28. Incoherence

(When Language Corrodes)

And when language corrodes
all our faculties falter and blur.
Nobody knows how our tongues got so swollen and furred.
What truths are there left to be told
when we’re all lost for words?


Words upon words
stack the tower of Babel
brick on brick on straw on clay
but a whispering stirs
and the structure’s unstable
when all the scaffold’s stripped away.
We’re ever quick to aver
that we are ready and able
but we can’t say what’s coming, come what may.

By definition self-obsessed
we strive to make ourselves plain
with words that pass the acid test
with passive thought in train.

Words upon words,
fiction, folly and fable,
each pregnant pause a dead giveaway…
ploughing on undeterred
as the sell-bys expire on our labels
though at length we’ll have little or nothing to say
it would be too absurd
to spend life all agaze at our navels –
oh, we’ve got such limited time to go on and explain.

So, running off at the mouth,
we all get carried away
uncertain when it all goes south
if we mean what we say.

If we mean what we say….


independent of the brain
not a moment to reflect
only time to wick up the gain
what was he thinking of and
why did he dream he could convey a bright idea?
While his tongue was wagging
he forgot to use the space between his ears.

with the cunning of a fox
paint him devious
in the corner of the room,
pop Pandora out of her box.
What is he on about and
why are his arguments so needlessly arcane
in their brilliance?
He’s close to appearing more than slightly inane
with his crooked logic
and his dog-eared dictionary close to hand….
I don’t think he’s got it
but he’s insistent that we’re going to understand
his complete precision;
in the end he’s certain that we’ll all agree
with his definition…
an obsolescent word from 1663.

That says it all for me.

(Like perfume)

Once spoken,
words perfume the air
like woodsmoke, like a breath of self that’s no longer there.
Such confidence,
such half-baked truth…
the sound of distant voices mocks the hubris of youth.

(Your word)

Burnt the bridges, burnt the tread;
the sodden syllables are turned.
You can’t take back what you said
when you give your word.

(Always and a day)

Always and a day
we swore in common vow
that tomorrow we would stay
the same as now,
the same as now.

In every future verb
we deny our own „Until”;
this the promise that we serve –
we have time to kill:
I will, I will,
I will, I will,
I will, I will

always and a day.

(Cretans always lie)

It’s impossible to trace
these words in carbon paper trail
for just as Zeno’s arrow flies the snake is eating its tail.

And in contradictory style
the soldier and the steer attend
around the mark of the five hundred all in charge of a friend.

„The Cretans always lie”
claims the Cretan.
The Cretans always lie.

A kiss the gift from hell
light, the poison pillow, dear…
and as we gag on it translation smacks of something like

„Cretans always lie”
claims the Cretan;
„Of Cretan stock am I,
am I Cretan?”

Why don’t we hook this old short circuit to the value of Pi?

„Cretans always lie”
claims the Cretan;
„Of Cretan stock am I,
(so) am I Cretan?”
And Zeno’s arrow flies,
through the ether.

Come on…let’s see how the paradox flies.

(All Greek)

Fried up the brain
with rhetorical questions
dictionary games
and conundrums ear to ear.
When we say what we think
do we think what we’re saying’s
missing a link,
inconsistent in idea?
(in internal stage whispers
wordless the script
getting lost in contradictory talk….)
Losing the thread
(in a set of stage whispers)
„It’s nothing”… (he said)
If I meant that it would say it all.
(Spoken, the lines are misshapen….)
speaking my mind
but the mind that thinks out loud’s not thinking straight at all.

All my ideas formed entirely without words
speechlessly, you get the picture?

ne, oxi, oxi, endax’
hai, iie, iie, redact….

All greek to me, all in double dutch phrases,
cacophony of linguistic dismay,
orotund talk and the sound of my voice is
fractured and forced;
I can’t get out what I mean to say,
parroted lines all misshapen…
speaking my mind
but the mind that thinks out loud is close to blown away.

And when ideas come entirely without words
their purity is unalloyed
even to ourselves unspoken is unheard
and so we try to give them voice
but languages have all evolved to meet the needs
of every individual culture
so with every syntax that we press them to we see
their essences adulterated…

ne, oxi, oxi, endax’
hai, iie, iie, redact….

(Call that a Conversation?)

Oh, spit it out, there’s no way we’ll see eye to eye –
my simple truth is your warped confusion;
as off different planets we spin eccentric jive.

I don’t remember what I said
I don’t think you do either.

Slippery of tongue though you claim my speech may be
all of the words you’ve been putting in my mouth just flatter to deceive.

I never said the half of that
you’re utterly mistaken
call that a conversation?

Yeah, you said it,
all my meaning, quite misread it…
this conversation let’s forget it now.

I can’t believe what you just said
call this a conversation?

Let’s call it quits,
let’s just say it’s
a measure of the distance between our worlds.

I don’t remember what I said,
I don’t think you do either;
you make what you will of meaning –
call that a conversation?

More likely just the space between words
when the meanings have all changed.

(The Meanings Changed)

From the first word that I said to the last
some strange echo remains
imprinted in the walls
recorded in the vaults
we talked and tunneled through
but the meanings have all changed.

Because of all I said
you began to regard me as strange
until with some relief
you suspended disbelief
I tried to tell the truth
but my meaning was all changed.

I saved one final word
to pay off this long sentence in spades
but what I thought I said
was patently misread.
The spoken word
is broken here
and in between the two of us
the meaning is all changed.

(Gone ahead)

We bite off our tongues
while chewing the fat;
though the fire in our lungs is celestial
our delivery falls flat.
Would a time come to be silent?
Oh, we never spoke of that.

We talked out of turn
in the school of hard knocks;
although willing to learn from experience
it still comes as a shock
when the time comes to be silent…
one by one the jaws all drop.

The voice is still clear in my head;
it’s the last word in monologue….
close-up, interior, night.


The voices alive in my head
are all tongue-tied to silence now.

It’s the darkest of moods,
it’s the cruellest of jokes
that this facility I used, once so fluent,
is cut out at a stroke.
And the time came to be silent
as the core connection broke….
absurd ineloquence,
my own words on which I choke.

Swallowing deep on the thread,
so much I’m losing now,
so many things left unsaid
and the voice I’ve been using is
gone ahead.

(Power of Speech)

Always we shout to be heard
as though our voices could express
the sense of sentences deferred
and of lessons learned,
of storylines unfolding,
of the truths of our innocence and shame,
of life, the very breath that we are holding,
of our very names.
We shoot our mouths off in adventure,
we ram the ammunition in the breach,
blow up the flowering of sense
with the power of speech.

(If Language Explodes)

And if language explodes
in our faces like shrapnel
all self-defence is blown away.

In the end this reasoning’s sound:
how can we be found
if we’re lost for words?

Oh, still in the search for the words….

I’ve said my piece,
I’ll take my leave now,
breathe not a word
of my disarray.


All of the words have flown away….

Przewiń stronę do góry