Last one! The prompt for hour 12 is to (1) grab a book at random off the shelf; (2) read the first line of the book, and the last line; (3) pick one; and (4) use every single word in a poem.
The book I ended up using is Alphabet Juice, by Roy Blount Jr. (one of my mom’s books).
The first line:
According to scholars of linguistics, the relation between a word and its meaning is arbitrary. [Emphasis in the original.]
The last line:
Aah. [Emphasis in the original]
Because that last line is so short, I decided to use both lines. I started with the shorter line, and was thinking of having the poem consist of two parts—but then it came together at the end. So…
According to the laws of the universe,
the free radicals that govern my life,
and a few thousand quacks on the internet,
all I have to do is watch this short clip
and everything I want will come to me.
But if the relation between a word and its meaning
I could end up with a Ford Transit van
filled with scholars of linguistics
and their pet gnus.
Or, you know, a thousand gross
of Bazooka bubble gum or something.
So maybe I should be wishing
for something completely outrageous,
over the top, beyond the boundaries
of good taste, with caterpillar frosting
and ninja star syrup;
complete the definitive translation
of every shamon! in the recorded works
of Michael Jackson;
or attempt to say the happy man
buys his canned ham wholesale
I really shouldn’t be surprised.
Bands and bonds are snapping all over the place.
But now that all that’s done with,
this is kind of nice, isn’t it?
(27 June 2020)