What These Are, I Don’t Know

A couple of months ago, not long after my second hand surgery and all its complications, I was sitting at my dining room table, not feeling up to much. I had a box of phrases and words cut out from books that I intended to use for collage poetry, but I could not concentrate. But somehow I felt I needed to work with those words. The idea came to me to sift through the box and choose just a few words, enough to make three line compositions. I’m not sure why I did this, nor can I say these are really poems? But they had some value to me at the time, just in the making of them, and as I read them now, they do have an interesting cryptic quality to them, I think.

I pasted them on the plain side of post-card sized scrap cardboard, the kind I use for mail art postcards. I had no idea of making them into anything – that’s just what the material was at hand. After I was finished, I drew lines to separate the segments.

Well, see what you think. I still have them. Haven’t decided what to do with them yet. I do think that sometime I’d like to do this kind of thing again.

23 thoughts on “What These Are, I Don’t Know

  1. Thank you. When I was doing them, I was sort of unfocused and thought they made no sense. Later on I read them and I was surprised. Having a limited choice of phrases and words is somehow liberating.

  2. They make a lot of sense for those of us who “ponder naturally”. I agree, about limited phrases/words–that’s why I love prompts where I’m just tossed a few words: magic happens.

  3. Thanks. I didn’t think about how they looked until after I was finished. Glad I didn’t. I think it might make them too pretentious to have given each one its own card and feature it. I like the orderly jumbled impression they make.

  4. Try it for yourself. Collect phrases and words with no intentions about them, and then rearrange them. The right ones will find each other, I have noticed.

    It is strangely calming to do this kind of thing. And new thoughts appear that would not have otherwise existed.

  5. lovely, the lot. Years ago I took scissors to a dream I had typed up one morning, I Reseparated the words & phrases (after reading something about a cut-up method William Burroughs had used on his works) and created several new dreams, all creatively sound.
    Well, isn’t capital A Art

  6. I really adore these. I want to maybe try sometime! What exactly did you use, though? I don’t think I could bring myself to cut up books, but the type doesn’t look quite as nice from a newspaper or magazine.

  7. https://claudiamcgill.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/what-these-are-i-dont-know/

    These previous posts might give you some info about what I do and how I got into snippets in the first place.

    Thanks. I love doing these. It’s relaxing, focusing, and revealing.

    I do use books for my source material. They are all books that I got from the discarded shelf area in my local library – they were one step from the trash, so I didn’t feel bad about it. I try to get books on a variety of subjects so that the vocabulary and the phrases differ. Plus I like the look of the different papers and typefaces.

    Try it sometime. It is fun!

  8. Look around and I bet you’ll suddenly see books no one wants or needs – besides the library I have pulled them from the trash or purchased from a thrift store for 10 or 25 cents. And if not available, magazines and papers work just as well. I’m in favor of taking whatever happens to be around and seeing what I can do with that. Seems to spark my ideas. I just don’t believe that anything is useless!

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