Logan Ray Grant12-5-2020

language, the furious river, carries on its foamed and sinewed back all we thought we’d shucked off

by William Matthews

“Mixes easily,” dictionaries
used to say, a straight shot from the Latin.
Chemists applied the term to matter’s

But the Random House Dictionary
(1980) gives as its prime meaning:
by frequent and indiscriminate

changes of one’s sexual partners.” Sounds
like a long way
to say “slut,” that glob of blame we once threw
equally at men and women, all who slurred,

slavered, slobbered,
slumped, slept or lapsed, slunk or relapsed, slackened
(loose lips sink ships) or slubbed, or slovened, But soon
a slut was female. A much-bedded male

got called a ladies’ man; he never slept
with sluts. How sluts
got to be sluts is thus a mystery,
except the language knows what we may

have forgot. “Depression” began its career
in English in 1656, says
the OED,
and meant (science jargon) the opposite

of elevation—a hole or a rut,
perhaps, or, later, “the angular
distance of a celestial object
below the horizon,”

as Webster’s Third (1963)
has it. There’s ample record of our self-
deceit: language,
the furious river, carries on its foamed

and sinewed back all we thought we’d shucked off.
Of course it’s all
pell-mell, head over heels, snickers and grief,
love notes and libel, fire and ice. In short:


“Promiscuous” by William Matthews, from Search Party: Collected Poems. © Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Reprinted with permission.

language, culture and style…

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called December 7th “a date which will live in infamy,” because it was on this day in 1941 that Japanese planes attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor. More than 2,300 Americans died in the attack, and the United States joined World War II, which it had stayed out of the war for more than two years, adhering to its policy of neutrality in Europe’s affairs.


If Only Life Were Like Language

by Paul Hostovsky


If Only Life Were Like Language

and all the natural resources like words,

then the world would be

an unambiguously better place.

Because when you use a word

like apocalypse, say, it doesn’t then follow

that there is one less apocalypse to go around––

there are still an infinite number of apocalypses,

more than enough for everyone. And the more

people who use a language the more

the language grows rich and strong

and resourceful and ramifying

with new and far-out ways of saying things,

not to mention all the lexical borrowings that go on,

the exotic words and phrases, and the names––

names of dinosaurs and flowers

and racehorses and hurricanes––

and the lists, praise be to God for the lists!

Which is just the opposite of the world

with its dying rivers and dwindling resources

and endangered species list.

With words you can make stuff up out of nothing

which is more than you can say

for physics or chemistry or corn. Earth’s

the right place for language. I don’t know where

else you could invent an imaginary escape hatch

up and out of a dying world,

and take a little of the world with you in your pockets

like the jingling coins of a realm,

or like the crepitating bits and pieces

of a beautiful intact dead language

for sprinkling over the smart lunch conversation

in the next.

“If Only Life Were Like Language” by Paul Hostovsky from Is That What That Is. FutureCycle Press © 2017.

Definition #384 Extinct

photo by David Schultz

photo by David Schultz

when will violence

be extinct? like bison were ’til

snowflakes fell again

During World War II and the Cold War, American [men] from every group got together in the service, having a common goal — to defend their country … They learned together, pledged allegiance together,  sweated together, hated their drill sergeants together, got drunk together, went overseas together. What they had in common — patriotism, a language, a past they could emphasize and venerate — mattered far more than what divided them.”

Definition #336 Language



universal languages

timeless sweet feedings

Today is the official European Day of Languages, which is a yearly event begun in 2001 to celebrate human language, encourage language learning, and bring attention to the importance of being multilingual in a polyglot world. On this day, everyone, young or old, is encouraged to take up a language or take special pride in his or her existing language skills.

There are about 225 indigenous languages in Europe, which may sound like a lot but is only 3 percent of the world’s total. Children’s events, television and radio programs, languages classes and conferences are organized across Europe. In past years, schoolchildren in Croatia created European flags and wrote “Hello” and “I love you” in dozens of tongues while older students sang “Brother John” in German, English, and French. At a German university, a diverse group of volunteer tutors held a 90-minute crash course in half a dozen languages, like a kind of native-tongue speed-dating, groups of participants spending just 15 minutes immersed in each dialect until the room was filled with Hungarian introductions, French Christmas songs, and discussions of Italian football scores.

Definition #63 Language

cat looks at self

instinct speaks volumes:

feelers know language of love

perfect plus-purring

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