheraBle” and “inescapable” were almost cryptic in meaning; connecting in an unintentional but intentional way (can’t escape trying to make sense of it all). This uncreative poem was not completely non-intentional since I could control the message within the spine phrase. The spine phrase that I made up was generic: “wallace stevens fourteenth blackbird.” (Upon further inspection my mind omitted the “n” after I did this analysis.  (I didn’t change this error since changing it would mean I was being more creative).  Lines which produced interesting “innuendos” were: “i Know too that/Blackbird/Is involved what i know…beauty of inflections/beauty of innuendoes.” I wanted every word to soar from the mesostic generator. I wanted to control the language to make it right; to make it mean something more. Then in the end, I realized it’s more about the process and not about hidden meanings.

I value Stevens’ original blackbird contrasting life, flying full circle, ending on a sentinel perch. It’s a powerful image. And, in some bizarre way I was stunned to discover both artists were inspired by haiku and Japanese art. Both artists, composer and poet, achieved the same goal by different means. They broke away from traditional poetic modes. And by applying Stevens’ originaL “ThIrteen Ways of LooKing at a Blackbird” into John CagEs ambitious head bang, BlaCkbird #14 wAs born, set into motion, on another fliGht, toward nEw horizons!

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

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