By M. Fieldmore

Language is a series of symbols,
a series of tubes,
a tube of toothpaste,
a cavity to be filled.

It’s filler,
Momeraths outgrabing a jabberwocky
over a misunderstanding
behind the comic book store with a
Onomatopoeia is fun to say.

Language is poetry,
Blake’s innocence and Lorde’s anger
at an absence
of her voices on the vast anemic

It’s a riddle,
and how is a raven like a writing desk again?
I can’t remember.
Random association
and disassociation,
a psychobabble
and dance
and “show a little more thigh sugar, this is television!”

Blasphemous or holy
Blasphemous and holy…
Conjunctions are important
and misplaced modifiers are
a Groucho Marx quotation

Language is hilarious.
It means and refuses to mean,
and then means again
in the opposite direction,
and it hurts
like a knife, or a simile
or a cliché.
Phrases that pick up sarcasm along the way
and keep rolling
It means even when it
And begins as the invitation,
as a touch.
Language is sex
and silence is love
or death.
Depending on the core body temperature.
in the spaces
between the words
and each other.

Language says that I can describe the fall
without jumping from the bridge.
I can write a post-apocalyptic novel
involving cannibalistic sheep.
I can invent
and forget

I can weave flowery phrases
to praise other peoples’ words.
I can criticize
and be an asshole.
I can analyze political bullshit
and the machinations to suppress
my “free” language.

Language is not a cage filled
with rats named
And “otherness is evil” is just
more politics.
puns on the word “freedom”
that sound like
“fuck you”
in their mouths.

I can curse
and keep you guessing
with my comma splices
and the occasional lime-flavored tangent
about this one time when I was five
and I hit my little brother with a bat.

Ah, nostalgia.

I can use, utilize, abuse, and brutalize
I can read and think and smother you
in language,
and I can write
with and by and of and through and in spite of language.

Language is a banana
that turns itself into a dirty joke
when you’re not looking.
It’s a too-brief kiss,
a turned back
a, “how is the roast dear?”
a backhanded compliment,
a mildly disturbing nursery rhyme,
and a long…dramatic…


Before the next round,
when the Gutenberg really gets on a roll
and a whole world of text
is built.
Like Dickinson’s towers
of babble
hiding in the word “slant”
with the O.E.D. on standby
for emergencies,
in case the words hemorrhage
on the page
waiting for the c1860 usage of
“carriage” to be made plain.

Language allows Homer’s elaborate
to meet Ovid’s
and encourages Joyce to reconfigure
through the eyes of a fool

And then there is
the physical action of performance.
Lips moving,
tongue wetting the corners
of the words
that slip into
waiting ears
which become mouths in turn
and reply

And the sender is the receiver
if the “email address you have entered is invalid.”
Language theory in the digital age
is not so different really.

Language is not
but it is mine
to use
for anarchist/Marxist/humanist talk,
and 3rd wave feminist girl-talk

Language is antithesis.
It is not a preteen in a beret
who smells like clove cigarettes
and pretension.
It is not a table,
but a representative symbol
of the “table” upon which I
write Saussure’s name.

My double-voice is quadrupled
to the nth power
when I stumble into
a mathematics class,
but it collapses into “schizophrenic”
at the shrink’s

Language is sensory,
vibrations across an eardrum
through subatomic particles
of air and light

Language is literature,
the art of storytelling
through the endlessness of language.
The creation of a world
from thin air.

I am the reader,
the audience,
the receiver,
the all-important other half
of the discourse,
the critic,
the necessary gasp when Hamlet
finally falls.
I am the I in this poem
Reader response gives you the direction,
New historicism the background,
Close reading the evidence,
and Deconstructionism the means to question
the reality of the rest.

For language must end.

…and then circle back
upon itself
like a polyphonic oroburos.

And I can use my alliterative assonance
to take tart tingling pleasure
in the glorious, amorous, mellifluous beauty
of the thing
as presented through mimetic associative

Language is only as good as
the beauty it makes.
And other aphorisms to
live by
while channeling Oscar Wilde
as the channels change
but the talking heads don’t.

Language is a radical feminist reinterpretation
of sleeping beauty
and an analysis of Roxanne
as she relinquishes her mastery
for the prospect of love,
“overcome” by the false worship
of false metaphors

Language plays,
laughs at itself,
because it must,
Nietzsche said “god is dead.”
But he didn’t kill him,
I did.
In the parlor
with the candlestick,
where I was always the butler,
and god did not reply.

Into the whining tape recorder
at the end of the couch,
with the too-familiar speech genre
that is empathy
woven into the threadbare
throw pillows

Language instigates
as the fear-mongers are well aware
in their box seats
and panic rooms
where fear feeds on fear
just as bullshit breeds only bullshit
but still drives us over cliffs together
proverbial and furry lemmings

And Schadenfreude
rules in the absence of sympathy
and the presence
of physical comedy,
with a little help from Google on the spelling.
“Did you mean Schnitzel?”

That’s not what I meant at all.


Created: Apr 01, 2010

Tags: books, writing, language, speech, philosophy, poem, poetry

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