Sometimes we don’t want to hide our guilty pleasures. Leigh Stein, new kid on the poetry scene , has come to terms with her secret passion for The Bachelorette by turning the reality show into her personal poetry bank. She repurposed lines of dialogue and constructed poems from several episodes creating an off-center sequence that certainly has more gravitas than its source material.
In an age where fan fiction leads to blockbusters like Fifty Shades of Grey, and an entire Internet industry is devoted to simply recapping popular shows, it isn’t too surprising that literary stars are entering the pop culture mix. Is Stein’s work satirical commentary or fan-girl homage? Does it have to be one or the other?
I’m curious about Stein’s process and wondered how other TV shows or movies would stand up to this lyrical mash-up. So I found screenplays/scripts from three of my favorite summer indulgences: “Breaking Bad,” Magic Mike, and The Dark Knight Rises and turned their dialogue into three poems. I found the experience to be a bit like putting together a 500 piece puzzle. Made of meth. And leather cowls. Is this the poetry of the future? I don’t think so. But it certainly feels like a natural evolution in the way that we consume and interact with popular entertainment.
These doctors, little rich girls, dead-eyed douchebags,
talking about surviving—be on notice—no one’s looking for you.
They want to taste the coffin,
this shiny white pearlescence,
the blue stuff that crossed the border.
Do I need to state the obvious?
I do not believe fear to be an effective motivator.
You see, hydrofluoric acid is not swift, not cunning,
but a secret weapon while the hours suck.
I haven’t been myself lately—just adding to the millions—
always the picture of innocence.
Ladies of Tampa
The law says you cannot touch
the people in the daylight
so you don’t wanna know
what I have to do for twenties.
No matter how much you love
sometimes a life completely betrays you.
A Necessary Evil
You are in for a show tonight, son.
No one cared who I was until I put on a mask.
Speak of the devil and a sanctuary shall appear,
an idol who will not stop from tearing down this city.
Over the centuries you may face crisis,
in deep with the wrong people,
the brilliant people, rising from this abyss
where rules are weapons in the hearts of their descendants.