Word-ly Ways

Classical philosophers
believed words carried their own meanings
intact from communicator to communicant
host to penitent
Father to child;
only the chosen
able to hear.
Like genes, words carried bits
of the master
that mattered
undilutable
infallible
Word made flesh—
A-men.
Now we know better;
Plato and his ilk? Crazy.
Condillac can’t be right.
Words are just ciphers,
piss in the snow;
we’re shooting blanks.
Yet newspapers,
full of words,
have issues
editions of themselves
replications of stories,
printing presses
mechanical DNA
Words made: flash!
Ideas conceived the day before
in dim-lit bars
steamy saunas
wooded parks
bear fruit—
short jest-ation.
Editors
paper pimps
put the new edition
to bed,
but they wake her early.
She must be on her way
laced up tight
tightly laced
sitting with others on street corners
waiting,
waiting to be sold
to those whose work
takes them out in the furtive hours.
Another issue,
a step or two above the street girls,
is handled by a mere boy, tossed
roughly
carelessly
on a doorstep
still wearing her party dress
(ink a little smeared; still sale-able)
so the master of the house
can have her in the comfort of his own home
after he rises.
He opens the door
makes sure the goods are there
strips off the stretchy band
or removes her raincoat.
He has her right there
on the kitchen table.

My word!
It’s all about sex
still
after all these centuries—
no matter how we try
to re-press it.

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