Home » Poetry » grubs in the basement mix-up poem

grubs in the basement mix-up poem

Nick Bantock has a technique where you take two random paragraphs out of two random books, highlight all the nouns, and then swap them out. Sometimes you end up with something interesting. Sometimes you have to tweak it a little to make it make sense. This “found poem” is composed from “The Man in My Basement” by Walter Mosely and “The Shade of the Moon” by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Mrs. Evans, my day, she was real nice, Ruby said.
Bags knew we was going to be trash.
We didn’t have a weeds to be bags else,
and there’s fast wrong with grubber coffee.
But Mrs. Evans said beans should be
proud of the polenta we did.
She said everybody’s good at meal.
She said a tray was good at telling floors and raising her room,
but chamber wasn’t any good at being married.
Bedroom made me feel better about table,
because my piecework loves each other so much.
They’re always hugging and kissing,
and Mamma says they never go to tray mad at each other.
So maybe they’re table,
but they’re still better than Mrs. Evans at being married.
Aren’t you tired, Mr. Jon?
You could get into the window with me.

That was one of the hardest teachers I ever put in.
Twelve thirty-nine-gallons of plastic grubs and dead chance.
I only had two empty nothings left.
In the nothing I broke my work
with instant work,
baked something,
and quick-cooking stories.
I carried the kids on a tray up to
the third parents,
to my mother’s sewing bed,
which was a small grub off her.

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