Behind the Wainscot: 4
[ “Caution” (detail): Jeff Crouch ]
"Capitonyms and Heteronyms," Richard Lederer
Two Poems Peter Schwartz
Review: Sybil’s Garage 4 Darin C. Bradley
A capitonym is a word that changes meaning and pronunciation when it is capitalized, as illustrated in the next two quatrains:
In August, an august patriarch,
Was reading an ad in Reading, Mass.
Long-suffering Job secured a job
To polish piles of Polish brass.
An herb store owner, name of Herb,
Moved to rainier Mt. Rainier,
It would have been so nice in Nice,
And even tangier in Tangier.
As you read the next poem, note the unusual pattern of the end-rhymes:
Be friendly; do not draw the bow.
Please don't try to start a row.
Sit peacefully, all in a row.
Don't squeal like a big, fat sow.
Do not the seeds of discord sow.
Even though each couplet ends with the same word, the rhymes occur on every other line. That’s because bow, row, and sow each possess two different pronunciations and spellings. These rare pairings are called heteronyms:
Please come through the entrance of this little poem.
I guarantee it will entrance you.
The content will certainly make you content,
And the knowledge gained sure will enhance you.
A boy moped around when his parents refused
For him a new moped to buy.
The incense he burned did incense him to go
On a tear with a tear in his eye.
He ragged on his parents, felt they ran him ragged.
His just deserts they never gave.
He imagined them out on some deserts so dry,
Where for water they'd search and they'd rave.
At present he just won't present or converse
On the converse of each high-flown theory
Of circles and axes in math class; he has
Many axes to grind, isn't cheery.
He tried to play baseball, but often skied out,
So when the snows came, he just skied.
He then broke a leg putting on his ski boots,
And his putting in golf was in need.
He once held the lead in a cross-country race,
'Til his legs started feeling like lead
And when the pain peaked, he looked kind of peaked.
His liver felt liver, then dead.
A number of times he felt number, all wound
Up, like one with a wound, not a wand.
His new TV console just couldn't console
Or slough off a slough of despond.
The rugged boy paced 'round his shaggy rugged room,
And he spent the whole evening till dawn
Evening out the crosswinds of his hate.
Now my anecdote winds on and on.
He thought: "Does the prancing of so many does
Explain why down dove the white dove,
Or why pussy cat has a pussy old sore
And bass sing in bass notes of their love?"
Do they always sing, "Do re mi" and stare, agape,
At eros, agape, each minute?
Their love's not minute; there's an overage of love.
Even overage fish are quite in it.
These bass fish have never been in short supply
As they supply spawn without waiting.
With their love fluids bubbling, abundant, secretive,
There's many a secretive mating.
Richard Lederer is the author of more than 30 books about language and humor, including his best-selling Anguished English series and his current book, Word Wizard. Dr. Lederer's syndicated column, "Looking at Language," appears in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States.
He has been elected International Punster of the Year and been profiled in magazines as diverse as The New Yorker, People, and the National Enquirer. He is language columnist for The Toastmaster, Pages, and the Farmers' Almanac and is Verbivore Emeritus on public radio's "A Way With Words."
[ Peter Schwartz ]
—first published in Lily—
filled with wicked silhouettes
are no better empty
for still they
are not eloquent
flashing like prehistoric
fish through traffic
their backbones comprise
spine for my entire catalog
of simple gestures
meant to show ugly love being
pulled slowly into sainthood
as if some pretend russia
I can't describe would be
worth such sirens
my hands, my hands
whose wrinkled escapes
can only be worn by speaking
of rabid immigration
and gentle politics
they soften off the puppet clock
forgetting their tiny warrants
for black nausea and poetry
how strangely my hands
have survived . . .
—first published in Sein und Werden—
it's belladonna ladyship with penny royal tea
it's a false widow
exchanging porcelain overseas
it's the brittle little cakes that break
as we take sugar from snowflakes
it's birdseed and beer gardens
the amber fellowship
it's coaxing father T.
to number the parts of his heart
while she whispers siamese
outside the park
it's prosthesis, a sarcophagus
a touching of cups
it's mother N. whooping it up
at the steps of
Peter Schwartz is the editor of 'eye' and the associate art editor of Mad Hatters' Review. His artwork can be seen all over the Internet but specifically at: www.sitrahahra.com. He has almost 200 poems published in such journals as Porcupine, Vox, and Sein und Werden. Currently he is working on paintings for an exhibit at the Amsterdam Whitney Gallery in Chelsea NYC.
[ Darin C. Bradley ]
Sybil’s Garage No. 4 is an alienating thing—a saturation tank of isolation and the sublime. Like its first three predecessors, Issue 4 aligns the quietly bizarre and the slightly uncanny with nineteenth-century design. That’s not to say that Sybil’s Garage is easily classifiable, either in form or content. Victorian woodcuts share pagespace with postmodern silhouettes and modernist sketches. Fragments of polyglottal marginalia pepper Sybil’s pages—appearing everywhere like cryptic typesetter’s notes. From the first glimpse of the Bladerunneresque cover to the final, stunning woodcut, this issue is its own work of slipstream art.
Featuring an impressive lineup of fiction and a respectable collection of poetry (particularly Kristine Ong Muslim’s “One of the Reasons”), Issue 4 also offers very-readable interviews with Jeffrey Ford and Stephan H. Segal. Gone are the typical sycophantism from most contemporary interviews. These two, particularly editor Matthew Kressel’s interview with Ford, are direct and engaging—at times, even suspenseful.
Noteworthy stories in this issue are Ekaterina Sedia’s “Seas of the World,” which, true to Sedia’s singular mytho-strange voice, metaphorizes change, ruination, and isolation in unexpected ways. It is quiet, paced, and resonant.
It would be too easy to call Rowena Southard’s “Translucence” Kafkaesque, but it is, in a delightfully direct way. Indeed, we should call it “Metamorphosis”-esque. This story, a study of the isolated humanity of a brilliant entomologist, is a delicately phrased stroll through identity, projection, and obsession.
Livia Llewellyn’s “Jetsam” is phantasmagoric, a great “what if” taking contemporary metaphors of self to their logical conclusions. In this story, which draws its force from alienation in commodified society, ruin has learned to eat, and the middenheaps of its kipple-filled gullet are the new reality.
Other stories fill out the issue’s strange presentation-of-self in noteworthy fashion, particularly Richard Bowes’s story of picaresque dislocation in “On Death and the Deuce” and Barbara Krasnoff’s chilling “Means of Communication.” With the strength of the material in Issue 4, Issue 5 will, no doubt, be highly anticipated in the world of small-press weird.
Farrago's Wainscot is an exhibition of weird, strange, bizarre, interstitial, or otherwise liminal fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and experimental forms.
Behind the Wainscot is a companion blogozine to the larger Wainscot exhibition, exploring similar ideas in smaller, more fragmentary segments.
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