Against Language

(for Leanna, and for Jenne)

To stare at century’s stiff linguistic rigor mortis,
its artless blogwash polity, blighted newspeak
blathering, its standard awful barf of prosetry, free verse
knowing nothing’s free, when freedom’s all
that’s sold, in neatly labeled packages for suckers self-
apply in hope that someone gives a fuck, and so
arrive here: the end, an obstacle, the
glass-dam fancy-facade of numb dumb wordage

commence command
to stop, to staunch this festering with fire

Gather all these rotten metaphors,
wormwood archaisms, rusted zeugma,
broken simile, Cro-Mag neologism, split infinity to
flame-burnt blood, quench with sweat this blade
to temper sharp steel declaration: war
on what is passed as language

Crack the tablets of commandment
pulverize the precious Strunken White platitudes,
pound the laws to pestle ground,
cut the composition book, empty of its
quaint Millenial slang, streams of consciousness
now flood the slaughterhouse
of half-digested Gen X semiotic self-absorption, the
post-Beat Boomer, all banality, dried
with blood of severed suffix

Seize this godforsaken gnarl branch tongue, shear
leaf, bud, twig, carnival bark ploy,
flay the flesh putrescence, splinter subject,
smash the syntax frown efface remarker, scatter particles
to blight, eradicate all roots, annul analogies, sever heads of topic/comment –
reduce, reuse, recycle nothing
purify with this death sentence: obliterate
categorical communication, crush to powder

logic, logos, logogram –
ignite the fuses conflagration, burn
universals, burn till

one hundred thousand years of silences
a single flame
until the trance ignites

begin with cry of early birth
acknowledgement of helpless human fate
and curse of conscious mind
that splits
in two, and then a universal sigh and ahhhhhhh


rumble gastric flow contraction, and distend
with wave of blood and acid;
the harmony of cosmic fingers on
the string of earth and ocean firmament –
not from beyond, this sound, immanent
bursting forth into the screamed existence;
change the world with cry loud, soft –
out of mode, this rising falling, stressed to shape
as shout extends
and there is song in pieces
brittle, incomplete of promise

from within into without
sing out loud stop time
voice from veins where void had reigned
sound from strokes the
heart beat interweaves
feel the heartbeat
feel the heartbeat
thread of thumping, reconstruct the solar shriek
with rhythm born, alliance
no restriction rules with this eternity
except to end with life itself and feel
internal pains transform external joy
this vocalese sufficient yet
still, not enough to reach the Africa we leave behind –

must return into the cave
reset –

with spark
and flame
hand print ochre

dot slash
dot slash stroke stroke stroke slash
all correct and straight and

dot slash
line angle
curve rebuild
does it give, is it meaning
not some deconstruction shit
but thing itself, in space, in time,
in its owningnothingness
the beast alive within the mind —

first is mathematics
counting antelope envisioned, antedate
the mark and so
dot slash, beginning computation
aleph null reshape to zero
image Olmec toponymic meanings
only by arrangement unrefound
no verb yet only isness
cast Oracle Bone to Bronze, then
大篆 Large Seal skill, still round, elongated
before the businessmental square the circular –
still not enough: reduce, recount, return
Sumeria where arrow becomes life because they sound the same
and life cannot be drawn:
picture loses pictureness, picture is idea
typography to logogram to
pictograph to lexigraph
back to old typography with
meaning-form constellations, portable in time and space
capable of verbivocovisual pursuit
yet settles into cul-de-sac of concrete verse
asemic scrawls of un-meaning
too easy

rediscover sound

turn the picture on its head to find its voice
morpheme into grapheme;
oxen head becomes an A,
the picture eye tilts: Hanzi meh –
image into symbol transmutation:
inherit the abstraction, calm divorce from thing itself, or

a tone, high falling inverted arc where
curves forbidden hanzi reappear as
leads like Clovis point into another rising tone
split into syllable, bend, invert, then
one sound becomes one symbol or
one symbol becomes one sound this
transmutation multiplying fertile glyphs, no
longer 32 or 700 but the great ten thousand things
of the middle kingdom
now vibration
arbitrary like Verdi’s A at 4-3-2 Hz 1
or the existence of the universe itself
but still makes goddamned music of the spheres –
five then ten, Aztec thirteen into
twenty-six without repeat but stroke inflected

meaning with exemplary form,
lexigraphic trap denial; that sound is matter, means
its destiny – to summon up the end in phantasy
of full stop pointillism
must return to sound –
the universe begins with ahhh
discovery begins with ahhh
writing new begins
with awe. Past pulled into the present
show now what was then to those who could not see–
out of ash rebuild the Tower toward the gods
and toward you:
this is language, this is why.

Time for reclamation. Now, begin.

Categories Poetry

Omar Willey was born at St. Frances Cabrini Hospital in Seattle and grew up near Lucky Market on Beacon Avenue. He believes Seattle is the greatest city on Earth and came to this conclusion by travelling much of the Earth. He is a junior member of Lesser Seattle and, as an oboist, does not blow his own trumpet. Contact him at omar [at] seattlestar [dot] net

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