Koans Cut from the Norwegian News
by Allen Jones

Breaking News

The US demands more precision
in the world’s greatest American memory. 

The lava flow’s message is unrelenting. 
Opposition leaders have called this a bluff. 

Whether or not they are enemies or children,
time will tell.


Russia exemplifies a terribly organized 
but beautiful art museum. 

China has begun tracking
who is most irritating in bed. 

After ravaging the makeshift parts of love, 
volunteers have spread kindness nearly everywhere else.


Copper, zinc, cobalt, gold,
lithium, silver, and the Congo.


It is better to give them medicine than a future. 
Especially if the first dose coincides with naptime. 

The rebel chickens should consider
the problems of the wild bird population. 

A decent pyramid scheme 
can also fulfill our basic needs.

We must strive for a world 
where even umbrellas can be weapons.


There is no connection between the dangerous mucus 
that has come and a slightly calmer life.

Turbo chickens and undemocratic children
grow up extremely quickly. 

Everyone over eighteen has a great opportunity 
to be well prepared to look for sex.


When it comes to corruption, the important thing
is that it look real, not like some studio imitation. 

It is said that even penguins will point fingers.
Chaos and irritation are not enough. 

Don’t forget to emphasize 
that you are not a young girl.


He admits being satan’s servant,
but acknowledges no wrongdoing. 

It really goes much deeper than meeting 
the richest man in the world.

I have dreamed of a large proportion 
of young women, regardless of gender. 


Our leading contemporary poets must challenge 
night to a crisis to see how useful autumn is.

To discuss the grave machine requires madness 
and the world’s greatest artist. 

Even astronomical good may not solve
lack of confidence in the soaring place.

We are ensuring that turbo chickens 
grow up without shame.


Even someone tiptoing down the sidelines, 
is important for historians. 


It’s a miracle that trees live,
even with no one to take pictures. 

The chickens have been warned
not to do anything with their eggs. 

We must consider if freezing to death 
is as violent as the last word.

Our wish is neither interior nor exterior enemies.
This entails forcing polar bears to change their diet. 

Our farmers remain troubled, 
as they have never seen the sky.

Society Pages

It is rumored he brewed the beer 
drunk by the Nobel prize committee. 

After Santa died, his niece discovered 
the horrible conditions he lived under.

After Christ left the restaurant, 
there was a preocuppation with end times.

The night is full of obligations and side effects, 
the long awaited trip to rehab.

Funny Pages

Turbo chicken will not prepare the populace 
for a disaster of historic proportions.

Satan’s helper has travelled the world, 
despite the millstone around his neck. 


To balance terror attacks with homework, 
society must cool down with garden hoses.


Schoolboards have prohibited chaos theory aboard the Titanic.
There is no doubt people will still come. 

We have all dreamed of an incredible criminality,
also digital teaching. 

My six-year old son has nothing more to lose.
This explains his interest in volcanoes.  


A highly contagious infant variant has been discovered
less than a meter from the center of summer. 

This assessment is not a basis 
for chaos about sexual decisions.


Due to the toxic ingredients,
we can finally lose sleep over this. 

The mystery of caramel 
will pay off in the long run.


When you apply for work on a fishing boat, 
they never mention you can sunbathe.


The dead queen has a very small public,
excepting the night faces of children. 

Who would not be tempted 
by this terrible warning?


It all started when a slightly worried child 
and the world’s oldest turtle fell into the North Sea.


The roads became hate, 
which I will never forget.

For the elderly, we recommend 
exploring the ruins of Miami. 

Hopefully this heart will still beat
inside another body.


Police are investigating 
the necessity of night. 

Do you think they had motives 
other than their wildest fantasies? 

Letters to the Editor

We must wait until the outbreak is big enough
to make a seamless nightmare. 

Has it sunk in 
that you are a misunderstanding? 

It cuts deeply to see the richest man in the world
shut up in his room like that. 

Daydreams in the Newsroom

It is good that I’m still surprising and high risk. 
Sometimes I feel like the earth seen from space.

I never liked the idea of controlling my desire.
I am among those who have eaten the eggs. 


It was not Friday, 
only restless autumn.

A note on Surrealist technique:  Traditional notions of literature present the author as genius, the work of art as masterpiece, and the reader as passive consumer of either beauty or insight. While this gives the poem cultural value and readerly awe can be useful pedagogically, it excludes active participation and implies that rather than a living poem, we are reading the trace left by the writer, a sort of lifeless textual fossil, the author’s sacred autograph. A century ago, the Surrealists developed techniques to challenge this stifling dynamic. Through an inclusive writing community based on collaborative authorship and a focus on process over product, the Surrealists attempted to turn writing into a living experiment in utopian thinking where pieces of living (found) text constantly ignite each other into new and challenging meanings with each reading, what they called a “chance meeting.” The fundamental technique in this project was juxtaposition, analogy the heart of all critical thinking. Other techniques used in the poem above include the cut-up, translation, found poetry, the text as object, and the problematic notion of cultural appropriation in the hopeful use of the koan as a framing device for readers. While the koan is specific to Zen study, the framework of text as active pedagogical riddle or conundrum seemed appropriate here, as did the nod to this poem as a translation from the Norwegian and the fact that translations are always living juxtapositions. Finally, in the tradition of the Surrealists, I have actively juxtaposed the serious and humorous in my attempts to meaningfully crack open these fragmentary bits of textual shell.


Allen Jones has an MFA and PhD, as well as a Norwegian driving license. He’s unsure which was the hardest to come by. He serves as associate professor of English at the University of Stavanger, his work appears widely, and his book Her Death Was Also Water is due out in Fall 2022 from MidnightSun in Australia. See his website for links to his work: allencjones.com.

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