Controlled Chaos – An Exercise in Detournement

We had a group project for our Writing For Contemporary Media Class that required us to detourn (or change the meaning of something in simple terms). Thomas Wolfe and I chose to add words to the poem “What The Doctor Said” by Raymond Carver (his words are in bold). This is the chaos we created:

He said it doesn’t look good

♬♬Besides functionality, code also possesses literary value.

he said it looks bad in fact real bad

map those territories, define terminologies, and create contexts

he said I counted thirty-two of them on one lung before

What we’re experiencing for the first time is the ability of language to alter all media,

I quit counting them

Materiality- fluidity, plasticity, ductility, malleability—-

I said I’m glad I wouldn’t want to know

about any more being there than that

How can we regard something that might in another configuration be extremely valuable?

he said are you a religious man do you kneel down

in forest groves and let yourself ask for help

a word processing document is an example of a microclimate where the variables are extremely limited and controlled and yet the true possibilities are endless.

when you come to a waterfall

mist blowing against your face and arms

do you stop and ask for understanding at those moments

èI said not yet but I intend to start today

he said I’m real sorry he said

I wish I had some other kind of news to give you

There’s nothing stable about it: even in their most abstracted form, letters are embedded with semantic, semiotic, historical, cultural, and associative meanings.

I said Amen and he said something else

I didn’t catch and not knowing what else to do

and not wanting him to have to repeat it

and me to have to fully digest it

I just looked at him

Physical geography. Overlay it with psychogeography—mapping the psychic and emotional flows of a city instead of its rational street grids—-DRIVE THE BUS!

for a minute and he looked back it was then

I jumped up and shook hands with this man who’d just given me

something no one else on earth had ever given me

the city is an ecology, a series of networks, each replete with its own potential for meaningful exchanges and encounters. NO RELATION TO ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARIES. OBJECTIVE PASSIONAL TERRAIN/LOGIC OF SOCIAL MORPHOLOGY

½ I may have even thanked him habit being so strong

What are your sources? Oh we have plenty of sources. You can ask and we can tell. Just follow the links. Point and click your way to the beginning. It is the point that the beginning is not so sure and steady at hand. Like choppy water on this grey and dusty Oregon/Idaho day. Yeah, the location is a multitude. Two locations. Two locations with two beginnings and not an end in sight. Just be glad your fair (fare) is paid and bought for. Come on now, get loose, get ready and read. Cut and paste your way. Concrete poetry.

Do you remember floating down the 405 awash in that California sun? No? yes? The freaks along the boardwalk sailing past feet up off the ground eyes twinges and groggy and full of redo. Come on now.

Cite your damn sources. Please. Give credit where credit is do (due). Do your own work. Use the gifts and make sure they remain intact. Here, at ‘intact’ is the point of contention. What are you borrowing and what are you taking and what are you taking out on loan? Borrowing and Loaning. What is the difference? Difference. “the transparency of the clearing means a maintenance of the invader’s specific right over a territory in which he claims to settle, of his power to penetrate. What this week is circling around can be identified as a phenomenon of retention. What are you retaining and what have you borrowed that make this retention possible? The bordering of our two states now is like so much imagined refuse.

I take the words from the page and rearrange them to fit what burns inside. Your pulse quickens, the sweat breaks upon the back of your neck, you are lost amongst the words seeking direction. I have none to give. Turn left.