Earworms

a Definition

It is “…a poetical work wholly composed of verses or passages taken from other authors … disposed in a new form or order.”

A quilt of found texts, a remix.

an Explanation

For the brief time I was on Facebook (most of 2016 and a bit of 2017), I found myself occasionally dropping random song lyrics into my timeline, hoping to annoy my friends, for whom such lyrics would very likely serve as terrible and unshakeable earworms. I’m kind and thoughtful like that.

Gradually, I began grouping several lyrics together for maximum impact. A sort of blunderbuss effect. Soon, I realized I was composing little cento poems from these song snippets.

Because literary magazines often consider even Facebook posts to be “published” work, I decided to repost them, over the course of last summer and fall, at my microblog next door.

While they still remain at my microblog as individual posts, and are tagged with a common category, I’ve decided to also collect them here, to have them all in one place.

I still have a handful that I haven’t posted yet, because I’m hoping to revise them. And I have a few new ones I’m still composing. As I post them next door, I will also add them here.

Pop songs weren’t the only earworms I was building centos from. TV show themes are often colliding in my head, too. Most centos are untitled. I’ve numbered the pop song centos, while the TV centos are lettered.

~r
2019-02-07


1

As I walk thru this wicked world, searching for light in the darkness of insanity, I’m sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics. Can you hear them? They talk about us, telling lies. Well, that’s no surprise.

2

On Wednesdays I go shopping
and have buttered scones
for tea — oh no, I’ve said
too much. I haven’t
said enough. He
just smiled and gave me
a vegemite sandwich.

3

She’s a good girl. Crazy
about Elvis and somebody
else’s favorite song. She’s filing
her nails while they’re dragging
the lake down at the end
of Lonely Street.

A

sunny day, sweepin’ the clouds away
believe it or not, I’m walking on air
and you can’t take the sky from me

4

You must remember this:
if you smile at me, I will
understand. I hate people
when they’re not polite.

5

The worst fear that can
ever be hurled starts
with an earthquake, birds,
and snakes. He hides
like a child and he will
lead us into darkness,
my friends. Get ready
for the future. It is
murder.

B

well, we’re movin’ on up
to the east side: four men living
all together, where the kisses
are hers and hers and his — but
that’s just a little bit more
than the law will allow

6

father father we don’t need
to escalate

you
are the reason
I’ve been waiting
all these years

one of these mornings
you’re gonna rise up

singing

7

Is there gas in
the car Yes there’s gas
in the car we were driving

Driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt
like I was

drunk And it’s these
late nights and
this freeway flying

It always
makes me
sing

Kingman
Barstow

San Bernardino

C

Love, exciting and new. Come aboard,
we’re expecting you Saturday.
What a day: a yabba dabba
doo time, a three hour tour…

8

well my heart knows me
better than I know myself
hypnotized mesmerized by
what my eyes have seen
the way you hold your knife
the way we danced till three
I found a picture of you oh
those were the happiest
days of my life

D

Making your way in
the world today takes
everything you’ve got.
Well, no one told you
life was gonna be
this way: when you walk
through the garden, you
gotta watch your back.

E

Back in the 90s
I was in a very famous
TV show and maybe
I seem a bit confused,
well maybe, but who can
turn the world on
with her smile? It’s Jess!

9: “Dear Sir Or Madam,”

He danced for those in minstrel
shows and county fairs, saving up
to buy him some clothes. No one
ever knew his name ’cause he’s
a no-one. Here I am

on my knees, begging if you
please: is there a letter
in your bag for me? I
didn’t want to rock
your boat, but you sent this
dangerous note — and I say,

“Little sister, don’t you do
what your big sister does:
dance beneath the diamond
sky over men and horses,
hoops and garters, short
skirts and skinny legs.”

Selling bibles and real
estate, I’d rather be famous
than righteous or holy. When
I look at the television,
I wanna see me. Will you let me
control the handles? You
know it’s the best thing
I’ve ever seen. Your heart

seems so silent. Why do you
breathe so low? Please
turn on your magic beam,
put your little hand in mine.
When you’re rockin and
a-rollin, you can’t hear your
momma call, “Domo arigato!”

Stroll around the grounds
until you feel at home.

10

strumming my pain
with his
fingers

with a portrait
of Rasputin
and

a beard down
to his
knees:

the only boy
who could
ever

teach me that
you don’t
know

what you’ve got
till it’s
gone

11

at night I wake up
with the sheets soaking
wet because my love
for you would break

my heart in two if you
should fall I will
catch you I will be

waiting

F

Come and listen to my story
about a man named Jed. He’s busy
revvin’ up a powerful Mach–5.
We’ll send him cheesy movies,
the worst we can find! Yeah,
we tease him a lot cuz
we’ve got him on the spot.

12

and when the cow
kicked it over she
winked her eye
and said I’m empty
and aching and I
don’t know why

G

We’re bobbing along in our barrel, we get the funniest looks from everyone we meet. Give us any chance, we’ll take it. Read us any rule, we’ll break it.

H

You take the good, you take
the bad, you take ’em both
and there you have: all the little
chicks with their crimson lips,
hanging out down the street,
mysterious and spooky…

13

cheer up sleepy
Jean oh what
can it mean
the lovers the
dreamers & me

14

when I have nothing
to say my lips are
sealed you were my
voice when I couldn’t
speak well I talk
about it talk about
it talk about it
talk about it arguments
agreements advice
answers articulate
announcements

15: Multiple Choice

Something Shakespeare never said was:

  1. You’ve got to be kidding
  2. Why don’t you just shove off if it bothers you so much?
  3. Don’t bury me ’cause I’m not dead yet
  4. You and me, babe — how ’bout it?
  5. All of the Above

16

don’t know why
there’s no sun up

in the sky like a river

flows surely to
the sea why do

birds sing so gay except for

the few we
take home to experiment