Altering a Book of Prose into Found Poetry

altered book Over the weekend, I came across a discarded library copy of one of Tess Gerritsen’s books. Her book Gravity (a story of engineered pathogen that makes its way aboard the ISS and proceeds to wreak havoc in spaaaace) is one of my all-time favorite books. So I had this copy of The Sinner. The title had me worried to begin with. I love crime, fictional or not, but I swear this book was either written in the 80s or this woman needs to get the hell away from crime dramas forever. It was the most cliché thing I’d ever read, and I used to read more fan fiction than you can shake a stick at. Every crime drama cliché you can image makes an appearance in the first 10 pages of this book: from the emo medical examiner than prefers the company of the dead (because they “can’t hurt you”–not making this up) to the feminist detective with a heart of gold and a hot temper. I swear she was a shoddy, thin version of Benson. I didn’t want to just stop reading this book; I wanted to destroy it. SO! I decided to make an altered book of found poetry out of the thing. I already like where this going way more than I liked where this dumb book was going.altered book: Sin altered book: part i found poetry: part i

part i.
Andrah refused
the chemical.
The pavement complained
under recent rains
muddy
mired
Objections knew
the reason.
Choice would speak,
caught in dark eyes,
wait here

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death of a lady

“just one more drink,” she said
and I couldn’t resist that smile
her teeth hidden behind a twisted crimson curtain,
they were sharp like her stare,
like the black fingernails raking up fishnet
and slowly
she swept her bloody tongue
over those pointy little teeth

she smiled as I looked for answers
in the sky
Orion had already turned away
in his own uncertainty
and the seven sisters
in their own fervent debate
merely questioned back

“this one,” she said
I tore my gaze from the stars
in time to see her murmuring
into his ear
her hands all over his
mortal flesh

I trailed behind them
as they dipped into the alley
those sharp little teeth
clamped onto his neck
over and over
she tore
and drank him dry

pale and still in awe, he fell
a corpse to the wet pavement
and she smeared red
down her face,
her chest
and smiled

but her green eyes flew open
wide, darting
she inhaled

“what is this pain?” she asked
and her voice and her hands were
shaking
as the blood bubbled back up
now black

she had not cried in centuries
but she wept the only liquid she had:
his diseased blood, blacker than ink
thicker than cold tar
it came in waves
pouring from her eyes
her mouth

and I watched her die
crumpled in a sticky puddle,
she writhed
for an eternity

Prompt 10: Dreams

Some say our dreams tap into the unconscious, the part of ourselves we aren’t in tune with during the day. Write about a dream you never forgot, or you recently had. Why is it so memorable?

This is an interesting topic because I don’t dream like most people do: I have complex dreams pretty much every night that I fully remember–I mistake them for memories sometimes. I’ve been told that most people only remember their dreams once a week or month or less, but it’s a daily thing for me. Even more intense, my dream landscape as of the past year has become like an alternate life: I return to the same places, remember events that happened in other dreams and though things are indeed slightly awry, they’re incredibly well-constructed. My dream worlds consist of entire cities (sometimes multiple), which also makes it difficult to distinguish them from reality.

There’s one particular city I keep returning to in my dreamscapes that appears like a mixture between Shreveport and the Los Angeles Metroplex: it has the geography of California with its valleys and mountains, but the buildings and traffic are more spread out (thank you, brain). Recent dreams include WWIII, being in some Asian city as the skyscrapers fall and many plane crashes with and without me in the plane. I have a lot of dreams involving cars and them malfunctioning or there being accidents. I also tend to dream about random travel experiences, like sudden trips through the backwoods of Louisiana or driving across country. I wouldn’t consider most of my dreams as actual nightmares (I wake up screaming and crying during those), but they are not positive. They’re like life: stressful, tiring and random, and usually I just want to sleep dreamlessly, hahaha. XD

One of my least favorite “recurring” dream landscapes is one that involves some stupid freeway bridges in my brain’s version of San Francisco that are just stupid tall, stupid narrow and stupid steep. Of course, everyone drives like an ass in my dreams, so imagine a skyscraper-sized rollercoaster track, but you’re supposed to drive over the Bay on this thing. Also there are no guard-rails. 😦 No thanks.

Prompt 9: Facing Fears

Remember that topic you hate writing about? Well, write about it now. (Then treat yourself to some ice cream.)

But I already wrote about them once. T_T And I don’t even like ice cream. Sigh. Well, if I must.

Religion: utterly useless garbage created from vast misunderstandings about the universe (and aliens) and a need to control fellow humans–what more is there to say? The ones that aren’t flagrantly wrong are still extremist attempts to follow some kind of moral code, which you should not need a religion for. And let’s not forget how the Jews think that their religion makes them better than everyone else or how their religion causes the suffering of countless Palestinians. It seems that almost every religion relies on a false sense of personal superiority to collect followers. Pathetic.

The mains tenets of religion involve assimilation and expansion, which sounds rather viral if you ask me. Religion is a gateway to sexism, racism and anti-culturalism.

And that’s all the negativity I will populate my blog with today!

Prompt 8: Avoidances

What topic (or topics) do you avoid writing about? Why do you think you avoid it? Who or what is it about?

As far as non-fiction goes, I avoid writing about religion, because I feel there’s nothing more to be said about it as a whole, no reason to let it fester in one’s mind in any way. I like to avoid writing about my nihilism because it can be extremely depressing, almost like an endless loop that spirals downward into things that are indistinguishable from paranoia and pessimism. I’ve already gone over these things endlessly in my head, and they wear on me. I try to avoid writing about them in order to keep them from taking over my thoughts and infecting my mind. I’ve learned the hard way that merely thinking about something daily can not only alter the way your brain operates but also make you forget it could ever be any different. So, I try not to let my mind linger on negatives too much. Perhaps if I surround myself with positive things, I can train myself into a new way of thinking!

In my fiction, pretty much anything goes except babies and incest. I do not like either of these things at all. 😦 Now that I think about it, I don’t think a single baby has ever appeared in anything I’ve ever written ever. XD Uhm, pieces of babies have but not a single whole baby. Gosh, this became weird.

Prompt 7: Myths

Whoops! I started on this last night but completely forgot to finish it. Time isn’t my forté.

Myths and stories teach us how to live in the world. What story (or stories) taught you something you never forgot?

Interestingly enough, I feel that myths don’t teach us how to live in the world but rather show us how feeble our understanding is. They illustrate the idea that any sufficiently advanced technology or sufficiently complex organic system can seem to humanity like magic, explainable only by gods, divine intervention and apparently adultery, which is hilariously common in mythology. Humans love to make up stories about things that we can’t explain while pretending we have any answers whatsoever.

I can’t think of a fictional story that has taught me any life lessons, and in truth, I tend to bristle at the idea of there being a “moral to the story”, because such fiction is often created to illustrate the point of the author. Stories fictional or factual can be created or used to serve any purpose, so I take everything with a grain of salt. That could just be the paranoia speaking.

I’ve often thought of creating my own fiction that truly imitates life: just as the hapless reader is being lead to what they believe will be a sufficiently happy ending, the world falls apart, and characters are tortured. Everything that was meaningful and good about this fictional world I will take away from them, and it will serve my point: life is a collection of random shit that we give personal (and meaningless) value to. At the end of the book, it’ll say something like “Burn this thing. It’s a depressing, nihilistic pile of shit anyway.”

Prompt 6: Adventure Time

What is your definition of adventure? What is your ideal adventure (fantasy welcome)? Describe it in detail, what do you do and where do you go? Who do you meet along the way? What is the destination?

Being a paranoid, reclusive hermit makes even the most mundane trips to the store seem sort of adventurous, but a real adventure usually involves my wanderlust and a trip to somewhere I’ve never been before either on Earth or outside of this galaxy. The first two places that seem ideal to me as of late are New Zealand and Québec: the former for its beautiful geography and possible candidacy as a future home and the latter for gobs of snow and some French without having to go to France. The trip would begin in the Northern Hemisphere where it’s winter, and after I was sick of the snow, I’d head to New Zealand for summer nature hikes and to visit some Kikki K retail stores (seriously on my bucket list now). Since this is an “ideal” adventure, I’d just hop on over to Asia as well: Singapore, Japan, China. ❤

If I could go anywhere, I’d visit a myriad of places in the universe: our own Sol, the center of this galaxy, our satellite galaxies, black holes, neutron stars, that huge void where there’s supposedly no stars or planets or anything. XD I’d hope to meet many aliens along the way, and since I’m makin’ the rules, that’s exactly what’d happen. While we’re at it, I would love to pass through a black hole, experience the insides of stars and witness the creation of another universe. 😦 I’m gonna be dust long before any of that is possible.