Along line where words follow
one by one each distanced and obscure
like items of trash along highway
stuck in weeds between ditch
and fence lift shifting cars passing
sailing into wind of logic
or like grocery carts out of line
and place scattered about full
of claptrap and flapdoodle
for absurding suburban
where shopping rigs
get garaged for night
like pigs asleep in makeshift
huts with conquistadors
while in city in loose
deduce gathered around
poles trees once lived
covered in plastic people
under new moon of normal
dining al fresco in fresh
air of improvised jail
things will never be same
way things have always been.
Those words that come at night wash
swim the room like pieces of litter
flowing down a gutter in rainfall
cooling the street and gloom.
Then come the slow-moving
pulled by a pair of worker
words pulling like tugs
the barges of raw sense:
to to wit
to to whom
to to why
to to reason
of of love
in in fear
two by two
far and near.
What’s written by candle in yr cave
won’t be read for eons by anyone,
no views, no visitors, no likes, no
comments, until erelong perchance
some fair spelunker crawling
horizontally across the buried
rocks of yr commas, not too deep,
discovers yr degraded predicament,
etiolated undertaking to connect
images in the dark of creatures
now extinct, spellings archaic,
broken syntax of yr past, and finds
yr crushed crumpet of a skull
buried like a period at the end
of yr tunnel up against a wall,
a scurvy potation spilled betwixt.
Won’t you please tell me your rules,
style flaws that send you over the edge,
your conjugations, constructions, con-
junctions, your clauses and marks
memorized, when to be and not to be,
double negatives and things dangling
in white space and other wedded dark
matter; for I will find immense
pleasure in breaking & trashing
the etiquette of your ways & days.
Nomere Ana R. Chist
On our walk last night, birds,
low in the trees and on the ground,
in the grass and all around,
and it started to rain.
Tomorrow, it may be sunny.
It takes many shapes, this thing.
Sometimes it’s an ear ringing,
a particle of physics.
It is not Paris or San Francisco,
certainly not El Paso or Cairo.
It comes and goes like wind,
ubiquitous and protean.
It’s not me, though
I often have it, or not.
That’s just it with it;
you never know for certain.
It is a professional, white-collared
without capital, contained
out of site.
When it decides to rain,
not a thing you can do about it,
except dance or hustle home,
from which you want
to get away from it all.
Is the comma in danger of extinction? Here at the The Coming of the Toads commas have fallen out of favor as we have begun to eschew the common comma, not all commas, and the comma in writing (where else is it used?) still remains an effective tool for the common reader, but sometimes the right word in the right place creates its own pause and nothing more is needed by way of punctuation, for the common reader or the anti-reader. Of course commas are used for more than to create pause. The comma used to separate items in a series, red white and blue, for example, often punctuated as red, white, and blue, keeps the colors from running together. The comma evolved from the colon and suggested something cut out but today the comma is used to add on, to amplify, to continue, to ramble on, sometimes unmercifully, the end nowhere near, the sentence a structure of lean-tos, each clause flipping about like a butterfly which may look to the common reader indecisive. Then there is the comma butterfly, also called angelwing, and what writer would want to eliminate angel wings from their writing, not us. Whoops, that’s anglewing, not angel wing, a mistake no comma can rescue. Still, the happy discovery that commas may suggest angel wings gives us a lift.
You took away the source, but it was some graffiti, as I recall, but now in the grog of morning’s woke fog, I forget what it said, but one of the words was missing an apostrophe, crowds, I think, should have been crowd’s. The crowd is awaiting its apostrophe. So something is missing, the elemental that connects. That’s the meaning of apostrophe – an elision, but more, to turn, to turn away (from), even as things merge, as in a crowd. The apostrophe, like a stray bird, lands in the nest of merged things, its meld. The crowd is awaiting its possession, what it wants, its melt and weld. Also, the apostrophe that is an address to a missing person, one who has been turned away, or is turning away from another, as the crowd disperses. Waiting’s apostrophe. Waiting for the bird that has flown to return. As the crowd scatters, like birds, each one turning away from their neighbor, coming apart, each now a new apostrophe looking for a new gathering, a new mustering, a levy of birds, where they can drop into place to satisfy the whole. And today’s crowd of words is punctuated by the police, steel pot helmeted commas out to enforce the gravity of grammar, but they seem unable to put a stop to the run-on sentences.