Friday, December 19, 2014

"poem" broadside #330 : "Semantic Analysis: Ways" by Jennifer Kronovet


                                      alley     highway     path    street     trail      road

[way]                               +             +             +          +          +         +
[backs of buildings]         +              -            +/-         -           -           -
[government]                   -              +            +/-       +/-       +/-     +/-
[intersections]                 +/-           -              -           +          -         +/-
[wilderness]                      -            +/-          +/-         -          +        +/-
[made for cars]                +/-          +             -           +          -          +

[way]=the features these terms share: strips of land, width shorter than length, which one can travel upon.


English doesn’t like two words to mean the exact same thing. They become magnetized. Slowly repel each other across sentences in separate rooms in separate towns in the same tongue in different mouths. Then, they warp and alter—a fish growing to the size of its bowl. A fish changing sex when the local males have left. My path, my street, my road, my alley. I own nothing, and yet I own these sentences as traffic in my mind. They own themselves as separate via words’ talent for singularity. For being multiple as roads, alleys, highways, paths, streets, trails. This is how the language owns us: by being specific and general enough to trick us into choosing a way.

Semantic Analysis: Ways
by Jennifer Kronovet
above/ground press broadside #330

Jennifer Kronovet
is the author of the poetry collection Awayward. She co-translated The Acrobat, the selected poems of Yiddish writer Celia Dropkin. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space, Aufgabe, Best Experimental Writing 2014 (Omnidawn), Bomb, Boston Review, Fence, the PEN Poetry Series, Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics (Black Ocean), and elsewhere. She has taught at Beijing Normal University, Columbia University, and Washington University in St. Louis. A native New Yorker, she currently lives in Guangzhou, China.

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