February 09, 2016
W h a t I s t h e W o r d f o r W o r d?
In the middle of the word I find you all alarmed with word in your eyes, and you see the word in mine and instantly we want to word. We want to word till our lips are sore. We want to stroke one word against another till the friction almost hurts.
But there’s a thrill moment so twinned in the two of us it can’t escape at first. It just vibrates in the web, a radar a-tremble with word word word. The two of us, a wedge of words, tipped into the nick of night, opening up the first edge of a word like dawn, moving the word, soothing the word, grinding the word slowly, mortar and pestle till our words briefly are not separate, all previous words just prep for this wanton rude word we uncover sacredly in the bare glare of tungsten irradiated — an irrational word, a brainless seamless word between us, a mutual body
part we both feel. The word has never been this contained this stretched with itself you say with awe. We want to scream the word out. We want to linger on its longest syllable, giving my word into yours as you give yours into mine — words that enter as they open. Words that receive as they are received. You are the word that waited a lifetime, stuffing itself with wrong words, linking up with the worst in language, waiting for what I bring in my mouth. You thought you had meaning before, you thought you made sense but you were just half a sentence. I was but a dot dropped off a question mark till you joined me up with the well word — the water word that fills itself with itself and is drunk by itself, drained dry and drunk again and again forever. Who knew we could fit in each other’s lives like this, word inside word inside word, this word that always thought it was “exile”
that always thought it was the shut-out, the stranger in the long house. This word that is only infinite so we can word from alternating endless angles till we pop the clocks and the sun drops down exhausted on the limited night.
Robert Priest is a poet and performer whose work has been delighting children and adults alike for more than 25 years. Previously Feared Darkness was published by ECW Press in 2013. That same year, Wolsak & Wynn published his collection of poems for young people, Rosa Rose.