LEADERS - not followers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010



Surrealist automatic writing works like this:
“Sit at a table with pen and paper; put yourself in a ‘receptive’ frame of mind, and start writing. Continue writing without thinking of what is appearing beneath your pen. Write as fast as you can. If, for some reason, the flow stops, leave a space and immediately begin again by writing down the first letter of the next sentence. Choose this letter at random before you begin, for instance, a ‘t’, and always begin this new sentence with a ‘t’. Although in the purest version of automatism nothing is ‘corrected’ or re-written the unexpected material produced by this method can be used as the basis for further composition. What is crucial is the unpremeditated free association that creates the basic text.” (from
Surrealist Games by Alastair Brotchie)
So for this week’s prompt, do just that. Choose a letter of the alphabet at random, then sit down (either with a pen and paper, or with a blank page of your word processing software), clear your mind of any preconceived thoughts/notions/images, and just start writing or typing. If you get stuck, then stop and jump down to the next line: begin writing the next sentence with your randomly chosen letter. Write for about ten minutes.
Now, you have your written material. You have the choice of either a) posting your unedited poem, b) turning the raw material into a poem by only modifying minor elements such as punctuation and line breaks, or c) using the raw material and modifying it as much as you need for a new poem. If you like, you can post your unedited writing session along with your finished poem if you do either b) or c).


My mind trickles
Undeveloped thoughts
It’s a dripping tap
Keeping me awake

I don’t want to waste
A single drop
So I won’t try
To pull the plug
On the dripping tap
Keeping me awake

But the trouble
That always comes
With a dripping tap
Keeping me awake

Is this:

As the drops begin
To accumulate
The noise that comes
From the dripping tap
Keeping me awake
Strengthens to a thud



Serves only to prolong my insomnia



I hear

Each one


The sounds

They make


On touchdown

My concentration
Is diluted
As distraction
Becomes annoyance
At that dripping tap
Keeping me awake

A paradox
At distraction
Triggered by
Dripping tap
Keeping me

I’m still no closer
To the solution
To the dripping tap
Keeping me awake