NOTE: Finding the perfect time to use a new word has always been a struggle. Do I use it and misuse it? Do I stand out like a nerd when it succeeds in stumping the crowd? Does it look like new bling on an old ear? But there always comes a time when the word must out. It's my dis-ease.
On a Scrap of Paper I Write “Periphrasis”
I do not hoard shrinking newspapers
with rubber bands gone inelastic,
or cardboard or silverware or books.
I stockpile words on little scraps
of paper kept between pages of an old atlas.
I have never said seiche aloud,
but kept it for an unwritten dissertation on love,
and flum, the core of flummox,
which now means bewilder, but began
as a mess of thrown-down things--
imagine a teenager entering a bedroom
after school and dropping clothes,
books, accessories and half-eaten food,
which, when you enter,
makes you flummoxed.
The stuff is the flum.
Or meanderizing, a variant on Miranda-izing
and wandering, the arrest of getting lost,
or cockchafer, a typically stiff English term
for the doodlebug, a destructive pest
that slams at full speed into incandescent light,
a word I would like to use once to describe
the millions who slavishly adore politicians.
Or periphrasis, the loaded Latinate
that describes using longer phraseology
in place of short phrases, the manner
in which a pedant or academic
or windbag might speak, or, in this case,
written by my own dactylic hand.
© 2019 Jeff Burt