Monday, March 09, 2009

First Seven Sevens (Remix) (2009)

First Seven Sevens, remixed by Dana Guthrie Martin


There are no meds.
Another lucid moment.
Inside words hunger dries.
Paranoia’s ear comes loose,
howls through fields
remembers what it means
to drown.


Another constellate goodbye.
Another tearful bedpan.
I like what you’ve done
with your forehead.
Inside the drowned,
at least one photograph:
heads thrown back.


People felt things.
Edges. Needles. Casings.
Scratch & Sniff descriptions
of goodbyes often
belong on film.
Go read something


The computers are down.
Composes turns into compasses.
Bodies spin
like dime store tops.
Spiritualize all you want,
even a cave is full of sky.
Just sniff.


They are revising deserts
into test sites again.
Dualistic thinking
brought us
sign and symbol,
hemorrhage and clog.
The sky never gets any credit.


Moving symbols
conversant in slow-dancing
lend tranquilized
reassurance to droids.
Don’t forget
the enemies of glad:
Kick blood free.


Keep tending your ego.
Dessert the color of night
skirts dazed magpies.
Awareness wears a hood,
dries in fragments.
Replicants prefer a belly
full of reassurances: We are one.

Dana's Process Notes:

The process I used was to strip all of Stu’s words out of his poem, “Sevens,” and jumble them up in a wordle. My initial plan was to remix the piece by using his words and only his words. But as with all plans, things changed. I started inserting some of my own words here and there as images came to me that I couldn’t shake and couldn’t create without using words that weren’t in the original piece.

In terms of structure, I wanted to keep the seven, seven-line stanzas because that form seemed essential to the remix. I noticed that I’d repeated certain important words in more than one stanza, and I decided that the repetitions should have some structure as well, so I placed the repeated words in adjacent stanzas as a way of threading them together.

I read Stu’s piece several times a few weeks before I started writing. But during the process, I didn’t revisit Stu’s piece at all. I wanted the words to take me somewhere without being swayed by how Stu had used them. I just went back and looked at the piece again today, and it’s amazing to read both sets of “Sevens” together. They read like a conversation. Even though most of the words are the same, there’s still a sense of different voices using those words, infusing them with meaning through tone and context.

I also just realized that I managed to leave the word “magpie” out of my version. I love magpies, and there’s no excuse for having left that word out. I just revised the last stanza to include the word “magpies.” Did you know that pies used to be made by placing a hollow ceramic magpie in the middle that would allow the heat from the pie to escape from its beak? I decided that my magpies belonged in my line about desserts. They fit right in there.

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