Amongst its many other benefits, Lalor is quite possibly the national capital for astroturf. I've never seen so many fake lawns in my life since I moved out here*; sometimes there's even moss growing on the fake lawns or oxalis weeds pushing their way up through it, proving that nature and fake nature can live in perfect peace and harmony.
So when I saw a Collingwood poetry event described today as 'grassroots' I was immediately moved to raise the possibility of an alternative, astroturf poetry event out here in Lalor. Said event could be held in the pristine plastic back garden of a local intellectual, with grounds festooned with polymer posies and cheap outdoor tables brought at Bunnings sitting here and there, decorated with baskets full of plastic fruit (such as you can sometimes get at St Vinnies) and other like oddments.
And what sort of poetry to read? Really, what could be better or more suitable than to celebrate the achievements of Andrew Slattery and other plagiarists? Of course, poets would be quite free to make their own original plagiarisms (if that is possible); I myself have undertaken to write one poem suitable for the occasion. It is a cento work in collage format in a pseudo-Ossian manner that subtly references the work of Shakespeare, Lear, the dictionary, the Baron, and even myself in a free-flowing and liberal manner. In other words, I filched from all over the place. Here it is:
The zigguratic edifice,
With xenomorphic glee
All in a hot and copper sky -
To be or not to be.
Stately, plump, Buck Rogers dived
Across the stormy sea
"Thus I refute him, sir!" he cried:
A, B, C, D, E, F, G.
"And hast thou slain the Nabakov,
Four score years ago?"
With jubilating cries he wept -
"Hello goodbye hello!"
"Half a league, full fathom five,
Will you ride my sleigh?"
Quick was the little Maid's reply -
"Toorali oorali ay".
A damsel with a dulcimer,
Then hailed the Grand Old Duke.
Her words are burned into my soul:
"I am your father, Luke!"
And so you find me, knight at arms,
A maiden for to woo,
Give me Kit Kat, or give me death -
Goob goob ga choo!
UPDATE! - I was thinking of making it a competition for folks to identify all the references. But there's so much in there that I'm not sure where they all came from. I may even have accidentally referenced poems that I never knew about in the first place. I so wish some poetry detective would come along and find it out so I don't have to. Knock yourself out, Ira Lightman.
*This is really true though I should clarify: I don't think I've ever seen astroturf prior to moving out to Lalor, and now I've moved out here, I've seen, oh, two or three lawns of the stuff. Plus we sat behind a guy at the cafe once who was talking about putting it on the nature strip in front of his house.
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