My Cut-up Lines page is a selection of free-verse compositions developed from the lyrics of popular songs you may know. After I processed the lyrics through a cut-up machine (available here), I sought out new images and themes based on my own ideas. You may spot some of the original words and images lurking in the backgrounds of these new cut-up compositions.
I have more about the cut-up technique here. Developing new compositions this way can be enormous fun.
She is Spring (original words from Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven)
She is Spring
Sometimes I’ve wondered
who makes the light?
who makes the wind?
And at the echo of dawn,
who makes the laughter?
I hear it’s Spring.
She is a brook.
She is a single-note tune.
She is whispered meanings.
She is a lady crying.
She’s crying for those of us leaving.
She’s crying for those of us at the wall.
for all the things we’ve known.
She’s the piper, the songbird, the sign.
Pointing heavenwards. She’s the stairway.
she buys the dawn
with her gold.
She is Spring.
Stairway to Heaven can be found on Led Zeppelin IV. The resulting lines wound up presenting a different take on spring. A lady of birth, death and ascension.
Died Spirit (original words from David Bowie’s Dark Star)
I’m why you’re the execution.
Died Spirit at the centre.
But I’m not a smile.
At times I’m of daydreams.
On the day of talking,
I was upside-down and at the centre.
I kneel and take a solitary star.
An execution star.
A passport to a diamond place.
I’m bravely solitary. But I’m all yours when I flash.
I’m an angel of want, an angel of all.
A sacred else star.
I kneel at your side.
I died and rose a blackstar.
This is my first cut-up composition, written shortly after the death of David Bowie.
Major Earth Blue (original words from David Bowie’s Space Oddity)
Major Earth Blue
I’m blue, Major Earth Blue.
I’m ground. Major countdown ground.
And I’m stars – protein stars,
floating way above.
The spaceship knows.
Check, think, control.
I’m today, I’m tomorrow.
I’m 10 miles past dare.
Stepping above ignition
above Planet Moon.
There’s love up here,
above the blue.
I love you Earth.
Major Earth Blue.
My Real Life (originally from some personal scribblings)
My Real Life
Sitting in a faceless, outer suburban office tower looking out over a shopping centre car park and stretches of suburbia. Winter. The day is weary from managerial speak loaded with impenetrable agendas.
From the window, I watch cars meandering down white-painted lanes on a concrete shopping centre roof. I can see their near misses as some turn too quickly. From my place above and behind a pane of glass, I have no way of shouting a warning.
High rises sit in the distance, unable to shrug off rain clouds.
Later, I travel through a darkness that has fallen too early to a room like any other. I am worn out from earning a living, and I have nothing to talk to but a television. It occurs to me, in some other place, my real life is going on without me.
The above lines are based on some random notes and not a popular song (so maybe think of it as a bonus track for this page). They were written during a work visit to another city. Clearly, I was in a bleak mood at the time (I am no longer in that job). Before discarding them, I decided to put the words through the same cut-up process as the song lyrics. (The dreary photo was also taken on the same day and is the view through the office window referred to in the cut-up lines.)
(C) Steven O’Connor. All rights reserved.