A while back there was a poetry contest held by a journal, the name of which escapes me. It asked that readers take the opening paragraph from an essay and cross out text so that the words that remained created a poem. The words could be used in any order, which is a bit of a cheat if you ask me, because then it’s simply a question of vocabulary and not so much finding an order within an order.
I had once thought I could do this with Moby Dick. I would work on a page a day and eventually end up with a final text that night allow me to appreciate the classic book. Or at the very least finish it, because Moby Dick is just one book I can’t ever get into.
Anyway, I began with this:
From the opening of “Genltemen, Start Your Engines”
by Andrew Sean Greer
“I want to make it clear
that I have been camping before, and I’m not just talking about Burning Man. I’m trying to say thatI’ve lived i n Montana and backpacked for hours into the wilderness, just me and a friend, where we set up our campbeside a little-known hot spring, and while my friend napped I got in au naturel and was promptlyjoined by an enormous female moose. There we sat, me and the moose, enjoying the steaming water, looking outblissfully at the sunset together like a honeymooning t couple, while I summoned the courage to call in a wee voice: “Help me!” If I had been wearing pants I would have peed them. ButI survived my wildlife encounter, andmade a fire, and bear-proofed our foodstuffs,and did all the things one does when one is camping. This is not a story of gay San Franciscans setting up a Moroccan hideaway among all the army-surplus tents, complete with mirrored pillowsand a Porta-John covered in veils. I amproud to say it is quite the opposite.”
And ended up with this:
I want to make it clear
beside a little known hot spring,
joined by an enormous female moose,
made a fire
and did all the things one does
and proud to say it.
It seemed obvious that the narrator was going to end up doing something with that moose, but maybe that’s just me. Sort of ended up with a William Carlos Williams vibe in the end, didn’t it?
Poetry Friday. Everything you’ve always wanted in a Friday, but with a little something extra added. Terry over at The Family Bookshelf is hosting the round-up where, I’m sure, there are more appropriate Mother’s Day Weekend poems.