Janis Butler Holm

Sound Poems

from Rabelaisian Play Station



Imitation huckleberries hope to slander pilliwinks, lying consequentially to vibrant fish and fowl.
Much as specious water heaters dandle foreign underbrush, cracked and sullied databases target
kitchenettes. “That’s rubbish,” said the needle nozzle, fending off jujitsu moves. In effect, this ancient
humbug smacks of rock ‘n’ roll. And what of doctored leg extensions, wily, grouped, and nettlesome?
Even ersatz fuddy-duddies tamper with purée.


Micronizing eyelash curlers fabricate their voltage drops.

Bowdlerizing car mechanics fabricate their pseudocones.

Customizing willow beetles fabricate their railway yards.

Gourmandizing traffic tickets fabricate their linking verbs.

Sympathizing chaos junkies fabricate their stubble geese.

Traumatizing butterscotches fabricate their flexure tests.

Neutralizing protest slogans fabricate their whiskey jugs.

Plasticizing stretcher cases fabricate their gamma waves.


Snooker black-eyed peas, my pet, and garble lithogenesis. Manipulate gorilla suits with fiddlesticks
and chyme. Some wonky kleptoparasites have deconstructed volleyball. Accordingly, fallacious
brickwork organizes snuff. Yada, yada, yada–having counterfeited onion rings, artificial letter writers
tussle with croquet. Your bogus metacriticism roller-skates with laundry chutes, and inauthentic
gyromancy fires a grassy knoll.


Obfuscating hunger artists falsify their chimney pots.

Percolating anthrax hoaxes falsify their logic games.

Carbonating input methods falsify their hydrophiles.

Imprecating mountain faces falsify their dealerships.

Estimating coffee grinders falsify their stable hands.

Lubricating science studies falsify their pleasantries.

Gravitating ketchup bottles falsify their tummy tucks.

Subjugating baseball clinics falsify their woolly bears.


Peevishly adulterated, crackerjacks rigidify, leaving phony knickerbockers wretched and alone. At
what price do sandwich cookies libel pomp and circumstance? Misreported fallen arches spurn the
day-to-day. Camouflage or improvise or weave together onion smut. Undeterred by trickish poplin,
nappies shoot the breeze. Never has deceptive yoga cozened rubbing alcohol. Double-dealing
slumber parties oxidize fake news.

Artist’s Statement

Influenced by Yoko Ono’s performance pieces, these sound poems are selections from a book of experimental work to be titled Rabelaisian Play Station. While drawing from Dadaist (Hugo Ball) and Surrealist (Kurt Schwitters) traditions, my work differs from earlier sound experiments by using real words instead of non-word phonetic sequences, engaging the reader by the possibilities of interpretation even as the word combinations refuse to transmit meaning in conventional ways. Yet here at the border between sense and nonsense, a reader can construct meaning—in this instance, for example, the absurdity of declaring everything one doesn’t like as fake.

Janis Butler Holm has served as Associate Editor for Wide Angle, the film journal. Her prose, poems, and performance pieces have appeared in small-press, national, and international magazines. Her plays have been produced in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.