I’ll admit it. I’m a word junkie. My favorite games are Scrabble and Boggle. I work and even create crossword puzzles. Beyond that, I love to play with individual words, twist them, slap them into new forms, wring them out for new meanings.
Whereas others may put themselves to sleep by counting sheep, I do so by counting the number of words that I can make from the letters of a single word chosen at random. I do mean at random. Sometimes I choose it by focusing on the spine of a book in my bookcase. Sometimes it just pops into my head. Sometimes I am frustrated, as when the word that popped into my head was Mississippi. Try as I might, I could only come up with the following words: sip, pips, pip, miss, sips, piss, pimp, pimps, imps, imp, simp (slang) and simps. When, as I sometimes do when I run out of other possibilities, I tried to compose something from these, it turned out to be indecent.
Last night the word for courting slumber was multiplications. I should explain my self-imposed rules. I only use letters to the extent that they occur in the original word. Therefore, from the word above, I could make action but not inaction, since the latter has two ns and multiplication has only one.
It put me to sleep last night, but not before the richness of its harvest imprinted itself on my mind to the extent that I expanded my word search into today. Then I tried to use the new words to compose a piece. What is it? Poem? Lecture? Diatribe? You decide.
Call up an atoll,
a tall atomic mist,
as small mutations cast a pall on millions.
Mull on impact , on implications
as an oil scion claims soil to tap for oil,
as compliant oilist toils to plant
put out an illicit call-up to all,
to a son to sail into action
to implant on locals an unlocal plan,
to still complaints --
son lost at an action station
in pain to taint a soul,
slain in oil silt,
lain so still!
Oust a scamp!
Opt to call a recall poll!
A plain stipulation:
Stamp out atomic multiplication,
its toll on trust!
Cast out oil pacts!
Split past oil until
sun, not oil, can act!
Stop oil action,
its oil spill, oil spoil.
And to think that all this was found in that one word multiplications!
Yes, as you might guess from this, I have other obsessions: peace on earth, protection of the environment, world health and others. I’m sorry I couldn’t show my support of women by including a daughter as well as a son in this little piece. But she was not to be found in multiplications. Could it be that she prefers mathematics? If so, perhaps it’s because it has team items as its meat.
Yes, words can say things about themselves! I don’t know what this might mean in the case of Mississippi. I’ll skip New Orleans and the possible miss with a pimp. But I do remember a night in a motel on the Mississippi River when my husband and I bought bottled water so that, given the color of the water that flowed from our faucet, we didn’t have to sip piss from upstream!