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Monthly Archives: February 2013

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Here are the words:

Labral tear tears algorithmic swaths against purr forming
And her fans w/oogs & aarghs feel empathetic trauma
Dancing w.abandon & an edge is OW so warming
Yanked off-tour & yanked O.R.ward is a Lady’s drama

Here are some notes:

In a previous post I posted a postscript to my blog post with an “Anyone else want to play?” skeleton of a future post. (Yes, there were five occurrences of “post” just now. Have some Post Toasties and bear with me…) The skeleton looked like this:

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I thought “Lady Gaga” would be an ideal starter kit for a fledgling acrostic poet. Alas, no one responded. Perhaps the ice-cream-truck-looking panel array or the internal lower-case additional acrostic elements put prospective acrosticists off. And who has the time nowadays?

Then it fell to me to complete the page. Knowing little about Lady Gaga beyond the notorious Meat Dress, “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance,” I took to Wikipedia, and then her official website, for background–and found she’d just had hip surgery. Also found she’s a philanthropist and, admirably, an avid anti-bullying advocate.

I wish I had done her justice. Alas, I think this page misfires to some extent. I now see her as a sort of Super Skrull of a modern female music icon, amalgamating characteristics of Cher, Bette Midler, Cyndi Lauper, Joan Jett, Madonna, Avril Lavigne, and Pink–and maybe Billie Holiday as well.

I wish you well, Lady Gaga, and I hope you’re back on stage soon.

Anyone else want to play?

Writing anapestically is as easy as waltzing. perhaps it is your…

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Here are the words:

RIG IT, TONY — light adjusts
Halve the Juice but have we must
Endgames’ aftermathed ejecta
Often dim with gross neglect.

UNPRECEDENTED swoops of glad impasto
Now make the oiled canvas apropos
Raised pressure seems a manageable cost
Here’s furtherance like Indies from Genoa
Ex-palimpsest of pigment tempest-tost

Here are some notes:

A rheostat is a device that controls current flow via positioning of a circuit-completer variously on a coil of resistance wire. Until today I just knew that when you turned the knob the lights got dimmer or brighter. Now I know a little bit about why, and perhaps I’ve (bad pun alert) enLIGHTened a fellow former Rheo-Ignoramus with my illustration (which was ILLUMINATED, naturally. Sorry–I should have said bad PUNS alert).

Speaking of bad puns, the first three words of the first versing are pronounced Rigatoni. I leave it to the reader to come up with a referral of the Rheostat as a “Pièce de résistance”–no, I don’t. 🙂

If I ever remake this page, I will change the last two lines of the first verselet to “Endgame aftermaths eject; A/Oneness dims with gross neglect.” The change hadn’t occurred to me till after the midnight deadline, when I must abandon one page for another.

As for the second versoid, just about anything that ISN’T a Rheostat can be an Unrheostat, but the two examples I drew draw from similarities, one of sound and the other of value range. And if you don’t know what a Palimpsest is, I’d like to encourage you to find out; it’s a fine and fun and (for this page at the very least) useful word.

Anyone else want to play? Here is something I’ll be finishing either today or tomorrow:

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Hope you try it too!

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Here are the words:

Living w/dysfunction drives & conflict turns to fuel
Losing situations & frustrations means accrual
Landing on one’s feet & thriving–aye, therein’s a jewel

Entertainers strain & strive to play Fool’s filigree
Enterprising flight & fancy helps a soul to be
Extraördinary & in sight full: Holy See

A voyager & vagabond may find Guadalajara
Voracious in her ampletight & shy an I-dot starrer
Vicissitudinous to one who’s apt & not a martyr
Vast graveyards may yawn wide & sup on such as auk or darter

Entitlement’s a busy beast & wants ingratiation
Enrage thyself at SLOTH & seek an ACTIVE satiation

Here are some notes:

The word Situation once described desirable work. When I was young the classified ads of the local newspaper often had a section called “Situations Wanted” wherein the placer of the ad would describe the sort of job she or he was hoping to be hired for. Thus Charles Addams had Gomez retelling “A Christmas Carol” to Wednesday and Puggsley: “…then good old Scrooge, bless his heart, turned to Bob Cratchit and snarled, ‘Let me hear another sound from you and you’ll keep Christmas by losing your situation.’” As Richard N. Bolles has pointed out in What Color Is Your Parachute?, losing a situation is often a glorious opportunity.

I put an umlaut over the O in Extraordinary so that it would be pronounced in the reader’s head as a distinctly separate syllable. So that’s not really an umlaut; it’s a diaeresis.

An “I-dot starrer” is someone who dots their lower-case I with a star. Compare this with the “I-dot hearter.” Both subsets of humanity are cases of arrested development if the person in question is more than twelve years old.

Certain types of fish called Darters are classified as threatened or endangered. The particular auk known as the Great Auk was hunted to extinction by the same species that killed the Passenger Pigeon: Homo “sapiens,” the “human” race. Enterprise needs boundaries.

Entitlement is a hot topic nowadays. Many of my high school classmates Facebook-post denunciation of people who use welfare payments (which max out at about $900 per month per household of four, for instance) to buy alcohol and cigarettes. Some of these same classmates buy homes in the six-figure range and cheerfully claim a mortgage deduction well in excess of five figures; drive company cars to family vacations; dine and drink lavishly at “business lunches” and write off half the tab as a business expense, etc.

The bottom line of this poem serves as the bottom line of the theme. “Enrage yourself at SLOTH and seek an ACTIVE satiation” is advice I’ve been giving myself for a long time. That’s why, every day this year, I’ve striven to create a new work of art in the form of a journal page, challenging my creativity with a new (usually acrostic) thematic puzzle to solve via meaningful expression. Meeting these daily challenges has enriched my emotional health beyond description, and I heartily recommend such journaling to anyone who feels the need of an expressive centering.

At the end of his Hugo-winning novella Riders of the Purple Wage, author Philip José Farmer has Grandpa Winnegan, a man about a hundred and twenty years old, leaving his great-great-great grandson Chibiabos Elgreco Winnegan with a note, which he’d paid a man to deliver posthumously. Wikipedia synopsizes the note: “The note simply says that Chib must abandon Ellay, leave his mother, and break free so he can paint from love, not out of hatred.” May we all heed such advice, especially if it comes from our own hearts.

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Of all the tragic things that can happen to human beings, the death of one’s child must be near the top of the list. How much more tragic, then, when your child dies through misuse of a device that you yourself designed?

When I started this page it was with a tone of mockery, exemplified by the triple acrostic Icarus Dædalus Doc. The similarity to Hickory Dickory Doc will not escape readers who were told Mother Goose nursery rhymes as little children. But that substrate demanded content beyond mockery, the poem virtually wrote itself, and the illustration–executed after looking at classical images of this famous father and son–demanded the heart of the tragedy: the father watches, helplessly far away, as his child plummets to a certain doom. The child is still alive but his remaining life on Earth will not last the sweep of a second hand around a clock face. So do we all–parents, friends, lovers–so often watch as tragedy unfolds, wanting to turn back time or otherwise alter reality, but powerless; helpless.

It is the truest exemplar of what people think of as “Greek tragedy.” There is also a moral: Today may well be the day a future tragedy might be averted.

So–how are your loved ones doing? What might you do to help them, this very minute?

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Here are the words:

Most life events are humdrum–hardly gracing
And some are harrowing, and some debracing

God’s fans included Sandro Botticelli
No prob–IF “He” made Laura Antonelli

If not–if GOD is naught*–a synæsthesia
False-colors all perceivings; & amnesia

Yin-overloads our lives & drives a stasis
Infecting vectored acts with dreamworld basis

Nor is “AYE” unsusceptible, in this
God knows (or *{}) that much “I” see’s amiss

What does it mean? There is a clue in the emphasis of the IF in the word Magnifying. Agnostics of my bent don’t claim to have any more handle on the Truth than anyone else (except, perhaps, the Texas Board of Education, he said with a wry smile). The Universe is mind-boggling enough to provide endless mystery. One simple either/or is: Either Reality has popped on and off eternally, or there was an ultimate starting point (and I don’t mean THE Big Bang; I mean a First Big Bang). And things like magnifying glasses, falsecolor telescopy, and sunsets present different realities of the same scrutinized item. Remember Claude Monet’s different paintings of Reims Cathedral at different times of day? The same brick and mortar can evoke endlessly different moods.

Anyone else want to play?

As I did a couple of days ago, I again present a work in progress. This one is simpler. The symbol in the middle is an ampersand; so the triple acrostic is “Leave & Learn.”Image

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Faithful readers will recognize this page as the finished product of yesterday’s invitation to acrosticize. The loving couple on the left is meant to be me and my Girlfriend, Denise; but the ant & aphid and the dog & human are any & any (& any & any).

The words are these:

Hoot, holler: serendipitous behaviors
As making of a tummy into jelly
Resemble hidden rooms whose doors unslam
Much to the triumph of both lion & lamb
Our genes are like a shop’s stock, or a Deli
Nor know we who’ll be Orwell who’ll be Rambo
In i n t e r a c t i o n we all find our saviors
Creations intertwined like vermicelli
Catch wind with flags heraldic–won’t you wave yours

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The Epigram

“Gadfly is what they call you when you are no longer dangerous. I much prefer troublemaker, malcontent, desperado.” Harlan Ellison (Gadfly)

The Sonnet

Enchantment may produce ye Hippogriff
Entanglements may render souls aloof
Emollients may please–here, have a whiff
Endangerment’s not reckless in a spoof

Greek myths & Grimmish færy tales compel
Gore-mandatory ghast will guts unspool
Grim readers have used entrails to foretell
Good luck & otherwise for moneyed fool

And such a fool lives fates here bliss’d there snarly
Augmented: maidens fair & b u l l i e s burly
Assuaged with frothy brews of hops & barley
And ending in a t u n n e l bright & swirly

Do let’s not let affright the stake or spike
D e l i v e r a n c e is kind, & unalike

The Annotation

First I thought of a Gadfly. Then it occurred that there are two words, Egad and Flye, that acrosticized would be Gadfly bookended by the letter E. The result promised to be a startling (Egad!) exercise (Flye!) in nonsensical-but-not hybridization. Myths from early history have done rudimentary gene-splicing: see Pegasus and Hippogriff. When we make up stories, if anything’s possible and it’s entertainingly told, the more outrageous the Nonesuches the better. And story-danger is not reality-danger.

“Gore-mandatory ghast” is a weird tip of the hat to Mervyn Peake and his Castle Gormenghast. I have not read more than a handful of Peake’s words, and I found his illustrations unpalatably crude, but I got enough of a taste to see he was a unique visionary and a singular storyteller.

I use the word Deliverance ambiguously. “Deliverance is kind” is a skewed tribute to Stephen Crane, who wrote “War is kind” while giving only the barest hint of explanation. Like Crane, I think the reader is rewarded if she or he must supply important details without regard to what the “right” answer is. Dear reader, whatever you think Deliverance means in this poem, you’ll be right–if you are sincere.

One last note about Harlan Ellison. He has won innumerable awards for his writing, and is admired by such as Tom Smothers, Robin Williams, and Neil Gaiman. He was Dangerous once. I do not think he is Dangerous any more, not the way he wants to be Dangerous, so I harmlessly rib him with the “Gadfly” tag, but I’d love to be wrong.

Anyone else want to play?

Below I supply the beginning of a page. I may complete the page as soon as later today, or it may lay fallow for a while. The triple acrostic is HARMONIC SYMPHONIC SYMBIOSIS. A hint to writing these is to start with the words at the end of the lines. If the letter I gives you trouble, try doing an Internet search on “words ending in i.” Note also that HARMONIC has eight letters while SYMPHONIC and SYMBIOSIS both have nine; so I’ve supplied line guides that include two lines coming from the C in HARMONIC. Hope you try it for ten minutes, dear reader; you may become hooked, and it’d be an ego boo for me to midwife another acrostic poet into the virtual world. Good Fun and Have Luck!

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