Some words


year: 2008

There are some words
Which are not spoken:
They are spat or inhaled,
Coughed or dragged
From the larynx
Like a recalcitrant child
From a line.

They go together
Without effort
In the choreography
Of nerves:
Statement spat;
Inhaled reaction,
One after another
In the ongoing chain of
Books and denial.

These are not any words
Of course but words
That belong in
The mouths of others
From opposite poles,
Where neural pathways
Or so I’m told
Flow counter to ours
Out of magnetic spite.

Though the spectacle is familiar,
Its start is always stunning:
A lorry-load of phonemes
Swerve through the
Central reservation
In a god almighty pile-up
Of indignant hypertension.

I have learnt to
Pronounce these words
Without emotion,
Even with nonchalance
To those who breathe them
As easily as mountain air.
I too try to enjoy
The carefree jaunt down
Language’s slopes and hills,
But alongside the thrill
Of basking in the open air
Is the drummed-in fear
That in the end,
My body cannot
But choke.