Tag Archives: word play

‘Every guy is a serious conversation with a kangaroo’: More Exquisite Corpse poems (2 of 3)

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More new Exquisite Corpse poems from this semester’s creative writing class; these are from my fourth-hour section. See here for more from this fall.

Guts are in the body and the mind.

Tranquility on the moon when the moon blows up to touch the sky.

Bathrooms are where to be, or not to be, mean.

I don’t want this anymore, so I will touch the backside of the bouncy castle.

Pizza, given the circumstance, is a big word.

Then I was like I was doing something.

Corn makes the cork sound a lot like cake.

Fish, scaly and forever moving like a cactus sleeps.

When we had his funeral was last week on the bench next to your front door.

Midnight is when the narwhal who ate the man’s large chest smacked the truck.

We will all tumble down the stairs, breaking up with you because it was really cold.

Snack time is for a question unanswered.

My child climbed up the slippery, so don’t fall down the, stairs.

She went to the mall yesterday. I had to work hard and play hard when she walked in.

Every way he went, people knew that apple.

Tuxedos look good on penguins deep in ice epiphany.

Night time is so pretty ugly when the clouds of smoke came from buying some illegal DVDs about baby dolphins swimming.

And “he shall bamboozle” was what she said to fly a kite.

Grapefruit is not a fruit, which proves mangoes are so boring and hungry after playing a game.

The little boy short and very annoying when I grew my hair.

Melodies played loudly in the fish in the ocean.

Eating bananas alone is a fun way to show off.

Anything can happen with hope; I can also.

She whispered, “Oh! Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon, watermelon is a red fruit is what loves me.”

The world is ending, was rather sad but

Soft, curvaceous, kind — but French fries are better.

The zoo is a great place, is so much fun to party at night when you climbed into a wet, dark hole in one.

Serendipity: like when ice cream melts into my friend’s car.

Of course it’s hot inside a person’s eye.

I do what I wish I had.

Yonder window breaks my heart that she fell down the stairs.

Fish open the gate to gardens where the seahorses play with the three girls.

Love is not love which alters when it was really, really awkward.

I like to go to the gym with my heart’s desire.

A weird-word dictionary, book-Bible God is all-knowing, or not.

Not only the pepper, but also we bake a dozen eggs that broke on the parade float stands by the blue bleachers at a game.

Pepperoni face has feelings.

Feelings are way too mainstream.

The trees’ leaves fell off a cliff and she fell over rocks.

A baby lion tried to scratch my back as we kill the neighbors across the field.

My milkshake brings all the courage it took.

My life is full of jerks and jocks; also, thine own demise is a cruel word.

A cruel word is very, very boring in the way of the day’s death, twilight.

I hate when people are wasteful; they waste the hairspray for my dog.

The ocean is very blue and usually likes eating tacos.

Common is a rapper who will be the next fire truck.

The best way to do it is with long nasty hair with the German sparkle.

Stagnate like a baker who will end the game tonight.

Old and beautiful ancient toys break when babies will bury their bottles.

Soda pop is sticky, and carbonated car engine is loud.

Most people don’t know when I can eat this with a spoon with my cute pet, the largest hedgehog ever — ever — getting back together.

The woman with huge hands grabbed ahold of me and yet he — doth thou even lift?

Why is that question, and answer this: question all that is wanderlust like a Pilgrim who will eat the cookie?

Sun shine on the beach is so hot, but I love Mexican food, which was already cold.

That is wrong done.

I love to go to the store for me to realize how would you like it.

Match the shirt with the mastermind of the American flag.

Finite color, whatever that means.

Something is gonna kill me after lunch.

Set my heart ablaze like a fire tomorrow.

Event-planning like Aunt Betty’s old maple syrup recipe to make fudge brownies but not the kind lady gave me.

Me, myself, and I will love to share me and her workout with heffalumps and weasels.

In my nightmares, paranoia like a Reece’s Pieces of my heart scattered bones everywhere at the ugly park.

Clothes should never be on and off with emotions.

The topic of the size of the cat is lame.

Nails can be pretty, or you could buy milk.

Bones break under pressure, so I married my sister.

That led her to God, but he shan’t give me money, so I am a weird kid who does other things.

Harold can’t ever fix the tires to my mom.

This is not what I am ready for.

Day or night, he will love to see the classroom is boring.

Floating around the big lake house is the perfect way to end the night.

Violets are black and falling apart from my baby girl.

The weird troll sang my favorite song when the saints go marching down by the river.

Games don’t like me.

Freddy Kruger saw the sign, and it was huge, and loud music is the way you turn right, and then I can go watch this girl play volleyball.

Very big animals hate my facial features.

I never had to smell a rose like donkeys who jump down the water park slide to the right.

Every guy is a serious conversation with a kangaroo.

Movie stars will always start something in the far distance between us, creating feelings.

Sweet chocolate is like heaven seems to be, so I do not forget that I gotta go to the bathroom bad enough to cry excessively.

Excessively telling is not a way to eat food.

I do not like to eat what I see.

Big hopes and dreams crushed God.

Stuff is fun to have.

Solstice fruit punch tastes like the way the shore line were many shells.

People just aren’t the same thing as I said to kill my brother.

‘Most flowers die fast or get passed gas’: Exquisite Corpse poems (1 of 3)

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New Exquisite Corpse poems from this semester’s creative writing class, second hour. Minor changes (punctuation, appropriate word endings) were made to improve readability. I love how poems created somewhat randomly, unintentionally, end up being so wonderfully surprising.

He shaves your grandma’s legs when cash rules everything.

Love is a many-splendored thing that scares us so.

I’m giving up, up, and away.

Stop signs are pointless because there are many dogs.

Bed time is my favorite color.

Underwear is like outerwear, except for the exceptionalism of the word.

Donkeys are dumb animals on the edge of moonbeams and rainbows having to see the light at the end.

I did not want to drink, or not, to my house and kids I destroyed.

I need you to find true love, which is beautifully hot in Acapulco with coconut.

Winter is the season that rhymes with a bat.

I want a drink of me and the time.

And the award goes to go home sad.

The alligator chewed the gum loudly. The trumpet played quietly.

I ate is the past tense purpose of writing.

Good fortune is bad luck in the bowl of being the best person.

Death-defying stunts are two words that cannot express hatred.

The future will never change.

Big people eat a lot of the tip of my nose.

To the supermarket for 20 years to life.

True friends don’t really exist, like in Jurassic Park with dinosaurs running around.

Mate like two moths under the sea where [you’d] better run or else nothing matters the most.

Twelfth Street is the place where the people stay with me ‘til we are like you.

See the big trees die in the clear blue skies and cold lemonade.

The tree was at the park to hold my love.

You gave up instantly the coffee began spilling.

Red violets are blue; I’ve been drinking watermelon juice.

Time goes by very much in the style that only I have.

Your personality intrigues me to rescue her majesty and marry her hair.

Most flowers die fast or get passed gas.

Orange squares taste exactly enough.

Milk does a body; good God, we need ketchup.

Goldfish are very funny looking through Alice’s looking glass.

The ocean sand in your toes feels like gorillas on water.

Mind-numbing gets done at the people.

The cutest little girl in the middle of the ocean where the water looks like an ugly monkey.

Once upon a time flies when you’re having a kitten.

Why did she do whatever you want to do with my favorite food?

Last night I experimented with all the power in a meadow for unicorns.

“This isn’t fun anymore” reminds me of Macklemore.

“Very odd” is what people call me later.

Selfish people always live longer than an elephant’s trunk that has baby chickens.

Night owl was an owl that I wanted to eat.

Me? I’m the best I ever had.

Man, I feel like a person with a pair of socks.

Any dish makes me feel greatness.

A wild animal had been really confused lately.

Like playing a musical chicken that sings girly stuff, yo’ daddy likes when pony tails aren’t.

Clean is better than nothing.

I’m excited about girls who stink like you.

Poems: Noses smell like other noses (Exquisite Corpse, 2 of 2)

Here are some more lines I took from the Exquisite Corpse poems we, my students and I, made this semester. Minor changes (punctuation, appropriate word endings) were made to improve readability. I know this is a long list, but there were many creations that amused me. I love how poems created somewhat randomly, unintentionally, end up being so wonderfully surprising.

Noses smell like other noses.

Observation: Simple bliss in yogurt is good when frozen yogurt is the best time in Creston ever.

Upon lobsters, I demolished buildings because their water is not tasteful, bland.

Pedestrians are worth ten people in the room for all of us. We don’t speak Klingon.

During the old times of people being themselves, people are liars, liar liar pants on the bottom shelf.

I don’t have a lurking motion towards home.

The quick brown fox jumps into the kitchen sandwich.

In this classroom, rows are blindingly straight, like my peace pipe

Please send that message to me, myself, and I, or be forgotten like the Pythagorean theorem of a dead dog.

Stupid is what stupid was.

Everyone thought they were driving in the car that we all hate.

Heads will roll, for this life is not ordinary folks eating brownies.

Yesterday was today in future tenses.

I will be known to whoever should hold this hammer.

His head is full of stuffed crayfish, red with anger.

Ugly horse can become beautiful barbecue.

Evilness makes me puke where no one stands.

Hippopotamus is a small animal that punches puppies willingly, as a doctor should, dancing under the rain.

Earth can be hardened by not showing off the bees that filled the air when I was a boy.

At Mississippi is a wood chuck who could chuck a peck of peppers skipping through the grass.

This person is one but what is two?

Pink bird, flower, orange you glad I didn’t know her well?

Loving people dearly endure the teasing of antelopes.

Obesity is a big problem like a cat that has to have fingers on its hands.

Puke smells bad and is green; everything green is good.

I’m used to being sly foxes who don’t deserve fish that are very colorful.

You have a huge shoe size, which varies depending on the same level as a level-nine sorcerer making coffee for grandma, and I cried until I couldn’t even think about it.

Cheerios are as tasty as a pear tree in a large cup of the birch tree skies colored blue.

Everyone is real talk, big ears, flying in the blue sky.

Magenta and the young rapper Pink Tree have red bears that are often red sky in the morning.

The 5 of us as humans rule life.

Green leaves in the trees surround me like A, B, C, one, two, three.

It’s impossible to resist the smell of the interesting problems with a genius outside town.

Slowly he saw everything, its big ears flapping on the ground.

Today I ate my own stop sign, drop and roll.

“Up” is a movie about a really slow caboose.

Daylight brings out the bright and shiny new day, when everyone was going to sleep on a sloth.

Go off a cliff and into a sea of cows’ milk and cookies, which are really good to fly away like mosquitoes.

Poetry: Drafts of ‘Split My Thumb’

Last week, in the creative writing classes I teach, we read Richard Hugo’s essay “Writing off the Subject,” and then I asked my students to write a poem in the way Hugo describes: starting from a particular idea, following the lead of one’s inner voice to end up at a new idea, a new place, something one hadn’t planned to say (Hugo implies a method like that in his discussion of “Autumn Leaves”). I followed the same instructions, and below are two free-writing drafts before the final (for now) draft.

But here’s the difficulty, of course: the real writing process is in my mind, and what’s in the drafts below is only the residue. Since my mind during freewrites tends to work associatively, I can’t explain why one thing led to another. And I can’t describe why I ended up with the poem I did, except to say that it felt right, it felt interesting. It might not even interest me later.

A student brought up a good question: when does an artist ever know when a poem is ready for publishing on a blog?  I don’t really know, I said, thinking out loud that the costs are low, which encourages publishing, but is the poem worth sharing? That answer requires thinking about what readers might appreciate, but also about being willing to send writing out that isn’t perfect. I guess my answer for these things below is  that the creative writing process is mysterious enough, and fascinating enough, that I want to discuss it, and these are at least a model, if a poor one.

Freewrite 1

(The two freewrites were hand-written, but the final poem was composed via word-processor. This freewrite started from the prompt word “surge,” given by a random word-lookup technique — picking shards of words out of newsprint that had been through a shredder — and an image/memory of a finger being jammed while playing basketball came to mind.)

Surge into the top joint, the basketball did, and rough skin slid back into my hand and pores spread open, air met body, lines decline to limit the me from the sky — the nearby sky the air-ocean we are pressed down by – impressed – tender is the light that strikes us – surge, the burst surges out from me and yet I stay the hand, the skin the sh!t box – swipe the keen face of the tandem bike rhizomes – strawberry marmalade takes tokens from toad

Freewrite 2:

(I took “rough skin” and “tandem bike rhizomes” from the previous freewrite, and then tried to let go, encourage words to come to mind without being too particular about which words got written down. It’s a process skill that has taken me a while to get good at doing.)

Rough skin slid back into my hand and pores spread open.  The world – the air confronts an enemy, the closed sealed entombed world of the blood – the inner sanctum where air is blocked – and tandem bike rhizomes – and air is the enemy, air is the enema, and toads kill the healing vice – the red rice bucks company plans – the rough skin slid again (over?) my hand – pores opened, veins poured open, the blood leaks like a radiator, like a brake line, and I push and no resistance – the blood leaks out – it’s under pressure inside, like a break line, like a family – the air is the enemy but the body pushes out the blood – the air-skin boundary – where I stop – leaks into air – where a r becom – I likes into a r to become “air” – where I becomes it

Final — for now — draft:

I liked the image of the air-ocean and the body-air boundary, but wanted to be more concrete, less philosophical here, and so I went with a description of an event that really had happened to me days earlier, which event-image had been in my mind as I had written earlier about the body-boundary. This poem is  blunt, which was an intentional — at this point in the process — choice of voice/mood, and so I was restricting my word choices to one-syllable ones where possible. When I am less self-restrictive, more automatically voiced, in my freewriting, longer words tend to come out (see my recent poem, written the same week, using a similar process, called “The Whistle of Heat“).  I made a choice to use spare language here, to show as rawly, bluntly, physically as possible, the action — with my impulse to make interpretive associations held in check.

The stainless-steel paring knife
splits my thumb where it
a tough tomato skin.
Blood comes to the air.
A paper towel
the blood drop
as a red dot.

This was where the poem stopped as the class period ended, but I was feeling like there could have been more added to it. I’m not sure more was needed, I’m not sure what the more would be, but I remind myself that poems don’t need to be long — I’m just not sure I’m entirely satisfied with this poem being short.

But I do like the simplicity of the images: skin being split by a knife, blood “comes” (“oozes” or “spurts” didn’t seem right, nor did the idea from earlier of blood under pressure seem interesting in the end) to air, and the implication of the verb “record” — that the body may not keep the record of the blood, blood being temporarily and not permanently liquid, but that the paper might — our bodies write themselves into their surroundings, the 3-D drop of blood becoming a 2-D stain, etc.  As I talk about the poem, I could associate further, but this poem’s strength, such as it is, comes from being minimal.

Of course, this demonstration can’t really be a tutorial of how to write a poem — a new poem, at its most creative, has no model, and so is a new island, so this  demonstration cannot be imitated the way other modeled skills can be. And writing about a process like this feels like that quote about how writing about music is like tap dancing about sculpture (or various other activities).  A new poet must figure out her own process.  But as a teacher, I’d hope to give at least an idea of a path — those suggestions seemed to help me, I recall.

Poem (fragment): Hearing An Elision

“Ears are” sounds like “ear czar.”


Link: Paradoxical Nouns: Why is abbreviation such a long word?

A link contains the following about word sounds/lengths and their meanings:

pulchritude. A paradoxical noun because it means beauty but is itself one of the ugliest words in the language. Same goes for the adjectival form pulchritudinous. They’re part of a tiny elite cadre of words that possess the very opposite of the qualities they denote. Diminutive, big, foreign, fancy (adjective), colloquialism, and monosyllabic are some others; there are at least a dozen more. Inviting your school-age kids to list as many paradoxical words as they can is a neat way to deepen their relationship to English and help them see that words are both symbols for things and very real things themselves.  (Entry written by David Foster Wallace)