Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week 12: Overheard and last post (for a while)!

Well, here we are. This was our last poetry assignment for the semester. We had a creative project due the last week of class (which was this week), but I made a chapbook and I don't know how to scan it. So until that day comes, here lie my last poetry written for English 111, spring 2011, senior year at Penn! :(

§Attention: Write down everything you hear for one hour: it is important to do this for the full time period.

§Write a poem consisting entirely of overheard conversation. (See Kenneith Goldsmith's Soliloquy.)

 I went to Metropolitan Bakery, an upscale, swanky little place. I would love to know what other cafes people went to because there seems to be different associations we have with the ambiance and clientele of each cafe. I didn't particularly like this exercise, but then again I'm not really good at all at copying things down that people said in a hurry. That's why a lot of the sentences are so short. I took just a few liberties with wording for the poems.

Here's the list of things I heard:

Bizarre ringtone that increases and decreases in tone
Dull hum that sounds like white noise in an airplane
“Hey, how are you?”
“The idea that I could, like, sell it to my friends…”
“That’s a nice location.”
Beep, beep, beep, the door opening
Grinding beans, maybe from a coffee or espresso machine
Clink of forks and knives against plate
“Can I get a peanut butter and jelly to go and a, uh”
“Here you go”
Plate sliding on table
Laughter from a man
Heels dragging on hard wood floors
“Got to catch some oxygen, right?”
“Have a nice day.”
“Yep, you, too. Take care.”
Opening cash register and clink of coins as they are counted out.
Dishes and mugs being gathered together
“Thank you”
“Thank you”
“Have a nice day, guys”
“Yeah….oh, okay…yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh. So how was dinner last night? I know. Oh, that’s right. And everyone was already cooking.”
Laughter from a woman
“But it was really pretty fantastic”
“Wonderful, wonderful, yeah.”
Paper cup put on the surface of a counter
Very loud truck driving by outside
Drawing water from a straw through a cup of an iced beverage
Shuffling feet
Chair pulls out
The sound of a piece of limp bacon dropping from one’s mouth onto the plate.
Sound of espresso machine grinding beans, or maybe a blender?
Slam of refrigerator door
“What’s the rest of your day look like?”
“I’ve been here since 6:15”
“Where are you from?”
“I’m just chit chatting here. You can always tell when they’re parents.”
“Yeah, you can spot them a mile away.”
A cash register slams shut
Someone banging something
“So what happened in the middle of the night?”
“A mouse.”
Men’s shoes walking across hardwood floor.
“Do you want a bag for this?”
Shaking out a paper bag.
Something that sounds like a small jackhammer
Full plastic bag drops on bench
Girl ruffles through plastic bag.
Stirring things into a cup of iced coffee
“Shut up.”
“What kind of cheese?”
High pitched swirl and drill of espresso machine
“Thanks, sir”
“Thank you very much”
Women’s laughter
“Not funny, not funny.”
“This is like the least appetizing word I’ve ever heard.”
“And I take the piece of fish, and I doctor it up. But it’s definitely an acquired taste. It’s not an everyday food.”
“Nobody really knows how good they have it.”
Rustling through paper
“I didn’t know that. That’s so crazy.”
“For here or to go?”
Two women laughing about something
Papers put into a backpack
“I never think about it”
Suddenly music turns on. It’s a singer I don’t know.
“I know I got to find some kind of peace of mind”
“What becomes of the broken hearted? Tell me! Tell me!”
Banjo? Playing jazz chords.
Bob Dylan, “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hair”

The Poems based on this:

1. HystericsA man laughing
"So what happens in the middle of the night?"
"Something that sounds like a small jackhammer."
A man laughing
"I didn't know that.
      that's so...
"I never think about it."
Dull hum.
bizarre bizarre
"Do you want...this?"
"Yeah, got to catch some oxygen, right?"
"What becomes of the broken hearted?"
"It's definitely an acquired taste. I doctor it up. That idea I could sell to my friends!"
"Shut up. Not funny. Not funny."
A man laughing, a woman laughing, two women laughing
      about something...
Like white noise in an airplane."

2. GratitudeThank you very much.
Thanks, sir. Thank you, thank you.
Nobody knows how good they have it.
They have:
      good music, good coffee, good espresso, cash, good parents, good days, good bacon, coins, oxygen, heels, hard wood floors, a nice location, an airplane
And laughter.
Wonderful, wonderful.
They never think about it.
What becomes of the broken?
Tell me, tell me.
Suddenly I don't know
"Here you go. Have a nice day."

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