Published December 7, 2004

I have Language with my ears, with my tongue given word to deed and with my
thought given word to event; I have learned syllables like shining stones strung
round my neck into the foot of the air

I have Language, erased from it the memory of wrong turns, given power to it
over action so the thing thought done is the deed itself, doing and the dream of
doing is the same in its language, they are books, tongues whose thought words
leap like water burned on hot stones of days passed or those that may yet become
interlined with moments stolen from breathing interaction with the world.

I have Language but cannot say with what for whom out of sounds and sights — the
cat under a dead shrub, a favorite spot, who will soon come from hiding to eat,
to catch the slow mouse of memory and mew in its own words, do I remember eating
or do I remember language that I used about having eaten, am I full or do I say
I am. For all this I made language; to confound as much as to give form.

I have Language that strung comes unstrung, whose twine ages when rubbed against
another's sound and sinister wish to twist my tongue into another shape, to make
me howl to the wolves' howl, to mew again the treacherous fur of the cat, to low
as if pleased though I starve on the wide grasses of the plain. Say to these
other: Look, these are words and they are my shield, the mother and father of
my saying and being and doing in this my world complete and mine; it is my
brother and my sister in the litter of my thought; it is my friend and my
parasite. Hear me when I say it is the hard heat of midday and you will
perspire; you wither if I say it is cold; or, two is two.

I have Language, words that measure and are what is measured, the measure
themselves of measure itself.

I have Language with shapes and with space as would a Pantocrat who sitting
among his cartographers creates line-by-line the world in secret, saying that
there are spheres wherein one may do as one pleases and those as well wherein
one may not voice the words for that which pleases one — priests who hear,
laughable confessions and the priest who absolves in a dead language for a
living death.

I have Language for who may not say what they do and thereby nothing do.

And your words too a language absolute, private, shut from me, useless; or, I
suppose that what you have is language in place of words and so you too must
reason as I reason and every language that is not my language is then an
affront, attempts to confound, a weapon that must be hidden though it has no
point but is ready to be taken up against me. This is my language and not yours.

I have Language from europe's of time, asia's of memory, africa's of reluctant
service, from the pens of long dead scribes I have pricked out words and
sentences like loose women jumping from one meaningless to another more

meaningless ritual of procreation. And the pregnant pauses are as full of
meaning as if the word were deed.

Yes, language I have — to perplex and to divide.

Yes, language have I — in an un peopled world un situated in delights, in a
country without carts, lacking things to do, with surplus done.

Yes, language, I you — as a poor instrument of lust and power.
Yes, language, I — You impotent instrument in silenced world; substitute for
the thick and thistle biography of loneliness, the scraped scarred flesh that
hungers after its prey wait to hear your return from the bush. The miracle of
language is its passing charm, its painful purpose to have no purpose than to
lay in wait, express what has been done, what has come to past, to capture the moment.

Language like a talisman round my neck wards off the rage of elements — Say,
"Come, rain!" and rain comes to cool the earth. Say, "Roll, you clouds!" and
the hot sun is obscured. Say and it shall be done. Nay, say and it is so; say
and it has been done. Language like a god makes man. I have Language, language
like a birdsong sung from a barred cage: say "pretty songbird" and it IS pretty.
Say it is painful to remember the song of your youth spent talking about the
songs of birds you wish that you had heard more clearly and in the saying the,
fowl is smothered. Say that you slap the faces of ugly children, that you eat,
the flesh of soon dead men, or that you lick the wounds of women full of sale.
This is language. I have Language.