Words of Cheer, Words of Cheese

It’s International Poetry Month! IPM is the brainchild of my friend Bonnie; she collects a poem a day from international writers and publishes them on her site with an intro and a reading – very cool! Subscribe and you’ll get a poem a day in your email, and then – POOF!- they disappear at the end of the month! Check her out here: http://bonniemcclellan.wordpress.com  Today’s poet is a sassy French minx who is very special to me – yeah, I know famous writers!

In honor of International Poetry Month, here are a few words about words:

“The picture of the universe shifts from tongue to tongue”  – Davis S. Thomson, linguist from his essay “The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis: Worlds shaped by Words”

The inner voice and the social world are in endless dialogue; like form and content  it can – and should-  be difficult to tease apart”  -Poet Mark Doty, from the Introduction to The Best American Poetry 2012.

The “Ding-Dong Theory” “… [is] a theory of Karl Wilhelm Heyse… it maintains that the primitive elements of language are reflex expressions induced by sensory impressions; that is the creative faculty gave to each general conception, as it thrilled for the first time through out the brain, a phonetic expression…”    Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, 1958

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” Edgar Allen Poe

“I can sum up what I’ve learned about life in three words: It goes on.” – Robert Frost

“…political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging, and sheer cloudy vagueness…such phraseology is need if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them…where there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”  – George Orwell, from the essay “Politics and the English Language”, 1946.

“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.” — GK Chesterton

Icelandic ponies. Japanese cats on the Internet. Yawning puppies. Toddlers who give each other hugs. Goats climbing all over everything. Pink and green macaroons. Red pandas. Sparkly nail polish. Do you get where I’m going? Cute things. This cheese is so perfect and cute and delicious you just want to marry it. Or buy one and eat it.”  – Charlotte Kamin of Bedford Cheese Shop, describing the cheese Andante Terry Nocturne

 “The Lindsay Lohan of the cheese world, this pecorino has a tan, leathery exterior that surrounds a delicate yellow paste. With hints of herbs and the aroma of hay, you can almost hear the bleating of Lindsay up in the Italian hills. Pair with nicotine, Red Bull and an alcohol monitor.”  -Charlotte Kamin of Bedford Cheese Shop, describing the cheese Mastorazio, Madaio

“Big and floral in the very best way possible, this firm Sardinian sheep has the cool unaffected strut of Mick in his prime, Lou in middle age or Polly Jean* today.” – Martin Johnson, Gastrononmie 491, describing the cheese Calcagno.

“It is still made only at night, I am led to believe, as it was when I last visited the cheesemaker, and what I haven’t told you is Serpa’s texture and flavor are like sex. There’s just no other way to describe the effect this cheese has on me. Even though I barely remember sex.”       -Steve Jenkins from Fairway Market, describing the cheese Queijo de Serpa

A Parable


The cheese-mites asked how the cheese got there,
    And warmly debated the matter;
The Orthodox said that it came from the air,
    And the Heretics said from the platter.
They argued it long and they argued it strong,
    And I hear they are arguing now;
But of all the choice spirits who lived in the cheese,
    Not one of them thought of a cow.
Thanks to all two of you who helped me out with my assignment! As it turned out, I wrote four poems and didn’t have to turn in any of them!

Ode to the Midwest


The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
—Bob Dylan

I want to be doused
in cheese
& fried. I want
to wander
the aisles, my heart’s
supermarket stocked high
as cholesterol. I want to die
wearing a sweatsuit—
I want to live
forever in a Christmas sweater,
a teddy bear nursing
off the front. I want to write
a check in the express lane.
I want to scrape
my driveway clean
myself, early, before
anyone’s awake—
that’ll put em to shame—
I want to see what the sun
sees before it tells
the snow to go. I want to be
the only black person I know.
I want to throw
out my back & not
complain about it.
I wanta drive
two blocks. Why walk—
I want love, n stuff—
I want to cut
my sutures myself.
I want to jog
down to the river
& make it my bed—
I want to walk
its muddy banks
& make me a withdrawal.
I tried jumping in,
found it frozen—
I’ll go home, I guess,
to my rooms where the moon
changes & shines
like television.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2007).

 AND: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/179327