Student work: Found poems

From my students’ found poems (posted with permission). I’m stunned by how good these are. I sense in some a little imitation of the Ashbery I gave as example—but a little imitation’s no sin.


Every little bone
Lost and found

Some sickness
Coming home
Stretching you

Still I have to wait
Giving you a chance to go on

Source: bits of overheard conversation on local buses.


Bring it to the boid. Where people do.
Moment of your. Ladies . . . ? Put antlers on my.
Can’t do it without. Don’t want kids.
Girls had to be escorted through the. Tilting it in besides using.
Fairly difficult to. Friends who couldn’t boil.
I can just carry. I lied I said I was.

Sources: the bus, roommates making dinner, the grocery store, a girl talking on the phone in the library, some girls in a parking lot.


My life in the garden. A professional creep.
Measuring mortality. Underestimated desperation.
The God of eggs. Drops hundreds on stupidity.
Leeching souls. Rotting citrus. Raining hedgehogs.
A glottal stop. The crazy’s back.
Can’t trust delusion. In a house of stray cats.

Sources [this list makes a companion poem to the first] [some names changed to preserve anonymity]:

1. Meghan working in our yard
2. Kayla liking to explore attics
3. Liz, population issues
4. Dr. C., on human tendencies
5. Evelyn making snack
6. Me, on calling a lock smith
7. Sam’s dramatic description of a professor
8. Brandin, on the rotting fruit in our fridge
9. Kayla’s friend got a hedgehog, misheard “training hedgehogs”
10. Kayla, it’s a sound in Arabic
11. Meghan, on Arianna’s return to our house
12. Marylin, warning us about Arianna
13. Boston, describing our housemates as kitties.


For New Zealand and
in Iceland over yonder
a bottle of wine . . . or two
so superficial
off the light like you.

Freaking cute!
My Hawks and future cowboy
perfect comment
so much ass
three times the national rate.

In your prayers, but
years from now
in the dark
a moment at the Texaco
tis the season to fawcking love this.

An Autumnal mood
Monday, like crazy
and outnumbered benefits
yummy Mexican, oh so texty
but fly as shit.

Source: Facebook statuses of friends.


All of us on the road from Scotland to Silverado.
The sound and the fury as I lay dying.
Sex lives of cannibals, basic logic.
Kama Sutra, great expectations.
Two years before the mast. The poisoners. The Italians. The great pyramids.
A tale of two cities. Mumbo jumbo.
To a god unknown. Welcome to the monkey house, beat reader.

Source: a bookshelf.


A dusty room. Deprived of sun.
Melancholy soul. Little sinks.

Against a rule. Being ignored.
The sun to night. To worlds of dark.
Of memories. With setting skies.

The patter of rain. A wound unmended.
Slept through. A candle blown.

Our sorrows in shades. Once a vessel.
And every song. A complicated knot.
About my regret. My every thought.

To never be found.

Source: Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav.


Letter openers. Cardboard cutouts. Ibuprofen.
Kites everywhere. A nap midday. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies.
His Hungarian going? Dry erase. Pink computer.

Things that actually kill us. Educated math students.
Happiness shaved off the Neverending Story.
The Hello Kitty blanket tastes like burnt meat.

Sources: The West Wing, overheard conversations at a friend’s house, class lecture.


Sweet Everlasting Voices. may have Blamed. Word for Word.
left on. Loose Paper. an Aged Man. the Sea swept.
He drew. says the Ghost. live in the Peeling Mansion.
with feeling older. let the Tongue slip. swap our Lies.
They made You. to fear Them. praise this Mess. the Slow Rain.

Source: poems on the Poetry Foundation website.


Well the situation is
What’s wrong with the kids these
Staying high all the
Let’s forget these tragic
Days long ago

Hello folks
Drugs aren’t the
Let’s continue on
With the sex drives of teens

Monsters aren’t
The only thing
Giving these all
Away to fairyland
Drug dealers are too

So in the end
Nothing makes me
After this tragic
Floods in Florida

Sources: Listening to two or three media devices at once, tablet, desktop computer, phone, each on a different kind of media. E.g., one playing YouTube videos, one with live and old news, one streaming music.

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I write draw teach blog in and from the Pacific Northwest of America.

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