Tongue Candy

How the words spill forth like an endless freight train
crossing an open prairie, each car holding precious cargo,
the order random or familiar, reminding me that ideas,
whatever else they may be, are also obstacles
to knowing, with the tenacity of lichen growing

in the crannies of a mountain ledge. Words–ceremoniously
tucked away in libraries of inner conflict, confusion,
obsessive deliberation and terminal differentiation.
Who says we have to say anything? Or be anything?
Why should I believe that taking the fateful step, creating

and dancing with the object of my attention, will benefit
anything, least of all my own soul? Words on the page may
line up like the straight faces of unruly children hoping
for ice cream after a tumultuous meal of tantrums and tossing
vegetables, but in the end, they are all empty calories,

impediments to the reality of taste, to the experience of
all my senses gone wild, a temporarily soothing precipitate
of the original solution, visible yet reminiscent of something
already long dead. But alas, they are my skin in the game,
triumph and risk intermingled inseparably unrecognizably

irrefutably inevitably terminally together, a flash flood
of certainty washing through a desert wadi of perfectly dry
truth that was doing just fine until you came along thank
you very much. Words are a temptation standing at a precipice,
inviting us to jump, bridges to the foreign, beasts of burden,

immutable strains of familiar tunes, or mere domesticated
animals to be kept around the estate for show, a comforting
arm on which to sashay into the prom. Tongue candy.
They are what’s left over after what we know has been devoured,
the bones telling us what we already knew before dissolving

back into the void, rash actions taken to dispel an unspeakable
fear of the wreckage that we are, epithets hollered into
canyons of doubt we inherited at birth coming back as haunting
echoes, spinning and dangling like hood ornaments on our
personal vehicles. As scalpels, daggers, or the artist’s chisel

stripped of all menace, soothing as a mother’s touch, language
is both familiar and foreign, inexplicable, overreaching,
failing miserably or seducing unwittingly, its codes working
unexpected and unnoticed magic on its creators, metaphors satisfying
and mystifying, making music of what can never truly be spoken.

4 thoughts on “Tongue Candy

  1. I remember a writing class at college.
    When we entered the classroom that first day,
    on the blackboard was the statement,

    We discussed that premise for an hour or so.
    At the end of the class,
    the professor returned to the blackboard and wrote,

    Liked by 1 person

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