Emily McAvan

IS THERE LIFE ON MARS?

 

It’s a stabbing joyful cry,
sixty two rich men
and the Humpty Dumpty bride.

The Communist revolutionary dream,
a curious sobbing sea
to the nuclear Cheshire Cat.

A honey spectral dance
for the golden lover imagining
the rear-view mirror sun,

while the Weimar regime splendor
overwhelms squabbling teachers
and their sullen sleepy confessions.

Soldiers cutting up the border
drawing the salt of the kiss
Oh man,
look at that permanent bliss

Take a look at the
sober mother poison rattle
Batman’s gone missing again
It’s just a life of sin

Is there life on Mars?
Is there life on Mars?

Sources and Method: This poem was inspired by David Bowie’s “Life on Mars,” drawing on its rhythms for the song’s cadence. Lines from the poem were cut up from newspapers including Haaretz and the Guardian and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Emily McAvan is a Jewish Australian poet whose work sits at the intersection between sacred and profane.

Lost Child by Emily McAvan

To write,
you have to do,
redo,
redo,
cover,
reinforce,
and then suddenly undo,
break.

You have to live,
fragments of yourself
exploded to splinters,
you have to want
something to survive.

I was so afraid that I thought
in the disquiet of my mind,
the fear and disgust,
that one writes to inflict pain.

But where is it written that you have to be unhappy?

 

Source: Story of a Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Method: I wrote this poem with the aid of a Markov text generator, which feeds in prose as an input and generates an output randomly. I grabbed the best bits of random prose, repeating the process until I got something I liked, and then edited for sense from there. I worked using material from the pseudonymous Italian writer Elena Ferrante, whose Neapolitan novels are some of the best literature of the last decade.

Emily McAvan is a Jewish Australian poet whose work sits at the intersection between sacred and profane.

Boeuf en daube by Emily McAvan

(after Woolf)

Here, she thought, dabbling her fingers in the dark
here stuck high up in the sea
To want and want
little daily miracles, illuminations, in the water
matches struck unexpectedly in the most exquisite smile
There it was before her – life.

Source: Virginia Woolf – To The Lighthouse

Method: I wrote this poem with the aid of a Markov text generator, which feeds in prose as an input and generates an output randomly – no two are the same. I grabbed the best bits of random prose, repeating the process until I got something I liked, and then edited for sense from there.

Emily McAvan is a Jewish Australian poet whose work sits at the intersection between sacred and profane.