Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beautiful Inlaw

Not to be confused with the "Beautiful Outlaw," the "Beautiful Inlaw" is a restriction under which a writer may only compose using the letters already found in a given source text–i.e., a person’s name. The fewer letters in the source text, the more maddening the compositional process.

The poem below was written using only letters from the name of the musician Polly Jean Harvey.

"Her Harp"

Hey raven hen,
Love-leery pen,
Pallor on nape,
Roar, never rape,

Eve, revere hell,
Heaven: non-real,
Prayer: holy ploy,
Jeer every ‘he,’

Prove venal nerve,
Prey on a perv,
Preen on a nave,
Have Johnny pay,

Yelp on a prop,
Yearn on a lap,
Pearl-heavy hole,
Reap lovely joy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Larding: "Creekside Elegy"

Further larding below; this passage was inspired by the lyrics to the song "Railroad Murder Blues," by little-known indie rockers the Jailors U.K.

Creekside Elegy

The moonlight glazed the dirt road like a cake. He knelt by the water's edge, his face buried in her torn robe.

The moonlight glazed the dirt road like a cake. It was the same dirt road that his truck tires had rumbled over that morning as he drove to collect on her debt. Midnight hung in the sharp autumn air, a silent verdict echoing across the countryside. He could still hear the cadences of her voice at sunup, pleading as he grabbed her shoulders and shook her frail body. A blot of smoke rose from the ruined trailer nestled in the stand of pines at the road's end, the negative image of dawn's promise and tranquility. At the start of the day she had stood in the door, clad in a threadbare pink robe, sipping the dregs from her coffee cup. A lump had risen in her throat as she heard his wheels coming up her driveway. It had only taken one match, and now there was nothing left but ash. He had obtained his revenge, extracted the price she had to pay for her unfaithfulness. Nothing left but the vanishingly fine grains of an incinerated dream. First her livelihood, then her life. A trail of sooty footprints led from the trailer's lot to the creek that ran beside the road. She had struggled until the end, her cries of anguish proportionate to the joy and generosity she had shown the world. The prints were the void he left in his wake, the bottomless aftermath of the evening's hateful passion. Now all that was left of their former happiness was a scrap of pink cloth. He knelt by the water's edge, his face buried in her torn robe.