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Posts Tagged ‘Dethe Elza’

blood_alley://interstital_syn.tax

February 26, 2009 6 comments

alleys(have no fixed addresses):
no front door stoops;

# shortcuts coding the city
# with their pragmatic and dirty

/* kind of beauty. an apothem’s
relentless straightedge */

functions() of a hyperbolic map
where roads only turn right;

<the> alley fails a pi[d]geon-faced dealer
his bicycle navigating </crowds>

whoDwellBehind theNormals in
life. thisMetaspace of precariousCables;

dumpsters_and_bugs crashing

among-the-crows, the-circuits
of old-benches, where travellers
chalk their-secret-language

(on (the (underbelly (of) the) city)—here)

a thousand: kilometers of: short cuts
threading the: longest path: through

defeatingspaces

to {the | pharmacy} with {no | pain} killers

by Dethe Elza and Daniela Elza

Download the MP3

Process notes

Dethe writes:
Hearing Daniela every day for the past few weeks talking about one collaboration or another, it just seemed natural to try one together. I sent her a poem about the alleys of Vancouver.

Daniela writes:
The alley topic sat dormant in my head for a few days. One night we brainstormed around alleys: these shortcuts, like in coding, and suddenly there was an explosion of ideas. Especially after the lights went out. To the point that we wrote notes under the light of a cellphone, thinking that was it. We laugh now, why we did not turn the light on.

Dethe:
I have often wondered how to put computers and technology into poetry. Poetry has had a big influence on how I write code, but the influence hasn’t gone the other way very much. The sparking of these ideas helped to bring the two together.

Daniela:
I could not go to sleep. I got up and wrote trying to give shape to what had just happened. It was 2am when I finally settled down. I sent that to Dethe the next day.

Dethe:
When I went through it, each line triggered new ideas. Under each line I wrote the line it inspired: a re-working of Daniela’s line, and sometimes a more drastic change. The result was like taking the poem through a looking-glass, basically the same, but also entirely different. I thought it was really shaping up.

Daniela:
When I got his email, I was shocked. It felt like he did not keep a lot of the phrasing. I felt like I introduced stress in the process by commenting on that. But when I looked at it the next day, I realized what he was doing. He was riffing off, tightening up, taking out what he did not want. I rewrote the poem using my lines and his lines.

Dethe:
With a couple of very small changes, I was happy with it. At this point, the poem felt done to me. There was one word that was misspelled (“pidgeon”) and I wanted to keep it because we were using a pigeon both as imagery and as metaphor (alley denizens), while we were also playing with language, especially the simplified pidgin language of computers. I resolved this by putting the “d” in square brackets, then mentioned that it made it look kind of like code.

Daniela:
At this point I wanted it to look more like code, and asked Dethe to go further, to introduce different aspects of coding.

Dethe:
The result isn’t really code, but it carries the feel of various programming languages. A different programming language or construct is reflected in pretty much every stanza. Trying to work those constructs in without destroying or distracting overly from the poem was a challenge. I still don’t know if it was successful or if we pushed it too far.