Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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[After we found the sack of tchotchkes in the garage]

After we found the sack of tchotchkes in the garage
Next to the Ntozake Shange souvenir poster

And the three jars of chow-chow from last year’s
Atlanta car trip to Cleve’s funeral and the fifty-pound bag

Of sand for luminaries, we thought again of Thales,
When he whispered one day in 600 B.C. that matter

Was mostly water, and therefore water was mostly
Matter, the water of matter, the matter of water, this

Mantra, this to and this fro, interrupted by the rustling
Sound from a nearby box of froufrou, of sateen and tabby,

Calendared and moiréd to look like waves, waves of silk,
The illusion of water, for Thales knew then that

The honchos were the ones to abscond with the ichor,
To fill their vials with it, to sip it during homecomings,

But for years we’ve been through with that school of thought,
So uncool, so full of tsimmes and the loud twang

Of death, the gimcrack meant to confuse, the gewgaws
In the headlight’s white glare, bags of swag handed out

To the hands of the injudicious, for if we can call
A group of toads a knot, and even if we did not

Witness the long e change that turned Keats into Keats
But kept Yeats as Yeats, isn’t now time to hang up

The choke chain, face down the snarl, throw
Down the poncho of belief and wonder

On the rancho-lands of despair and concrete,
Dare ourselves for once in our lives to be spilled?


t.i.d., ter in die: three times a day; textile; the long e change, Keats vs. Yeats; to teethe; tegmen, integument, covering; tempura, tempera; tchotchke, from Yiddish tshatshke, from Polish czaczka; tsimmes: state of confusion; thalamus; Thales, matter is composed of water, 624-546 B.C.; tmesis, q.v. (quod vide which see): where I go ever vs. wherever I go, AHD; twang, twee, tweet, sweet; tweedy, weedy, weird; Ntozake Shange, Paulette Williams; a group of toads is called a knot; moral panic; mucho, rancho, poncho, reecho, honcho; ichor; lagniappe: swag, gimcrack, gewgaw, froufrou; awareness bracelets, gel bracelets; brace: a pair of like things; choke chain, chop shop, chow, grade school, grad school, old school, school of thought; Terpsichore    

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