Subtitle Poetry

Subtitle Poetry

A found poem by: Witney Seibold’s DVD player


            My DVD player has a glitch. I think it may be trying to tell me something.

            Many English-language DVDs have an option of English-language subtitles, provided for the deaf or hard-of-hearing. That’s very gracious of the manufacturers, to think of the deaf or hard-of-hearing when they release a disc. This feature, though, is also convenient for us able-eared folk who still, from time to time, have trouble hearing a garbled bit of dialogue, or perhaps, for some reason, just want to see the screenplay more viscerally (I’ve watched movies this way. It gives an odd sensation).

            My own DVD player, a Magnavox MDV 410, will occasionally, at totally unpredictable intervals, allow the optional English subtitles on my English-language disc to turn on for a single line of dialogue.

            It can be really creepy. Watching “Blue Velvet” or “Fight Club” or even old Looney Tunes, and suddenly having a single line surreally accentuated in subtitle form. For a single moment, the film seems to be pulling a Buñuel-esque cinematic trick on you.

            I started writing down the subtitles to appear, and have now compiled them into the following poem. Does it have meaning? Is Magnavox trying to tell me something? It’s hard to say. I’m sure the player will continue to give poetry, and I will share each poem as it seems to complete itself.

            Here is the first:


Just tell me there’s some chocolate here.

It would be like

The prisoners will all stand!

The voice confirmed it in the middle of the night.

I did come.

It’s just a game.

which, discounting rumor, we know almost nothing about

craving fame and all that’s decadent

Escuela primaria de Springfield

on the world’s largest barge

They got, uh, the fingers, and he’s got a saw.

-Who’s this? –I don’t know.

We just don’t have any leads.


Threaten all you — —

and big fat snails.

Take care.

 So, um, Leela, sseing as how the universe wasn’t destroyed…

Published in: on August 28, 2007 at 7:37 pm  Comments Off on Subtitle Poetry  
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