Dada Koan #20: not remembering my pale yellow sandwich

Standard

We’ve arrived at the twentieth dada koan. It’s a melancholy one– see the rip mark on that shade of Edie Sedgwick green? Well, this has been such an exciting win-ful week in the Windy City I needed to inject some winsomeness into it. If you hadn’t heard, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in a fight to the finish with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. The heart-stomping game ended just before midnight on November 2, 2016. Ten minutes later, to be droll, I texted a Chicago sports fan, “Did they win? I can’t tell.” He was droller, texting back, “Did who win?” The reason this was droll is because here in Chicago there was nonstop honking and screaming in the streets for three hours. Young people all sound similar when they scream so it was like the same cars kept circling my block. Oh, to be young and plastered with your head out the car window shrieking and singing and carrying on and just generally being a pain in the ass for the whole sleepy neighborhood. Must be nice.

It’s hard work to keep that level of enthusiasm going three hours. They stopped very abruptly at 3am.

A dada koan is a surreal cut up technique poem made from newspaper clippings. The phrases and words are chosen randomly from a hat. Or a milk chocolate-scented box. Here’s the above lime and hurt-your-eyes pink in B&W:

I’m just not remembering my

pale yellow sandwich

seriously considering

mattress promotion

dead ethically

make money

earn praise

I guess this poem might better be categorized as depressing than winsome.

Thanks for stopping by. I don’t usually like baseball and I don’t own a TV but that was a great game. Go Cubs!

______________

Unrelated Addendum: Been on a Dawn Powell bender. Still consider A Time To Be Born the best so far. But recently read a Quality Paperback Book Club trilogy (from Brown Elephant thrift) of her novels:

The introduction is by Gore Vidal who’s credited with Dawn Powell’s literary resurgence.

Angels on Toast: This, the best-titled, was my favorite of the three. Infidelity and marriage.

The Wicked Pavilion: Young love and a takedown of New York’s phony art scene. Cynthia Earle is Peggy Guggenheim.

The Golden Spur: A Mamma Mia-ish “Who’s my real Dad” plot and a takedown of New York’s phony art scene. Cassie Bender is Peggy Guggenheim. Gore Vidal calls this “her last and perhaps most appealing novel.”

 

 

Dada koan #19: you’re never too old to be hiding behind something

Standard

Here’s a profound dada koan. It would be bad taste for me to call something I’d written profound but since this is a dada koan it means I grabbed all the phrases and words, readymade, from a candy box that has a notecard marked “Surrealism” scotch-taped to its lid. These candy boxes are easy to come by. Wait a couple weeks for Walgreen’s to have another $5 sale. Anyway, it’s the candy box that deserves any accolades for profundity.

WHITMAN’S SAMPLER BOX (blushing)

Aw c’mon, guys. Twarn’t nuffin.

Here’s the above flamingo-colored cut-up poem sailing on its blue-green rectangle in B&W:

you’re never too old to

be hiding behind something.

an overweight comedian

the Internet

three red lipsticks,

stop being a snowflake

falling onto tables

waiting

to  die first

Thanks very much for stopping by. Brotchie’s A Book of Surrealist Games has lots of inspiring word-play strategies by Tristan Tzara and other Dada experts.

________________________

Unrelated Addendum #1:  Note to a wonderful composer/musician. My Insignia CD player is silent.  It has 9 buttons including 2 on/off switches on the sides. I’ve tried these buttons in all different configurations but nothing. Batteries are new and correctly placed. This happened last year too and when I brought it over to Best Buy, the blue shirts had it singing my Ultra Lounge CD– Teach me, Tiger, whoa whoa whoa– in two shakes of a dachshund’s tail. But that Best Buy is a Target now. Everything in Chicago is either a condo or a Target, by the way. Anyway, hoping to find a remedy to this problem soon so I can hear songs with titles like: The Hand That Feeds Me Could’ve Used a Little Salt (Troll Braille CD by Walker Evans).

Unrelated Addendum #2:  Wow, I’ve really put a lot of weight on recently. Wonder if something’s bothering me.

Unrelated Addendum #3:  Turns out I’ve formatted 300-plus pages completely, totally wrong. I guess you don’t tab over or count out 5 spaces to indent paragraphs anymore. What a mess.

Unrelated Addendum #4:  Lots of novels piling up in To Read stacks including several by Dawn Powell. Despite this fact, last night I stayed up to re-read her A Time To Be Born which is a roman a` clef about Clare Luce Booth (Amanda Keeler) and her newspaper magnate husband. The early description of her house–“the marble-floored, marble-benched foyer”– with its gargoyles and “urns of enormous chrysanthemums” is pretty great, as is, actually, the entire book. Here’s a sample bit that concerns a different character:

“She was thirty-two but she looked like a woman of forty so well-preserved she could pass for thirty-two.”

Dada Koan #18: twin boys in ear canal

Standard

Today’s dada koan tackles the tricky problem of poor hearing.

What is a dada koan? It’s a kind of Frankenstein monster pieced together from old newspapers. Tristan Tzara, the great dadaist, is credited for inventing the cut-up technique poem.

You know, the candidates for this very fine 2016 presidential election don’t do mud-slinging. They’ve clawed past that to reach the primordial ooze and now there’s a hole in the earth and we’re all falling through.

But I digress.

Here’s the above pink on yellow dada koan cut-up poem in B&W:

robust, 75-year-old:

I feel strange essentially

twin boys in ear canal

whooped and clowned around.

VIDEO

coloring books.

problem may just be wax.

Just little boys horsing around with their coloring books. What a relief!

Thanks very much for stopping by.

_________________

Unrelated Addendum #1: We Speak Chicagoese, stories and poems by Chicago writers is edited by Bill Donlon and Dennis Foley. It’s hot off the presses and includes such abundance of local amazing as: “Brothers” by Sherwood Anderson, “My Brother’s Ass” by Carl Richards, “A Deal in Wheat” by Frank Norris, and “I Took the Santa Claus Job” by Beau O’Reilly.

Unrelated Addendum #2: Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet and Clarice Lispector’s Agua Viva feel more like philosophy than fiction. Reading these writers both at the same time makes me feel surreal, displaced, and uh… disquieted.

Addendum-related Addendum: Did Gregor Samsa have disquieting dreams?

 

Dada Koan #17: Hollywood needs big view thing

Standard

Renee Zellweger said in an interview– and I’m not sure how to dig up her exact quote. I’m a blogger not some grubby reporter. Oh, all right. Click. It’s in an article for the LA Times titled “Rene Zellweger is back to take on ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ and a world obsessed with how she looks.”

Well, first. I’m not obsessed with how Renee Zellweger looks. I’m not even sure who she is. Did John Cusack teach her to shotgun a beer in ‘The Sure Thing’? Ha, ha. No, that was somebody different, I know.

So journalist Amy Kaufman writes that Renee “developed some projects that she didn’t want to elaborate on” and Renee says,

     “I don’t want to talk about it. It’s so boring,” she insisted. “Oh, it’s so boring. I think it’s much more interesting when people do stuff.”

WelI, that’s valid. In previous blog posts, I wrote about a novel-in-progress. Renee’s right. Better to finish the project– publish, then talk. This reminds me of listening for three hours– yes– to a guy describe his mega million-character mega multi-million dollar epic screenplay. Honestly, I wasn’t listening to his plot so much as I was hypnotized and enamored by his confidence and the fact he didn’t care I hadn’t spoken once not even a single “mm-hm.” Still, when you’ve worked on something for years, boring or no, there’s a temptation to share, Daphne Zuniga. And maybe some of us do it before all the dots are eyed and all the crosses are teed.

Today’s dada #17 is a thinly veiled koan about Hollywood. Here’s the above unsightly green on brown poem in B&W:

city in dire need of a big-view thing

such as big airports

a military base

facilities

frightening “chicken things”

no one pays attention to pretty

Well, there’s a pithy indictment of LaLa land’s architecture. This is a dada koan which means I plucked words out of a Whitman’s Sampler box labeled “Surrealism.”  Then I spent time pushing phrases and words around until it made a thing. Then I glued the thing to paper so it would be preserved forever.

Renee Zellweger said this in the LA Times article too: “And I often find myself making up opinions about things I’ve never thought of before on the spot because I feel like I ought to be accommodating.”

Thanks for stopping by. Movie stars are people. Politicians are people too (sometimes).

___________

Related Addendum 1: Cruel headline from 2014– Nothing says over forty like two spaces after a period*. After reading that on the internet, I manually corrected a chapter in my manuscript. But I’ll be back to using double spaces tomorrow because to hell with it.

Related Addendum 2: Ooh, I can’t stand the possessive for words ending in “s”. Bridget Jones’s Baby. Jesus’s Son**. The boss’s bacon– makes me cringe.

Related Addendum 3: Rosemary’s Baby is aesthetic. Thanks, Ira Levin.

*author Jennifer Gonzalez

**author Denis Johnson wrote Jesus’ Son. Apparently, depending on the stylebook– some preach that all proper names should end in ‘s for the possessive form and others instruct that while it’s fine to write Dolores’s– a classical name like Zeus or Jesus can be possessive with Zeus’, Jesus’. Another reason to despise grammar.



Dada koans #16: duck breast ice cream

Standard

Invited the poets by last night. They probably just showed for the free drinks and mushroom pizza but I don’t care. “So many of us! So many of us!” Sylvia chirped to her slice.  “Take it easy there, Victoria Lucas,” I said with a wink.  Then I presented my duck breast ice cream poem to Bobby– yes, that Bobby– and right away he starts sniveling.

“It’s perfect.”

“Yup.  Free verse.  Wrote it sans net, too.”

He muttered something.

“Bobby, hope you’re not offended.  But yellow seems to me random,” Walt said, stroking his beard.  “Why not diverged in a chartreuse wood?  Or a purple with orange polka dots wood?”

Sylvia grinned, peeling her beer label.  Bobby seethed through his tears.

“Ooh, I am large.  I contain cow pies.”

“Guys, c’mon,” I said.

Opening the freezer door for more ice, I sighed.

“And, Billy, quit stealing.”

“It wasn’t me this time!”

Henry Chinaski punched Billy in the mouth and, of course, all the sweet cold plums fell out and rolled over the carpet.  Billy touched his lip and looked at his finger.

“Is there a doctor in the house?” he asked, ironically.

___________

Here’s the above Buster-Brown and Pink poem in B&W:

Discover

grandmother’s homemade

Plush

duck breast ice cream

your boyfriend vomiting

Cat is moving

didn’t look back.

You can make a dada koan or cut-up poem with glue, a newspaper, scissors, and a box.

_________

Thanks very much for stopping by the woods.

__________

Related Addendum 1:…Hmm… promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.

Related Addendum 2:  I’m pretty sure this is true.  Billy Collins– as opposed to Billy Carlos Williams– was guest judge for one of those Best American Poetry books.  He automatically disqualified entries that mentioned “cicadas” or “plums”.

 

 

Dada koan #15: we are pleased to offer…

Standard

Here’s a nice dada koan poem.  It’s good to have choices.  Someone cut it oddly, though.  I guess that was me.  Glued onto weird-shaped paper.  Is it less aesthetic than if it was square?  Yes.  Looks like I just used up a scrap.  I wasn’t making deliberate artistic choices.

Choices, choices.  November is nearly here.  Speaking of.

Articles popping up on the internet saying it won’t be easy to move out of the country.  The United States will punish you and charge you double-taxes for being a traitorous ex-pat.

I don’t want to talk about the election.

This is a cut-up technique poem.  It borrows from Tristan Tzara’s method but I’ve added a few tweaks.  So.  Scissor up maybe a free travel magazine you’re getting because the person who lived in your apartment before didn’t update her subscriptions when she moved.  Then you stick words and phrases in a box.  Pull ten slips.  Push them around until there’s a poem.  Dab on the Elmer’s glue and press it to bright paper.  Yes, yes the apartment’s a pigsty and the exterminator’s due in a week.  But hey, you’ve got a poem!

Here’s the above mermaid-blood blue and Easter-egg pink poem in B&W:

We are pleased to offer you a choice

shortness of breath

or develop a serious nervous disorder

would love to do nothing but watch

cement growing

help

Well, let’s all keep a good thought, shall we.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sort of related, light-hearted Addendum:  I didn’t know mermaids had blue blood.  But the shop owner of Enchanting Elixirs sells mermaid’s blood on Etsy.  It comes in a little vial.  It’s actually not as dark as the paper for the dada koan.  The blood is more robin’s egg blue.

Cryptic Addendum:  Please not the guy with the super-glued toupee and the small hands.

Dada koan #14: her feet lying across cutlery

Standard

Ah, yes, it’s a cut-up technique poem.  We’re sailing here with these dada koans.  #14’s clipped a few phrases from newspaper advertisements.

This surreal poem’s pasted onto Edie-Sedgwick-’60s-color paper.  Here’s the above koan in B&W.

Kitchen novelty offer

announced by the state

DO YOU SUFFER

should be toasty

on his lap with her feet lying across CUTLERY SETS

Vaguely feminist?

Perhaps.

Thanks very much for stopping by.

Very Tangentially-Related Addendum #1:  Jean Stein’s Edie bio is fantastic!  Andy Warhol sounds like a child!

Unrelated Addendum #2:  Five facts from the Armond Fields bio Maude Adams, Idol of American Theater, 1872-1953:

  1.  An over-worked Maude had nervous breakdowns.
  2.  Young Maudie, playing the role of Adele, appeared with her mother in Jane Eyre.  A critic wrote her mom performed Mrs. Reed “with quiet but very mean cruelty.”
  3. In the New York Herald, 1901, Sarah Bernhardt announced she’d “play Romeo for one hundred nights in America to Maude Adams’ Juliet.”  Not to be.
  4.  John Alexander designed Maude’s costume with its world’s first “Peter Pan collar”.  Peter Pan opened at the Empire Theater, New York City, November 6, 1905.
  5. Advice to Maude from top theater impresario Charles Frohman:  “You are not to be interviewed.  You are not to be quoted.  People will wonder at you, yearn for details of your private life.  Let them.  It will only spur their interest and their desire for you.”  The internet disagrees.