the first and only attempt i ever made to read Joyce’s Ulysses was in the summer after my freshman year of college. at the time, i was working at Roth’s Vista Market in Salem, Oregon. on my lunch break, i would buy a sourdough roll and a little packet of cheese and head to the staff room. there, i’d pull out my hardcover edition (with two huge lowercase j’s on the cover) and my pencil and read and take notes and generally pretend that i knew what the hell i was talking about.

i loved the thing.

let me clarify – i had no idea what i was reading 98% of the time, but i loved the thing.

i’m probably not the only one with a similar version of this story. and probably Bloomsday is a pretty familiar day to whip out ye olde “i tried to read Ulysses too” stories. but this year? this year is different.

i have written a piece of found poetry based on the 12th section of Ulysses, which is commonly referred to as “Cyclops.” you can find the poem here.

i decided to take the name seriously – (not a little inspired by the month-long Oulipost) – i went through the entire section and parsed out the words that had only one eye – i’m sorry, i mean: one i. (ha?) and then i made a poem from those words. as is often the case, it takes on a whole new life read out loud – you really hear (or don’t) the sounds that do (and don’t) occur when you restrict yourself to one instance of one vowel in each word.

hope you enjoy…

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