Archives for posts with tag: words

by Gabby Tyrrell

People with flares with or without flair
in pairs — trim bodies for people who eat pears.

These trends come and go
as we all know
thirty years that slip by
as their wearers men and women leave
bye they say.

Savvy women hold onto these flares
to pass on like sacred presents to daughters,
and nieces.

Pass on by to past times when maxis
reigned and flares and denim
now they are back.

Give the young some slack
as maxis flairs and maxis reign.

IMAGE: “Flares” by Tim Graham. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Gabby Tyrrell has had five books printed by the New River Project and has been published in over 150 publications in the UK, including Poetry Cornwall and Inclement. She has done a collaborative project with (New York), writing poetry in response to paintings, and the Heart Anthology USA. She is a performer/writer who has performed at 800 venues, including ICA (London).

by Robert Okaji

One might claim a double victory, or after the Roman Empire’s fall, a reclamation from the slurred “b” and its subsequent reduction.

Survival of the rarely heard, of the occipital’s impulse.

The oak’s crook performs a similar function.

Shielding myself from its entreaties, I contemplate the second family
root, weighted in weapons, in Woden, in wood.

Not rejection, but acceptance in avoidance.

The Japanese homophone, daburu, bears a negative connotation.

Original language was thought to be based on a natural
relation between objects and things.

Baudelaire’s alphabet existed without “W,” as does the Italian.

The recovery of lost perfection is no longer our aim.

When following another, I often remain silent.
As in two, as in answer, as in reluctance, reticence.

I share two halves: one light, one shadowed, but both of water.

Overlapped or barely touching, still we complete.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR ON HIS CREATIVE PROCESS: One word, followed by another. Revise. Rest. Read.

IMAGE: Handpainted manuscript initial letter “W” decorated with thistles by Clare McCrory, available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robert Okaji’s work has appeared in Boston Review, Otoliths, Prime Number Magazine, Clade Song, and Vayavya, among others. He lives in Texas with his wife and two dogs. Visit him at

Our parts of which we speak
by Bob McNeil

I enjoy the way your verbs
     taste, stroke and titillate
     my hut of flesh and its resident soul.

I endure the way your adjectives
     desire to describe the details of beauty.
     Adjectives are paintings of dawn:
     they strike sulphur,
     but they do not emblazon my vision with brilliance.

I revere the nouns that name
     the person, place and thing that you are.
     Every appellation I use provides
     another reference to the benevolence of you.

I hate the pronouns assigned to design ourselves,
     for enwrapping yourself in pink
     won’t disguise the cries of your mannish side
     and my anima is pregnant with a passion to reproduce.

I appreciate the conjunction that you have grown to be.
     You are the “And” that facilitates my spirit’s state
     By using the adhesion of compassion.

I adore you for the prepositions that grant these facts:
     I am on a bed of beatitude with you.
     We do what we want for joy’s geysers,
     experiencing satisfaction after the flow.

I titter at the interjections
     we use as illustrations of our jubilation.
     The exclamations are sillier
     than children chortling on a carousel.

I assert adverbially,
     both you and I have become
     rather pledged to the notion
     of cherishing an emotion
     without using its word.
     Soundlessly appreciating that thoughtful space,
     waiting for language to transport the topic,
     our best sentiments on commitment are expressed.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I compose poetic stun guns and Tasers, weapons for the downtrodden in their battle against the opprobrious. My work is dedicated to one cause—justice.

IMAGE: “The Mountain” by Ed Ruscha (1998).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bob McNeil was influenced by the Beats and the Dadaists. Furthermore, even after all these years of being a professional illustrator, spoken word artist and writer, he still hopes to express and address the needs of the human mosaic.

PHOTO: Bob McNeil (left) with novelist Walter Mosley. 

You say tomato, I say tomato…Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (music  by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin) in the 1937 movie Shall We Dance. In this clip, Fred and Ginger not only sing, but also dance on roller skates. A classic!


“The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.”

JEAN COCTEAU, French author (1889-1963)

IMAGE: Personalized dictionary word necklace by Rainnua, available at

Animaniacs character Yakko Warner sings all the words in the English Language.



by Harryette Mullen

I beg to dicker with my silver-tongued companion, whose lips are ready to read my shining gloss. A versatile partner, conversant and well-versed in the verbal art, the dictionary is not averse to the solitary habits of the curiously wide-awake reader. In the dark night’s insomnia, the book is a stimulating sedative, awakening my tired imagination to the hypnagogic trance of language. Retiring to the canopy of the bedroom, turning on the bedside light, taking the big dictionary to bed, clutching the unabridged bulk, heavy with the weight of all the meanings between these covers, smoothing the thin sheets, thick with accented syllables—all are exercises in the conscious regimen of dreamers, who toss words on their tongues while turning illuminated pages. To go through all these motions and procedures, groping in the dark for an alluring word, is the poet’s nocturnal mission. Aroused by myriad possibilities, we try out the most perverse positions in the practice of our nightly act, the penetration of the denotative body of the work. Any exit from the logic of language might be an entry in a symptomatic dictionary. The alphabetical order of this ample block of knowledge might render a dense lexicon of lucid hallucinations. Beside the bed, a pad lies open to record the meandering of migratory words. In the rapid eye movement of the poet’s night vision, this dictum can be decoded, like the secret acrostic of a lover’s name.

SOURCE: “Sleeping with the Dictionary” appears in Harryette Mullen‘s collection Sleeping with the Dictionary (University of California Press, 2002), available at

IMAGE: “Flaming June Dictionary Antique Art print by Reimaginationprints, available at (The print is composed of an antique dictionary page and “Flaming June,” a painting by Sir Frederic Leighton (1895).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Harryette Mullen is a poet and a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing and African-American literature. Mullen was born in Alabama, but spent most of her childhood in Texas. After receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, she attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she wrote her dissertation on slave narratives. Mullen’s poetry collections include Tree Tall Woman, Blues Baby: Early Poems. Trimmings, Muse and Drudge, and Sleeping with the Dictionary, which was nominated for a National Book Award.


Z  (Excerpt), An Essay

by Tom Robbins

…It’s the most distant and elusive of our twenty-six linguistic atoms; a mysterious, dark figure in an otherwise fairly innocuous lineup, and the sleekest little swimmer ever to take laps in a bowl of alphabet soup.

 Scarcely a day of my life has gone by when I’ve not stirred the alphabetical ant nest, yet every time I type of pen the letter Z, I still feel a secret tingle, a tiny thrill. This is partially due to Z’s relative rarity: my dictionary devotes 99 pages to A words, 138 pages to P, but only 5 pages to words beginning with Z.

 Then there’s Z’s exoticness, for, though it’s a component of the English language, it gives the impression of having zipped out of Africa or the ancient Near East of Nebuchadnezzzar…Take a letter? You bet. I’ll take Z. My favorite country, at least on paper, is Zanzibar; my favorite body of water, the Zuider ZeeZZ Top is my favorite band…Had Zsa Zsa Gabor married Frank Zappa, she would have had the coolest name in the world…

Photo: Tom Magliery, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


The above essay taken from Tom Robbins‘ essay, “Write About One of Your Favorite Things” (Esquire, 1996) and collected in Wild Ducks Flying Backward: The Short Writings of Tom Robbins (Bantam, 2005)


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

 JACK KEROUAC, The Dharma Bums

Painting: “There and Here, State I” by Edward Ruscha (2007)



All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.”  


 Painting: “The Mountain” by Edward Ruscha, 1998