I like to take the text of a poem and run it through a few languages and then back into English again using an online translator such as Babel  Fish. Here’s an example, with “My Father’s Comb,” with the English first, and the “translation” second.

It’s sometimes possible to trace the logic of what happens, as in another poem, when “skimming scales” became “foaming the staircase.”  But what I love most is how awkward it becomes, the strange gifts of a sentence like  I worked itself later.


MY FATHER’S COMB

Black plastic
raised letters
proclaimed it
unbreakable
and so I began
to bend the un-
relenting spine.
First nothing,
then a little give,
heat at the seam,
blanching
at the faultline.
Half an hour
at his mirror, I
worked at it.
I worked it away
from me and
back. I worked
at the word
until the word,
until the atom
of its lie split,
until the word
broke in my hands.
 
 

PETTINE of MY FATHER

have black plastics the letters it unbreakable put up insurant, and I am it begin thorn unrelenting the fold. In the place more more prémier nothing then small elasticity a heat at the connection than on bleekt putrefying LINE.  Halfly, which maintains its mirror, I, which worked. I worked itself later, and I did not work the speech up to the word, this o atom of the relative rule of the lie, where up to the word in my hands did not break.