Oulipost 1, Cento: It’s All About Resistance

Mayor, it’s incredible. It’s hard to describe.
You know how when you’re 20. I figured
there were three guys who won the war:
Eisenhower, MacArthur, and me.

Then I had a great series.
I tell ya, I was on top of the world.

Muhammad Ali had a line. I live by it.
It should be in the catechism books:
“The service we give to others is the rent we pay
for the life we have here on earth.”

It’s all about resistance.

We took what the market gave us,
we took what the political environment gave us,
we took what the macro-economy gave us
and we went with it.

We made plays on that,
teaching mechanical mods to make bigger clouds
for cloud chasing.

I think the city was ready for a reset.

That would be Barry Goldwater,
throwing out the first pitch (at Cubs Park).

The day light rail started. The day we announced Apple,
getting the coil as tight as possible around the cotton.

It’s a sport.
It’s about, how big can you make the cloud.

At times, I got teary-eyed
because it was so incredible,
the fireworks going off at the first Celebration of Freedom.
The GOP debate.

But you know how it goes,
you see just how much is needed.
And Sister Martha, well, she’s a dynamo.
I told her
she would have made a great teamster.

It was kind of a gut punch.
That’s part of baseball.

Against lefties, we should be a pretty tough ballclub.



Merrill, Laurie. “E-Cigarette Smokers Are Chasing Clouds.” The Arizona Republic 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Montini, EJ. “Good Catcher, Better Broadcaster, the Best Human Being.” The Arizona Republic 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Nelson, Gary. “Mesa Mayor Scott Smith: City Has Only Just Begun.” The Republic 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

Piecoro, Nick. “Arizona Diamondbacks Right Back at It for 2014 Season.” The Arizona Republic 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.

—. “Diamondbacks Suffer Meltdown at Chase Field vs. Giants.” The Arizona Republic 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2014.


Want to play along?  Give it a try.  Today’s prompt from the Oulipost Playbook

When composing a cento, poets take lines from existing poems (traditionally without any alterations) and patch them together to
form a new poem. Today, create a cento using only quotes referenced in newspaper articles. For example, if a newspaper article contained the line “It was a
tragedy,” commented Detective Smith, the line, “It was a tragedy,” would be available for you to use in your poem. While you can’t change anything within the quotes themselves, you may choose to break a longer quote in half or use just part of a quote as needed.

• Purist? Challenge yourself to write your cento using only complete quotes (sentences) as they appear in your articles.
• Add an additional constraint by challenging yourself to use only quotes sourced from a single article, single newspaper page or single newspaper


When I had a good collection of quotations sorted out, I took my favorite lines, printed them out, cut them up, mixed them in a bowl, and pulled them out one by one.  Then I messed around with them some.  I pulled out a few lines that didn’t seem to belong. I accidentally cut some sentences into pieces — I didn’t mean to initially — but I liked the results and cut some more.  The mayor of Mesa helped me out by using sports analogies, and the e-cigarette story gave me some surreal touches.

#oulipost #napomo #napowrimo2014


8 thoughts on “Oulipost 1, Cento: It’s All About Resistance

  1. Good for you, Elizabeth. I really liked the results of all the work you put into this one. It feels completely like a single voice and I can almost picture the guy. I think the sports sections may turn out to be one of the go-to sources throughout the month!

    • Living as I do in the city of which she writes, I cannot but wonder at how she has touched the nerves of this place … being here, as she is, only a month.

  2. Pingback: Oulipost Exit Interview | A Tree by the Stream

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