Friday, October 15, 2010

So You Think You’re a Polyglot?

Does this happen to anyone else? You’re minding you own business when along comes some random word and it takes a dump in your head!

Slowly you become aware of that dogshit-in-the-house odor. You go in search of it, checking your shoes every 10-12 feet. You open the door into your head and there it is, the pile of crap, dead center on the carpet, soft poop on a mid-high shag. You have been dumped on and now you own it. It lives with you.

That’s what happened to me with the word “polyglot.” What sort of word is that to have stuck in your head? I had to look it up: When it's a noun, “polyglot” means someone who is fluent in many languages. Then it sat there in my head, stinking to high heaven, until I wrote a poem about a person who needs to speak several different languages but who is stuck with only one, and it is inadequate. Plus, I made the sections into 55 words each so that I could share the stench with the world-renowned G-Man, Mr. Knowitall Himself!

Languages You Don’t Speak

Who is this stranger living in your home
eyeing you bitterly, wishing you dead?
who is this misbegotten manchild
who once flung himself into your arms
with a toddler’s faith in you, his god
almighty? Now you are his nemesis
you walk on broken glass
to say I love you, son
and you wonder: really?

Your bedfellow, your partner
your opponent strikes the high lob
that sends you racing for the corner:
why don’t you… in reply you slice:
If you’d only… and then the backhand:
you’re so... all over the court
a series of mad dashes defending yourself
against the constant barrage
in a conversation of love, or war.

It was like a dream, she said
the corners of her mouth bloody
your mother, emerging, soon to walk
on that new hip, and later
her dream becomes your nightmare
as sundown madness steals her mind
and you say please doctor
do something besides tie her hands
this is my beloved mother
this infantile lunatic

The sound of you
is the sound darkness makes
spreading from a lake of streetlight
yet you rise, greet the day
endure the day, then return
lie on your sleepless bed
for a night of marauding thoughts
the sound of your groaning
so weighted with silence
you could hear a fly drop
to its knees

(Click on the G-Man's link to see what others are doing with their 55 words.)


Elisabeth said...

And all this from polyglot. Wonderful. Your cat too is amazing spreadeagled there on the sofa arm.

Karen said...

And you were able to produce four of these! All that from one word! You are an amazing poet, Chris. Each separate one of these, with its imagery of sad or soured relationships stirs recognition. These should be published under that title. Wonderful.

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

I always wonder with the line "Takes a dump"....shouldn't it be LEAVES a dump? Who'd wanna TAKE one.

Great I thought I was doing good with two 55s but yours is tops.

My 55 is a double whammy this week, two for the price of one. Of course, as always, you need to scroll down below my Friday's Show n Tell.

The link is HERE I'd love to have you stop by for a visit.

Brian Miller said...

dang. nice 55s. i particularly like the last...the imagery of the sound...

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...


The language of darkness. It is painfully clear yet the fog ... the fog rolls in.


Thankfully the spirit intercedes with sighs and groans and God takes pity on lost broken souls.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, just beautiful. Would it be selfish of me to say I hope that more words, um, take a dump in your head (your metaphor, not mine - I feel so dirty using it) if this is the inspired result? I especially love the last one and the image of a fly on it's knees. - G

Jannie Funster said...

Wow 4 55s for the price of one!!

My toddler is now 9, but still likes hugs, TG.

My hubby, a great guy. Does snore, tho. :)

My mom healthy and happy at, how old is she? Born in '39. Ah, 73!

Me -- not too badly rested, thanks for asking. Asleep last night by 10:00 and up at 5:30.

Nice to meet you via G-Man!

gautami tripathy said...

I liked all. Filled with images, vivid!


Kim A. said...

Very very lovely and polyglot-ish :-D You really made the words click today. the tennis analogy..perfect. Have an awesome weekends.


Anonymous said...

A perfect example of taking something grim and making a beautiful, multi-colored tapestry of the richest sort.

Chris, this is so vivid, so expressive, so touching. You've used your words to build a ladder straight up and out of a very dark place.

Monkey Man said...

Ployglot doesn't come to mind but prolific does.

G-Man said...

I really miss you...
Thanks for the triple Play 55.
Excellent polyglot....
You Rock Baby..
Thanks for playing today, don't be such a stranger, and have a Kick ass Week-End...g

Totalfeckineejit said...

Another brilliant poem, I'm beginning to think you ONLY write brilliant poems.
Love the tennis stuff and the smash at the end.

PattiKen said...

This is so moving, so filled with emotion. And All of the verses rang with familiarity in my heart. Wonderful job.

e said...


Anonymous said...

These were great! Glad to have found your blog. Tammy

moondustwriter said...

I love writers - we need space to write and vent and create.

Love your expression and glad it could come out in type in only 55 succint statements

Moon hugs

Peggy said...

I haven't visited your blog for a very long time - and realize, now, that I've missed so much: your beautiful images, both in writing and photographs, wisdom, honesty. I always feel like I've just gotten out of a hot, lavender-scented bath after I read your posts. I find such serenity in your words - and inspiration to write more, myself - and better. Thank you for sharing your extraordinary talents - they are a gift to me. Peggy

joanny said...

Oh so nicely done we got four to read and enjoy, I especially like the last one #IV and the cat photo,


the walking man said...

I came i saw i walked away speaking more than just the Greek that everything is to me.

hope said...

I'd say that's quite the definition you provided us with. Standing ovation!

TechnoBabe said...

There is a huge smile on the cat.
Ah, to be so at peace. I like the lobbing back and forth between partners/lovers.

Nana Jo said...

I am in awe. You speak a thousand kindred languages and each one burns my soul.

Marion said...

Wow. I echo many others here who are awestruck over your words. I loved this especially..."sundown madness steals her mind". Perfection!

And the photo of the cat is truly priceless!

Syd said...

Nice polyglottery. I found III to tug at my heart.

Marla said...

Brilliant! Your intro...awesome. Your sections...perfect. Love it!