do not embody just make

Using the grotesque not to inhabit and become / be grotesque, with artifice – however grounded – but use it as a compositional or musical note. A trivial example, written now from a sonnet from some years back. The first phrase holds the line more aptly, more obviously, and what was otherwise content pushing into language, is language forcing itself through content, so situating itself in the world, not just thought.

A phrase an arm around me,

whom she meant, was so cold.

A phrase an arm around me,

and had I asked?

In its first instance, the additional line’s stresses are more sonorous. Stress is not just a matter of pitch, as the vowel sounds in ‘so cold’ mirror closely each other’s intonation, with no equivalence to stress, due to the soft ‘cold’.

And there is a mechanical equivalence (intonation shifts while stress does not) to ‘cold’ with ‘whom she meant’, and ‘cold’ without the parenthetical phrase. Only the stress to ‘so’ changes then, a drop without. It is as if my absence from meaning now – the phrase is clearly tensed – makes the coldness of the gesture count for less, but be no less the case.

I am intuitively working with the – grotesque – sense of estrangement from facts about other lives: including that without using simple rhetorical phrasing.

Pushing further, into etymology – which is not something I know barely a thing on, though I do wonder if you can have an ear for it – ‘meant’ and ‘cold’ have a similar history, Dutch, German and Old English, from a Germanic origin – with ‘cold’ also being influenced by the Latin ‘gelu’ for ‘frost’. ‘Phrase’ is Latin in origin, originally from the Greek for ‘declare’ or ‘tell’. If the etymon is active here (and that’s doubtful) then perhaps she is is telling me of her frostiness, in contrast – again – to the simple rhetoric I engage in, in the second example.