Google Poem

I have such a hard time writing poetry anymore. When I was in my early twenties, and really, my whole life up until I finished graduate school, I thought of myself as a poet. I looked at life through a poet's eyes, always living in search of something to put in a poem.

I went to graduate school for poetry, and something about the process kind of took the poetry right out of me. I don't know if it was spending all the time honing the craft, if it was the insistence of my New York School-inspired teachers in taking all the "I's" out of my work, or what...but once I finished my thesis, graduated, and moved on, I really moved on.

I've had some luck in the meantime with narrative writing, and I think the years I spent writing poetry has served me well with creative non-fiction (not to mention in my career as a professional writer), but I do miss poetry.

One little assignment I invented a couple of years ago, though, that always bears fruit for me is what I like to call the "Google poem." I Google something, and I write a poem based on the odd things that I find in the descriptions that come up. If I get a good query, a little narrative will sometimes emerge from the disjointed articles and pages that appear. Sometimes, the stories are actually related, but more often, they are not. The little threads of unity that I find interwoven between them are simply serendipity.

I seem to be on some kind of roll with writing these days, with lots of different experiments going at the same time. I decided to try a Google poem today, so I searched for a line from an Alice Notley poem that is printed on a broadside a dear friend gave me a few years ago:

She wanted to know what the blood was for.

And here's what I made from the results:

She didn’t want to explain the fingerprint
found in the blood near the entrance to the hall.
She sat on the bed and hid her face.
When later, she goes mad, she sees blood on her hands,
understanding its critical importance.
Obviously, it felt like an eternity.
Why can’t she just be in love with him?


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