they move in waves
 incandescent leaps

I bind
 small winged forms

a goddamned swarm
of them in my head

from whence they were
born to crawl across my tongue

never return
to their so-called home

an utterance
or murmur
or slip of
the lungs


  1. the first two lines bring me to subatomic particles, so these are vocables in the brain (mind) free and prior to being "bound" to meaning -- but then the "small winged forms," the vocables, are bound into words and swarm and crawl like insects, having their own lives, beyond the control or intent of the speaker ... the pun at the end illustrates this perfectly, language using us to create itself ...

    very interesting. i read this as an interrogation of agency in language. i've often had the sense that language uses us to propagate itself. some biologist (lewis thomas?) once wrote that evolution can be understood perfectly clearly as the research and development of improved transportation devices for mitochondria -- i suspect the history of human cultures might make sense as the development of habitat for languages ....

  2. You have given the simple act of speech such beauty. I hadn't realised just how much I take a 'slip of the lungs' for granted before reading this wonderful poem!

    Very thought-provoking. Love it.:)

  3. i have the feeling that we are but simple masons when it comes to language, we know not what (or who) makes the bricks, or why, if there is such a question.