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2006-07-02 | 6:04 p.m.

I've been away so long I must have missed the memo explaining why our comments section fills up with the same sort of magnetic poetry spam that I get in e-mail (or at least I did before I got a Gmail account). I don't understand how this can possibly be lucrative for the spammers, but I've always found it provocative to read, and more than once I've threatened to string it up into poems. Well, today was my first day alone--the kids and their father are in Michigan, visiting--and I celebrated by doing something completely frivolous. I was deleting comment spam and decided to take all the lines from this particular random date (12/30/2003) and see what I could make out of it. My rule would be that I could add as much in between as I liked, but I had to use all the words and use them in the order in which they appeared. (If anybody else is doing something like this, I'm not aware of it, so if it seems like I'm copying someone else, it's simply a coincidence.) Now, here are the phrases I was given, followed by the poem I wrote, or "wrote," if you prefer:

steep Stewart gurgle,Sweeneys stairwell descenders timings dragoon
warp:annexed inconvenient alcove authentications blunders.perishes!feathered Babylon
negligee,boasting municipality!growths foams bower,plans coolly.
cute manner?absconds activator Gaelicize privately altering
coring circularity.ransomer spins surface!wenches Gracie,millionaire
footman.tablecloth perihelion flaring garner bathtub raindrops
reexecuted studios quorum fourfold freshens:demoralizes ambiguity relation!
optics.reconnecting?lateness benches composing unwillingly!wicks
peptide limbo.abased?demeanor device universally ...

I began with an image of the staircase at Larry Blake's in Berkeley. I don't even know if it's still there, Larry Blake's that is, but all you need to know, if anything, is that there was a restaurant upstairs, where you could eat or just sit and drink in relative refinement, while on the far right side of the room, a long staircase led down to a darkened bar. If a band was performing, bouncers would check your ID at the top of the stairs. The bathrooms for the whole place were in the back of this downstairs room. (I hope I'm remembering all this correctly.) Anyway, yeah, it's a prose poem, because I'm a prose-y sort of girl. But setting aside that limitation, especially since I can't quite shake it, let me know what you think. Complete sentences and/or thoughts much appreciated!


Steep Stewart gurgle: Sweeney's stairwell consumes descenders
who emerge years later to the cheers of the timings dragoon
red-faced on cold concrete warp: see how it rises in the corner
like a funhouse floor, to a sad payphone figurehead.
This bulb-lit annexed inconvenient alcove is gauntlet number two.
First was authentications, upstairs, where he who blunders perishes,
must forfeit feathered Babylon.

A veritable negligee braves the boasting municipality,
sidesteps growths and foams in the stuffy bower, plans coolly.
Ditch cute manner? Yes, at once, before BFF absconds
with lilting hormone activator. Thus shall I Gaelicize my children,
she announces inbrain, privately altering target.
Mirrored she blots, wavers, searches for personal coring.
(All spirituality is biological.) Found, mission locked, faith and conviction attending,
with tipsy circularity our firstborn ransomer waltzes a crucial exit in three-inch heels.

Dangerous coiffure spins and queen of the surface wenches
Gracie fixes the room with squinting antagonism. Fast friend indeed.
Leprechaun reduced to a millionaire footman.
Time for a tablecloth trick, bitch perihelion. See my corona flaring?
I garner substance with centrifugal force. I am a sex magnate.
You are a bathtub being filled by raindrops.

Refreshments reexecuted by the handsome Hibernian, quorum met,
our heroine's charms expand fourfold: studios empty,
chance freshens, opponent demoralizes, ambiguity is dispatched. Sound trumpet! Relation!

Optics reconnecting, Gracie stews and steams
as last-call lateness benches every defense. Thank God for all-night breakfast, thinks the Gracious one, composing strategy, unwillingly mild
as patronage wicks away to the parking lot.
Worst of all, like a stray peptide
she must follow the Irishman's car while her bosom buddy regales him
with directions and pheromones.
Abased, a little tired, G. senses defeat. And why not?
She's my best friend. I love her.

Demeanor mellows. Device falters. Feeling noble,
Gracie texts regrets and turns the car around.
She is a fine young cannibal, universally pretty.
There will be other fishing trips.

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