Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pining like an evergreen

Went to the Inauguration. Had a blast. 1.5 million people and not a single arrest. Later I'll post a review and analysis of E. Alexander's Inaugural poem. But for now, this is the last thing I wrote.

How I Split My Tongue

I have always loved
to say 'acetaminophen.'
A wizened woman
once told me
that some words
are magic in the mouth.
Almighty, maybe.
Can be held
on the tongue
like a nib of licorice.
Some words,
like licorice
are roots
that can be chewed
for medicinal value.
They can also stain
the tongue.
Some may raise
the blood pressure
or fatigue the heart.
Like 'acetaminophen,'
some can cause bleeding.
Your name is a word
in a language
that I cannot yet speak.
I say it now
as a wish.
A yearning
in my tongue.
Some say Hope
is almighty.
Your name is known
to be habit forming.
I lick its aftertaste
from my stained lips.
A rare sweet root,
it can be added
to certain sentences
to mask any bitterness.
The pharmacist says
boiled into an extract,
it can alleviate
even the barking cough
of lonliness.
Your name rhymes
with acetaminophen,
can relax
the hard muscle
of a heart.
Or spur
hemorrhage.
Bright syllables
spill from my mouth,
robe me
in crimson.
Tonight,
I am a monk,
in the dark cave
of the heart,
chanting a
name until
it is wholly
light.
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