The Blank Caught Fire

August 7, 2013 at 11:40 am | Posted in personal, poetry | Leave a comment

ImageI realized this morning that I haven’t yet told this blog about my new online poetry project, The Blank Caught FireIt started in April as a National Poetry Month project, and after succeeding at writing 30 poems in 30 days (!), I’ve been continuing it at a more leisurely pace. It’s a collage poetry project, where my source material is my partner’s current online writing project, Sister CIty 73His project is a serial, improvisatory, weirdo novel wherein the plot moves forward through a combination of random chance (literal throws of the dice), bibliomancy (looking back at previous pages for fortuitous juxtapositions), and a fascinating kind of associative logic wherein the figurative images that have been used to describe a character in the past will dictate her present actions. For example, when a character receives a telephone call summoning him into a room full of people he knows are angry at him, he hesitates, but since he has been compared to a dog before, he comes when he’s called. These strings can get much weirder, such as when a character is compared to another character’s teeth, and that character been compared to an actress, “so her teeth / are good and so he is / good which is what Erin / says Superman / does so he’s flying.” You’ll note the reference to myself there; I’m occasionally consulted as an oracle for this piece (along with the dice, the book itself, and the previous images), and some of the author’s day-to-day experience is also woven in. It’s super fun!

So as you’ll notice if you followed any of those links, Sister City 73 is written in columns, and that’s where my collage work comes in. Each of the poems in The Blank Caught Fire is based on a single page of Sister City 73, and is assembled out of the fortuitous phrases that are generated where words rub shoulders with one another due to the columnar format of that project. I’ll post two of my favorite poems below, and if you like them you should consider checking out the project on Tumblr and/or buying the chapbook from Horse Less Press that collects some of the early poems!

romeo’s authentic nest

only pretends to be
something like a room I go to

I puzzle about one
splatter of himself

the Chinese fire
has a wealth of words
in the case of old images

I brush by ten years—
the coin says it’s two:

the next lover’s
sputtering trick birth

don’t bother asking skatespeare

it’ll probably be called
“studies: figurative and then crushed”

my memory back under the stage
with all the repetition
tempts me with accident

the opposite sister
in love with the Shakespearean
who has taken up with his hero
in a plan to redeem his rival

and since her embodiment shows
he lost to her wooden impression—appropriate
in the battle of Frank O’Hara

lucky for him, she’s also the perfect wave

transformation is as fickle
from figurative to literal—ah, Romeo!

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