Dubious Words And Divine

Words can be deadly, and finding the right ones can nearly kill you.

Was that mouthful art or something truly awful? An art deco fart in a fryer or creme brulee?

Was the line a sign of some deep meaning, or the revelation of a criminal mind, decay? Felony or epiphany?

Was it perfect music, a gift from "on high," or a master disaster entirely of your own making?

To seek to discover, uncover; to toil in the mine of deep meaning; to wrench the word from other words, then feel its wrath, the pain, the shame of false creation and craft ... then to succeed at last, if only partly ...word, color, shade, sound, rhythm, meaning. To renew all in a clear blue sky, or to run amuck and murder your luck.

To begin again:

Were those words art, or a request for a university grant? Were they documentation to be the next poet laureate of Bakersfield, Barstow, Billings, or Baton Rouge? Or were they a struggle for form and meaning, even grace, resurrection?

Were they social media madness in the clown's costume? Or did they break new ground? Were they more thinking "out of the box" while still in it? Or were they walking on a new moon of an unnamed planet in a just-discovered solar system?

Did they talk about "risk taking" while staying in the comfort zone of convention? Did they wear a bow tie and fake being shy, or were they scared out of their wits but hanging in there nevertheless?

Did they really care, or were they just designed to give that impression? Were they posers, imposters? Did they wipe the tears away, or just write a check?

Did they need to go public, or could they wait their time?

Were they the desire for real life, or did they just need an audience, a stage? Were they a ham onstage and a hamster off?

Were they already on YouTube and Facebook and have followers on Twitter, or were they real?

Did those words have two day's growth of beard and at least one pierced ear and a tattoo, or were they embarrassed by all of the above and for an entire generation?

And need I ask? Do those words come from the mouth of the buffoon with harmonica and top hat who thinks any rhyme mines some meaning, whereas meaning may sometimes mine some rhyme?

When they talked about "creativity" did they really mean money and profit? Did they mean gadgets implemented in silicon and software for mass consumption? Or did they mean the birth of something new and extraordinary, something never seen before, arriving on the wings of a fresh sea breeze with the scents of faraway places? Did they mean shrink-wrapped plastic, or liquorice and spice?

Did they dare to be awkward and say what they meant, or were they an imitation of everything known? The pattern of all patterns? ...

But maybe you get what I mean. And if you don't, it doesn't matter.

Words are hard to come by. They are the struggle to be when nothing else matters. They are not the "great American novel" written after a big meal. They are starvation warded off by finding the right expression in the nick of time.

And they are the style held in contempt by others because they have not been used in the same context before. They evoke the dull "Huh?" of the sluggish-minded and the airy huff of the contemptuous.

In the country of quiet and the state of contemplation, they are the hope of morning, the death in evening, the resurrection in darkest night; the fragrance of the rose, the saving smile, the laugh that lifts and doesn't deride; the ache that finds some relief at last, and the old grief that finally passes; they are meaning that blends with ecstatic delight in some other world, surpassing all understanding; they are the Christ and Buddha combined in the birth and awakening of love and light. They surpass all sensuality but contain it too. They are death forever contained in life and life forever contained in death. And they are the sad smile of the gods watching the game below from the universal bleachers above and shaking their heads at each and every fumble.
—by Louis Martin