I am very pleased to present three word pieces influenced by the SPOKEN experience. Following are two works by Carla Bonollo, an Italian writer and blogger; as well a poem by Sjon, the noted Icelandic author. The following works will make their way into The Spoken Handbook and/or will become part of artworks, perhaps something like these.
I thoroughly enjoy the works which follow. Not just the ideas, rhythms and structures of the pieces, but the fact that they were submitted in a spirit of open-ended experimentation. Expressive beyond words, these pieces are...
THE FUTURE IS SPOKEN
Words in progress
Happy as Larry
Apparently the original English expression was “happy as a sandboy”. North America: plenty of clams everywhere; contented with what one’s got. Happy as a clam.
In an old dictionary (1823) the sandboy was “an urchin who hawked sand around the streets”. Was it illegal? I don’t know…later the expression became a synonym for being merry…basically Larry was happy because he had a few pints. Larry was also a reference to the Australian boxer Larry Fowley (1847-1917); oh yes that Larry, now everything is as clear as a middleweight undefeated champion. Happy as Larry (Fowley). Larry Fowley was happy, it’s a fact. For those who love Thomas Hardy and his novels, “larry” was a dialect word meaning “in a state of excitement”. The US variation with clam came from the east coast, and to be even more precise, one should say “happy as a clam at high water.”
Having said that, I’m very happy to be part of the SPOKEN PROJECT, so here are a few “larry” connections.
Larry was already in the air in 1596:
The grey-eyed morn smiles on the frowning night,
Chequering the eastern clouds with streaks of light,
And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels:
Now, ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer and nights dank dew to dray, I must up-fill this osier cage of ours
With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers.
(Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, Act II, scene III, 1059-1066)
Come, come with me, and we will make short work;
For, by your leaves, you shall not stay alone
Till holy church incorporate two in one.
Things didn’t go according to plan, but Larry was happy to play his role, Father
Laurence reappeared in a mysterious way four centuries later in a famous prog
song, Genesis’ The Cinema Show. He’s no longer Father Laurence but he’s Father
Tiresias, a blind prophet of Thebes, famous for clairvoyance and for being
transformed into a woman for seven years. This adds a new spin on
Home from work our Juliet
Clears her morning meal
She dabs her skin with pretty smells
Concealing to appeal
I will make my bed
She said, but turned to go
Can she be late for her Cinema show? Cinema Show?
Romeo locks his basement flat
And scurries up the stair
With head held high and floral tie
A weekend millionaire
I will make my bed
With her tonight, he cries
Can he fail
Armed with his chocolate surprise?
Take a little trip back with Father Tiresias
Listen to the old one speak of all he has lived through
I have crossed between the poles
For me there’s no mystery.
For us the mystery remains, Larry knows better.
What follows is Carla's second contribution.
In the city fields
Strangers are like friends.
What haiku do you want? was a collection of 68 haikus I wrote some time ago; 17 haikus for each season, following the rhythm framed in a precise sequence of syllables, 5-7-5 (=17 syllables). The original idea was to create a game of chance on an imaginary boardgame.
Here’s a small selection for every season, inevitably adding some variations in the English version, from Italy with love.
Think of a number between 1 and 17 and select the corresponding haiku. And
Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard - A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance:
Facing obscure lands
No goals in their life
Motorcycles whizz by
Just bullyboys’ races
The past perfect is
Like the present perfect mode
A restless secret
Held inside for too long
Blooms and vanishes
Gentle cold wind outside
Whistles brief and intense sounds
They ring a bell, the same
Butterfly collector loves art
A PhD in French medieval history
Even part-time, starts NOW
I have learned the I Ching
Simply by reading and reading them
Perseverance is all
Looking at the golden sand
Nobody on the horizon
Just waves and waves
Under layers of moss and grass
A blue, rare mosaic
A red bud in the rosebush
Bows its head listlessly
A rose is a rose, is it?
I dream of going back
To places that I don’t inhabit
Any longer exactly like you
White lights crossing the sky
Bouncing quick intermittent rays
Waiting for the traffic light
Inside my heart I recognize
Voices that I hardly sing
More cautious than sorry
Snippets are dangerous
Un-solving the cryptic crossword
Not a sausage today
A sweet flute playing
A duet with a melancholic viola
The fugue is much better
Fast but not too much
A glass-house sails in the garden
Surrounded by pink stones
The bread was a rock
The Parmisan tasted like sawdust
Farewell, adios, addio, ciao.
Teethcups by Lily Su
the dental age
our world is young and still teething
front teeth grow on mountain ridges
in the corners of abandoned parliaments
incisors push out of the flesh
of bananas and window panes
canine teeth sprout from the finger tips of lakes
and from the backs of arm chairs
the molars speckling the black skin
of the western slimy salamander crush the sky
when it snows we salute
all the teeth lost by every human ever born
each morning we raise our cups
towards the teething sun