Sunday, September 28, 2008

Photoshoppynge the S'nnet

The above image of four lines (a quatrainwreck) is after Gregory Betts' The Others Raisd in Me, 15 Readings of Sonnet 150 by William Shakespeare, a plunderverse project published by Trainwreck Press. My piece is constructed, not through plunderverse, but by superimposing all of the lines of text from Sonnet 150 on each other. Then applying a little post-Elizabethan Photoshoppynge. Greg's chapbook is available from here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

U Cunudu: a sound poem for the Dominion

Gregory Betts and I performed at the Grey Borders series in St Catharines along with Jaap Blonk and Adeena Karasick. The reading was recorded.

Later, in the confines of the National Rhyme Institute's Regional Rhyme Gland Audio Laboratory, I created this piece from the second part of Greg's and my first piece, a rendering of "O Canada" with all the vowels turned into u's. Hence "U Cunudu." Of course, we performed the resultant text as some kind of sound poetry mumbo goulash Four Horseman gumbo.

I removed my spine, ran the recording through a variety of computer processing applications, cut, pasted, basted, twisted, remixed, buried, fed to a duck, rendered all shook up, and created the piece. Many of the processes were based on those I used in the Icelandic piece (Skalla-Grimr) posted below.

Let me know what you think! You may win an orange peel, or a mention in the National Rhyme Institute's Car Floor Mat Compendium!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blind Masseurs Jump from Bridge

the boys in the house making miniature suicide bombers from action figures and firecrackers. the blind dogs of Dundas, Ontario positioning themselves on the Armenian rug ready for toilet action. a football team poking each other in the eyes & drinking Slurpees. an election for chief cloud, big cheese rainmaker, and the kahuna of thunder. a waylaid order for weeping tiles and a garden gnome smashed in by a stone. birds exchange their wings for the power of speech and instead find they have inspiring legs. a stapler shaped like a fish and a metal frog toppled over on top of the speaker. the Internet is down and there’s a large man carrying a blue plastic tub up the driveway. take apart the metal grid of a shopping cart and form it into a life-size lightning flash. I have always worn a raincoat, even when I had no shoulders, had an umbrella, and it wasn’t raining. even miniature suicide bombers must have a cause, however small. the masseurs jump from the bridge and their hands are ready for whatever pains the air or gravity provides.


Emily Lloyd over at the always fascinating poesy galore blog linked to this post about Blind Masseurs jumping off a bridge in Korea, in protest against laws which sought to render the role of masseur to be no longer the exclusive role for the blind in Korea, (which provided them with otherwise hard to get employment.) I couldn't help myself, despite Emily putting dibs on the story for use in a poem, I wrote the above piece.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shackled Letters & the Death of A

Shackled Letters and the Death of A

Trees are their own destination.



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Return from Camp Wanakita

I spent the week with my school at YMCA Camp Wanakita as part of the Sunship Earth ecological/science program with about 90 Grade sixes. While there, we had to adopt a 'nature name' and make and wear a 'wood cookie' around our neck with the name.

Students chose 'Stick,' 'Tiger,' 'Moose,' or 'Wave.' My handle was 'The Lorax,' after the character in the Dr Seuss book who 'speaks for the trees.' Of course some boys would hit a tree and then say, "So, Lorax, what do you have to say now?" My answer was that they would get a splinter when they least expected it.

Overall though, the kids were happy, full of wonder and delight at nature and camp life, and quite enthusiastic about their experience from campfires, forest exploration to just hanging out. I wrote some music in the few moments of free time that I had. I went for some walks in the forest, where I, luckily didn't run into the bear that some of the students saw, or the cougar that I found out later that we were to watch out for. I recorded the sound of lapping water, woodpeckers, various forest noises, and the kids. Recording helps me hear better what things sound like. I end up imagining what the microphone might be recording -- all the details, unfiltered by the tunnel of my consciousness. I also took the pictures attached to this post of Koshlong Lake. Our cabins were about 30 m from the shoreline. And I wrote the short text below.


You are become a leaf, you may rustle if you wish. A fridge, a beaver, and a library book walk into a planet. Does this sentence make me look fast?

Who would be my customers if I were to bottle sadness, anguish, or custodians?

A forest grows in accordance with the history, geography, jurisprudence, or youth-oriented consumer culture of trees. Does this sentence make me look factual?

A TV show focussed entirely on a single tree: the new fall season. The enlightenment jumped the shark a long time ago. Even as the scurvy waves roved the crenelated ridges of the month, the dark tongue roamed toward the bristling edges of the mouth’s shore.

Faced with the fact of the shoe, the foot would be soon be stumbled on. The short blades of the sky grew between the twisted roots, and I helped my father into his chair. A culture based on sap would be sweet. Does this sentence make me look fictional?

Become a tree in the night, become a sapling, become a branch under the full moon, become kindling in the fire’s whisper. A time-travelling bus would always be late for someone. Does this sentence make me look?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Speechballoon Semaphore


the horizon darkening
a semaphore man drops his flags
opens his lunchbox
& has a thermos of tea
and a white sandwich

when he is done
he picks up his flags
holds out his arms
and waits

the road, ever faithful
waits with him

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Skalla-grimr, Icelandic dog names and the nocturnal weasels of Mozambique

The amazing Icelandic sound poet, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl (check out his sound poems based on the names of dictators) put out a call for non-Icelandic speakers to write poems in Icelandic. I decided to create an electro-acoustic sound poem (linked below) based on a recording of Egil's Saga in Icelandic, plus samples downloaded from a page of Icelandic dog names.

Also included are Tajikistani string instruments, and a variety of drums (Taiko, Moroccan, drumset). Each sample was filtered through software which applies a variety of cutting out & repeating procedures.

I've sent the piece to Eiríkur to ensure that the Icelandic text doesn't inadvertantly insult my mother, all the mothers of Iceland, or request financial advice from the nocturnal weasels of Mozambique and am waiting for his Icelandic OK.

In the meantime, here is the piece. Take that you nocturnal weasels of Mozambique! When I say that all your sinks and tortoises are burnished aqueducts of lonesomeness, I really mean it.