On a Scrap of Paper I Write "Periphrasis"

January 23, 2020

 

I do not hoard shrinking newspapers

with rubber bands gone inelastic,

or cardboard or silverware or books.

I stockpile words on little scraps

of paper kept between pages of an old atlas.

 

I have never said seiche aloud,

but kept it for an unwritten dissertation on love,

and flum, the core of flummox,

which now means bewilder, but began

as a mess of thrown-down things--

imagine a teenager entering a bedroom

after school and dropping clothes,

books, accessories and half-eaten food,

which, when you enter,

makes you flummoxed.

The stuff is the flum.

 

Or meanderizing, a variant on Miranda-izing

and wandering, the arrest of getting lost,

or cockchafer, a typically stiff English term

for the doodlebug, a destructive pest

that slams at full speed into incandescent light,

a word I would like to use once to describe

the millions who slavishly adore politicians.

 

Or periphrasis, the loaded Latinate

that describes using longer phraseology

in place of short phrases, the manner

in which a pedant or academic

or windbag might speak, or, in this case,

written by my own dactylic hand.

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©2018 by Jeffrey A. Burt