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Sunday, July 10, 2011

All of the Words on a Bottle of Rolling Rock Beer in a Different Order - Demetri Martin

Women, your ability to operate
extra tender
springs from birth.
Good machinery comes
as your contents
cause enjoyment.
Cash, beer, a car ...rock and rolling?
During "it", the general warning:
"We may risk pregnancy
according to old problems."
Your refund from the government
for alcoholic beverages?
Not OK.
Refund this premium, beer surgeon,
because premium beer impairs taste.
A drink - to the tribute of health, to the pale alcoholic.
Rolling, glass tanks of beverages rock this lined mountain.
Should the defects
of consumption
drive me ...
or you?
Latrobe, Latrobe COL, CT, DE, IA, MA, NY, VT, CA, MI
"33"


Comedian Demetri Martin took every word on a Rolling Rock bottle of beer, and re-arranged them (much as the title suggests) into this lovely, humorous poem.  While this is clearly a poem intended for comedic value, I think there's an art in its arrangement.

The obvious goal of the poem is to amuse, and it does so in a few ways.  First off, by even existing, this poem has shown that we can "find" poetry in unlikely places, such as a bottle of piss cheap beer.  One does not associate Rolling Rock with high art, much less even with good beer.  So in taking the words (usually completely ignored) on the bottle of a frankly undesirable beer, and rearranging them into something imitating (or, as I think, being) art, Martin has instilled the entire work with a comedic value.

Secondly, the actual words of the poem are humorous.  The nonsense speak of some passages almost imitates a drunken state of speech.  Other statements are coherent, and in being clear (which is at odds with the "Engrish" sound of the rest of the poem) are themselves funny.  "Your refund from the government for alcoholic beverages?  Not OK" is an example of a sentence that makes sense, and out of context, is somewhat puzzling, but in the context of this poem, is a bizarrely hilarious moment of clarity.

Really, I like this poem because it shows that poetic inspiration can come from anywhere.  The off kilter final feel of this poem only contributes to the charm of finding the words on a beer bottle.  It's also a true feat of creativity to compose a poem out of the limited vocabulary one finds on a beer bottle.

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