Three Poems by Carl Leggo

Babble and Doodle

words as a perpetual pursuit
               Italo Calvino

stretch words tight and taut so they twang
    words wait between the lines to be called
        these words, your words, more words, words

throw words in the air, seek shapes
     words never let you go, always let you go
        the world woven in the shadows of words

write the earth, one word after another
    words open up expanding worlds
        words, spoken here and there, for you

care about words, offered with care
    words seek their way, light offered
        the way into the haunted words

lay down words, linear and labyrinthine
    words wind through the blood, no end
        a parade of words, glad to be alive

laugh with wild words, dangers everywhere
    words remember what can’t be forgotten
        words with the heart’s beat, full of breath

host a surprise party for words
    words don’t always need punctuation
        words, the hermeneut’s heresy, a long quest

seek words that give you goose-bumps
    words whisper secrets in shopping malls
        scribbled words in gusts of wind

hold words tentatively, not with tentacles
    words challenge grammar with glamour
        words as a perpetual pursuit, full of yearning


I am
a pronoun

a substitute
for a noun

but what
is the noun?


I is
a pronoun

first person
nominative singular

ninth letter
of the English alphabet


I is
a noun too

a symbol for one
iodine incisor density
current intensity
moment of inertia
mark of incomplete

I the pronoun
is also
I the noun


the pronoun I
knows itself

while I still seek
my antecedent
the noun
that names me

I am trapped
in pronoun errors
with antecedents
ambiguous implied
buried double


reviewers write
about my essays
he uses too many I’s
(how many I’s
do I have?)

I can’t live
in a formal essay
without I

I am
a pronoun
my noun
my noumenon



Oh, to be a verb,
a creative word
makes statements
gives commands
asks questions

too long I have been
written a noun only,
a name for a person
animal place thing
quality idea action

Oh, to be a verb:
an efficacious word
declares authors
interrogates with
alphabetic delight

always becoming
endlessly mutable
subject in process
naming without end

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