Tag Archives: words

Dictionary Gloss: the E’s

ebullient exuberant, bubbling over with high spirits

Beware the fool, whose loud ebullient laugh
jumps back and forth, like a cracked phonograph.
It’s not a truly happy sign at all;
more like the echo of a cattle call.

éclat conspicuous success, general applause or acclaim, elaborate display

Most public piety, with grand éclat,
convinces fools, while real saints turn away.

ectoplasm a substance supposed to be exuded from a spiritual medium during a trance

we paid our fifty dollars for a reading,
but got no ectoplasm, despite pleading.

emolument a fee received, a salary

What great emolument my service earned
in living costs and taxes was soon burned.

encomium high praise given in speech or writing

Leave off encomium, my cheering thralls;
hard cash seems much more useful, after all.

endogenous growing or originating from within

true moral strength, they say,
must be endogenous;
receiving it through discipline,
it dodges us.

ennui boredom

If you would fight ennui, don’t overtire,
else you just bore yourself ’til you expire.

equivocal able to be interpreted in two ways, ambiguous

Yes, truth and guilt can often seem
equivocal – part fact, part scheme –
designed to trick us from both sides
and leave chaos where they collide.

ersatz serving as a substitute, especially of an inferior kind

Wise men and fools alike believe
themselves led by the truth in things.
One sees a world that cannot be,
while one accepts an ersatz king.

euphemism a mild or roundabout expression substituted for one considered improper or too harsh or blunt

Don’t shuffle on or pass away,
give up the ghost or fade to gray.
Let euphemisms such as these
just die, expire and soon decease.

Dictionary Gloss: the D’s

declivity a downward slope

And so it seems, with very little fuss,
the future’s come: declivity and rust.

defalcation misappropriation of funds, a breach of trust concerning money

If you would find the truth in situations,
follow the money: seek for defalcation.

deleterious harmful to mind or body

His politics weren’t radical or serious,
but how he wielded them was deleterious.

demimonde the world of women of doubtful reputation and social standing

Where are these righteous men in secret found?
Out sneaking to some maligned demimonde.

demotic of ordinary people

It’s more difficult to be despotic
when your clay’s matériel demotic.

digress to depart from the main subject temporarily in speaking or writing

If you would pontificate progress,
stay on point; you’ll lose them with digress.

dissociate to separate in one’s thoughts

It is an easy thing to find support
among the throng who live for hunt as sport:
they disassociate themselves from what they seek,
imagining themselves the strong, not weak.

doctrinaire applying theories or principles without regard for practical considerations

So many think themselves bold doctrinaires,
defending with their dying breath ideals
whose goals are some great future bright and fair,
but need a path wrought out of blood and steel.

donnybrook a wild fight, a free for all

A duck, then a dodge, then a mighty left hook!
Broken chair, busted lip, a damn fine donnybrook.

dybbuk the evil spirit of a dead person that enters and controls a live person’s body

What darkness has the dybbuk found here seen
that fouls with discontent and hate the mind,
and would destroy that good the world has been
in some revenge for what it left behind?

10 FEB 2017

Mere Words

Are they still weapons, these mere words
we use to crystallize what thoughts
may form at random in our heads
or like to squeeze out for some end,
a worthy cause we would advance,
a blessing, curse or snare of love,
some cleverness sure to impress
or at least baffle for a time?
How everyone is armed these days!
It takes so little effort now
to build an arsenal behind
a screen of anonymity.

There are more poets, it would seem,
than there are fishes in the sea,
more than the stars out there in space,
more now than ever were before,
and each would wield a sacred sword
to cut away the rotted flesh
and free the suffocating soul
so it may somehow serve the world;
and everyone assumes their blade
will make the most important cut,
remove the cancer, scour the wound
and make the body pure again.

There is no end to such deceit:
that words alone can change the world,
that careless phrases in the void
transform some evil into good
by virtue of their worth alone,
or by some miracle subdue
the brute force that enslaves the world
and makes it blind and deaf;
while everyone pretends they hear,
that they are the sole conduit
by which the universe declares
itself, and by that act, survives.

They may be weapons, but what use
are words in such unthinking hands
that would destroy to somehow build
a world that values their intent.
Just how will some mere phrases turn
the tide of angry sentiment
that grows against the use of thought
and would devour diversity,
while everyone, in pantomime,
acts out some peaceful, loving role
without believing it themselves?
What good can such words do?

30 APR 2013

The Speech Not Given: a deachnadh mor

Sad, the speech he could have given
for men dead and those living
might have meant more, if believing
destiny were a haven.

In the cadence of his speaking,
you could feel his heart breaking;
and his way seemed to be shaken
by the weight of great mistakes.

As he spoke his wisdom wandered
through one door, out the other,
sound and silence mixed together
in true and even measure.

What more words would you have spoken?
As lies go, the ones chosen
said those things they could, then closing,
flowed away free, unbroken.

12 DEC 2012

A word used in place of the word implied


There’s a little word that covers so much ground, fits in so many contexts, and feels so at home in so many social variations that most people don’t give it a lot of thought. It’s what I like to call a ‘Smurf’ or a word used in place of the word implied. ‘Smurf’ is an imaginary blue creature that exists in the world of celluloid and merchandising (and what a lovely place that is!) whose primary interesting characteristic, besides a total fear and loathing for witchcraft as represented by a bumbling, bald headed man in a monk’s robe and his more sinister, closer-to-earth familiar (speaking of familiar, does this attitude toward earth-centered religions remind you of any place in particular?), is a wonderful habit of replacing certain words in certain sentences said in certain situations with the word ‘Smurfy.’ A brief (and only brief, because I feel an entire linguistics volume could not do justice to such a concept) list of examples and the wide range of interpretation available to our young, eager-to-learn minds is (NOTE: Although the word ‘Smurfy’ is normally used in a seemingly positive sense, there always lurks in the darkness a negative, absurdly wicked (or suggestive) meaning to any potential word substitution game. This is also known as ‘pig subliminalese.’).


“I feel Smurfy today!”

MALE SPEAKER: could refer to being happy, rested, positive, adventurous, wonderful, god-like (see note on ‘Oh, Smurf!’) or angry, upset, disturbed, horny, out of control, evil, etc.

FEMALE SPEAKER: same as above except could also mean, “It’s a day before my period starts and I’m really on edge. Don’t fuck with me, because I’ve got a 12-pound sledge hammer ready to turn you into jelly.”

“That’s just Smurfy!”

SMURFESE for: that sucks, that’s wonderful, that’s totally beyond my comprehension, that really puts a whole new angle on our relationship, my little Smurfy one, etc., etc.

“Oh, Smurf!”

COULD BE a recognition of a smurfalene deity, or an expression of horror, pleasure or almost anything else. One could almost say, ‘Oh, Vague!’ and cover the same ground.


What is this all leading to in our own language? We have a word like ‘Smurf’ in our vocabulary. Surprised? Know what the word is, cousin?


That’s the word, and here are some examples of it in use:

“I gotta take a shit”

Oddly enough, this means a need for a bowel movement.

“I feel like shit!”

A comparison of one’s own state of health and being with that of fecal matter. Does shit often feel like us?

“This food tastes like shit!”

Again, how do we know?

“This is good shit, man!”

The best in life is always that which leaves us.

“Shit! That dude is the shit!”

Once again, we equate the best with the most mortal part of ourselves.

“Oh, shit!”

Could be a substitute for swearing on the earth, which is God’s foot “stool” (no pun intended).

SPEAKING OF SHIT: Shit Sandwich – A One Act Play

Have you ever wondered what goes into a shit sandwich? I got a feeling you ain’t gonna believe it, brother.

CAST (in order of appearance):

MERDE – A local heavy, working for the Sanitation Department
BREAD – A clerk at the local food bank
TOMMY ATO – A reproductively challenged playboy
ROSEMARY – A fresh, young girl from the country
MUSTARD – A friend of Merde’s, perhaps a relative

Scene One

The action takes place in the town of Countertop, where all the characters reside. As we join the action, MERDE enters from stage left and greets MUSTARD, who is hanging out center stage.

MUSTARD (seeing MERDE enter): Shit, man, you got any bread?

MERDE (shakes his head): Nah, man, I’m all dried out. You seen Mayo around?

MUSTARD: Saw him at the shelf coupla days ago; looks like he’s spreading himself pretty thin. I think he’s been hanging out with Tommy Ato.

MERDE: Never could figure that motherfucker out – people say he’s a vegetable . . .

MUSTARD: Nah, he’s just a fucking fruit.

MERDE: It’s all in where your seed ends up, man.

MUSTARD: Ain’t it the truth?

MERDE: Howz Spice doin’?

MUSTARD: That sage? Doing all right, if you know what I’m saying; heard he’s hanging down on Rack Street with ma boys Pepper and Dillon.

MERDE: Pepper still got that bitch Rosemary?

MUSTARD: Yeah, she’s still fresh. D’ya see her sister, man?

MERDE: Shit, yeah, I know . . . most beautiful onion I ever seen. We oughta call her up and get this thing goin’ on.

MUSTARD: We gotta have bread for that, man.

MERDE: Don’t I know it! Maybe we should call up The Knife, touch him for a spot.

MUSTARD: I heard Margarine and her lard-ass sister were buttering him up good. Plus, he’s been known to cut his shit, if you know what I’m saying.

MERDE (shivering): Nah, man, I’m not into that.


Excerpt from the unpublished Secret Undertown Ministry, 1994

A song for a star

You say I’ve never sung you songs 
in all this time — ten years along — 
which proves, to some degree, 
how much I love you. 
You’ve found the time, you often say, 
to write about and sing and play 
so many other topics; 
is that not true? 

And when I offer in defense
that love is an experience
which falls beyond the edges
of expression,
you laugh and say, such an excuse
is, in its own way, living proof;
that there is no song
is its own confession.

But if my love could be contained
in some trite, overwrought refrain
composed to please the ear,
I would not claim it.
Inside a thousand symphonies,
in whispered wind through ancient trees,
no simply melody would dare
contain it.

So I will write no other song;
and if you think me in the wrong,
or simply without feeling,
I can bear it.
For my love is no simple verse
for greeting cards, or even worse;
What good are words?
They only can declare it.

You say I never sing to you
of how my love is strong and true,
and wish for me to come
and serenade you.
Under your window, in the night,
beneath the moon’s soft glowing light,
you wish a lover’s tune
that I should play you.

But if my love could be so sung,
each drop of life thus from it wrung
in sentimental tones,
how could it move you?
unless you felt the singer’s core,
and knew that there was something more
than simple words,
would it not just pass through you?

My song for you is ten years wide;
I cannot split or subdivide
one hour or two apart
to try and woo you.
I sing it every day and night;
the verses may not be quite right,
but they each speak
about, and of, and to you.

I love you.  Is that plain enough?
I have no masquerade or bluff,
no other way than what I am
to show it.
And ten more years are not enough
to finish it, it is still rough.
I only hope that in your heart
you know it.

19 MAY 2010

A Bead of Words

A little meme from Word beads on Sentence Strings:

For some reason that defied all logic, Stan chose to seclude himself in his workshop each Sunday afternoon. He would spend hours immersed on the internet, each keystroke part of an elaborate scan for that single byte of information that would provide him with clues on how to successfully rewire the mechanism of the entire crazy universe.