Speech always moves.


When a person speaks they drive lung fulls of air through disruptive muscles that vibrate the flowing air before it moves in an open space. Language on a page, however, is generally static.


Meaning, most people would have us read against the text rather than into it.


Because letters in English are only phonetic signifiers, which in no consistent way relate to their sounds, neither speech (an object in the all-being type of way) or the object to which they refer, written language actually doesn’t say a thing. Usually…


Poets make odd things of writing and, in particular, letters. They make poems with landscapes, framed images, or jumping grasshoppers.


Some things letters can do:


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Gravity is natural to the eye. Most languages fall on paper, so falling can happen.


Letters also can create statues.


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Or they can shoot across the page.


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Some letters can defy gravity while others do their best to resist.


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A phonetic written language doesn’t have to be static.


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It can move. It can create mountains or cities or galaxies. It can be representative of its subjects.


If not, its letters and words are just stepping stones to some other, elusive and never spoken meaning. They become lesser siblings to always active speech.


But if we look at the language, down to the letter, there are new worlds to be discovered, new bridges to be bolstered, and new conversations to be had.


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Dan Dorman teaches at Cleveland State University and his writing can be found at UnLost Journal, Word for/Word, and soon at Rubbertop Review and jubilat. Find him @dormanpoet and dormanpoetry dot com.

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