"NEW BOOKS BRING ANCIENT WORDS TO LIFE AGAIN"

—The Seattle Times, Sun., Nov. 17

A briskly walking and prodigiously learn餠swain renown餠for his fey comportment and

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Winter's Tale

"NEW BOOKS BRING ANCIENT WORDS TO LIFE AGAIN"

—The Seattle Times, Sun., Nov. 17

A briskly walking and prodigiously learn餠swain renown餠for his fey comportment and penurious outlook (who currently and concurrent with the following episode doth keep residence on an avenue running a parallel howbeit ancillary course to Capitol Hill's renown餠arterial, Broadway), whose identity herein shall be shrouded with the deceivingly masculine nom de guerre Man, having stepp餠but thrice in private procession from the marketplace toward the sanctum of his residential compartment—brandishing something akin to a brolly, sans the shade, in one hand; a grocery bag containing a collop of cow meat in the other; and with a countenance that betray餠to passing town folk that furious intellectual queries regarding Truth and Beauty were attracting his heed—last week experienc餠a brief breach of ease in the precise interval after being verbally cannonad餠 by a toothless purveyor of the Real Change newspaper—viz., a beggar—for the fourth time in as many days within the space of one block.

Alack! A sudden realization befell Man, whereupon Man swivel餠his head back to see that said beggar was indeed no mere beggar at all—would that he were!--but something borne of far more idiopathic derivation: a word, an ancient word, risen from the pages of Sappho's ag餠poetics; a hoary word into which life had been breath餠and onto whose body vintage denim frippery procur餠from Red Light Clothing Exchange had been donn餮 Viz., he was dress餠as a modern mendicant, in the dreary accoutrements of the avenue. He was, Man abruptly adduced, "gluku-pikron," the phonetic representation of a single word (via a compound construction) created by Sappho, a word since translated for modern usage and integrated into common parlance as "bittersweet"—us餠in the present not so much to describe comestibles but, more commonly, movies starring the popular actress Shirley MacLaine.

"Curious," Man thereupon said in private utterance. "Methought the archaic of 'bittersweet' would personify in the female." But no matter, Man thought, and took up again his solitary scuttle, whereupon he, never having heretofore been any kind of procreant, gave meditative rebirth to a host of other obsolete words—each clad in the restrictive swaddling clothes of temporal obscurity: queme, micher, aggrege, illable, lorelly, nore, quafer. Out they came, like the McCaughey septuplets, from the recesses of his bregma.

Word rebirth had been prophesi餠in the paper that morning—though "gluku-pikron" in distress餠jeans still gave Man frigorific pause (while at the same time conferring evidence upon Man's instincts about the historical perdurability of Levi Strauss & Co.). Upon the threshold of his domestic vestibule, his sanctum, Man extracted the beef slab from his bag (The Seattle Times, an immensely vital alembic of the world news of the day, was customarily the wrapping material with which Man prevented his marketplace-procured meat from bleeding through the marketplace-furnished paper sack) and undertook with studious countenance to relish the paper before him. Man scann餠the Times for any trace of Truth or Beauty and, alas, finding neither, sunk into repose where he dreamt anon of ancient texts, ramekin, and brine.

cfrizzelle@seattleweekly.com

 
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