Dada Koan #23: for the menacing teen in us all


Today’s dada koan was cobbled together in 2016.

Words for dada koans can be found in chocolate boxes but the catch is you must put them in there yourself. Snip good words and phrases from a variety of pulp and shiny paper sources. Allow months or years or even decades to pass– then pull randomly from your Whitman’s Sampler box and glue onto colorful stationery for your very own idiosyncratic thing. You might’ve chosen to watch the President’s little Pekingese mouth on TV– bottom teeth contorting all over the place– but instead you now have a dada koan!

Here’s the above sunny on amber surreal poem in B&W:

If you’re a menacing teen

eating a

lawnmower, sitting

AT a

cowboy bar

nicks in the good furniture

Is there a more



An appropriate one for the day after Mother’s Day. Regardless of age, we’re all menacing teens at heart.

Thanks very much for stopping by.


Unrelated Addendum #1: So Trump insists on two scoops of ice cream for every visiting dignitary’s lousy single. What next? More maraschino cherries? Whipped cream? More chocolate jimmies? It will end in tears. I can think of a few world leaders where this would generate ice cream wars.

Unrelated Addendum #2: Attia Hosain’s Sunlight on a Broken Column was enlightening. Family life in 1930’s India and there’s a love story mixed in with the political upheavals. However, if you own a deep green Virago Modern Classics paperback (mesmerizing c.1770, Lucknow cover art– “A Half-Length Portrait of a Lady at a Window”)– be aware you’ll have two page 97s but absolutely no page 98.

Extremely unrelated Addendum #3: Saturday, May 13th, red line: Young man with Dr. Zhivago-big eyes sat across from me, blathering away. He’s staring hard into my retinas but since he’s got his phone-wire plugs in, I’m unsure his words are directed at me. After a minute, clearly indeed yes they are– but it still all kept coming out too fast.

“I don’t understand,” I said. He leaned right into my face. I suppose I could’ve moved but that seems melodramatic for an el ride. He fired more words and I shook my head saying sorry.

Finally, he sighed.

“You’ve heard of Hillary Clinton? Bill Clinton’s wife?”

I nodded.

“How much do you think she’s worth?” He rubbed his thumb and fingers together to indicate big money.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“There’s people who say Trump is a scapegoat and the Clintons are in charge.”

“I hadn’t heard that,” I said.

“You’re hearing it now!” he exclaimed. “These people will blow your head straight off.” He pointed to my head, then made an explosive sound, fingers expressive. Maybe I looked worried because he said, “Hey, they’ll blow my head off too. I don’t want that either.”

How will I put up with this until Berwyn, I thought. But suddenly he said, “Well, this is my stop.” Giving me a last intent look, he said, “I don’t believe in small talk.”

Happy 2017, everyone!


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


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.


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


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.”