"last november" by d. (twitter/website). What an amazing zine and playable chapbook. You could play this for hours and generate thousands of poems from all these entries and prompts. I know I had fun making these;
But it's not just the functionality, novelty, or thoughtfulness of this submission that feels so developed and complete. The visual and literal design of it is superb. It's "a collection of erasable poems, erasures made from those poems, & a few odds/ends. Built in twine for the jam, adapted from a personally important but poorly executed zine I made last year. It's about being anxious & being a lesbian & being in love & being overwhelmed & being traveling constantly for days.". The anxiousness comes through in spades as the poems are often filled with repetitive restructured sound bytes twenty times in a row that convey the loop of an anxious mind as well as giving you an endless opportunity for precise combinations
You click a work to erase it or bring it back, and can do this in a limitless fashion to almost any word you see; even in the conclusion. There are also presets that give you secret visuals or take you to obscure links. Click them. It's an essential part of the adventure. Clearly this was not a fun or a pleasant time/experience for the author depicting what they were going through and feeling, so I don't mean my praise to come across as a platitude-esque "This is great! Mental Health! John Green!" or whatever twee pop-psychology YouTubers are up to these days . . . what I can appreciate (as someone with mental illness issues who plays a lot of games "about mental illness" where I don't actually often relate to the way mental health is depicted in said games) is the authenticity of the sheer unfortunate mundane-ness of it all. Sometimes our breakdowns and freak-outs don't feel like mysterious evil unspeakable monster-creatures we have to fight and triumph over that come from nowhere as far as we can tell. Sometimes we know where they come from, sometimes we can feel them coming, sometimes we know how to handle them and this time we just don't, sometimes we get angry because where they come from is the dynamic of society that's not our fault. It doesn't matter. There's no one way to experience difficult or negative emotions. It doesn't always make sense, and it doesn't have to.
What can I say? There's nothing better than poetry that exists in a way that lets you create even more poetry.
"When waiting for the object of my affection to speak, each moment is a hundred, ambiguous subjunctives—it could be wonderful, it may be terrifying, I would be angry, you should have said something, anything, it can be tragic, it might be interesting at least, perhaps it’s finally over, we could get some food in town if you like—each with as much weight as whatever is actually happening."
[CW // mental health, the usual]