Home > Mutating the Signature > April 21 Rooftop Corpse

April 21 Rooftop Corpse

February 18, 2009

Dad & me race up the elevator, wow
we’re liable to see Tahoma’s Columbia Crest
which is why, in all my wildest dreams I never thought
the sun knows you are not a teenager. You
are only a mist in this downpour of old strangers &
coffee table conversation & dusty apricot sky above the feed
store. Rooftop tiles, scattered through the windowpanes of justice,
plane lights brighter now that the sun has just set,
behind my shin splint lay an assortment of chocolatey flavors
like the top of the mountain throwing off spring clouds
or the nesting lion, awakened by the unfamiliar
noises of mad hit & run whistlers (whistle & run?) does
that make the puppies fight for the dogwood,
pink in the middle as clouds above the sunset blinded Cascades
or the cliff-ghasts might get you. Sleep well my child, or
you will watch the sun’s fatal hurtle toward Japan
& realize that conga lines do exist; Clifford suits ARE
& determined as dusk — as the 150 — as
bricks in an open sort of way, like they weren’t really there,
like old Tahoma pinking itself in muted lavender
just so, like all the evening’s gray coming 2gether in 1 last burst of life.

by Paul Nelson and Rebecca Rose

Download the MP3

Process notes

Paul writes:
I wrote this as an Exquisite Corpse with my daughter Rebecca Rose, who was 13 at the time. I started with a line and continued with one word on the next line and folded the page over so she could not see anything but the one word I left for her. She did the same and we kept doing that until the end of the page. We recorded it at the studios of Auburn Community Radio, a project since canceled by the city. The rooftop is the Auburn Transit Center, a prison-like structure in downtown Auburn.

Writing these spontaneous poems, made popular by the surrealists, has been a fun way to pass time, document the moment and liberate full metaphoric activity as Andre Breton said about corpses. It allows for a truly organic process.

(Listen to the recording to hear which words were authored by whom. —Eds.)

  1. February 18, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    exciting. love the reading and the arrangement . thanks.

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