Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Archive for the ‘spam poetry’ Category

leap year orchid

Posted by metaphorical on 11 May 2007

This is another spam subject-line poem. (The last, and first, one was is here.) Once gain, the rules are as follows. The subject lines are unedited except minimally for punctuation and capitalization. This time, I tried not to even edit punctuation.

The day you feel fine comes soon

The day you feel fine comes soon
you of number
affirmation preeminence
tumble within
did you know
did you see
As shibboleth do ceremony

With quail each unbidden
dry obliging scrubland
what doeth them and the navy of gray hairs of the king even
blue vastly
be outworn
manufacturer of the tents

Even the night’s dour note
which must characterize a nation riding modern technology
you pyramid
do standard
as tonight
do writings
on discretion
do be destiny
by thin
with context
should sit down to reign lifted up their own heart, after the land

Is nocturne so castigate
leap year orchid
without even mentioning
shall drink therein.
this kind think
as meant

Replacing parts is easy
quid pro quo evenings
cannery goose
picnic inferno
maze entrapment
grammar plated
do no noun
in the cadaver
in the mills
is by reflection
is it causation

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stepsister impromptu

Posted by metaphorical on 15 November 2006

Have you noticed the latest style for spam subject lines? In my inbox, at least, I see short phrases (often two words long), in odd juxtiposition. They remind me of the Carolyn Forché poem, “On Earth,” from her collection Blue Hour. The poem consists of a list of phrases 46 pages long.

Here’s a sample:

as for children, so for the dead
as gloves into a grave
as God withdrawing so as to open an absence
as he appears and reappears in the unknown
as if a flock of geese were following
as if there were no other source of food
as if to say goodbye to his own mind
as if we had only one more hour
as if with the future we could replace the past
as in the childhood of terror and holiness

There are a few things to notice. The lines are mere phrases, sentence fragments, and they are alphabetically arranged. If you read the whole poem, you’d see there are themes only in the vaguest sense; if some ideas are returned to, it’s almost by accident.

In Honor Moore’s literature seminar last semester, Honor told us that Forché, a friend of hers, called her one night and told her about a new poem. She had had a computer file of lines, mostly phrases, that she had been collecting for years. One day, “I just pressed ‘sort’,” Forché told her. Honor showed us there are all sorts of things you can do with such a list besides sorting them.

So here we go. The rules are simple. The subject lines are unedited except minimally for punctuation and capitalization. Some great lines, such as “silken devastation” or “dysentery nondenominational,” have been omited because they were, well, too good.

Or Rare Of Rock

agree agree
don’t win
overly repetitive

each con
scorn overcrowded
sentence, followed

recreation adopted ethic

allow donated
planetaria junk food
greenhouse bold
nankeen lily palm kale

through frigid water
or rare of rock

suffix after
timer below
known perpetual
gold specific clock
miscarriage vanguard
traveling machine

rag hotcake
pocketbook accolade
cosmopolitan blistering
stepsister impromptu

plight fourteenth
of the circlet
slacken hour
write nonintervention

dove antique
and this

to to athwart
walrus ebony
ratification purist
exonerate topic sentence
turtleneck recoup
drachmae schoollike rehypothecation

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