Dada koan #5: devious old radio host


This one’s my favorite dada koan (thus far). Maybe that’s because The Unsuspected by Charlotte Armstrong was a beloved mystery novel for me as a teenager. Old radio host Luther Grandison was so sweet.  (Nobody could believe anything bad about dear old Grandy!)

A dada koan, by the way, is just a short random “cut up” poem. Similar to the ones Tristan Tzara used to pull from his Cubs baseball cap. Only perhaps not so “elusive” as Tristan’s.

(Ha ha! That’s a little inside joke with myself. My American Heritage dictionary helpfully defines elusive as “tending to elude capture”.  However, I’m easy to find these summer months– usually sweating in my apartment holding an ice cube.)

At any rate.  Here is the above neon cantaloupe-colored poem in b&w:

an old radio host

saying “this is an onion”

Led to Brazen Killing

the central mystery of the case

scapegoat neck

is trending higher than

signs of the apocalypse


inspired by the theme “Joy”

Well, there you have it.  Vegetable comment causes bloodshed.  Not very elusive.

By the way, the plot of The Unsuspected is pretty far-fetched.  And also, I suppose, disturbing and wrong.  If you’re reading Charlotte Armstrong for the first time, you’d probably be better off with Mischief or something.  She’s written multitudes of mysteries that are better than The Unsuspected.  But I don’t care because it’s still the one closest to my heart.  She seems not so much in vogue now.

Thanks for stopping by.

Unrelated Addendum:  Remember those Oprah shows where a group of women who looked thirty-ish turned out to be ninety-five?  I’d never make it onto those shows because I look MUCH older than I am.  There’s no money in that.


2 thoughts on “Dada koan #5: devious old radio host

  1. Walker

    sue, every new post on your blog is cause for delight! many thanks for turning me onto “a book of surrealist games,” which kept me good company while i was pukin’ my guts out a few months ago. hope you’re well – yr pal, walker


    • Oh, Lordy, Walker! I’m so happy to hear from you. But I’m also sorry to hear you were puking your guts out. You are a big reason why I’m a vegetarian. Hope you are still drawing those incredible cartoons and living a fantastic strange and wonderful life. You are a huge talent and it’s great to be in touch. Glad you enjoyed A Book of Surrealist Games– pretty inspiring. Thank you for such a kind comment and hello to your very lovely wife.


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