I’m trying a new form of poetry lately, and loving it. I played with wikipedia a lot when I was a kid, or rather, teenager, because the internet wasn’t really as much of an establishment during my childhood. That’s a post for a different time. Anyway, there was a game in which the players were given a list of words and a starting search term. The goal was to search the starting term and, using the hyperlinks that peppers wikipedia, find pages covering as many of the words as possible. The first person to find all of the words won. It was one of those fun, pseudo-educational games that word dorks like me loved to play. By which I mean, I spent a lot of time clogging up our dial-up connection all by myself.
Anyway, it occurred to me a few weeks ago that it might be fun to find poetry in wikipedia. Here’s how it works: I typed in a word, say, “love” or “hate” or some other emotive word. I followed the first hyperlink on each page, copy and pasting the first paragraph of each page into a word document, until the thread reached what felt like a logical narrative conclusion. After that, I went back and strung them together with my own words, or commentary, or something, in between.
It’s a wonderfully inspiring process, paticularly for those moments when I have a concept I want to explore but lack the words to do it. By mining the open-source encyclopedia for language I can use, poetry finds me.
And that, folks, is what we call art ’round these parts. Below is a poem I found about love, or one definition of it. Feeling inspired? Go try it. I dare you.
Love as evolving definition
Method: Search “love” in Wikipedia. Follow the thread. Experience the story it creates.
Love is an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment. Love is also a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection and the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.
He brushes my hair off my cheek like he’s preparing for sacrifice or prayer. My bare legs stick to the vinyl car seat. We are squelching creatures.
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual’s state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience. Emotion is associated with mood, temperament, personality, disposition and motivation.
My stomach churns with love, or revulsion, or the curry we had for dinner or any combination of the three. Lust and nausea and hunger are hosts and parasites.
His voice echoes off the windshield. I am fish in a barrel. My thoughts are subliminal to the journeys of his hands. My brain and heart can’t process. The look in his eyes, can’t process. His heartbeat, can’t process. My tingling skin, can’t process.
Psychology is the study of the mind, occurring partly via the study of behavior. Grounded in scientific method, psychology has the immediate goal of understanding individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases, and for many it ultimately aims to benefit society.
We move as one machine, his hands, my thighs, my breasts grind against each other. Ill-fitting sockets on a gear that smokes, screams, strips as it’s wrenched apart, but it keeps moving. We keep moving.
Some psychologists argue that only the higher intellectual functions constitute mind, particularly reason and memory. In this view, the emotions—love, hate, fear, joy—are more primitive or subjective in nature and should be seen as different from the mind, as such. Others argue that various rational and emotional states cannot be so separated, that they are of the same nature and origin, and should therefore be considered all part of what we call the mind.
Can I think and love, think and hate, think and fear, think and lust, think and need touching me and not touching me and staying and leaving and am I more complex for all of these, or less because I give none of them my all?
It stops. He lights a cigarette and his face blazes to life in profile noir. Raindrops trace his shape down the window as smoke drifts through my hair. My mind sets him on fire. I watch us burn.
An interpersonal relationship is an association between two or more people that may range from fleeting to enduring. This association may be based on inference, love, solidarity, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships are formed in the context of social, cultural and other influences. The context can vary from family or kinship relations, friendship, marriage, relations with associates, work, clubs, neighborhoods, and places of worship. They may be regulated by law, custom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole.
We are one machine. We are smoke, acrid and inseparable. We are ritual. We are prayer.