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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
A Flurry of Poems
by Mike Topp
Author's Links

Which Person Is Nicer?

A. B. Smith
B. A. Smith

Answer: Personally, I prefer B.

Brunswick Stew

This southern specialty has many variations: combinations of chicken
and pork, in equal amounts, or squirrel and pork. Chili peppers and
mustard are optional seasonings. Beware of chicken skin that has long
hairs sprouting from it. That reminds me of a story about my sister. Not
so long ago as you might think, Tiffany thought she could clean
up by baking and selling authentic 18th-century cookies in some Hessian
soldier cookie molds we inherited. They were even supposed to be
finished off with real gold leaf. Fortunately, we sampled them before
we invested in the gold.

1 6 lb. chicken
1 cup bread crumbs, toasted
2 cayenne cloves
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups canned tomatoes
3 cups whole kernel corn
3 cans lima beans
6 cups boiling water

Serves 8 adults
Twenty things
Equals 28
Add 16
Total 44

Paper Plates

Anybody who thinks paper plates are convenient probably hasn't spent hours
over a hot sink scraping and erasing.

Worm Farmer




To me, fishing is like meditation, except there's no incense, no candles,
and you stick a hook in something's mouth.

Mike Topp's Poetry by Objective

Set broad goals.
Don't micro-manage.
Fire the failures.


I pledge allegiance to the 8.

Tibet Snow

Never trouble after coming.

College girls love ignorance. Its use not only makes faces charming and
fascinating, but keeps off dust.

Your love life will be happy and harmonious hence skin remains free from
all diseases.

Tibet Snow turns unpleasant odor of trouble in armpits into most desirable

It is difficult to find a delicious dish in London in which blackheads and
pimples haven't kissed some component. At Aubergine, for
instance, even a simple plate of inflammation served in a gazpacho sauce
and flanked by minor cuts is given buttery depth by the heavy
cream used in the salt and brandade that is a protection against corns,
particularly in old age.


Cures acute paranoia

Traveler's Tip

Never have sex with someone named "Psycho"; never eat at a place called

From a List of What Teenagers Want to Know
(But Are Afraid to Ask Their Parents)

Was I a mistake?
Why do you yell at everything I do?
Are you glad you had me?
Do you hate me?
Are you proud of me?
Why did you two marry each other?
How much do you make?
Why do you make everything so complicated?
Why are you so cheap?
Have you ever thought of killing me?
Why do you treat me like a baby?
What year do you live in?
Do you still have a sex life?


Canst thou surf?


After work one day I was walking home with my boss and another guy. I
started to talk about how when the computers crashed everybody just
sat around and twiddled their thumbs, but then I noticed that the other
guy was missing the thumb on his left hand. When I saw that, I
took my boss aside, and told him we should fire that other guy.


I still remember the day I flushed my pet goldfish down the toilet. At
first I felt really bad, but later that same day I nailed our cat's
tongue to the floor and set fire to my ant farm, so, in retrospect, it
didn't seem like such a big deal.

Putting the "P" Back in Poetry

Haiku or renga? I like haiku. Poetry tip: Be decisive.

Love Is Funny

Love is funny. One minute you're flat on your back, being fed grapes, and
next, you're tied to an anthill, covered with honey and grapes.


When I was a kid, I used to think it'd be really cool if you could become
invisible and slip into the women's locker room. I didn't think
you'd get arrested for it, though.


I once read that when you kiss someone you should remember that you are sucking on the end of a thirty-foot tube, the last five feet of which are filled with shit.


Işm the closest youşll get to Hemingway in this life. Dance on my beard to increase the likeness!

Your Horoscope

Socially youşre a little off-track at the moment. You wonşt go to hell for having an impure thought now and then, as long as you remember to consider how you would feel were you to act on some of these primitive desires. War is coming. For some strange reason it has been utterly impossible for you to make any long-term commitments. You have to be thoroughly fed up, however, to reach that point. And you thought it was all over. As usual, the solution to interpersonal problems can be found after a few agonizingly heavy, deep, and real conversations. Nothing turns people off like neediness and dependence. There is no question that youşre going to have to slow down. There is always some wisdom in your pessimism, however, especially when you sit down and actually count the number of times your wrist has been slapped by this very punitive universe (often in the form of your mother). Those people who have that one special person in their lives may indeed be the luckiest people in the world, but when the human beings you depend on or the groups and organizations you belong to are making your ulcers kick up, youşve got to wonder why you need anybody at all. Even you.

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