Published on: 10/21/2013
Just My Dumb Luck
to find the perfect word
sunning itself on a page of the O.E.D.
atop my desk near the library window.
I ran over and shooed away the jargonflies;
but was afraid, at first, to grasp its meaning;
knowing that what appear to be harmless
signifiers have been known to deliver nasty
bites; and (like the poisonous awesome and
whatever) cause widespread oral infections.
And so I was careful not to make my word
cross by forcing it to rhyme; or belittling
the sheltered life it led as an unemployed
part of speech (occasionally subbing as a
synonym)—back in Websterville, U.S.A.
I held up the Want Ad I run every autumn
in the International Journal of Lexicography:
TIRED OF NEVER BEING USED FOR SCRABBLE?
JOIN OUR UNFORGETTABLE PHONEME TEAM!
MEMORABLE, CLICHÉ-FREE ENVIRONMENT.
NOUNS & VERBS EXPECTED TO WORK OVERTIME.
DANGLING PARTICIPLES NEED NOT APPLY.
then picked up Le Mot Juste
by the scruff of its syllables
(careful not to injure its diphthong)
and put it in the only plot
on this too too googled earth
where a word that longs for a
purpose driven life can thrive.
I put it in a poem
Published on: 8/28/2013
Suppose I catch his Lordship (Mr. Featherbrains)
and ditch him somewhere—off the beaten track?
"Won't do any good," my birder friend explains,
"In a day or two the son-of-a-bitch'll be back!"
All summer long this ruby-headed cop
has made our privet tree his private gunship;
hiding in its foliage—zipping out to stop
rival males from stealing even one sip!
Suppose I add more feeders? "Won't help a bit.
He'll guard them all!" (Too many paths of glory
lead but to the grave; since optics won't permit
His Dibs to dine and defend his territory.)
Enough for everyone? Hummingbirds say No!
(Not unlike some Homo sapiens we know.)