Monday, April 21, 2008

Poetry De Jour

One of my favorite ways of making poetry or lyrics is the “algorithmic replacement”. The gist of it is that you take some existing poem (or other text) and replace all the content words (usually you end up leaving the small words like ‘the’ and ‘of’ and such). It’s especially helpful when you find that your poetry or lyrics tend to fall into certain grammatical patterns. The resultant replacement poem will retain the grammar but otherwise be totally different from the original.

This time I tried it on a late-night menu from a jazz club. Sometimes the replacements are weird. I usually use my Fourth Edition Roget’s Thesaurus (from the 1930’s I think). It’s great because it has weird phrases that would never be used now-a-days. So for example the phrase, “SMALL PLATES. Perfect for sharing with your friends!” became “MEAGER SLABS The very prince of joint tenancy with your bedmates!”. With the help of Wikipedia and my trusty thesaurus, “Carolina Pulled-Pork” became “Home of Jim Crow Yanked-Pig.” Sometimes I can’t find a suitable replacement in my thesaurus and I just have to make something up. Thus ‘garlic’ became “vampire kryptonite”.

Here’s the whole replacement menu:

Club Jazz Nouveau, Late Night Menu Revisited.

MEAGER SLABS. The very prince of joint tenancy with your bedmates!



Soup of Beans Want of Light with 
Stumpy Avocado Corpse & Gilded Crabby Churn
 $6.95



Hypermodern Shrubbery with Dulcet Wrinkled Nuts, 
Molten Peaches & Swanky French Overlay 
$6.95



Venerable Roman Emperor with Vampire Kryptonite Burned Bread Cubes 
$7.95


Venerable Roman Emperor with Glass-Brittle Poultry Boobs 
$10.95



Antique Carbuncle Beans & Rice with 
Parts of Oinking Beasts 
$8.95



Smoldering Vampire Kryptonite and Cheddar Lumps with 
Acidic Emerald Onion Cream and Infantile Greens 
$8.95



Reekin' Joseph's Layered Bread Slabs with 
Fried White Wheels, Frog Fries or Motley Botany
[Domestically Ash-Clouded]
$9.95



Home Of Jim Crow Yanked-Pig Layered Bread Slabs with 
 Fried White Wheels, Frog Fries or Motley Botany
[Domestically Ash-Clouded]
$9.95



Tiny Pithy Squidlings & Fried White Wheels From Toombs County with 
Vampire Kryptonite Frog Tincture & Blaze-Broiled Ruby Freckle Ketchup 
$10.95



Layered Bread Slabs of Ash-Clouded Chest of Mooing Beast Flanked by Fried White Wheels, Frog Fries or Motley Botany
[Domestically Ash-Clouded]
 $10.95



Ash-Clouded Clucking Beast Limbs For Flying with Sapphire Cheese Immersing Potion

[Domestically Ash-Clouded]
 
$10.95



Creole Stew Looking Down on Honky Rice 
(Ask server for today's selection) 
$11.95



Infant Rump Bones with Nectarous Coca Bean BBQ Liquid Served Neck and Neck with Maize Loaf

[Domestically Ash-Clouded]
 
$11.95



Mexi-Booze Greenfruit Spawnfish Taking Sabbath on Childish Plant Parts Ravaged by Puckering Caper Glop and Vampire Kryptonite Burned Bread Cubes

 12.95



The original is HERE.

-David

2 comments:

Rachel said...

Shoot, I want a swanky, French overlay!

wildebeest said...

i'm pretty much in love with you. because of this poemand a few other things.