The Monday Poem – for Gopi

for Gopi – a Fluxus chance poem


Both spiritual and material. Above, loudly chant the glories of

a small group of English men of

destiny only

to worship with him.

Some to serve as a

considered entity,

surrender until

performed through this


Chance Operations are methods of generating poetry independent of the author’s will. A chance operation can be almost anything from throwing darts and rolling dice, to the ancient Chinese divination method, I-Ching, and even sophisticated computer programs. Most poems created by chance operations use some original text as their source, be it the newspaper, an encyclopedia, or a famous work of literature. The purpose of such a practice is to play against the poet’s intentions and ego, while creating unusual syntax and images. The resulting poems allow the reader to take part in producing meaning from the work. The roots of using chance operations to generate poetry are generally traced to the Dada movement in Western Europe in the early and mid-twentieth-century, involving writers such as André Breton, Louis Aragon, Tristan Tzara, Philippe Soupault, and Paul Éluard. The Dadaists were deeply interested in the subconscious, and they believed that the mind would create associations and meaning from any text, including those generated through random selections.

I have been creating visual art and poetry using chance methods for years. The above poem uses a random number system and takes words from a beautiful book about The Gopis’ Song Of Separation.

Sometimes I use news articles, works of fiction or song lyrics. Which one is of course left to chance. I’d be quite happy to share the instructions on how to create a piece if anyone is interested, or you can develop your own system!

Examining the Odd is the perfect place to share chance art in any form, so please get in touch if you make your own and you want to share it.


A Poem From Ghérasim Luca

at the edge of a forest

whose trees are slender ideas

and each leaf a thought at bay

the vegetal reveals to us

the damned depths of an animal sect

or more precisely

an old insect anguish

waking up as man

the only way

the only basic weapon

to animate a mental state

that I hurry to write mantil

like a mantis

if only to mark

with a dry warning laugh

the devouring word

Entity and antithesis of the bush

a sort of wild and organic brush

grows in the head of that man


by the heresy of parks and greenhouses

like the orgasm of a key

a lovely door

So the legendary passivity

the famous and ample passivity of plants

changes here to idle hate

to mad rage

to sex brawl and dare

luring by sap blood lava . . .

as rapid as the passage of woman

to beast

she empties us of a foul ancestral


which in a spurt relieves us

of these fixed plaints

and these false death rattles plumbing us

our calm gestures of the interred

Now only terror

is still able to insert

in the tropism of body and of guilty


this prism as doubled echo

where brains and senses capture

the violent innocence

of a flora and a fauna

whose marriage is a long seizure

and a rape as slow as gold

in the implacable lead

And it’s around the mental equator

in the space delimited by the tropics

of a head

at the angle of the eye and what surrounds it

that the myth of a kind of utopian

jungle surges into the world

As virgin as the unknowable

or the other “face” of the moon

and never in the reach of a gun

or an axe

its prey is the snow

sand ball hip if not the trap

that the diffuse breath of a dream

lights up

For tangled

soldered to massive corkscrew keys

the vines

the branches stoves and rituals


around the forms placed

as if by miracle

at the crossroads of dryads

of druids and of man

So many points to aim at

all these yes and nos that

outside outside of time

of space and weight

select a sort of coupled oasis

and hamlet

to descend in these gods

from before the ages

the gods-place-beast-island-ash-fire

come forth as from the coupling of bird

and branch

and those exiled from the center

and from the shade of a golden foliage

will adore one day

between the walls of their somber cities

Poetry Matters

Found here.

Paul Klee

Happy new year!


Arguably Klee’s most famous piece Senecio (1922, oil on canvas), currently housed in the Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland – another reason why I must visit Switzerland one day.

Painter, Paul Klee (1879-1940) was influenced by his friends (Kandinsky, Marc, Macke and others), as well as nature and his travels. I have never had much love for the afore-mentioned artists, although there are pieces of Kandinsky’s that I admire. There are many similarities between all four painters, but I only feel a great sense of spiritualism and wonder from Klee.

My personal favourites of Klee’s work are his fish pieces.

Fish Magic Paul Klee

Klee particularly admired children’s art, aiming for his own work to have a similarly unaffected feel. I’ve always wondered why this is not the case for more artists.

Many people look back in awe at how they saw the world as a child, yet not many strive to recreate that feeling for artistic purposes. I think that trying to present what’s in my imagination, immediately and without too much thought, is far more important than mastering a skill such as painting or etching.

Of course, many of my students would argue that such work is only created by those who have no skill and who therefore need to produce something ‘weird’ or ‘shocking’. But, there’s a big difference between art and craft in my opinion.


The famous Twittering Machine, also 1922.


Port Scene, currently housed in the Antheneum Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland.


Rotes Haus (Red House), 1929, currently housed in MoMA, San Francisco.


Klee also worked on unusual material from time to time. For example, this Boats in the Flood Waters (1937) was painted on wrapping paper stretched onto cardboard. This is currently housed in the Beyeler Foundation museum in Riehen, Switzerland.


This is another of my favourites, Diana (1931, oil on canvas).