Experiment Two: The Answers

[First post in a week and only the second in eleven days, but I’m back now with plenty of ideas! I am off on holiday next week sometime as well though, ah summer…]

I would never want to accuse any of my readers of ruining the fun, but the excellent guesswork of Summit Abrams (whose fantastic blog is currently under reconstruction, so follow it now and await the grand (re)opening) on The Machine more or less wrapped up my ‘guess the ideas’ game! As he correctly commented, the work was influenced by Mario Savio’s ‘bodies upon the gears’ speech from 1964. And yes, I did hear it first through Linkin Park’s incredible song Wretches and Kings (though it’s also been sampled in plenty of other songs). Here’s the process, anyway:

The first two verses were my own writing, inspired by and loosely referencing the speech, but the second verse ends with a direct quote ‘and you’ve got to make it stop’ to set up the third, which is composed entirely of lines from Savio’s famous address.

Having written each verse, I then reordered the lines within them to create shapes, as I felt this gave a more mechanical look and artificial feel. This involved rewriting one or two of my own lines to improve the fit but I tried to stay true to my first draft and see if I could still make any sense within the altered order. I did intentionally quote plenty of the last clause of the speech ‘[the machine] will be prevented from working at all!’ so it would end up being the poem’s closing line.

The picture accompanying the piece is apparently of one of his speeches, though it’s hard to tell; the one accompanying this post is definitely of him.

Thanks again to Summit for his astute observations, and I hope whoever read it enjoyed it because it sure was fun to write!


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