111.1: Gail Wronsky & Chuck Rosenthal:: Once my air is out, water won’t matter & Every woman in the world, we all live in fear & Making a decision like that would scare anyone & A spaceship from where? From outer space. & There’s not a drop of booze left in this house & Who am I to stand in the way of science? 111

One could argue that the merits of found poetry often depend upon the source text. Erasures and recalibrations of science journals, literary masterpieces, or the circuitous mumblings of a former Secretary of Defense may exemplify the extent and worth of the artistic license. This week, however, Gail Wronsky and Chuck Rosenthal collaborate on a series of found poems that have as their source material selected bits of dialogue from cultish science-fiction films from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Where do B-Movies go to die? In this series, they become poems, composites of otherwise unconnected dialogue that form a larger and mysterious ontology of wonder and hilarity. Take the quirky “A space ship from where? From outer space”:

     Handle it gently. It has to get us home.
     You know there have been rumors.
     But what would they want with little Cathy Wilson?
     As an old man I feel free to accept beauty without apology.
     Both of them blown to bits. Any more orders?

This is a mash-up of tonal dexterity that also provides readers with a flash-narrative where the necessary pieces fall into place. The title gives us a peek into the fun in the collaborator’s project by showing the profound lunacy and illogic of the source material. What the hell kind of question is “A spaceship from where?” and where else would a space ship come from, if not outer space? I see Leonard Nimoy grabbing his temples and shouting “This shit isn’t logical!” In this poem, as in this series, however, the narrative moves in a short, chaotic pace, making for all the fun in these works. Lines one and two provide a kind of hook to the story. Homecoming, a theme as old as the written word, combines with the threat of scandal. Suddenly, poor little Cathy Wilson is thrown into the mix, and we sense the development of a futuristic Lolita narrative about to take place in the cosmos. This, of course, is coupled with the serene concession made by the old man; his acceptance of “beauty without apology” is an adage for the artist. The final line is the appropriate undoing of all parties involved—the sparagmos of the twentieth century. Instead of Maenads ripping Orpheus to pieces for his acceptance of beauty without apology, apocalypse is always lurking under and about the surface of these films. What is the apocalypse but the obliteration of everyone—our sparagmos? While it is easy to scoff at the campiness of these films, there lies in popular “camp” a grave moral seriousness that serves as poetic impetus. Wronsky and Rosenthal appear quite aware of this impetus: like the singing head of Orpheus, these fresh and inventive poems emerge from what has been torn apart. Cody Todd

Once my air is out, water won’t matter


It looks molten. But how does that figure?

What a wonderful specimen to have in the museum.

Have you decoded any other messages?

In one moment we may be able to leap 2000 years.

This is going to be the longest 6 ½ minutes I’ve ever spent.





Every woman in the world, we all live in fear


Up here on Mars, you’ve gotta face the reality of being alone forever.

Like a jellyfish it was, except it had a kind of shine to it.

I knew these creatures were alive somewhere.

We can tell them this: whatever it is will rise up to the surface and get back at us.

He’ll be drunk as a lord.





Making a decision like that would scare anyone


You’re mad, Stevens. You want to play God.

What do you mean conventional explosives are useless?

We’ve sighted a moving object underneath the water.

And it proves that all the scotch whiskey has not been exported to America.

May I take your coat?





A spaceship from where? From outer space.


Handle it gently. It has to get us home.

You know there have been rumors.

But what would they want with little Cathy Wilson?

As an old man I feel free to accept beauty without apology.

Both of them blown to bits. Any more orders?





There’s not a drop of booze left in this house


Switch out the lights, will you, darling?

Mars seems to have run out of messages for the moment.

We’ve got to find some heavier stuff.

What are these gizmos? I found them near the corpse.

And I thought you couldn’t see with your gloves on.




Who am I to stand in the way of science?


How would you feel if a crazy guy in a helmet with
pipes sticking out of it came at you in the dark?

Your guess is as good as mine.

In any case, the question is totally without merit.

The world is full of lunatics.

Now they reflect light like mirrors.

I’d say it sounded like an ultimatum.