National Poetry And Writing Month: Day 12

Today’s poem is “Just A Flat Sound”. Did you miss the last few? You can read them all here in my archives. If you’d like to stay caught up as they come out, subscribe at right.

Before I get into the poem today, I’ll give you a short history lesson on what inspired me. During the evolution and existence of any creature, communication is necessarily to share information, such as the location of food, the mood of the subject, whether an enemy was nearby, or a good place to take shelter or find materials. Some creatures used hormones, body posture, even coloration. Man, too, had to communicate, and it was something he was very good at, even without special things like pigmentation: gestures to indicate objects or locations, and grunts to indicate something good or bad….man used sound and gesticulation, as dolphins and baboons do. Eventually, specific sounds began to mean objects or meanings, “daaaaeee” meaning the time that bright thing was “uuuuuup” and man could see. Each region had different sounds because they had evolved separately. Eventually, man began using words only to communicate, making up words for emotion, things that weren’t objects, languages…almost nothing was left unnamed. This poem is about that sort of thing.

Just A Flat Sound

A sound,

a cue,

some sort of environmental stimulus.

I give my response,

stimulus, response,

part of what makes me human:

My throat vibrates,

I make it ripple to make a sound,

My mouth contorts,

cupped to change the noise,

then stretches out, choreographed to match the vibrations,

tongue and lips aiding the sculpture of sounds.

“Aaaaaooooeeeeeee elllooooooofeeeee eeeeoooooo.”

Those exact sounds are words,

which through gesticulations meaning was first brought to,

a static group of sounds

which are made to communicate with another,

which has in turn learned the meaning of these sounds.

Now, with writing, “good” looks in our minds like it sounds,

now recorded, forever

or shorter than that.

These symbols detail sounds,

those sounds mean words,

these words meaning something words were invented to describe.

And yet,


words can inform of this emotion,

this emotion is deeper than flat words can get across.

“Aaaoooeeee” stands for “I”, a meaning of the speaker, their self,

“eloooffeeeee” means “love”, a show of affection or attachment,

and the sound “eeooooooo” means “you”, to whom the meaning is directed.

“I love you.”

 This idea always intrigues me because of how part of our brains lodges the idea and meaning of these words in our brain. Babies use words too, even though they’re not words other humans use. These symbols mean words, and by now I’ve worked through so many books and written so many things that the words and sounds have intertwined with the letters so that when I think of “purple”, I think of the color and of the letters that form it. “F” looks very sharp and prong-like, doesn’t it? That’s probably why it was drawn to indicate that specific, sharp sound, “fffffff!” where we put our teeth over our lips and blow air through them.

Today’s challenge does not have very much to do with words as it does with words. Make sense? “No.” Good. Make a simple sentence in your head, or even just a word. Pick any word, whether it’s a noun describing an object, (those are really the easy ones) a noun describing something that’s not tangible (Lots harder) or an adjective (pretty hard). Make an  onomatopoeic version of the word, which is to say that you should try to write the word as it sounds, not as it’s written. Use as many vowels and simple sounds as you can. How, without using other similar words, would you describe the word that you chose?

Apologies for the late post!



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