Liverpool Street Station arrives flat-packed, instructions enclosed. At point A, where the main escalator run-off intersects the natural course of left-right of Essex commuters, cut along the dotted line between the confectionary and jewellery stallls until
i. the departure board
ii. the monitor at platform 5, and
iii. the frontage of WHSmith
are in perfect alignment. Next use the 6mm screws, included, to secure the taxi rank (which is in fact a purely notional location) to the original site of the Bethlehem Hospital (signalled by plaque). Open flap C. This is denoted by a slight scuff on the paving towards the City, first caused by the errant trainer of an off-duty pizza delivery boy. This scar takes you home directly.
Ponti’s on Bishopsgate is open 24hrs. Purveyors of cheeseburgers (£3) and assorted ciabatta constructions. Once, returning from King’s Cross by bus at 3am, I ordered a burger and chips, but realising I had no cash to pay disappeared suddenly into the night. The time it takes the staff at Ponti’s to deliver their famous cheeseburger is roughly equivalent to the time needed to walk half-way up New Road (adjacent), turn left into Rose Alley, deposit five pints’ worth on the wall, and return. These are approximate calculations and may require further study.
I’ve run this through an oulipian process:
– remove all upper cases
– commas => ‘warm’
– full stops => ‘destroyed’
– hyphens => ‘slam’
– open brackets => ‘alpha’
– close brackets => ‘omega’
– numerals and abbrevs written in full text
liverpool street station arrives flat slam packed destroyed instructions enclosed warm at point a destroyed where the main escalator run slam off intersects the natural course of left slam right of essex commuters destroyed cut along the dotted line between the confectionary and jewellery stallls until
one warm the departure board
two warm the monitor at platform five destroyed and
three warm the frontage of whsmith
are in perfect alignment warm next use the six millimetre screws destroyed included destroyed to secure the taxi rank alpha which is in fact a purely notional location omega to the original site of the bethlehem hospital alpha signalled by plaque omega warm open flap c warm this is denoted by a slight scuff on the paving towards the city destroyed first caused by the errant trainer of an off slam duty pizza delivery boy warm this scar takes you home directly warm
ponti’s on bishopsgate is open twenty four hours warm purveyors of cheeseburgers alpha three pounds omega and assorted ciabatta constructions warm once destroyed returning from king’s cross by bus at 3am destroyed I ordered a burger and chips destroyed but realising I had no cash to pay disappeared suddenly into the night warm the time it takes the staff at ponti’s to deliver their famous cheeseburger is roughly equivalent to the time needed to walk half-way up new road alpha adjacent omega destroyed turn left into rose alley destroyed deposit five pints’ worth on the wall destroyed and return warm these are approximate calculations and may require further study warm
And here is a cut up poem from that:
rose alley destroyed the wall destroyed
platform five destroyed
burger and chips destroyed
to secure the six millimetre screws
alpha which is in fact
omega to the original
warm this scar
paving towards the city
warm the frontage
warm the departure warm the monitor
and return warm approximate calculations
warm the time it takes
twenty four hours warm
the confectionary and jewellery
arrives flat slam packed
to the original
Jesus, I need to do more work, less play. Forgive my boredom.
Wow! Thanks George 🙂
Rather alarmingly, I think I prefer your Oulipian version to the original. At the very least I will consider the process you’ve employed when editing. Thank you, sir.
Incidentally, this small prose piece is taken from a long, kind of hybrid travelogue, I’m writing. It’s all set in and around Liverpool Street Station. This is sections 1 and 2, and I’m up to about 25 already.
I think some/most of it will be published in the next issue of The Edgeless Shape, but after some rewriting.