Monday, October 15, 2012

Eating My Words
I am obsessed by the sound and touch of words.

I like Old English comical words like mugwort or marshmallow. I like hushed words spoken in whispers, like neath and ghoul. I like common everyday words like horn and jump and dog.

I feel words nestled in my mouth, tucked into my cheeks. I smell them and taste them and lick every last drop from the corners of my lips. Then I let them drip like sweet spiced oil off my tongue.

Words like nut have a short sharp crunchy feel as I say them, and when I say honey I can feel the goldenbrown goo thick at the back of my throat. Or the word crazy: the bee-tickled zz sound juxtaposed with the terrified eee sound of the y, the harsh C next to the soft liquid R – these are contradictions that make you doubt the location of your mind.

I am enveloped in the sweet glut of words. I jump into them as though they are piles of autumn leaves. I roll around and listen to them crinkle and crisp under my broad soft hips. Or I dive into them as if they were the gooiest darkest mud, letting them stop up my ears and my nose. I snort and sneeze and squelch and rub them in my armpits. I hang them on my body like jewels and spray them onto my skin like perfume. I ornament and decorate and design myself with words.

I feed myself with words. I suck them in while hot and feel them burn all the way down, and I even crave cold leftover words because they too can hit that blank lonely spot and make the soothing Aahh begin.

©2000 Eating Mythos Soup: poemstories for Laura, by Kim Pearson
Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 6 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 30 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit
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  1. ohhhhh...soooo true.

    On the opposite side, there are words like *world*, that strangles my tongue (makes me think of the evil witch as she's melting) and always looks misspelled.

    Oh, the power of the lonely word.

  2. This is brilliant, absolute poetry

  3. I've got to admit, I've never quite thought of words that way. Fascinating post.

  4. Egad, now I want a dictionary for breakfast.

  5. Loved the essay, and love the comments. It is such a joy to find someone who can use words as magically as you do, Kim. Thanks.

  6. I second Peter's comment -- this is indeed poetry. But it's even more than that. You've given your well-chosen words dimension that, in turn, gives the reader a vision, a sound, a feeling, a lingering insight that fosters greater appreciation for the power of words.

    Very nice, Kim!

  7. I love this, Kim. I've been trying for twenty minutes to pay homage through a beautifully worded comment, but can't do it. I guess this is a day I'm destined to write pabulum. But your words stimulated my appetite and the image you found comforted and I am reminded that hunger and love create a powerful pairing. Thank you.

  8. Wow, thanks everyone for your kind words -- which are the very best sort of words. They taste like chocolate straight from Antwerp.

  9. Isn't this a lovely piece? Gave me goosebumps.

  10. Thanks, Kim. You and I have a dreadful vice in common: we love wordplay! And wordplay is just not fashionable nowadays. Eheu! I once thrilled to discover that the common word 'daisy' is a poem. It derives from the Middle English term 'eye of the day'. Then it was contracted to a cliche. And now we tread on 'daisies'.

    How many other words began like that? Almost all of them.

    For example, I love the ME term 'wailawai!'. It means profound distress, and sounds like it. But use it an historical novel today and the Random House copy editor will strike it out faster than you could say 'I cry you mercy, sir!'


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