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Respect Our Existence
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[You are divisible.]

John Lowther, Sonnets from 555

    You are divisible.
    This is both pathetic and epic.
    Looking at yourself in a mirror isn’t exactly a study of life.
    It’s the lie that stands behind the idea of the memoir.

    In fact, we can reinvent ourselves because our identities are so fragile and inauthentic.
    Which eases the agony of passing a bloody stool no end.
    The realm of the born—all that is natural—and the realm of the made—all that is humanly constructed—are becoming one.

    Last night you begged a man on your knees to sell you his beard.
    I almost thought it was good news.

 

555 is a collection of untitled sonnets whose construction is database-driven and relies on text analytic software. I crunched and analyzed Shakespeare’s sonnets to arrive at averages for word, syllable and character, these averages became measures for three sets of sonnets. The lines are all found, their arrangement is mine. Values for word, syllable and character were recorded. Typos and grammatical oddities were largely preserved. The line selection isn’t rule-driven and inevitably reflects what I read, watch, and listen to, thus incorporating my slurs and my passions as well as what amuses and disturbs me. These sonnets were assembled using nonce patterns or number schemes; by ear, notion, or loose association; by tense, lexis, tone or alliteration. Think of Pound’s “dance of the intellect among words”— The dance in question traces out a knot (better yet, a gnot) that holds together what might otherwise fly apart. I espouse only the sonnets, not any one line.



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