VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410

Website for Vision Voice and Practice: An Interdisciplinary Course in Art and Creative Writing

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spot Collaboration: Poems

On Tuesday, we showed the students a series of images from Google's image search. These images were of, respectively, a man sleeping, an Ikea bedroom set, a furniture warehouse, a factory, a forest, a forest during clear-cutting, a line drawing of a boy eating lunch, a plate of assorted fruit, a stack of thick-cut steaks (next to a steak knife standing on its tip), and a woman wearing a meat hat. Each of these images were shown for about forty seconds, and students were asked to write down their impressions ("first thought, best thought") as long as the image lasted. They could describe the image itself, or feelings and memories the image evoked, or whatever popped into their minds. Afterward, we randomly assigned students to groups of three, giving them twenty minutes to make out of the words they wrote down either a twenty-line poem or a ten-sentence paragraph. Below are the, ahem, meaty results.

The morning after, she wasn't there
Thank God I washed my pillowcase finally
The morning after, she wasn't there
Let me try sleeping in the drawer under the bed tonight
The morning after, she wasn't there
Jammed and packed and crowded, nowhere to move
The morning after, she wasn't there.

High walls give me and my father anxiety
The ceiling would make just anything echo
High walls give me and my father anxiety
The earth must look lovely from the sky, like clockwork
High walls give me and my father anxiety
If I was big enough, I'd sleep here, on top of the trees
High walls give me and my father anxiety.

I don't eat red meat
I think of human muscle when I look at raw meat
I don't eat red meat
It might be meat, it might be chocolate cake. Enjoy it
I don't eat red meat
In some cultures, meat headgear is a sign of the priesthood
I don't eat red meat.
Alabama, As Seen by God

I ain't got legs
But my mom makes a mean ham sandwich
I never had good lunches as a kid
I always wanted something sweeter
My mom wants me to be jealous
When I grow up

A finely groomed bed-chamber
Looks cold out of focus
Smoke & mirrors
to make it look bigger
I used to love
Now I smell the formaldehyde
That used to be blood
In its veins
And you're just laughing

The gentiles were told not to strangle meat
Because it would separate them
From the pagans

Why are you so dark?

You smell your worst
when you wake up in the morning,
like a sexy, Indian man
eating a cheese sandwich
and afterwards wanting to vomit.
In your celebrity bedroom
on a mattress spaceship
you realize you belong with
potatoes and gravy.
But, it's peanut butter & jelly time again.
Let's have a picnic!
Crustacean innards. Right now!
My mom made fruit salads
but mostly I like blood.
Eat it or die.
But make it yourself--it'll be cheaper
with a meat dagger.
Meat wood.
What the hell is this?
Tenderloin bonnet.
For Borges

Though it looks packed full,
the farm is gilded
under studio lighting.
Ugly, we destroy what is so orderly.
Cut open like a dried-up orange, no juices:
the murder of a fake home.
Calming room, congested tune, closed,
too clean to live in.
Would I rather be eating hair at lunch?
Why did the cool kids use paper bags?
I am home, past Chicago
sleeping in, alone,
reminded of how
I cut his heart out with a dull knife,
bloody freedom, consumption.
Whatever is in the middle
visits the sun
like an evergreen forest,
mass murder.
Different Shades of White

Only looking at the
American Northeast as far
as the eye can see.

Tendrils, but that was just my first
thought, the representation
is half eaten.

Pig-nosed boy, asleep in the style of
viking landscape art or

fruit that is neither ripe nor rotten,
smelling like anemone, feels
like home--too much space--
Are we selling a beauty
product? Anonymous
people and things which
are too neat and
organized to be ugly in appearance.

Why do you eat on a board
little lunchtime child?
Strange spots of orange, volcanic
in a way. Gooey South America:
no ice, but it looks cold.

You were once an animal Ricky
Martin--¡comida! ¡comida!
There are mints that come from this
butchered thing.
Well, That Slaughterhouse Was Nice

I live in red velvet cake. Why I do declare, I must have found the right wardrobe door to step through. Oh he has no legs, but "I can fly!" Almost like my favorite blanket to picnic over. Fresh meat, PB & J make for a great, stale banqueting table. In the meadow, I must have found perfect, sterile fluorescent lighting. Is that supposed to be fresh air? In cluttered stillness a door got bigger. Except it was too well decorated. No one lives here. Now can we eat?

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