Dada Koan #22: Sensing Atlantis


Last week, I mentioned rescuing seven Weekly World News papers from a dumpster. A “Bat Boy Escapes” WWN paper from the ’80s could fetch $25 now. The ones I cut up for Tristan-Tzara-inspired things were from 1997 and not valuable. You can also go on the WWN website and order a Plush Bat Boy. That sounds pretty good but the ears are too exaggerated to be realistic. They also sell Bat Boy statuettes but they are quite unappealing and sell for $99.95. Good Lord! A better deal is the Vote For Bat Boy T-shirt at $24.95. If you can believe anything they say, they’ve Sold Out of their Vote For Bat Boy buttons. Bat Boy stickers are the cheapest.

Weekly World News stopped publishing their print version in 2007.

Well, words from those seven cut up WWN papers must have floated to the top of the chocolate box for #22. Lurid papers are well-suited for making random poems. You don’t get many references to Atlantis in regular newspapers.

The seven WWN papers contained two separate articles on finding Atlantis 1) undersea (We’ve Been Looking in the Wrong Ocean!, header) and 2) at the North Pole. It’s rare for a Weekly World headline not to culminate in at least one exclamation point.

Chili Con Carnage!, for example, featured a murderous rampage at a wedding reception involving a too strongly seasoned bowl of chili.

Here’s the above blue on blue surrealist poem in B&W:



a dream

within the dream



a vast playful puppy

professing to have ESP


how to

wear nothing but a smile!

Well, thank you very much for stopping by.


Unrelated Addendum #1: Shirley Jackson wrote, “Grace Paley once described the male-female writer phenomenon to me by saying ‘Women have always done men the favor of reading their work, but the men have not returned the favor.”

Unrelated Addendum #2: Danielle Dutton (Attempts at a Life) started her own press, The Dorothy Publishing Project. Exquisite, coaster-sized paperbacks. Smooth, rub-them-on-your-face covers. They’re all strange and wonderful books– sometimes better than wonderful. Especially recommended: The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington, Suite for Barbara Loden by Nathalie Leger, In the Time of the Blue Ball  by Manuela Draeger (a.k.a. Antoine Volodine among a slew of other pseudonyms). “Guidance/The Party” is a terrific short story by Jen George. Currently reading Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead by the great Barbara Comyns. Publisher Danielle Dutton is credited with starting that read women twitter thing.


Dada Koan #17: Hollywood needs big view thing


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


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 koan (#unlucky): a billionaire who makes Republicans swoon


Yes, this dada koan has a political bent. Bound to happen. Such a strange surreal year. In fact, so bizarro I heard it predicted the Cubs could win. “God, can you imagine if they finally did? They’d burn this town to the ground,” said a Chicagoan. “Would that be so bad?” his morose friend said.

Politically, it feels– not so much that the world’s off its axis– but like someone has picked up the world and thrown it like a Frisbee.  I’m referring, of course, to the !@%?#??!!! 2016 presidential election.


Here’s another– thirteenth to be exact– example of a cut-up technique poem.  I’ve razored out words and phrases from news articles, horoscopes, and tantalizing life insurance coupons.  Then I shake ’em up in a box and blindly pick ten.

Here’s the above bananas and bluebells poem in B&W:

a billionaire who claims

“I am combative.”

and stole a jacket

100% Silk

makes Republicans swoon.

has not been charged with

driving onto a packed sidewalk

Work-related travel.

Thanks for stopping by. Just think.  In another eight years there’ll be a new election*.  With an even more stomach-churning reactionary candidate and we’ll say– “Wow, never thought I’d hear myself say this– but it makes you long for the days of Trump.”  Hard to picture that happening though.  This is rock bottom’s bottom.


Related Addendum #1:  (sigh)

Related Addendum #2: Tarot cards used to be called carte da trionfi or trump cards.

*Yes, I know the national election cycle’s every four years.  But incumbents don’t feel “new”.  Is ol’ leftover Hillary Clinton “new”?  Yup, she still counts!

Dada koan #12: when Krempot was a mime


Yep. Mimes.
This is an example of the cut-up technique poem. Fragments cut from newspapers, an AARP magazine, and possibly an old “Are You Going to Hell?” pamphlet that a smiling young man handed me.

Here’s the above green poem and it’s that shade of green– a beloved shade– that few people are able to pull off– I bet Edie Sedgwick could with white go-go boots– anyway, here it is in classic B&W:

When Krempot

was a mime

walking backward

syndrome type 2


Internal neglect

no sense at the Center

he might Reinvent


So a little story about Krempot the mime.  (The “might” came from the Biblical pamphlet.)  So you know– “no sense at the Center” was glued to the green paper all jumpy and uneven on purpose.

Thanks very much for stopping by.  After chewing great quantities of Bachelorette Cheese Sandwiches, have felt very tired this week.


Unrelated Addendum #1:  In Aleister Crowley’s autohagiography (p. 74), he states, “I am uniformly kind to animals.”  Then in the next paragraph he describes how he tortured a cat.  I guess that’s the old comic twist but it made me pretty sick and I’ve put this book aside.  I just wanted to know what the damn “Golden Dawn” was.  Anyway, Crowley wasn’t only a Satan Worshipper, but a big jerk.  Surprise, surprise, surprise as Gomer Pyle would say.

Unrelated Addendum #2:  Reading five books at once now– never a good sign.  A  bio of Madame Blavatsky by Marion Meade, Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon by Peter Washington, Edie by Jean Stein, Maude Adams by Armond Fields, and The Vegetarian by Han Kang.  Recently finished this last one– an extremely well-written and unsettling novel.  The first line made me laugh.  “Before my wife turned vegetarian, I’d always thought of her as completely unremarkable in every way.”  The author’s been compared to Kafka which seems right.

Here’s an observation from Mr. Truman Capote from the Edie Sedgwick bio:  “Andy Warhol would like to have been Edie Sedgwick.  He would like to have been a charming, well-born debutante from Boston.  He would like to have been anybody except Andy Warhol.”

Unrelated Addendum #3: Marion Meade has an upcoming bio of Nathanael West and his wife Eileen (of My Sister Eileen fame).  Can’t wait!

Dada koans #11: American lawyer still itching


Well, the balloons have slunk to the floor, the crepe paper’s been tossed, we’ve used up a lot of scotch tape, and that brief shining milestone is officially over.  But we persevere and here’s dada koan #11.  It’s cynical but we don’t choose the words– blame the Whitman’s Sampler box.  (See previous dada koan posts or Brotchie & Gooding’s A Book of Surrealist Games for instructions on the cut up technique poem).

The above brickyard-red poem in black and white:



still itching for


we might advise that


is daunting

had eluded




This is solid advice for anyone heading to California.

Thank you very much for stopping by.


Unrelated Addendum #1:  Bachelorette Recipe for a hot summer.  You will need:  a bagel, a toaster, 2 slices of cheese, paper or dish towel, patience.  Toast bagel.  Immediately put the 2 cheese slices on one bagel half and then bagel lid it.  Wrap sandwich in a paper (or dish) towel and squeeze it for two or three minutes depending on how hungry you are.  Voila!  A delicious toasted cheese bagelwich you didn’t need to turn your oven on for!  (This doesn’t work very well with bread, by the way.)

Unrelated Addendum #2:  Nabbed a copy of the confessions of Aleister Crowley for a buck!  That’s because someone had scissored off part of the cover and scrawled black magic marker all over it.  But that only adds to its Satan-Worshipper patina.  Crowley’s mom called him The Beast as a bad thing but later he adopted this nickname for himself.  Kind of like me and awkwardphobic!  When he was a tyke, his mom who was religious told him ‘Ladies have no legs’.  Then one day, these two old church women visited and little Al crawled under the table and yelled, “Mamma!  Mamma!  Sister Susan and Sister Emma are not ladies!”  I’m sure the book is full of charming anecdotes like this.

(the confessions of Aleister Crowley, an autohagiography edited by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant)


Dada Koans #9: mental illness could be awesome


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)


on the next

sunny something

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


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”.


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”.


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.


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.”


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


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


2000 to 2002

tech bust

For a Safe & Healthy BUSINESS



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.


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.