Sunday, January 24, 2010

Something Happened

I have no idea what this is about. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday’s poem was so, well, limpid. Today’s poem is anything but. I think it’s about anger and fear. Or illusion. Possibly this is humorous. Humor is another great word, a word in transition, I think from the old meanings to the new. A humor is a fluid? Not any more. Or is it that laughter which arises from one’s sense of humor is a moistening of the dry heart? That feels right to me. Humor used to be black bile (that which colors shit), yellow bile (that which colors piss), blood and phlegm. How the hell did it get to mean a matter of character? One had a sanguine character (bloody…sang is French for blood) or a phlegmatic character, for examples. How did it go from there to comedy? This poem then could be humorous but not comedic. Jesus. I do go on.

Something Happened

Whenever you stare
at me with eyes slid back to
the sides and your hair
all strange and bubbled,
when your color gets cartoonish
and your nose severe,
that's when I get wired
myself, electrified, head
straight for the front door.

March 22, 2009 9:02 AM


  1. yup... sounds like the perfect time to make an exit! but i hope it's not to spend the night in the dog house!

    nice poem christopher... hope you're well...

  2. Well, i like a good laug some humor or watching a good comedy.
    But what do we laugh about, to me there is a fine line between humor and meanness. And i often find especially in children movies, the humor incredibly mean. I cannot watch them. So it is very interesting this origin of the word.
    Nertheless there is nothing but a good laugh, so please do go on. I mean it:)

  3. Jon, thanks for your good wishes. No dog house here. My cat lives in the garage. She as far as I know keeps all my secrets too.

    Jozien, thank you for cheering me on. I understand what you say about some humor being mean. It is I hope something I avoid.

  4. Oh god....snort!

    That is me somedays :)



  5. Damn! And I thought I would recognize you anywhere. ;)

  6. How did you get here? :)

    How do I get here so often it seems when trying to communicate!

    Usually I head for the back door, though.


  7. I have no idea where this poem came from. Seems real though :)

  8. See? Again! And as I was reading your prologue my mind almost got it, almost pulled the thread through the needle. I got the sense that if we had an axe and could take each word and hold them gently to stump, if we could split each word and cast aside their shells and hold their origin in palm instead, then perhaps the meaning of all would be garnered, the significance of life, the why and the how. Wouldn't that be the shit if it was there all along in plain sight? HA!


  9. Erin, exactly. Why I love the world of linguistics is an exquisite yearning for the wisdom hidden in plain sight. You learn the rules, get a good etymological dictionary and chase the traces through the words. But systems theory holds a warning. To some extent language is a world of its own while being the mapping device of the *real* world of which it is a part. The map is not the territory systems theory asserts.

    There is incongruity and dissonance. Language is of life, appears within life, is about life, but is also beyond life, a protrusion into another world with its own rules, and holds sway in the imaginary realms as well. This distance is the usefulness of language but also its confusion.

    *Confusion* - the marriage of things which don't usually fit together - an etymological definition of nonsense - *con* + *fusion* - "with the bonding which erases boundaries despite reality," "fusion against knowing better than that." We say pro and con, for (forth) and against (but really *with* in a sophisticated but unwise way). Profusion and confusion. See how this all works? This is the wisdom of the Romans hiding in our language. And they get their wisdom in an unbroken stream which goes all the way back to the Indo-European root. From there follow the Greek stream out and marry them back together, because Greek was the high language of learning in the Roman day. Yet another confusion. Heh.

  10. and too, I wonder on this, the beginning. did we live and think before word and if so, did we accurately lay word upon ourselves. if we didn't do it right in the beginning, then we are fools to follow it now, except to see where we came from, but perhaps not the truth that underlies us. but for some reason it feels like we did it right, that perhaps reduced down to the us before word, with the laying of that first word, we might have chosen carefully - that perhaps it was revealed to us.

    and is it language that defines us, or us it? both now, to be sure, but then?

    this is great fun!

  11. You are asking great questions of course, the very ones that have people doing research at universities, spending whole lives on just these questions. That you find this stuff great fun, that's one thing I like about you.

    What I think, language was discovered first. The capacity clearly exists in a variety of forms in birds and several mammals. We know this from experiments and observations in the last fifty or so years. The capacity for language predates us in this evolutionary way. What we humans have done is break loose in language, not invent it.

    Language - a power of clear communication - does not require words. We invented words. Words are human and give us flight in the realm of communication. But words do have their own power beyond us, create a world of imagination. And there is a limit. Godel's mathematical theorem governs. Any sufficiently powerful system (like a language) can get self referential and in that, either speaking too close to the speaker or to the words spoken, make statements unprovable in the system.

    Here is that yearning to be outside language, beyond words. We yearn because we already are. How do we communicate, then? Music. Love. Dance (kinetics). Theatrics. Obliquely through the glint in our eyes and the change in voice and body. Touch. Penetration and fusion.

    With some care, we use language obliquely, weaving words into tapestries, using metaphor and story to step outside the main flow into the clouds that arise nearby.

  12. Haha! My first thought was, what have you been smoking? Yes, better run for the door. The next transformation will be even stranger.

  13. Rachel, Will you respect me less in the morning if I try to tell you that this is just how my imagination goes?

    I did spend a month on acid back in the day. :)

    That was before you were born, maybe.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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