Saturday, March 16, 2013

Portmanteau on the Go


Portmanteau Redux

Politic prose begets a pose:

Prosody poseurs
Mimicking moderators;
First-time offenders
Parroting mentors;
Orators spouting
Declamatory figures;
Officers routing
Defamatory clotures;
Miscreants making
Fake disclosures.

Everybody knows:
Lovelorn sighers,
Late town-criers,
Wave good-byers,
Seat-of-pants flyers,
Hot bread-bringers,
Cold bell-ringers,
Harpy harbingers,
Sycophantic singers:

Everybody knows
It’s a pose.
Everybody knows
How it goes.
There she blows:
Ship of State,
Running late;
Ship of Fools
Skirting rules;
Everybody knows
What summer will show:
Banner of the Lily,
Emblem of the Rose.

Pay your token
Nothing broken
English spoke
West of Hoboken

Nothing sacred,
Just forsaken:
Patriots’ patois
Easily mistaken
For glossolalia
During duck and cover
Bodacious banter,
Manic canter.
Arms race:
Say the grace.

Disco nights and
Détente days
Never cease to amaze.
Read that rag?
What’s your bag?
Take down the flag
After the Fourth:
Fold it of course.
Stars and stripes,
Disco nights,
Flapping for real,
Glory’s pinwheel.

Rainbow flag glorious,
Synecdoche victorious:
Save it for display
On Pride Day.
Take it on a trip,
Take it on board ship;
Unfurl it in the wind,
Hoist it, Wave it,
Reel it in,
Then take it down below
Wrap with a bow:
Le drapeau

Bantams’ anthems
Roosters’ boosters
Bugle musters
General Custers


*     *    *

 Cosmic conference:
Stars to reference
Moon’s circumference,
Planets to measure
Sun’s diameter;
Planetary happenstance
To preface by chance
Andromeda’s comeuppance.

Pack, unpack
Your traveling case:

Man of Time,
Man of Space
Pack, unpack your
Space race

Man of the Universe
Man of Quantum Bits
Pack, unpack
Your valise:

Pack, unpack your valise:
La Verité,
La Valse,

Man of purpose,
Traveling to the city
On a summer’s day:

Bringing succor,
Forging trust
Briefcase clutched,
Do what you must;
Man of purpose,
Flesh and bone,
Pack, unpack
Your Gladstone:
Legacy Anglophone.

Artist mercurial,
On the go,
Landscape manorial,
Country sloe,
Prescient Revolution
Becoming Evolution

Pack, unpack
Your portmanteau
Disclose your cache:

Pack, unpack:
What do we see?

*     *    *

Mrs. Scrabble,
Major Babel,
Let the rabble
Think cliché.
Magnify letters
Comprising words,
Remember speeches
You have heard,
Note the words
Comprising stories,
Know the Classics’
Amber glory,

Recite Shakespeare
Word for word.

You discover words
Wingèd, feathered, plumed,
Rare epideictic birds
By love consumed:

Verbs that strut, compete, prance,
To enhance survival’s dance;
Species of nouns and their adjectival adjuncts:
Small singing leaves of lexicons
Crisp with adverbs and pronouns:
Self-replicating multiplexes:
Multilingual reflexes,
Gene pools reflected
In words elected by the tribes,
Collected, corrected by the scribes.

Pack, unpack
Your portmanteau
Now from the recess indigo
Tell us
By all that’s fun and true,
What’s inside?
Give us a clue!

But Babel began to babble,
And Scrabble shook her head
As pack, unpack they did,
Till finally Scrabble said:

This portmanteau’s magic,
Don’t chortle
Like a bicurious cyborg
Hungry for a Cheeseburg.

Skip breakfast & lunch,
Fill up on brunch.

Avoid mist and drizzle:
Stay in when it mizzles.

Our words too flowing to melt,
Too elastic to weld,
We let their sub-parts join and meld.

Don’t guesstimate,
The vagaries of my
Simulcast state:
Reprobate datacasting
Bombastic podcasting,
Sitcom replete with
Emo + icons and snide + remarks:
(Emoticons and snark).

Pack, unpack
Your bag, your tote,
Pack, unpack
The wag, the rote,
The nag, the joke,
And Allegory’s
Bright-hued garden.
Pack, unpack
The anecdote,
The palinode,
And every syllable
Of jargon.

But when they tell you to unpack
A metaphor like a knapsack,
So ‘Trailing clouds of glory’
Becomes the start of Everyman’s story,
And ‘In the middle of our life’s journey’
Becomes a medieval tele-tourney,
And ‘They flee from me,/ Who sometime did me seek’
Becomes the story of a geek––

Beware! Beware!
For Jabberwocky’s better
Than a dead letter
Unsealed too late
To learn its fate.

So listen to the rhythm of the falling words,
Dream their shimmering meaning;
Catch their drift, lift them from the stream,
But don’t stop dreaming.

And if someone tells you to unpack
A Starry Night,
Expedite your exit––say good-bye:
Pack your bag:
Adding a piece of starry sky.

Say good-bye, hurry, go:
Pack up:

And from the living word stream
Take words that colorfast your dream.

*       *      *

For Alex and Devon



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