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a dummy's guide to killing poems: what you need to know

eckhard cloete

killing a poem
even a strikingly shit one
is easier said than done

an average poet can bulk flat lines out with catchy metaphors
or put it through a cliché scan.

but to unspeak it, for that you have to call in the thought police.
for that you need to doublethink, doublewrite death back into the coffin.

step one: delete poem from hard drive.

(complications:
every bit of data recorded on your hard drive can be
traced by a good enough information systems expert.
even if you delete it.)

step two: throw away original handwritten poem and/or printed copies.

(but where do papers go? to dustbins, to junkyards?
are they burned? buried?
become smoke, part of soil?)
poems can lie under ground for years,
then grab you with a cold hand
from underneath the bed on a dark windy night.
dead poems are like ghosts:
they seldom change.
they hover in hollow places
they whisper through the holes you slit in their throats
they fuck with your mind.
words need paper like ghosts need bodies.

to kill a bad poem is a risky business
you need balls of steel.
only the best poets get away with it.




LitNet: 02 August 2006

Click here to return to Eckhard Cloete's index page.

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