I think Chimeras are fascinating. There is the chimera from Greek mythology, an odd mishmash of lion’s head, goat’s body and serpents tail, but there are also real life chimeras. Scientists now use the term to denote any organism which has body parts with the DNA of a second organism. If you have any kind of an organ transplant, you become a chimera. If you graft a plant, say a Granny Smith apple, onto another apple tree, that’s a chimera. (As a point of interest, you can graft, onto a single plant, tomato, potato, tobacco, eggplant and pepper – I really want to try this). There are naturally occuring chimeras as well. You know the old two-headed cow at the carnival? They really do exist, and are the result of incomplete twinning. One organism, two sets of DNA – chimera. Plants, with their marvelously-elastic genetic structure, sometimes simply mutate a leaf or a branch. This is called “sporting”, and is also an example of a naturally occurring chimera. Even more amazing, if you cut that sport branch and clone it, sometimes the “sport” will revert back to the original genetic structure. Plants are so cool…
The thing about chimeras, though, is that a lot of them simply don’t work out. They have immune system malfunctions, or structural problems which limit the lifespan of the organism. Most of them just fizzle out. I’ve tried to keep that in mind with today’s Oulipost Chimera. It could be wierd and amazing and wonderful, or it could turn on itself.
The exercise is to take an article, and remove all the nouns, then replace them with nouns from a second article. Then take all the verbs, and replace them with verbs from a third article. Finally, replace all the adjectives with those from a fourth article. Then, take a deep breath, and see if your Frankenstein lives… I’d say mine is distinctly odd, but I am kind of pleased that the word sport ended up in there.
I like Ouliposter Beth Ayer’s Chimera. The language works, and the stanzas are short, mostly tercets, so that you can catch your breath and mull them over. You can see some other unlikely Oulipost beasties at the Found Poetry Review.
Tree Takes an Unauthorized Stroll
The tree now purchased
a journeyman flower
for morning on
an unofficial street.
The cherry there
By the tree, all
the ribbons are
suing it, and
have brought sports
for a nursing guard.
Boston Globe, April 16, 2014
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