Deathmatch 2015 Quarterfinals Round 3

statsBoard-W3

Round 1 | Round 2

Deathmatch Moderator

Claire Ferris

Claire Ferris

“Claire prances around with a glimmer of style but is overshadowed by her sense of humour. She’s really very funny.” – Claire’s Mom in a letter, 1996.
Claire was a runner-up in the 2012 Deathmatch, after which she drank profusely and spewed all over the bathroom of a 4th date’s apartment, sopping it up with his only bathmat while he fell asleep in the adjacent room. Reader, she married him.

 

 

Step One: Read the stories.
Step Two: Vote for your favourite. Repeatedly. You can vote once every hour.
Step Three: Sound off in the comments.
Step Four: Blog, tweet, tell all your friends – help your favourite author win!
Step Five: Repeat until an Ultimate Winner is declared and all others lie bleeding in the dust.

Click here for Deathmatch rules and regulations and for links to all the people and presses that have generously donated awesome prizes for our winner and runners-up. VOTE AND COMMENT BELOW! By commenting you agree to be signed up for Broken Pencil’s newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The Museum of Dead Presidents

By Roxanna Bennett

I am trending in my head ending where I began.
#throwbacktime Sci-fi saved me from the thousand deaths
of childhood. #SFF Bradbury in the out

field, #somethingwicked last in line, ducked under
to go unnoticed. #nerd4life It’s just that I’ve always hated
the stupid who rightly hate me

Read on...
vs

ASPHALT LUXURY PROPHECY

By Kevin Martins McPherson Eckhoff

“You’re not even as dumb as you say you are,” She one-twos across the kitchen/pantry threshold wearing that matted blue fun fur hoodie. Disgusting. Browse.

Read on...
0vs0

112 Responses to “Deathmatch 2015 Quarterfinals Round 3”

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  2. Roxanna Bennett says:

    This is that question judges on reality shows ask to get people to throw each other under a figurative bus. We both deserve to win, both of our pieces are possumly awesome, we’re both super handsome gorgeous and people should vote for whichever piece they like better and not because I’ve been making deathmatch threats on twitter.

      • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

        i had to Google him, too, but only searched images. that’s an Oscar-worthy FX job, CF!

        also, i certainly don’t deserve to win. i’ve already won and squandered so much in this silly-nilly life of mine! i’m just stupor-duper grateful that i haven’t been skunked by 1000 votes… and i’m not vying for the pity vote! probably! please everyone, now save your electrons to get Roxanimal to the very finalist overall champion of 2015 DeathMatch eternal! (and not just because of our pact, but because she is clever and cleaver [aka. dangerous!]!)

        • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

          you got me with that “dear dead gentleperson” line–thought you were going for fearless badassery friendship. howza bout we never bout again and become real friends on facebook, and you can teach me how to twitter, and i can teach you how to start losing things, and we can put poems in the can, f’realsies… i’m already working on a second poem thing! i’ll be your linebacker for the rest of this here PurgatoryMatch!

  3. Claire Ferris says:

    Only twelve hours left in the sad round of the 2015 Deathmatch. Roxanna is leading by just over a hundred votes but Kevin has caught up before. It’s still anyone’s game.
    Kevin and Roxanna have agreed to share the grand prize should either of them win, but that still means one of them has got to get there.
    Kevin and Roxanna: why should you win? Is your piece the better piece? Maybe your face is better looking? Or maybe you’re not better and deserve the pitty vote?

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    • Claire Ferris says:

      Then your next book should be a series of found poetry between you and Kevin. Start with his piece, then the next one is your found poem from that cause its so good! and then the next poem is his of that and so on.

  4. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Another found poem from Kevin’s excellent story:

    EMERGENCY QUESTIONS

    The total damage to her broken root bones, memory,
    is a permanent hole the depth of which claims qualities
    that makes a permanent identifying part of one’s person.
    She believed as if love is real, as if he was not an accusation.

    It can be hazardous to a relationship to bring home answers
    to emergency questions. “This is not for you.” Her guilty lover
    slithers in intimate, a poisonous presence she will never wake
    up with. Dreams decay, chances of expansion like body-weights

    made up of water. Stop resistance, she wants. Stop breaking
    what existed. Stop speeches, stop compliments, stop claiming
    to be forgiving. Stop chaining control to pressure, the tendency
    to falling for elements of tragedy. Stop this possible fatality.

    She was taken from clay, still in shock, shredded, separated,
    shipped off. What’s left of her is permeable, will never be located.

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  5. Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

    Hash-Up

    man smiling + relaxing in wicker rocking chair: woman skidding on red dirt, catching a baseball ball: fireworks over a big music festival: 13ish-year-old smiling with braces on a bridge in front of cityscape: gangster-poet making Robert DeNiro face: baby carrier covered with receiving blanket alone in mall restaurant or hospital waiting room: gangster-poet: fist made out of hurtful words touching a crying toddler’s head: pink house with baby blue shutters: rows of M&Ms arranged by colour: painting of butterfly on a poppy: measuring tape encircling green apple: tattoo of peacock atop heart which is really an Ed Hardy logo: teenage boy in winter coat with yellow scarf: light blue octothorpe + two Fs: greenish 90’s sedan with roof rack + club on steering wheel: upward palm on white sheets laminated with venetian blind shadow: Twiggy’s face: gangster-poet in low contrast: high-contrast photo of scared woman holding up forearms, on which is written “Real Men Don’t Rape”: definitions of “rape culture” + stats about sexual assault: cartoon of 3 Indian policemen ignoring scuffed/bleeding woman in torn green dress: screenshot of first-person shooter with caption “Female gamer: I need ammo!”: still of Psi in a music video with the caption “Leaving Work on Friday!!!”: man smiling + relaxing in wicker rocking chair: gangster-poet 4eva: gif of Gwen Stefani dancing in marching band costume: cartoon of two blue birds discussing a smart dude: eyes peeking through white venetian blinds: someone jumping/falling from the WTC: people dancing in the rain: either sunset or sunrise behind courthouse: button supporting Clint Eastwood for Mayor of Carmel: Olivia Chow on the street, eyes closed, holding microphone, wearing Mardi Gras-esque feathers, sequins + angel wings: Chihuahua showing front upper teeth: thighs, bum, waist of woman from behind wearing black thong: Bender aiming various weapons at Homer Simpson: tripadvisor page for The Grand Budapest Hotel: gangster-poet: the cast of ABC’s Once Upon a Time: someone eating a vinyl record: gangster-poet: album art for a single by The Chainsmokers: the word “Bitch” in white letters: woman in red lingerie from the video “Sonnet 16, read by British Ruby” on Vimeo: note asking women not to bring boyfriends into the locker-room showers: toddler + daddy on bicycle, circa late-80s: apple pumpkin soup in owl bowl: coins from Singapore: Jello attempting to redefine FML as “Fun My Life”: teenage boy in winter coat with yellow scarf: 24 pictures of tongues, each with a different disease: Oscar Wilde quote: man with one arm driving a car: man in wicker rocking chair: young man wearing dust mask: Hank Williams playing guitar + singing to an infant.

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      Dear Jonathan, Claire, Roxer!

      RE: found poetries—how? why? when? who?

      i work often with some kinda formula, like quilting together the second lines of 50 celebrity memoirs or cycling phrases through a chunk of languages via online translators. sometimes i think of McLuhan or Creeley & try to find a form/ula that embraces the subject, such as collating only the first half of select sentences from 1000 newspaper obits; RB’s parsing of her poem into stanzas of 140 characters does the form = content equation, too! she danger-smart-cool!

      i prefer collision, commotion, accident to precision, stagnation, comfort. i’m also a pretty visual person, so for today’s found poem, i Google image searched each of the hashtags in RB’s “tMoDP” and flatly described one of the first 5 or so images that came up, which seemed appropriate as hashtags are hivebrain products, just like the pix. the process can feel very much like production line work & pensive, but can also be so discoveriful, eh! as in, “Language can do THAT?” or “Of course Jello relates to gangrenous tongues!”

      music in language is secondary or tertiary to my process… the ultra concerns are preposterousness, dubiety, ingenuousness, oblivion: to never make the story/poem/email twice. For instance, i’m not sure whether or not Hash-Up could be called beautiful or meaningful or successful; what i’m pretty sure of is that it’s fucked up, & that it asks its reader (aka ME) to stretch my skull over some impossible connections, cultural, personal, & otherwise. my sometimes hope is that such attention to or risk in style gives a more direct, rather than vicarious, experience for readers, so that the so-called “epiphany” isn’t some processed food, but the raw veggies & meat & chemical preservatives prepackaged in a vomit bag labeled “Good Luck!”

      also, i typed most of this with a two-year-old tickle-monster sleeping on my chest… bonus votes?

      • Roxanna Bennett says:

        KEVIN! We must Oulipo our work! I propose a collaboration. Also the Found Poetry Review thing is fun. You should go to there with me!

        I love your hash up. I love that phrase, too, hashtag hashup mashing a match up. I love form, formula, technique, making something fit a framework. Like sculpting with words. Also your explanation is hilarious. Bonus points for funny. I want to vote for you!

  6. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Although the outcome is uncertain, let us make a pact: if either of us win an agent the other must come squat in a corner during the meeting bc hilarious good times! I would like to write an ode to Amanda King because pancakes are the greatest food mother nature has gifted to her parasites.

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  7. Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

    also, Roxett, when you win the whole golden deathmatch champion belt and treasure chest of hair, may i squat in the corner (not defecating or anything) and eavesdrop while you chat with the literary agent? it’ll be the closest i’ll ever get to one, or perhaps the closest one’ll ever get to me! and i only suggested decaf because it spells “faced” backwards. when you come to Vernon for poetrying with everyone out here, i’ll introduce you to the best server, table toucher, and occasional night manager ever, Amanda King! f’reals!

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  8. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Claire asked a question about found poetry. I throw all the text onto a page and start editing out everything that seems superfluous and then pull out fragments that immediately stand out and start arranging them into verses. I try to work with rhyme if I can find it. I’ve done the Found Poetry Review’s Poetry month challenge each April and will be doing it again this year, I’ve found it very helpful to kickstart writing if I am stuck in a rut.

    Thanks for the nice words #linkbait. Remind me to make a pinback button of that hashtag some time.

    Jonathan, yes, that’s my experience. It’s amazing how deeply personal 140 characters can get or how meaningful a trending hashtag can be. And all of that emotion takes place in between GIFS of monkeys riding goats and cartoons and outrage over the Oscars. The stanzas in the poem I wrote are divided (if I counted correctly and it’s possible I did not) into 140 characters so that it would be possible to tweet the entire poem as is. I’ve found the internet to be a surprisingly helpful place to find support and have had some life altering interactions. Also cats.

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      • Jonathan Valelly ( User Karma: 81 ) says:

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  9. Claire Ferris says:

    Touching on what Jonathan said..
    What is each of your processes.. processi..processiums.. for creating found poetry? Do you pull up a source and have a go at it? Collect bits and pieces from the words around you, and hoard them until they become something new? Is it more fun for you to make than to read? How do you each find inspiration from others’ inspiration?

  10. Jonathan Valelly ( User Karma: 81 ) says:

    Also, great stories guys! I sometimes have no idea what to do with found material, sometimes these poems/stories are more fun to make than to read.

    Roxanna, it seems like you’re saying something about the way personal politics, histories of injury, claims to identity play out in the same arena as humor and pop culture. There’s some heavy shit mixed in there but I found myself laughing, too. Is this how you experience twitter/tumblr/fb/whatever?

  11. #linkbait ( User Karma: 81 ) says:

    Both seem to be using found material and familiar fragments but totally different ends. Roxanna seems to really tap into the whirling vortex of twitter but more importantly, the kind of weird ego investments in identity-based and fan communities… the ones we’re trading all the time in an effort to relate, to parse the weird world, and to #trend.

    Meanwhile Kevin’s quotations come in larger chunks and are punctuated with some kind of interpersonal dialogue. I have a harder time following — well, a harder time reading every sentence as a whole. I think there’s something going on about risk and family and the imprecision of measurements and “Facts” but I kind of don’t follow the arc of the thing. Highlight: “You’re face is such a luxury”

    My vote goes to Roxanna. I think she’s commenting more clearly on a real thing: about how we position ourselves and are positioned politically in the midst of our online and IRL interests and social bubbles and categories and jokes.

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      thanks for the generous mediations and meditations, #linkbait! thrilled in my frills to read that ALP reads fuzzy and culpable! prophecy, uncertainty, dreams, future, precariousness… those are the precise oomphs i’m hoping to offer readers! the chance to unknow ourselves and our world. much certain gratitude to you!

  12. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Also I just noticed that my name is spelled wrong. It took me six days to notice that. Claire could you please add an extra ‘t’ at the end of ‘Bennett’?

  13. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Found poem using Kevin Many Names’s excellent story.

    THE RULE

    This is how it happens: his back becomes a front.
    He was allowed to come back but salt is hygroscopic,
    he’s an accident but she’s crushed, shredded. He won’t
    plead guilty, will one-two across the threshold. In tragic

    grey metallic lingerie she was the first fatality, her
    permeable skin tattooed with a permanent beauty.
    He uses slime for many things like answers, cover.
    As if his love was real, as real as a cedar tree’s

    strength, resistant to decay and elements. Even
    after all her hard work he might just prefer someone
    else. She knows the rule: It is not for you. Believe
    he is a pollution, poisonous. There is no one

    who will answer her many questions, feel her injuries,
    or the total damage to her broken root bones, memory.

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      serious fuck you infused with utter joy, RB.

      how dare you make a poem better than my story using my story? i begun to make a cheeky poem using stupid place names in Canada (ie. ass rocks cupid / forget spread eagle, come-by-chance / bastard finger leading tickles / rose town, foam lake, nameless cove…), but now that seems so poopy.

      i need three more REAL coffees this morning to power up before i attempt a newfound poem! and i know that’s technically a typo!

      RB, YOU RULE

  14. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Also weird: I’ve been reading all of this on my phone and it seems like I missed a whole buncha things I would like to respond to now that I am at a computer screen. So. Trying to imbibe enough caffeine to achieve maximum coherency and am now just filling up comment boxes with useless dribbles.

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  15. Claire Ferris says:

    For the first time I’ve seen, Roxanna and Kevin are neck in neck! I always wondered if this would happen or if Roxanna would always stay that constant handful ahead. Two days and some odd hours left where anything can happen! As I typed this, Kevin pulled ahead. Whoooaaaaaa

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      such a fleeting evenness! Claire, do you have a theory for why none of the other deathmatchers have pooped their heads in the commentary ring? also, foundry poem forthcombing!

      • Claire Ferris says:

        As far as I know, it’s not uncommon for other competitors to not comment.
        But commenting in other rounds on the other work is an excellent way to build (or destroy depending on what you say) a fan base that is more than just your own family and friends and a good way to get to know your possible future competitors.
        It’s also very nice to get feedback from fellow writers so if any of you are here lurking, show yourself and say something about the battling pieces or write a found poem and I’m sure our Sad Round authors might do the same for you!

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  16. Claire Ferris says:

    ♪ Friday Funday Found Poetry Challenge ♪
    As we are all lovers of found poetry, I want to pose a challenge to our writers to write a new piece from each others’ piece. Make it however long you want, take whatever creative liberties you’d like, post it here by 9am Saturday. You in?

  17. Roxanna Bennett says:

    I love your bio and your sleeves and I DO CARE that you have a dog and a toddler. Only you though. All other writers with dog can just shush now. Your love of your sleeves and farts makes your bio….fresh was what I was going to say but dogs and farts and sometimes toddlers smell less than fresh. After I submitted my bio I had a moment where I thought “Hey maybe I should mention I wrote a book people can buy” but then was like, fuck it. Also at the moment I am in a psych ward which makes my bio very au courant (I dunno much French, it’s possible I just said you can buy old currants right now).

    Question for you, new friend Kevin, WHAT THE FUCK IS FLARF? Also you are in no way condescending. You’re a peach, a treasure, the bee’s knees, a pair of kitty cat PJs.

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      i’m so thrilled that we’ve both already won, Roxanimal! let’s buy each other grand slams and drink Denny’s decaf when i’m Aprilling out east so soon! i only really mention books in bios so that publishers don’t disown my own diss-able face! Flarf is a legit fakey-flakey poetry of beautifueling Internet fugliness, i think: “pocka-mocka-chocka-locka-DING DONG!” supreme gratitudes to the flarf monarchy: Nada Gordan! Sharon Mesmer! K. Silem Mohammed! Gary Sullivan! and so more!

      i thought au courant meant “water bird”. i’m never in any position to judgmenting!

      • Roxanna Bennett says:

        Am responding first to Sid Wilson:
        Thank you Sid!

        And Kevin said grand slams and Denny’s so we are now best friends forever although decaf is the devil’s brew but I understand that sleep is a luxury especially when one has a toddler. I LOVE DENNY’S with no irony at all, it’s a lifelong commitment. I am now googling flarf and am deeply invested in finding gorgeousness in fugliness but would like to depose any monarchy and instate Stephen Fry as ruler of all things.

    • Sid Wilson says:

      Roxanna, I read “her work has DISappeared in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy worksheets, trauma journals and uncomfortable tear-filled silences.” and didn’t think twice about its sensicalness at all. I’ve been subverted to the death side. Who knew magicians of make-seemingly-nonsequitur-strings-make-sense were actually a thing?
      Tanks!

  18. Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

    authorish query no. 2 for my newfound opponent-poetfriend, Roxaboxa: you’ve given serious thinks about what makes or busts a hella REAL writer bio + photo + crap. according to your elsewhere advice, i suspect i’ve misstepped once or thrice in my Deathmatch bio. darngit! yours is so brutes honest AND hilare… would you be willing to offer feedback about how to rectify any atrocities of my own word-selfing? thunks, thonks, thanks!

  19. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Fodderature is my new favourite word. I am sometimes more interested in what poets fight about on twitter than what poets actually write which is a terrible thing I would like to correct. I’m really interested in found poetry and writing the way; your piece uses found text to underscore the story is magic. We are surrounded by text, we spend all of our online time, however much of that is our actual life, and for me I would say it’s more vivid than my day to day, sifting through information and outrage and trying to find ourselves at the bottom of hashtag rabbit holes. That was a lot of words to say I think unpoetry is a bigger part of my life.

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      RB, that’s pretty much exactly and totally my same answer… and i feel occasionally deeply guilty for my lack of regular, responsible reciprocation regarding the poetries to which my work is fucking indebted! But i suspect that’s so it, eh: heaps of our living happens online, therefor, hereof, wherev, ergo, writing of life means reacting to onlineness. But i try to convince myself that, part in, such a practice, like Flarf, slaps our upper/lower cheeks with the remembrance that all/any languaging—not “can be”—but IS poetic! is that condescending? dang my pseudo-poet face!

  20. Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

    super legit writerly Q for Roxsocks: hey, lookit that. your poem and my story both plunder language from the digital wilds… hashtags and trendings for you, forums and advice columns for me. when you’re tippee-tapping on your keytarboard, do you find your brainfingers responding to other poets’ words more often than “unpoetry” words—headlines, ads, facebook, etc.—or does your inspiration arrive fairly evenly from literature and fodderature?

  21. Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

    RB’s totally correct. that’s been my main strategy ever since superficially appealing to writers of fame has gone sour. i suspect i may soon attempt hiring some kinda out-sourcing service or reframe the whole deathmatch as a charity fundraiser…

    ie: if i win, i pledge to donate the cash to, say, PEN Canada. or maybe BENS (Business Executives for National Security).

  22. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Our strategy thus far (I’ll just speak for both of us) has been to say nice things about each other on social media, which is perhaps not very death match-y, or as Kevin Many Names has said on Facebook, Lifematch-y.

  23. Claire Ferris says:

    Good morning on this beautiful second day of the Deathmatch. The snow plow finally dug out my street and I am free to roam about.
    Rozanna is leading in the votes but Kevin Many Names leads in the comments.
    Players, what is your strategy going forward?

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      okay, it’s not true. just flagrant flattery and jerky. but i thought if i dedicate my story to her maybe she’d read it, and if she read it maybe she’d like it, and if she liked it maybe she’d mention it to McSweeney’s… and so on! in all fact and actuality, it’s dedicated to Margaret Atwood.

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    • Alison Lang (Moderator) ( User Karma: 12 ) says:

      Tell me how you really feel Bart. Are you more of a post-Internet poetry guy or an experimental feels guy? WHERE’S LISA WHEN YOU NEED HER.

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  24. Claire Ferris says:

    It can’t be the Deathmatch without any tears, but let’s not forget that tears can come from love or joy too.

    Kevin Many Names and Rozanna, what sort of tears were you crying when you wrote your respective pieces?

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      much sincere thanks, Claire, for this salty Q! as this is one of my first attempts at (semi-)fiction, i approached it in exactly the same way as making poetry: listening to Morrissey while drinking espresso-infused merlot and duck-facing into a mirror. so… i suppose mine were tears of delusion? desperation? deforestation?

      i’m just kidding! my tears were partly in the sense of tearing up paper and partly those of the mad scientist working without a cadaver. tears of yes + no!

      i.e. is difference the opposite of indifference?

  25. Roxanna Bennett says:

    Cats cannot cure all the sads. This is a scientific fact. Skinny pigs, however, emit a tasty pheremonal whatevers that makes people squee themselves which is exactly but not quite unlike happiness.

    DO NOT CRY KEVIN MANY NAMES! I love your story. If I wrote fiction (which I don’t) I would try to copy your work which I have heard is the sincerest form of flattery. Chances are I will not be mean or nasty to Kevin Many Names and his very good sweetfunnyslightlysad story but maybe we can both cry at people? Or is crying not very Deathmatch-y?

    • Alison Lang (Moderator) ( User Karma: 12 ) says:

      I think crying is a very brave and noble response during Deathmatching. Crying and like, howls of derision. And maybe a bit of laughing? But mostly guttural noises,

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  26. Claire Ferris says:

    It’s a sad day for the team that lost that sportsball game.
    It’s a sad day for my chilli that didn’t have enough cheese.
    It’s a sad day for me because I will probably have to shovel the snow again in the morning.
    And things are about to get even more sad around here because now starts the Sad Round of the Deathmatch.

    Did these stories make you sad? Did they make you happy? Please. Tell us how you feel.

    • Kevin McPherson Eckhoff says:

      that’s MY chilli, too!

      and i’m already crying… because Rozanna’s poem is so good! would you believe that i intentionally misspelled her name as a way to demonize myself right from the start in order to rationalize what i’m certain will be my forever-lag in votes?

      i feel leafy. thanks, Claire!

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