Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Banned Words be Damned!


At the end of every year there seems to be a desire on the part of some academics to “clean up” or otherwise “repair” the English language. While in this day of hacked-up sentences as a result of the truncation of our language thanks to texts and tweets, there are some things that may be going just a bit too far. Lake Superior State University has, perhaps, crossed the line of being a protector of the language to being inappropriate in their zeal to guard the development of our Lingua Franca.

Whether we like it or not, English is a living, growing, and evolving language. It’s literature is the pulse of its health and represents the best, and the worst, of what is happening at the core of the language. Literature is not, however, the only barometer by which we measure the use of language. The printed media must be part of the equation, and then there is the great democratiser of language, that which allows equal participation to anyone who can find a way to connect: the Net. Through the Internet anyone can express their ideas, in whatever words they may choose to use (appropriateness be damned).

Before the emergence of the Internet we could only rely on the printed word – the published word as the transmission of new language. The spoken word was relatively restricted to regional influences that only went as far as the individual travelled. The Internet allows someone to have as great an influence as some small newspapers a century ago, if not more, thanks to things like Twitter and Facebook, and the dissemination of videos through uTube and other sources. Which brings me back to Lake Superior State University.

LSSU has a tradition of “banning words” based on nominations. On the surface it is a totally harmless, humorous thing, and totally dismissible, but there is an underlying intellectual snobbery here that makes it easy to understand why there has been so much animus and overt animosity towards higher education during the past electoral cycle in the United States. Banning words: think about that for a second; if you are banning what people can say, as a word, how far are they from suggesting which books should be banned … perhaps burned? After all, controlling the way people think – the things they can say – is the ultimate repression. It may very well be a joke, and some of the words are ridiculous … but banning them? How about educating people so that they have a richer vocabulary and aren’t forced to limit their choices to such mundane samples of silliness.

Below is a poem that uses the banned words. The link to the LSSU site is here, so you can see all of the words and their meanings. The banned words appear in capital letters.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE (yes – using it as the title might be cheating … I’ll use it again, I promise)

It is THE NEW NORMAL for them to hide
in their MAN CAVE when told of the AMAZING
BABY BUMP now growing to GINORMOUS proportions
(but this will be a SHARED SACRIFICE you say
as she retches in the morning)
the BLOW BACK from this comes
as you serve as PET PARENT to your
perpetually neurotic poodle who ruins
yet another cardigan
you will WIN THE FUTURE for you
when you OCCUPY the kitchen and she says
Before tasting the meatloaf.

Banning words only makes sense when they are words that have no redeeming quality … I’d name an example, but … I don’t like to use words like that. The above cited words, while some may be annoying (Baby Bump?), none are really so egregious that they need to be banned. Amazing? Really?

Thank you in advance for reading, I shall be awaiting your comments in my man cave (yes, like I have one of those …). I just occupy the basement. Oh … good one!


Structural Ignorance (poem)


Structural Ignorance may seem like a strange title for a poem, but … it is all about the implied meaning rather than anything else. This is a cross between a “stream of consciousness” piece and, in some parts and ways, a rant; perhaps it is an unconscious synthesis of the two. The most important thing is that it is for you, dear reader, it is not about the “how” it was written, but rather that it is here now and, hopefully, you will enjoy the writing. There is only one other thing that I’d like to mention before we get to the actual poem: when I refer to the increase of knowledge I’m referring to the increases from both scientific discoveries that seem to be made on a daily basis as well as scholastic advancements that are regularly brought to light, advancements that routinely challenge our “orthodox” thoughts on certain topics. There seems to be a wholesale rejection of science and, in many respects, of knowledge in general from certain portions of society these days (were I to name names I’d have to point out portions of the extreme conservative movement in the United States – particularly in the GOP – that openly challenge scientific facts in favour of conjecture, opinion, superstition, and old wives’ tales – anything but looking at something based on evidence and data that can be proven by reputable scientists). That is where the idea of the “Structural” portion of the title came from. Please enjoy, -p

Structural Ignorance

The sum of what we know
pales in comparison
to the incalculable number of things
we cannot begin to grasp

every passing moment
every breath we take
increaes the number of things learned
the number of things discovered

the mysteries unraveled
would make the minds of the greatest intellects
swoon at the prospect of exploring this
vast knowledge
untapped by many more
than those who use it

but is it a lack of curiosity,
of interest,
of ability?
that keeps so many minds
from exploring something
available to all,
or is it fear?

a fear of seeing the world
of discovering that old beliefs
no longer hold true
that superstitions and
preconceptions need to be challenged
overthrown for
better explanations

or are these simply the minds of
lazy souls who have no interest in
broadening their horizons
especially if that means
doing something

(after all, to read requires effort but
to think requires more)

when it is so much easier
to be entertained,
a passive consumer of
instant gratification
broadcast directly into their homes on over
two-hundred High Definition
Digital channels …
or more,
depending on their package

(yes, the generation that grew up with the
Electronic Babysitter has graduated to an
all-out love affair with the latest incarnation of
the Beast in the Box …
and it’s waiting for you)
but none of that matters
in the end

so long as they have their
“reality” shows to keep them in touch
with what the real world is like
when the reality is
the more they watch
the less they know

as the Beast in the Box
devours their intellect
consumming their senses as it
irradiates their brain
leaving them a perfect subject for
for receiving the
official messages
sanctioned by those who
regulate the flow of information
streaming from the Box that
holds their attention so well

it isn’t a conspiracy
it’s just the way it is,
entertainment designed to keep the masses
satisfied with their lives
never realizing that “upward mobility” only exists
in the world seen in the Box or on the Screen
but rarely in real life

but the more people watch the Box
rejecting the knowledge available to them
the less they realize the peril they are in
for just as the blind cannot sense the shadows before them
only hoping not to trip on cracks or bumps
it is the shadows that must be feared
for they seek to overtake those who
in ignorance
show no fear

why should anyone care
or even consider these words
when the promise of the future seems so
(depending on what lens you look through)

in truth, it seems crazy
mad perhaps,
but consider poor Galileo and his battle
with the church
banning his discoveries
silencing his voice
for not agreeing with the Vatican

oh, but they did apologize …
four centuries later

feared by many
disdained by some
knowledge is held in contempt by others and
despised by a few
but in the end it is something we must face and

some contend it is the key
to understanding ourselves
while others argue
without knowledge
we are no better than the
animals we so admire
on the Box

continuing in ignorance will
only lead us to become
more like them

less enlightened
less evolved
as we allow
ignorance to prevail.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Peter Amsel (Aufzuleiden) License granted under Creative Commons Fair Use License.

Senseless Waste (poem)


A new poem for your consideration – this was inspired by, of all things, a commercial on television. I hate commercials – most of the time I don’t even watch them – I fast forward through them … but, occasionally I find myself being assaulted by their senseless mutterings. More often than not, I mute the set – sometimes forgetting to turn the volume back up when the commercials end. No great loss. Please enjoy.

Senseless Waste

They appear with hypnotic regularity
interspersed amongst other ads for
various luxury items and
other choice pieces that
none of us need
or want
at least, we wouldn’t want them
were it not for these sleek productions
aimed at making us believe
this is the most important
cheap piece of shit made in China
that we can’t possibly live without …
after all,
how can anyone possibly resist
talking hammers (oh, they’ll have them, trust me) that
test sobriety (far fetched? really?
what about a backwards bathrobe?
Nothing is too stupid to be sold
so long as there’s someone willing to
place that call …
go ahead, pick up that phone and dial
You’d have to be drunk to buy this crap
or the brilliant (and oh, so valuable)
memorial coins
such marvellous reproductions of
the Greatest American Coins
leaden slugs clad in
less gold than is in your mouth
(most fillings don’t use gold anymore …)
these worthless trinkets touted as
future heirlooms or the
answer to problems
we didn’t even realize we had
(especially erectile dysfunction
and yeast infections,
Good God, you’d think
every women on the Earth
had a yeast infection
but there’s a cream for that,
so don’t worry)
while all they really want
is your credit card number
and its expiration date
(in lieu of cash they’ll also take
your blood
directly from your veins …)
without consideration for the
actual cost
the long-term burden
as people become
slaves to plastic
slaves to the credit cards that were once
a convenience, a safety net
something to help
when times were tough
not to fill houses with
two for one offers sold by
hyperactive pitch-men, the
new Snake Oil Salesmen now
reaching a larger audience …
and just when you thought
the deluge was over
one final assault on the senses takes place
as the faces of nameless children
pleading for help with their eyes
appear on the screen
homeless and starving
diseased and dying
unless, of course, you give them your
credit card number and
expiration date
that will make it all
Go Away …
but it doesn’t
it doesn’t go away
they remain for the next running of the ad
for the next season’s campaign
for the next time they plead for money
oblivious to their fame
oblivious to the exploitation being done in their name
unable to do anything to stop them

but … contrary to the myriad voices
preaching doom at us
in the guise of news
in between their pathetic appeals for money
something can be done
even as we are assaulted by uninformative
unfair, unable to balance on
one or two feet
often found firmly implanted in their mouths
as they gleefully promise
“the end is near”
as though it is an
of theirs
(and perhaps it is,
something they have organized a rally for perhaps)
something can be done
right now
something that won’t cost you
One Red Cent
(though it may help you
recover your senses)
all that has to be done is
turn them off:
shut them out
don’t let their voices reach your ears
change the channel or
turn off the box altogether
… after all,
TV is just a passing fad.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Peter Amsel Creative Commons Fair Use License


Diversion (poem)


Here’s something that came to me this morning … I hope you like it.


The pain was quite real
tearing through the flesh
with talons fashioned from
stainless steel and
other elements
sharpened to an impossible edge
slicing through anything
unfortunate enough
to find its way
in front of the devouring blade

the pain
still real
as the flesh
is sliced open
but now
there is no blood

the blade moves
with deliberate, decisive strokes
revealing inner truths …
nothing hidden from
prying eyes
as the pathologist
completes the autopsy.

© 2012 by Peter Amsel (Creative Commons Fair Use License)

Remember – (poem/rant)


It has been quite some time since I last posted to Echoes of Solitude, and for those that have subscribed to this site, I apologize for letting you down … it was not my intention to depart from this blog for such a protracted period of time. Having said that, I would like to present you with a recent poem called Remember. This is not just a poem, it is a bit (well, more than a bit) of a rant – running the gamut of several of the things that are peeves of mine, from advertisements for “enhancement” products for men, as well as the pharmaceutical obsession with the male erection and their seeming lack of interest in taking on the realm of the antibiotics battle – a battle that we risk losing as things get progressively worse with MRSA and VRSA becoming more prevalent in hospital-based infections. Then there’s fracking, conspiracy theories, and – perhaps – the possibility of government run mind-control. The stuff of great conspiracies.

In many ways my writing has been a battle for a number of reasons, not the least of which has been the lack of the political expression that I have been willing to put into my written words – almost as if I were afraid of fully articulating my ideas. Perhaps I have been reluctant to fully embrace my background in poetic works as much as I could have, but I realize now that this has been a mistake, and I have to thank the readers of this blog and my poetry for helping me see this: your comments have been invaluable in allowing me to see that I should not hide my voice. Thank you; I hope you enjoy this poem. More shall be posted soon.


Walking through empty fields
you are distressed to find
no others at this intersection
suddenly appearing in the midst of nothingness
having wandered through days of regret, the
nights of empty passion
left scattered
by the wayside of forgetfulness, while
others find little comfort in the heat of their
sticky embrace
brought together by the carnal needs
long thought to be tamed … by
other means
(surely not when you can
increase the size of your erection, isn’t
that the most important thing?) to
make it last
oh, so much longer
… Sustain it, to
make every stroke count
because, after all,
the ability to get it up
trumps the fight against anything else that
may be trying to kill us –
who gives a damn if there are microbes, unseen
bugs we’ve trained
that are resistant to every damn thing in the arsenal
against the things we can’t see,
but which can kill us
just easily as you used to
spit into a glass across the table, the
things we used to do
for fun
when we weren’t concerned
about dying
when we weren’t concerned
about the ground beneath our feet
belching up flammable fuels
mixed up in our drinking water
when we weren’t concerned
with words like “fracking” and
“hijacking” – when a conspiracy was
a few guys in a back room
with a weather balloon, with
little green men dressed up
in Air Force Uniforms …
But times have changed, indeed
they have
remember how they used to
inject us in grade school, sometimes
during recess, but always
before we left for the day …?
Neither had I, but
that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen
it only means the injections
suppressed my memories, just
like they wanted … if only
I could remember … if only
I could remember ….

Copyright © 2012 by Peter Amsel (Aufzuleiden) Creative Commons Exceptions for Fair Use