An Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative work in which each participant writes a single line on a sheet of paper, folds the paper over to conceal what they’ve written, then passes the paper on to the next participant. The final product is read as a single work. Dreamed into being by André Breton and other Surrealists as a parlor game, the practice dates back to 1918. The unusual name comes from one of the first phrases the game yielded, “The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.”
I’ve developed an obsession with Exquisite Corpses, and have decided to start one at every literary event I attend and post the results here. Aside from minimal revision (for instance, making sure the piece as a whole is rendered in the same tense), these works will appear exactly as they came to me.
Their authors, of course, remain anonymous.
Integrity for all.
Phoenix, AZ, a fabulous experience.
Taliesin came to storm-tossed earth
And the stars brightened up his life.
Studying under the warm sun and palm trees,
That’s when I saw him, that beautiful, majestic dog
Shucking oysters by the river.
The last time I got outta prison,
We all breathed great sighs of relief.
She wept harder than she had in a long time--the dam had broken.
Fishes fell down trees.
Sweet peaches danced from my lips while stars danced above my head.
The plants were dripping with the fragrance of the earth.
It surrounded my head with a cloud of happiness.
The smell was overwhelming, but soon disjointed, tolerable, for the weeks to come.
Finally it rose above the horizon
And kissed my love deeply.
I love the wind, oh, how I love the wind.
Women are listening.
Dreams of ithyphallic muses whisper to me.
To find the gold on Superstition Mountain using only my fingernails…
I think I may be a well.
The lake wore a gauze of inherited light.