Exquisite Corpses: Wuhan Poetry 2010

The six photos above were picked at random. I first picked 13 because 13 is one of my favorite numbers, then I flipped a coin, tails (odds) and heads (even) to eliminate either 6 or 7 of them. It came up heads so I kept the evens though I prefer odds. You are looking at six images appearing and disappearing telling some sort of story because we humans like a story, need a story and pretty much can make one up out of whatever is coming at us. In the 1920s, the Surrealists played a game called The Exquisite Corpse. Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau, they said: The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.


Untitled collaborations between Man Ray, Yves Tanguy, Joan Miró, and Max Morise (1927-28).


The surrealists folded a piece of paper into as many parts as people were playing. Let’s imagine four artists were playing. They’d fold the paper into four parts. The first artist drew on the first segment letting lines from the drawing extend into the next fold. The paper was folded over so the second artist could not see what the first had drawn, but used the lines given as the source for the drawing whose lines would extend into the third fold. When they were finished they were pleasantly surprised by one picture drawn by four artists, and of course it always made exquisite sense.


Directions

In the poetry workshop here at Wuhan, I wrote a line of words in the first fold and continued with two more words in the next:

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish

I put my students into groups of five, though some wound up with four or six. The first students began their lines with a fish. I had already folded the first line away from them, out of sight. The only words they could see were a fish and they had to respond to that, finishing their line in their fold, and then adding a few words into the next before folding their fold out of sight and handing it on. The only words students should ever see are the words that begin their lines. As many students in a group, that’s as many folds. When the paper is finally unfolded, all get to read their Exquisite Corpse. Here are some of the results:





Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish is just swimming
in the pond is a big box which contains
something smells a little bit strange cooked with a bottle of
yogurt makes a shy girl slim, passing tears
to him, it seems like the successful goddess is
just coming before the sun hits
the dawn is not beginning, but the end

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish in the lake what’s already dead
An apple looks like a child’s red face with
a smile is like the sun’s face and
a flower just smiles quietly to me on the balcony
A boy is seeking lightness in the dark night

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish jumps high with fear and sad
feelings come to me when I see something
pretty is like a graceful girl with big eyes and a beautiful mouth
mouths are opening wide and the eyes are full of tears
Tears show all the feelings in my heart

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish’s teardrops you cannot see in
the sea fights with the man to protect them
his sons are playing on the ground with their dear parents and
cute dog sleeped in the warm grass and
flowers seemed very weak in the storming night

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish swims in the river
so free it is to be
a bird singing a beautiful song to his lover
white clouds gathering in the dry and hot desert.

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish is feared like a hungry bear who
sees a man who sat by a silk tree and sees
the iris opens like a butterfly quietly in the
valley like a beautiful girl lying quietly between the hills

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish cannot live without water nor with
out air there are so many mysterious things
unknown things are stars in the sky that
I love like a sweet when a baby lies in mom’s arms

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish is happily dancing in
the sky is blue and high, full of
big stars are diamonds worn by
the sky bottomlessly deep holding the stars far away

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish swims happily and cozily in the bright
flowing stream runs freely and happily through
the flowers. The colorful garden welcomes me
in wind, everything is floating in air, even myself

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish could be cooked into my
favorite dish is the whole to
a beggar is also a kind of attitude to
the world, very beautiful for everyone of us.

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish is the fairy in the pond
a pond of sparkling bodies gliding in
the sun sleeps like a baby with a smooth
breathing—breathing kept his mind together
in time we will know all about the night

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish inside the pond came up and kissed
her hand slipped slowly under
the outlaw’s vest turned my eyes dark as
ripe grapes though you would never know
its precise taste until you eventually take
a taste. Forgive my love my tenderness to you
and give the sweetest dreams to
the poor starving footsteps catching up with fear

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish in the ocean is like a man who
finds his belongings are where his
heart is as soft as clouds in the sky, sometimes sunny
sometimes windy, but always
well above the fray and sweet

Desire is like a hungry man who sees
a fish which will die in the
sunshine is on your face, just like your mother
touching you with her hands rest elegantly on
her waist is covered with a belt decorated with jewels

2 Comments

  1. Wu Di
    Posted 27 Jul ’10 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    The pics r beautiful…especially the one of the old trees…but that one showing the advertisements on the wall is really impressive…I suppose u took that pic near the old library perhaps…It is wonderful to keep being passionate towards life like u…

  2. Posted 3 Aug ’10 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    You are welcome…any time…

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  • […] have been offered a chance to participate in a poetry workshop, hitherto led by the venerable Don Yorty.  This year, I took over the workshop, and decided to extend it to include rap.   In this post, […]

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