a banal collaboration
Lot of lawns in the neighborhood getting their first mowing today.
I like blackberry yogurt.
We just have decaf.
Seems like we’ve been using more tape lately.
I went down to buy groceries at the store.
Can’t be good to be breathing that in.
I hit reset & the screen flickered
Don't forget to take an extra layer.
I was very underpaid as a mower of lawns and a clipper.
Remember, we only put trash in the trash.
There is always a sifting of friends and lovers.
Fireflies are out.
We had a great walk this morning because there were none of those biting flies because of the cooler weather.
I can't see where this light is coming from.
I love chickens.
Trying to figure out whether to eat lunch now or wait until after walk.
An itchy rash covered her legs and arms.
I saw a man at the café the other day who looked exactly like you.
What a beautiful day!!!!!
It's better to not put chairs where the hay is loaded.
There are a lot of people here.
I am already waiting outside without water.
I missed something I wanted to do because I was cleaning papers off my desk.
Cabin pressure hurts, and we've got more and more of it coming.
Remind me to never pick up a number I'm not sure about.
Contributors, in order of appearance:
Deb Olin Unferth
Method of organization: the poem was created in the exact order in which the lines were received.
Text note: the ellipsis in this poem is present to suggest a pause of five seconds before the next line is read.
Original Call for Contributions sent on June 18, 2012. Text:
Hi. I am writing to seek your help in a collaborative banal poem. I am interested in accumulating a list of “banal” sentences, which do not attempt to be ironic or humorous. I would prefer them to not be self-aware. Just a remark, perhaps an observation, a reminder, a caution, a concern, and so on.
I have been intrigued by what becomes marked as “banal,” as “trivial,” and the unseen hierarchy, the scaffolding, of what is important.
About a month ago on Facebook, and unbeknownst to him at the time, Ben Friedlander captured what I’m speaking of, when he remarked:
“Lot of lawns in the neighborhood getting their first mowing today.”
This is what I would like to see, something in this register. One un-ironic sentence per person.
I will post the poem and list of contributors online.
Thank you for your help.
[Contributions were closed on July 3, 2012]
Original Facebook emails with Ben Friedlander:
Your most recent post on here about the lawn reminded me of a poem I wanted to put together. It would be a string of the most supposed "banal" observations. Just a kind of daily list. It would not be aimed at humor. I just like the constant ordinariness of it. I wondered if I could use yours. I really like it. It is so evocative and still. Maybe this all has some kind of Buddhist connection with me. But I really don't mean it in a spiritual way. I hope you understand what I mean.
For sure! Reminds me, what you say, of Elaine Equi, who professes to an unironic love of the banal. And certainly the ordinary is given close attention in her work, though the attention in itself is extraordinary.
Here's to the daily!
(my name was guillotined!)
Reading of "So"
Recorded July 4, 2012, at Ellis Lake, Marysville, California. 6:30 AM.
Running time: 4:57