Creative writing training rebuilt my eyes. One workshop leader told me to watch what the person in line ahead of you buys at the grocery store, and take note of strange combinations in your fellow shoppers’ purchases. Write a poem about what they end up doing with the loaf of Wonder Bread, four rolls of duct tape, a pack of gum, and a case of Slim Fast. While I can’t say I ever actually stood at the end of the check-out lane and scribbled in my Moleskine while the bagger, cashier, and shopper wondered what I was doing, I have learned to look for inspiration wherever it may be.
Over a decade ago, I told myself I would write at least a chapbook’s worth of poems inspired by the subject lines of spam. While the chapbook never materialized, I did finish a few poems with titles like “golf club rainstorm.” During a recent session of hard drive housekeeping, I came across my backfile of spam subject lines I’d collected, and thought they might inspire someone else. In these, I see possible titles for poems, such as “beau corpora” or “geese then natty,” or for stories, such as “They always catch the second person,” or simply unlikely phrases to use as first lines or throw into a poem or story when the writing slows down, like “yearly sign language” or “milkman naturalness.” In any case, I hope these strange, computer-generated phrases spark some ideas.
luminescent hour marker/hands.
floppy disk obstinate
You will feel so clean
Magic is real
They can’t make you sleep in a man’s bedchamber
Is your child photogenic?
yearly sign language
US has been serving the entire Internet community, around the world
geese then natty
Do not pass by for god sake.
They always catch the second person
governor heat wave
I have been happy thus far and am very impressed with this mouse
patron saint fireplace
What’s the difference between a chop, a cutlet and a noisette?
of North Pole
The Great Soft Drink Inquiry
hearth police officer
But be forewarned–Boracay kind of sticks to you.
If you come up with something built around one of the lines above, please let me know. Perhaps what I imagined as a chapbook was meant to be an anthology all along?