On Words

City Life

“Overrated and abused, underrated and reused, hyperbolized and underused, understated and overstated, restated and retracted, excused and double-downed, drowned and rusticated, nailed to a wall and drawn on a scroll, ignored and explored, welcomed and turned away, painted and scrawled, yelled and whispered, tattooed and erased, written down and written up, spelled out in the bottom of a tea cup.”

The above quote is from the comment stream to a previous post: “Bob Dylan & Clarice Lispector: Bewildering, Transfigured & Redeemed.”

The drawing above I made years ago, the paper now yellowing. I wanted to title the drawing “Leaving the City,” or something like that, “City Life,” but the drawing might somehow be appropriately titled “Words,” for the city is constantly in commute, the exchange made with words; our world is filled with words, sounds rising, mixing in the froths and foams – the city yeasts of ambition and commerce, change and exchange, the city a sea of words that act like yeasts, fermenting. Inside each car a radio no doubt adds to the mix, each car an oven full of baking words.

At night, a bread of crusted quiet rises, the din below softening, words breaking apart and falling like shreds of unintelligible graffiti, night words. From a distance, animals contemplate the city scene.

Walking with another in the country, on a path, words spoken have a pronounced different quality than words spoken walking on a sidewalk on a busy city day.

The characters in the foreground of the drawing might be workers in an urban call center. The fellows in the bottom right might be stumbling or sneaking home from a local pub.

“Words are overrated,” the commenter had said to the Dylan & Lispector post. No doubt, I thought, but more, and replied with the comment quoted above, to which the commenter then replied, “Ja, just so.” And, there you have it. Talk on.


  1. Dan Hennessy says:

    Well worded , Joe .


    1. Joe Linker says:

      Yeah, well, there are times when anything exceeding even one word seems wordy, while a few words into a sentence one is already lost in the woods, lost in the city, lost at sea, lost in space, lost, lost, lost. Of course a real writer would never feel this, never feel lost in words, would always know his place, remember his purpose, always on track toward his determined destination, pencils sharpened, inkwells full, words falling like grace, covering his desk, piling up like snow, like leaves. I’m lucky if after a day of writing I’ve enough words left to fill the lint trap in your dryer.


      1. Dan Hennessy says:

        Well , I suppose that you can easily weave yourself a word net and trap your own writing in it . If I had saved all the lint from the lint trap over the years I would have stuffing for a sofa ; I could insulate the attic , I could card it and weave it ( if I knew how ) into some fine sweaters . But it was just tossed , bit by bit , as if worthless stuff . If you don’t have enough words at the end of the day to fill…………….that’s probably the ideal predicament to find yourself in .


        1. Joe Linker says:

          Ja, säker, lätt.


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