The gigantic WTF poem of permutations

As you’ll see from the photo, I wrote this poem in a grid-like form. However, I did not write it in the order you see. I went from corner to corner (top left to bottom right) and worked my way in. The end result leaves room for all sorts of permutations (with some editing along the way, of course).

For better or worse, here is the poem with the lines in the order that I wrote them—with a few small edits, and with headings (in brackets [  ] ) to help orient you on the page (because I missed a few lines on my first pass typing these in my Word file):

[first lines—row 1]

In the center
of the trap
I might see things
I was never intended to—
but what people expect
and what I end up doing
are always
completely different things

When silence
takes over the room
I put my blinders on
so I don’t turn away
You’d do the same thing
if that’s who you were
So would you?
Would you?

I don’t want
to get all angsty—
it all ends up
being one big whine
For existential briefs
the simpler the better—
but Jean-Paul Sartre
doesn’t play that way

When sheets tear
in the wind
someone calls it fashion
and makes a mint
How do I get
a job like that
without a bribe
or a hit?

[first lines—row 2]

What you steal
will likely come back
to have revenge—
or a close-up look—
before it smashes
you all to pieces
or makes the light
go the other way

For now, this conversation
is a waste of time
unless they’re trying
to induce vomiting
However it may go
I shouldn’t be here
when the iceberg melts
into the Arctic

The chorus chanting
lines about disappointment
sounds too much in tune
to be believable—
at least
in this context
where the walls
absorb all sound

Is this exercise
going to amount to anything
or reveal the thought
to be empty
to be worth nearly nothing
to be nothing but surface
where surface should end
where the end should begin


[first lines—row 3]

Since it will sound the same
there’s no need at all
to change the channel
to something else
to something better
to something I care about
to something you might
be open to

Anywhere you call it
no one will answer
the wheel will spin
the ball will bounce
no numbers
will be called—
not this round
not here

Sour mash
drowns the flame
of a grind forgotten
in the chaos
The smell is merely
an accident of temperature
and the light
a remnant of neglect

A chamber of revelations
secrets itself
behind curtains
behind locked doors
in an empty chamber
where the vault used to be
and the cash collected
in stacks and rubber bands

[first lines—row 4]


Rows fill in slowly
in degrees of meaninglessness
having nothing
but completely everything
to do with the environment
no one is activating here
but throwing out there
where they will go unfound

Where is the label?
Where did the meaning go?
No one can be sure
If no one agrees
no opinion can be found
It doesn’t matter to me
whatever they want
will be chosen by default

The air has yet to clear
or peace to settle in
there is only the din
and the chaos of improvisation
They didn’t rehearse that part
where the ground shook out loud
and nobody turned around
nobody turned around

[the bits in the middle of the page]

this is the random line
to throw off the rhyme
an accident of random selection
in a space left open
when the margin crept slowly away

(24 April 2017—posted April 25th)