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

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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.

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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 #17: Hollywood needs big view thing

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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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Thanks very much for stopping by the woods.

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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…

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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 Koans #9: mental illness could be awesome

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Can you believe it’s Dada Koans #9 already?  We are about to hit a milestone dada-koan-wise.  Soon there will be retrospectives and lecturers in corduroy jackets and coffee table hardbacks.  Let’s keep going as long as the Elmer’s glue holds out.

This is another cut-up-technique surreal poem.  The words and phrases were ripped out of the newspapers.

So, the above mustard-colored poem in b&w:

mental illness could be awesome

werewolf we never knew

jumps or lunges

you need discipline

(I do not)

enter

on the next

sunny something

You’ll notice I put in a pair of parentheses.

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Thanks for stopping by.  Back from seeing relatives in North Carolina.  The crepe myrtles are in bloom– rows and rows of saturated deep pinks.  Good visit.  Nice people.  Farmer’s market.  Peach preserves.  Fried green tomatoes.  Rodin sculptures look especially beauteous outdoors.  A wall of swirling tree branches in the NC Museum’s cafe mimicked Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.

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Unrelated Addendum #1:  Elizabeth McCracken quote:  “It was so hot you could hear the mayonnaise go bad”.  That’s from Thunderstruck & other stories which has a top-notch musical saw story– “Some Terpsichore”.

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Unrelated Addendum #2:  Here’s part of a married elderly woman’s rant– circa end of July 2016– in Chicago’s O’Hare airport.  She missed her plane.

“Five minutes.  They couldn’t wait five minutes.  They wait for other people.  Ha!  If I was in a wheelchair they’d’ve waited.  I explained about my medical condition.  You want me to have a fit, my tongue hanging out?  Fine.  I will NEVER fly (name of airline) again.  They must work for the government.  No integrity!  They work for Hillary.  Liars!  Or they work for Donald.  Lunatics!  This country’s going straight to hell.  Look at this, they tore the luggage.  They’re rough with luggage.  They’re disgusting.  Did you see that woman at Starbucks?  She had a whole fistful of vouchers.  That’s how they operate.”

This actually went on for a couple hours.

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Unrelated Addendum #3:  Overheard in Maryland BWI airport–circa August 2016.  Little girl to her sister, giggling:  “Did you hear that airline lady at lunch?  She said everybody from Chicago is stupid.  She was eating a big sandwich.”

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When we arrived at the museum, we saw a playful cartoonish sculpture and I said, “That looks like a Miro.”  As we got closer, saw that the placque read– “Henry Moore”.  So, I’m stupid.  But I don’t think everybody from Chicago is.

 


 

 

Dada koans #8: for a safe & healthy business

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Well, I’ve been posting these dada koans since January.  Thanks to A Book of Surrealist Games by Alistair Brotchie. Why make dada koans, you may ask, as opposed to doing laundry?  Because a koan takes a minimum of effort– and in the end you’ve got yourself a weird little story.  Whereas with laundry…  To paraphrase Joan Rivers– you cook, you clean, you do laundry and then in a year you just have to do it again. So. Fill a Whitman’s chocolates box with words and phrases–little rectangles cut from Orkin ads, dental check-up come-ons, free newspapers, etc. Shake the box and pull ten slips.  Glue the finished piece to colored paper to fool yourself that your dada koan has some permanence.

The good: It’s calming to rearrange words. To be Whitman’s Sampler-gifted the words– narrows the options. Thank god.

The bad: What you’ve created is one of these Tristan Tzara-esque cut-up technique dada things. Which may not make sense. Or, in the case DK #8, too much sense.

The above blood red poem in more consistent typeface:

YOU DON’T NEED Online Application

Protect your family from

the

2000 to 2002

tech bust

For a Safe & Healthy BUSINESS

DATE

Management

Well, there you go.  Helpful advice.

Thanks for stopping by.  “Winter is coming” which I say in a positive non-Game of Thrones way.  If you live in Chicago– make sure to drink your diet Dr. Pepper, and iced caffeinated beverages.

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Unrelated Addendum:  Buying a Snickers last night– I was delighted to see none of them said “Snickers.”  Took me a while to choose the right one.  Had my hand on “Forgetful” but then thought ‘but I don’t want to be Forgetful’.  Rebellious seemed inappropriate.  Finally, I made my decision and slammed “Loopy” onto the counter like a challenge.

 

Dada koans #6: surreal advice

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Hello, internet.  It’s me, awkwardphobic.  Dada koans!  You can do this yourself if you put a crapload of word slips in a candy box and yank out ten.  Rearrange– or don’t.  Paste the finished poem onto colorful paper.  No longer using gluestick.  It’s liquid Elmer’s from now on because I prefer that wrinkled look.  Started in January and now I have a million of these things.  What the hell.

Dada koans remind me of being a youngster on the beach and grabbing colorful shells out of the saltwater.  My mother used to say, “Isn’t it nice to leave them where they are so other people can enjoy them too?”  She was good.  Well, after those shells were out of the water for ten minutes they didn’t look so hot!

And so it is with dada koans.  At the moment of completing a fresh koan, all its words makes a bizarre sense.  But a couple of days later…

DK #6 concerns a woman who made a brave choice for love.

Here is the above cranberry-colored koan in glorious B&W:

Dear Amy: I am in love

romanced by

a large

wrapped fish

in a plastic molding factory

all different

men– have told me

that you won’t be able to

out-do this

once-in-a-lifetime

parsley, garlic, onion,

beets, kale, eggplant,

Fennel

Fennel is perhaps not the go-to seasoning for fish.  Even a plastic fish.  A reliable herb reference book, Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham*, informs me that fennel’s planet is Mercury.  So not even Pisces, dang it.  Eh, with dada koans it’s the luck of the draw.


Unrelated and Related Addendum:  Happy July Fourth!  If you are planning a Dionysian ceremony for your backdoor barbecue– you will need an authentic thyrsus.  To make one– stick pine cones on the ends of the biggest fennel stalk you can find* (ibid.)

Related Addendum:  Yes, I believe some chopped up Chicago Sun-Times may have been incorporated in DK #6.  But there’s other people named Amy too.