Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 14
Spring, 2014

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John Rodzvilla

The atheist who stands

The atheist who stands in his lofty tower, with his wide, expansive horizon for his view, was intercepted by a large protuberance before him. Shakespeare's portrait of Falstaff might serve were it not for his clothes; and, indeed, these hung so loosely about him, that he might, without any trouble, slip into those of the witty knight. His thrice-cocked hat and wig were of one age and color; his coat, always green, was cut in the style of the grand army of love and charity, who go with man in the dreary walks day after day along the same street, and round the same tower.—No, no, overhaul your Horace for that qui fit, Maecenas, and when found make a note of difficult passages in learning a piece and mark them for special practice. It is these memory tests help me fix the work in my mind. You learn technic by moving your fingers, hand and arm. Learn memorizing by using your memory. The memory is the faculty which recalls past events, because close in the future they are rising from their graves to give us one more scene of a play we had fancied well over.

the manifested voice

The manifested voice is stridulous, but there's no obscuration of the intellectual powers. For this train of formidable symptoms, which I considered the forerunner of death, I simply recommended the frequent administration of stimulants and nourishment, and an opiate to tranquillize. I saw him again the same evening, with no alteration to notice in the walking bonnets, except that black straw seems to have declined in favour. Beaver with cloth, or velvet with levantine or velvet dresses, being considered most acceptable to the Gods. Marvels of lapidary work existed among the Aztecs, for the Emerald was cut by them into many shapes of birds, flowers, fishes and insects. The wonder of this may be comprehended when the hardness of the Emerald is considered, for there are but ten harder precious stones; apropos of this, the Spanish marauders are known to have destroyed many priceless gems in crude tests and experiments. Gorged with blood and loot, blinded by avaricious skepticism and doubt, the red, blundering hands obliterated at a stroke…\

snorting and blowing,

snorting and blowing while lustily swimming, hand over hand for the breakwater where the boys climbed out by sticking their toes into the wide cracks between the li(mb)nes of timbers, and by clinging to protruding bolts. Once more on top, they were resting and chaffing when, in a startled tone, the ______ asked "Sure. What's wrong with East Cape?" "Nothing. Only—only that's where that strange white man, is, he is not a white man. But of this assertion, he is a man white, unless it is the same with the enunciation he is a white man, the negation will either be, he is not not a man white, or he is not a man white. But the one is a negation of this, he is not a man white, and the other of this, he is a white man."—his name is Ben of Kalamazoo. We are very dry—so dry that I fear we will soon die.

These poems were created through an assemblage method similar to the exquisite corpse technique used by the surrealists. Every poem started as a phrase from an earlier poem. I would search the phrase in Hathi Trust and add the search results to the poem. When possible I would use the result that matched the position of the phrase in the poem. (So if it was the poem's third searched phrase I used the third search result).

John Rodzvilla is the electronic publisher-in-residence at Emerson College where he teaches classes on creating digital publications. He is also the ePublishing consultant for Ploughshares Magazine. His work has been published in The Harvard Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Bad Robot Poetry and Verbatim.