Monday, September 21, 2015


razor blade
2 language sources (magazines, newspapers, essays, etc.)
1 twenty-sided die
1 six-sided die
1 red pen
1 Tupperware bowl, with cover
a large block of time

1. Find two distinct language sources, both of which relate to you in some way, and both of which differ in their subject matter (ie. sports, music, literature, theatre, fashion, photography, woodworking, etc.).

2. Situate yourself in a quiet place, with plenty of room for you and all of your materials.

3. Beginning with your first language source, locate the first page containing actual text (not just advertisements) and proceed by counting off sections of 25 lines (if there are columns, it is up to you to decide how the "lines" should be recognized).  Designate each block of 25 lines with brackets, employing your red pen.  Continue this method until you have blocked out 25 sections of 25 lines each.  (If you find that your source is not long enough to accomodate this method, please find another that will.)

4. Once you have your 25 sections, cut them separately from their source with your scissors, and arrange them, numbered 2-26, in front of you.  (Note: You may, at this time, alter the order of the 25 sections in any way you see fit.  However, once the order has been established, deviation from it is strictly prohibited.)

5. Once the 25 sections are numbered 2-26, roll your two dice together to randomly determine which section you will use.  (If you roll a 5 on the six-sided die, and an 11 on the twenty-sided die, then you would use section 16.)

6. Once the section has been determined, then roll your dice again, in order to determine which line of the section will be used.  (Employ the same addition technique as used in step 5.)

7. Once the line has been determined, devise a method, employing your six and/or twenty-sided die, to randomly choose a word from the line.  (Example: If there are eight words in your line, you might employ both of your dice, meaning there would be the possibility of rolling any number from 2-26.  Therefore, you might designate that word one would be represented by 2, 3, and 4, while word two would be represented by 5, 6, and 7, and so on, leaving 26 to represent nothing.  So, if you ended up with a roll of 13, this would mean that you would choose the fourth word in the line.  Easy enough.)

8. Once you have determined your word, excise that word from the line with your razor blade, and set it aside.  Repeat steps 5-7 forty-nine more times, ending the process with fifty randomly selected words.

9. Repeat entire cycle with second language source, in order to extract an addtional fifty words, for a grand total of one hundred words.

10. Place the one hundred randomly selected words into your Tupperware container, attach cover, and shake rigorously for exactly 100 seconds.

11. Once your words are thoroughly shaken, remove cover to reveal them.  At this point, without looking, reach into the Tupperware container and take out 5 words.  These words will be used, in an order of your choosing, to construct the line of your poem.  (Also, please feel free to add any other words you might like to use.)  You can make this line as short or as long as you wish, but it must contain the 5 selected words.  

12. Then, repeat step 11 until you have the complete text of your twenty line poem.

13. Make any revisions you deem necessary, including the possible addition of punctuation and a title.  All rules of syntax and narrative are to be followed strictly, or ignored completely.  Do not necessarily allow yourself to have your creativity stifled.  Finish the poem.

14. Dispose of the original 100 words properly, and in a timely manner.

15. When applicable, mail copies of finished poem to original sources, indicating in the mailings that you have cut-up their publications.  Mention Burroughs and Gysin.  They will be impressed.  Expect your poem to be published by these impressed sources.

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