Saturday, October 10, 2009

Poem 8 – Hooked on Haibun

The assignment was to write a Haibun, a Japanese form combining prose and poetry. We had been wondering how to utilize the two weird gynecological texts some guy donated, so here's a bit of DNA from them in dialogue with other vaginal traces in the Archive. The "Birth Fygvres" image from one of the gynecological tracts was placed on the back of the poem page.

Hooked on Haibun

Congenital defects were believed to be caused by thoughts and events that occurred to the mother during pregnancy. Mothers suspected of having engaged in perverse activities. Some methods used by midwives were covering windows and locking doors to protect from evil spirits. Difficult labour sometimes aided by dangerous “hooks” to remove the child. They kept the nature of the instrument a secret for nearly a century.

If it happens from defect of the spirits
let it be rubbed, the spirits aroused
flowing to the painful part


But if this retention is of another humor, that is hot and dry and called bile, then women feel burning and pricking of heat inside, and their urine is of a high color and greasy; and at the time of their purgation they excrete toxic matter like coal, waters a feeble color smell slightly.

Where had the vagina searched?
Why was the vagina of velocity gathering?
Why were we swerving?


There are corrupt humors in the womb outside the veins in the hollowness of the uterus, and they hinder women. And they feel heaviness. And there is much tending to. And they fly up to the heart and lungs. Hot about the mouth of the womb. Dark yellow and greasy. Inside and aching, pricking and hardness.

So existing a vulva
(so additional a sheet)


  1. A narrow road, not to the deep north...

    Interesting text.

    One thing I find interesting about this whole project is that the "traces" are anonymously donated (encrypted) -- that fact is played up by having bar codes represent the texts/donations. For me, not only do I wonder about what the source texts are (what their provenance is, what elements are retained, explored, exploded in your new texts) but also who might have contributed them. These texts are likely from a wide selection of writers & friends. The particular contributor's relation to the text (why they chose it, why these chose to give it to use for the project) is a trace within these new texts and, I think, part of conceptual scaffolding of the entire project.

  2. it would almost make an anthology in itself, a companion volume, to collect the traces...

    funny that even tho my trace was generated by a computer, i recognized it...

  3. Nice post thank you Susan