DWP: August 9

A handwritten poem on a piece of paper that has been washed, crumpled, ripped and pieced back together.

One of the books I’m reading at the moment is Opacity-Minority-Improvisation, by Anna T. The book is looking at queer slangs from around the world, like Polari, and how they construct a kind of linguistic closet for the users. The author often writes in Greek without translating, and leaves gaps in the text when there is no translation, no appropriate word or the gap is simply the most eloquent way to express absence or loss or the unknown. It’s a really playful, enjoyable text to read. So today’s prompt is to start with your DMs, posts/social streams, whatsapp messages etc, and/or news articles or any other content you have a response to, or want to reply to, and construct a found piece out of that: play with blanking out words, abbreviating, translating into/out of slang, or emojis, or other languages you might speak. What can and can’t be said? What secrets can you dig out of the texts? What secrets can you hide in them?

My response: I used a D*ily M*il article about the residents of Richmond employing private security patrols to stop “yobs”. I put it through Google Translate a few times, via the languages of several of the countries covered by Anna T’s book, and a couple of UK languages. It came out much more profound than it went in, so with a bit of editing, cutting and judicious punctuation I have a mystic but rather pertinent piece about police violence. It starts “I turned to walk to the ways / of the inhabitants of Emergency”

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