I’m sorry, babe, but there’s some things I have to say…

I’m sorry, babe, but there’s some things I have to say.
Toe sucking would never have occurred to me on my own.
Sometimes the symptoms can be surprisingly subtle.
If you don’t have any shadows you’re not in the light.
From the cradle to the coffin underwear comes first.
The dimming of the light makes the picture clearer.
A great suit doesn’t look so great if it doesn’t fit.
Infiltration has never been out of the question.
If you submit it to search engines, it will help.
And again.
However, sometimes you just want to break free.

Note on the Text

555 is a collection of sonnets whose construction is database-driven and relies on text analytic software. I crunched and analyzed Shakespeare’s sonnets to arrive at averages for word, syllable and character (inclusive of punctuation but not spaces). These averages (101 words, 129 syllables, 437 characters) became requirements for three groups of sonnets. I collected lines from anywhere and everywhere in the air or in print in a database. The lines are all found, their arrangement is mine. Values for word, syllable and character were recorded. Typos and grammatical oddities were preserved; only initial capitals and a closing period have been added as needed. The selection of lines isn’t rule-driven and inevitably reflects what I read, watch, and listen to, thus incorporating my slurs and my passions as well as what amuses and disturbs me. These sonnets were assembled using nonce patterns or number schemes; by ear, notion, or loose association; by tense, lexis, tone or alliteration. Every sonnet matches its targeted average exactly. Think of Pound’s “dance of the intellect among words” then sub sentences for words—it is amongst these I move. The dance in question traces out a knot (better yet, a gnot) that holds together what might otherwise fly apart. I espouse only the sonnets, not any one line.

John Lowther’s work appears in the anthologies, The Lattice Inside (UNO Press, 2012) and Another South: Experimental Writing in the South (University of Alabama, 2003). Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young, is forthcoming from Lavender Ink. Visit his website: http://lowtherpoet.wordpress.com.

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