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"The poem began with the title. Then I was annoyed by one of the occasional poetry-is-dead articles. Then I refute that notion."
—Thomas Lux

Onomatomania

Thomas Lux, 1946

the word for the inability to find the right word,
leads me to self-diagnose: onomatomaniac. It’s not
the 20 volume OED, I need,
nor Dr. Roget’s book, which offers
equals only, never discovery.
I accept the fallibility of language,
its spastic elasticity,
its jake-leg, as well as prima ballerina, dances.
I accept that language
can be manipulated towards deceit
(ex.: The Mahatmapropaganda, i.e., Goebbels);
I accept, and mourn, though not a lot,
the loss of the dash/semi-colon pair.
It’s the sound of a pause unlike no other pause.
And when the words are tedious
and tedious also their order—sew me up
in a rug and toss me in the sea!
Language is dying, the novel is dying, poetry
is a corpse colder than the Ice Man,
they’ve all been dying for thousands of years,
yet people still write, people still read,
and everyone knows that nothing is really real
until it is written.
Until it is written!
Even those who cannot read
know that.

Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Lux. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 7, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Lux. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 7, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux

Thomas Lux was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1946. He was educated at

by this poet

poem
At the fence line, I was about to call him in when,
at two-thirds profile, head down
and away from me, he fell first
to his left front knee
and then the right, and he was down,
dead before he hit the...
My father saw him drop, too,
and a neighbor, who walked over.
He was a good horse, old,
foundered, eating
poem
   Boil it down: feet, skin, gristle,
   bones, vertebrae, heart muscle, boil
   it down, skim, and boil
   again, dreams, history, add them and boil
   again, boil and skim
   in closed cauldrons, boil your horse, his hooves,
   the runned-over dog you loved, the girl
   by the pencil sharpener
   who looked at
poem
weren't built to let the sunlight in.
They were large to let the germs out. 
When polio, which sounds like the first dactyl
of a jump rope song, was on the rage,
you did not swim in public waters.
The awful thing was an iron lung.
We lined up in our underwear to get the shot.
Some kids fainted, we all were stung