from 555, five sonnets by John Lowther

October 24, 2015 by RJ

Note on the Text

555 is a collection of sonnets whose construction is database-driven and relies on text analytic software. I crunched and analyzed Shakespeare’s sonnets to arrive at averages for word, syllable and character (inclusive of punctuation but not spaces). These averages (101 words, 129 syllables, 437 characters) became requirements for three groups of sonnets. I collected lines from anywhere and everywhere in the air or in print in a database. The lines are all found, their arrangement is mine. Values for word, syllable and character were recorded. Typos and grammatical oddities were preserved; only initial capitals and a closing period have been added as needed. The selection of lines isn’t rule-driven and inevitably reflects what I read, watch, and listen to, thus incorporating my slurs and my passions as well as what amuses and disturbs me. These sonnets were assembled using nonce patterns or number schemes; by ear, notion, or loose association; by tense, lexis, tone or alliteration. Every sonnet matches its targeted average exactly. Think of Pound’s “dance of the intellect among words” then sub sentences for words—it is amongst these I move. The dance in question traces out a knot (better yet, a gnot) that holds together what might otherwise fly apart. I espouse only the sonnets, not any one line.



Music is the diarrhea of the intellect.
You were soft and round like a dumpling.
Paint a picture for us.
This seems like a silly piece to create a forgery of given the other options out there, however, I have seen enough silly things by now to doubt it’s authenticity.
You promised.
The passages of centuries are often required to acquaint more slowly evolving creatures with such prerequisite states and conditions.
Probably good if you’re renting, landlord doesn’t care, and you know what you’re doing electrically.



I just had some pineapple chunks in a can from Charles Manson’s ranch.
For it is very probable that the refrigerated parts grow warm by such stripes, and excite a heat in the seminal matter, and that the pain of the flogged parts, which is the reason that the blood and spirits are attracted in greater quantity, communicate heat also to the organs of generation, and thereby the perverse and frenzical appetite is satisfied.
Embracing the inner pink and living with intention and absurdity.
I’m a sick boy, there should be more.



Young men switching.
Who will see the fire.
That’s your dilemma.
Put your back into it.
I must operate on you.

What a freaking train wreck.
Chose cinema over potatoes.
The stars and shells dangle.
You seriously need a shrink.
Stop trying to figure me out.

Bend your elbow so your forearm is at 90º to the ground.
Every quest finds its alibi in the meaning of meaning.
Solutions have been based on a maximum entropy model.
What the invisible hand gives, it can also snatch away.
Abstraction is everybody’s zero but nobody’s nought.



Let’s shag ass.
I love syphilis more than you.
I’m sorry, I forgot to speak all soggy and soft because I was speaking of the child.
Adults are obsolete children.
I will pay you to sit over my face and shit right into my face.
Plainly, all is not well in this brave new world of childhood.
It does worry me that he seems to avoid copulation.
The fantasy of sovereign agency and omnipotent power precedes, is necessary to, and continues to underlie the acquisition of actual agency and power – the alternative is learned helplessness.



Don’t text me.
Just do what feels good.
No, it’s not PR.
Love live heresy.
Watching guys shoot meth into their cocks.
A lot of it is just real estate porn anyway.
I can’t get my dog to stop eating cat shit.
This problem is not unique to cyberspace.
It was posted by a chiropractor, or someone masquerading as a chiropractor.
Drowning in plurality, we lose the capacity to grasp anything like a system.
I need a shit.
Freedom’s just another word for lack of awareness in face of overwhelming omnipresent constraint.


John Lowther’s work appears in the anthologies, The Lattice Inside (UNO Press, 2012) and Another South: Experimental Writing in the South(U of Alabama, 2003). Held to the Letter, co-authored with Dana Lisa Young is forthcoming from Lavender Ink.

%d bloggers like this: