Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Lines Written between Dublin and Keflavik


These words are not meant to be read

in their entirety. Skim them



the way this plane skims the cloud layer,

jostling sometimes, jarring us



from half-sleep. Pass over them

the way your eyes drift over headlines



in airport kiosks — words that give a sense

of pope and president, stock fluctuation



and civil war. That way you can take them

how you want to — to make or remake



to be about you (which they are)

or to not be about you (which they also are).

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hollisterian Nouning

Glancing at a receipt for a flannel shirt this morning, I saw the shirt itemized as wovens.  Now I realize I'm not in a strong position to judge seeing as I'm shopping at Hollister but don't like this past participle adjective being used as a noun. Wovens to me feels like filling your mouth with water, opening your mouth halfway, and trying to keep it from sloshing out. 

It's pretty common to noun verbs and adjectives -- "receive the invite," or "make the gender reveal." Donald Trump's tweeted a dehumanizing and ugly riposte to Ann Coulter, claiming that "tens of thousands of illegals are being apprehended at the border." That particularly ugly illustration shows just how insubstantial nouned adjectives are. Here, someone is reduced to a description, humanity and substance stripped. That's what nouning does, reduce something to a category, a quality. 

Sure, there's not much danger in retail as in politics, but you can see the trend there. It's a brave new world where you can put on a woven, pop a few edibles, and drop that invite into the mail.



Lines Written between Dublin and Keflavik

These words are not meant to be read in their entirety. Skim them the way this plane skims the cloud layer, jostling sometim...