Jennifer Ley: R.andom G.enerated P.oetry

Having read one too many opinions debating the worth of computer-generated poetry and also recently learned that a colleague's cat poems sold more copies than any of his other collections of verse, I decided to conduct an experiment.

Using refrigerator magnet poem word fragments given to me last Christmas by my in-laws (who are always so attentive to my interests when buying presents) I randomly picked out thirty words and placed them on the kitchen floor, having first taped off an area to contain the words. My cats arrived and looked on curiously, as most of my interaction with them near the floor involves either a. water or b. food.

I placed the words face down, so the cats couldn't cheat, and eliminate the random aspect of the experiment, then left the room, having first instructed the cats that they should push any words they wished to use to create poems together into a magnetized clump.

I waited.

I waited a bit more.

I fed the cats.

The cats ate, and began to clean themselves. The male cat approached the words and nudged two of them together with his paw. I waited a bit longer to see if he was finished. He looked at me and walked away. Turning the words over I read, "Gorgeous Goddess."

From this experiment, I believe I may have elicited the following results:

1.   Cats, at least male cats, are minimalists, they are also telepathically alliterative.

2.   My male cat, though no longer sexually functional, may still have fantasies.

2a.   My male cat believes if he deifies me, I will, as "She Who Opens the Cans" feed him more often.

Now, I just need to repeat the experiment. We all know one trial can't yield data which would hold up to professional scrutiny. Shall I try again with the girl cat? No. She's probably the only female resident in this household who doesn't suffer under the illusion she is a poet.

But to my chagrin, when I woke this morning, the female cat was in the process of rearranging the male cat's word choice. It seems she prefers Goddess, Gorgeous. Hasn't she heard inversion is archaic? Or worse yet, does she think she's an editor?