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  #1  
Unread 11-28-2019, 09:02 AM
Orwn Acra's Avatar
Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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Default More Etymologies

Previous batch found here; some revisions posted.

caravan from Arabic Al-Qayrawan, the westernmost city of Islam. In its madrasa lies an atlas of lands beyond: asemic, incomprehensible, blank. Thoughts are the borders of words.


* * *


pumpernickel from German pumpern, “to pass gas,” and Nickel, “goblin,” for its unpalatable properties—fart goblin, ass kraken, Puck of petarade, ghost of dinners past, bumyip, Poot the Magic Dragon, Zephyrus unzipped, Eurus of your anus, Boreas of the ass-burp, Notus of the not-me, riddle of the stinks, will-o’-the-whiff, Sirens but deadly, nereid of the nether burble, Pan’s toot, flight of the Nachtkrapp, the Vegetable Lamb of Fartary, munchkin of the butt-scrunch, bansheesh, sniffrit, CHAOS WHO ENGULFED THE WORLD AND BROKE THE WINDS. Father, expel my inner demons.


* * *


English devil, Spanish diablo, Italian diavolo, Romanian diavol, French diable, Portuguese diabo—all from Latin diabolus

“They speak in tongues,” said the monoglot Evangelical. “Drive them out of this land.”


* * *


AMERICAN HISTORY

the beginning and n-word


* * *


dheu- and then dau- and then dauthuz- and then dea and then death and then


* * *


YOU, TOO, CAN DREAM

clud
cloud


* * *


“How does my jasmine grow?” asked Harun Al Rashid.

The botanist answered: “Out of Middle Persian yasamin.”

“Yet it is unfamiliar.”

“The scent cannot be translated from your previous airs and dissipates with the very breath used to describe it. Only in thought can it be given form.”

“When I speak of the caliphate’s borders they will think I speak of the caliphate’s borders, but I speak of the scent of jasmine: in flux, invisible, existing in my conceiving it.”

“You speak of the caliphate’s borders.”


* * *


what we know of the body: that it comes from Old English bodig; that it begins with lips parting and an exhalation of breath; that it ends in why; that it is “otherwise of obscure origin”
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  #2  
Unread 11-29-2019, 10:08 AM
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Andrew Mandelbaum Andrew Mandelbaum is offline
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I think one of the reasons I like Arendt's work so much is her reliance on etymologies. I think you are onto a really rich set here, Walter. A few bits seem a bit pale, American History and the Dream Too for instance, but most of the sections are both thought provoking and whimsical. It is a bit hard to critique line for line like other types of poems. It hangs together less on particulars than by the sum of each movement. Maybe the tough part will be knowing where to stop or leave be and what actually belongs to the whole. Setting a limit to such an unlimited resource pool will the art of it as well as the crafting of the bits I guess. Anyway, just a note to say I like reading these and would be drawn to a work full up with more.
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  #3  
Unread 11-30-2019, 08:15 PM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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This is difficult to write about. That's such an obvious statement. It is intriguing and the question of whether it works as a poem is irrelevant because I do not possess the language, the skill, to address it as a poem. I am grateful for having read it.

Best
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Unread 12-01-2019, 06:58 AM
Mark McDonnell Mark McDonnell is offline
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Hi Walter,

I like it as much as I liked the previous one. You seem utterly confident in these, it's enviable. They're fascinating and intellectually stimulating, sublime and ridiculous, and sometimes strangely moving. They give me a lot of pleasure.
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  #5  
Unread 12-01-2019, 07:30 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is offline
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x
  • Pumpernickel confirms my suspicions. Some words emit stink.

  • These utterances of yours are so laden with meaning it is as if each word is hyperlinked. Turning over stones to find gems..

  • In some instances I wonder if you might become more interesting in the line breaks/formatting of these. It is, however, reflective of what is essentially a poetically reference piece to the organisms we call words.

  • There is some telegraphing of images/ideas here, I think. For example, "Thoughts are the borders of words." Though upon contemplation it goes beyond the surface to a surreal understanding of borders. Hmmmm. Cool.

  • My absolute favorite is body, its exhaled beginning, its steadfast mystery, and it's obscure origin.

  • No, it's Clud. The whole thing is your kingdom of clud. Mist condensing, if you will.

  • They're all brilliantly worded.

  • Is there a better way to catalog these? *** seems random. Numbered would be too ordered....

  • Meaning is many-layered. Thanks for the glimpse again. You are building something worth remembering.
x
x

Last edited by Jim Moonan; 12-01-2019 at 10:25 AM.
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Unread 12-01-2019, 12:34 PM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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Walter,

This is, like the others, very good. I echo what everyone else says.

One spot for improvement, I think: Poot the Magic Dragon just doesn't have the same oomph of the others.

I take the "YOU, TOO, CAN DREAM // clud / cloud" to be playing on rocks turning into clouds, etymologically speaking, but I think this is one you could do more with. It doesn't engage like some of others do, and it doesn't have enough to offer as a piece coming between two more weighty ones, like AMERICAN HISTORY does.
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  #7  
Unread 12-02-2019, 08:08 AM
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Orwn Acra Orwn Acra is offline
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Thanks, all.

To clarify: when these get published as a book, each one will be on its own page. The * * * is only to distinguish them here, BUT since I would like to publish chunks of these in a journal or wherever, I'm interested if there is a better way to separate them. Also, the order is in constant flux and changes as the work grows. Andrew S., I agree that the clud/cloud should come between two heftier ones (but it's also one of my favorites; I guess I read it as my play on trite inspirational quotes but using etymology).

Andrew M., I want these published as their own book. My goal was 365 of them, which will be impossible. Maybe 100, maybe 168.5. But I do want there to be enough so that the reader can flip through at random and get lost in the pages.

John, Mark, Jim, thanks for your reactions!
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Unread 12-02-2019, 10:04 AM
Andrew Szilvasy Andrew Szilvasy is offline
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"I guess I read it as my play on trite inspirational quotes but using etymology."

Now that you say it, it seems obvious, and really quite funny in a necessarily understated way.
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