evading denotation

(A ) 


not eliminating


looking for that —

that which cannot be named,

it tugs, 

itches, rumbles, 

oozes, clicks, grumbles,

sighs, flickers, etches,

tickles, brushes, stretches …

Evaded generalities

rarely escape




smears, stains

anchors, excavates 

hairy ropes descending,

fibrous starch swelling

to be to be eaten

launching from earth to light



spurts that which

belongs within 


spreads bleeds

firing bewildered 


massacre evil tragedy

terror not terror

guns controlled not controlled 

automatic semi conversion

why what why oh why

this incomprehensibility

named and unnameable


©2017 Ontheland

A recent dVerse Poetics prompt invites us to write poems that play with grammar rules. Paul offers an example from Gertrude Stein’s ‘Tender Buttons’.  I decided to experiment with reducing nouns and relying more on verbs and adverbs as suggested by Stein in her essay on Poetry and Grammar. Current events,  like nouns, are hard to evade.

9 thoughts on “evading denotation

  1. We ll I have to say that this is a stunning piece of writing that benefits hugely from Stein’s guidance. Wish I’d know about her essay pre prompt. Next time perhaps. Thank You for this wonderful inclusion in the prompt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The verbs really strengthen the messages in your poem. It’s funny…when I read “semi automatic conversion”, I read it as “semi automatic conversation”…I think because I feel that recent tragedies bring on an automatic redundant response and we really never see change or action. Just my brain playing with the wording.

    Liked by 1 person

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