ISSUE NINE BY THE NUMBERS: 11 poets, 13 poems, 3,422 words

The numbers are in! 3422 total words in the 13 poems in Really System Issue Nine: Y’all Reset My S. 1,176 of those words were unique.

The most common words in the issue (after removal of Torporware stopwords): horse (38), good (33), like (23), love (18), don’t (11). “Like” has been in the top 10 most frequent words in nearly every issue. Like wow.

Longest pieces: from Good Horse (1,768 words), The Poet’s Ancient Cursor (352 words). Alejandro Escudé, author of The Poet’s Ancient Cursor, had the longest piece in Issue Five with A Proper Pressurized Blast. Go read that.

Shortest Pieces: Deconstruction VI (52 words), Afterglow (77 words)

Highest vocabulary density (total words / unique words): Afterglow (922.1), My Husband Grows a Rose Hybrid with No Thorns (884.6). Both by Tammy Robacker!

Lowest vocabulary density (total words / unique words): from Good Horse (259.6), Vapor Trail (542.2).

Most of the five most distinctive words in the issue are thanks to Sarah B. Boyle’s Before You Look at the Plan, Ask Yourself: 1: ſuch (3), againſt (2), ſo (2), think (2), almoſt (1)

TYPE BLEEDS TENTACLES, a #RemixReallySystem piece by Magus Magnus

Issue #2‘s Magus Magnus created a mesostic poem, TYPE BLEEDS TENTACLES, using words from this chunk of text from Really System.

Click here to read TYPE BLEEDS TENTACLES. There is also a link to Magus reading the work on that page.

Here is Magus’s statement about the piece:

When my assigned word list came to me from Really System, I was still under the influence of a 3-hour “performance installation” I did with poets Christophe Casamassima and Chris Mason in Baltimore’s Litmore poetry library March 28th (our “Polyphonic Readings and Harmonic Listening” of four Cage texts for States and Drives II: Responses to John Cage at Litmore). During the performance, I became especially fascinated by what Cage’s specialty with the mesostic form on the page provoked off the page. So I thought I’d give the form a try here, both on the screen and vocally. It helps that a mesostic poem should be composed of found text, yet with liberty for authorial impulse.

The first two stanzas are basic, or classic, mesostic — “classic,” yet also described as “impure” by those who keep strict tabs on the form’s rules. The capital letters form the spine of the mesostic, and incidentally, the title — taken from three words on the assigned list. It took two iterations to incorporate each of the list’s words into the spine; thus, two stanzas.

The third stanza, based on the first, is a 50% mesostic, according to purists: between any two capital letters, the second letter should not appear. A process of erasure compounded itself, gaps backing up upon the gaping.

The fourth stanza, based on the second, is a 100% mesostic: between any two capital letters, neither the first nor the second letter should appear.

I make no claim for the strictness or purity of any of this.

#RemixReallySystem piece by Cathryn Cofell

Here is a vending-machine poem by Cathryn Cofell, based on a text file of words randomly selected from Really System issues 1-5.

Intent                                     negotiable                              half-formed
obviate                                  beach                                        memories
fifty year-old                      systems                                   as cellophane
name                                       as aura                                     as torch
engulfs you                          in swoon                                 falls
in hot                                       waves                                       larger than
plain                                         grammar                                obtained
death                                       tired                                          corvid



Cathryn Cofell’s poem Throb appeared in Issue Four. She is the author of Sister Satellite (Cowfeather Press) and six chapbooks, and performs her poems to the music of Obvious Dog on Lip. She serves on the WI Poet Laureate Commission and has helped launch Verse Wisconsin, the Fox Cities Book Festival and WFOP Chapbook Prize. Visit her at or on Twitter @CatCofell.

#RemixReallySystem piece by Lea Galanter

Here is Lea Galanter’s contribution to #RemixReallySystem, based on the words in this text file.

William’s Dilemma

The skies that once existed laughed at William’s
plastic poems, though he tried to bury them
before he was forced to leave his nontraditional Dylan summer.
Theory can only be proper in raging hell
the Hydra said, so harbor your trivial tasks
deep in the purple point of possibility.

Not being good enough, he started running
down the fairy lane, passing flats of sparkling peach marmalade,
unable to withstand their allure.

Soups steaming in ancient ovens
whispered womanly wisdom into his mouth, saying
escape this foreign rhetoric, flee this red-eyed threat.
You are not putty that can widen the fetid horizon,
dissolving into black, and the physician cannot relate
to the lyrical falsehoods they fabricate in Korea.

Go now to that chapel in the Roman market
which vainly waits for clairvoyant July to bring
brightness to the immortal tombs.


Lea Galanter’s poem When Lost in the Woods appeared in Issue One.  She is a Seattle-area editor and writer. After playwrighting for many years, she ventured into writing poetry and has studied with several Seattle-area poets. She also has a background in theater, and has studied voice and performed onstage in Seattle. She is president of the board of DramaQueen, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting women playwrights.

5 #RemixReallySystem Images from Susan L. Lin

Here are Susan L. Lin’s #RemixReallySystem pieces, handmade anagrams of words from this list of randomly-selected Really System text.

remix really system 1

remix really system 2

remix really system 3

remix really system 4

remix really system 5


Susan L. Lin’s poem When You Are Sleeping appeared in Issue Two. She completed her MFA in Writing at California College of the Arts, where she spent her days photographing toy dinosaurs and eating pie. Her novella Goodbye to the Ocean was a semifinalist in the 2012 Gold Line Press chapbook competition. Her short prose recently appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review,Ghost Town, Midway Journal, MadHat Annual, and Gravel.

2 #RemixReallySystem pieces by Pauline Bickford-Duane

These two pieces by Pauline Bickford-Duane were based on the this text file of words randomly selected from Really System issues 1-5.


of sheep
climb this rocky
mountain, careful
as regular travelers who
understand the whim and wit
of nature. Not chased, not disorderly,
integrated with each other yet unconnected
from the world they leave behind. Parsecs pass
and the last sunrise spreads over the land. A buzz blooms
among them, a sonic communication that becomes not only wise
counsel but the opening to a discussion of what knowledge exactly these
silver hills hold, and why we must go there, to be as happy as others are in pictures.



Well, I thought I might see more clearly
if I stepped into a cafe and watched the people go by,
outwardly such a calm flock
and in pictures they always seem to have it together,
but now it’s clear,
the faces here aren’t happy,
they’re being chased by some inhuman buzz,
endless counsel that becomes abuse,
a sonic disorder of the mind
that unconnects people and blooms for parsecs
and integrates with every last person until|
even the silver-haired can’t remember
that happy environment that used to be about the land.



Pauline is a senior at Wheaton College (MA) and is double majoring in English and French Studies.

#RemixReallySystem piece by Geramee Hensley

Below is Geramee Hensley’s #RemixReallySystem piece, based on this stack of fine words from ReallySystem 1-5.


The Island & how we pray to be known

What a sight! The cellophane plane crashed like a swoon of systems failure.

What an impatient way to fall.

This half-formed beach has corvids instead of sand. On the edge of the gulf we scoop grammar into buckets.

Somebody says “we need to obtain a name” for the rhyme and sake of it. All these waves of syntax and not a single name.

Looking, we take torches into the forest. Instead of trees, fifty-year-old memories larger than death.

In this aura of negotiable intent, we tire. Tongues fumble for words to obviate our mouths of this hot silence.



Geramee’s process note: The first word on my list was plane. I immediately thought of Lost. I went from there. I knew that I wanted to include every single word and make this as short as possible. I also used all the words in their original form. I didn’t want to do any kind of conjugation/pluralization and wanted to use the words as is. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to take this list of words and get them all into something relatively short and tight. 

Geramee Hensley’s poem November is an anagram for fishhook appeared in Issue Five.  He is from Cleveland, Ohio. He attends Capital University where has taught a portion of a creative writing class. He is the Co-Editor-in-Chief for the student literary magazine, ReCap and Managing Editor for the student newspaper, The Chimes. His work has been featured in Souvenir Lit Journal, Melancholy Hyperbole, The Harpoon Review, and is forthcoming in JAB.

4 #RemixReallySystem pieces by Miho Kinnas

Click here to read four 4-point poems by Miho Kinnas, based on words from this random selection of Really System text.

The 4-point form was developed by Miho’s friend and collaborator Shelly Bryant.

Miho Kinnas’s poem Earlobes appeared in Issue Four. She is a 2012 cohort of the City University of Hong Kong MFA program in Poetry. Her first book of poems, Today, Fish Only is due to be published in mid-2014 from Math Paper Press of Singapore. She now lives in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.