David Antin: Clichés
For something to be a cliché, it has to have been true once. A cliché is like a pencil that once had a point and its point has been blunted by use to the extent to which it is no longer a useful writing instrument. But if it once was useful, then there is some possibility that you can recover it by placement of it in some odd position. That is you can retrieve its meaning capabilities in some way. John works within a vein like that.