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Sleeping With the Dictionary

by
ISBN13:

9780520231436

ISBN10:
0520231430
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
2/1/2002
Publisher(s):
UNIV OF CALIFORNIA PRESS
List Price: $23.95

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Summary

Part of the award-winning New California Poetry Series, Sleeping with the Dictionary is the fifth volume of poetry by Harryette Mullen, a well-respected African American poet.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
All She Wrote
3(1)
The Anthropic Principle
4(2)
Any Lit
6(2)
Ask Aden
8(1)
Between
9(1)
Bilingual Instructions
10(1)
Black Nikes
11(1)
Blah-Blah
12(2)
Bleeding Hearts
14(1)
Bolsa Algodon
15(1)
Coals to Newcastle, Panama Hats from Ecuador
16(1)
Coo/Slur
17(1)
Daisy Pearl
18(1)
Denigration
19(1)
Dim Lady
20(1)
Dream Cycle
21(1)
Ectopia
22(1)
Elliptical
23(1)
European Folk Tale Variant
24(2)
Eurydice
26(1)
Exploring the Dark Content
27(1)
Fancy Cortex
28(1)
Free Radicals
29(1)
The Gene for Music
30(3)
Hitched to a Star
33(1)
Jinglejangle
34(10)
Junk Mail
44(1)
Kamasutra Sutra
45(1)
Kirstenography
46(2)
The Lunar Lutheran
48(1)
Mantra for a Classless Society, or Mr. Roget's Neighborhood
49(1)
Music for Homemade Instruments
50(1)
Naked Statues
51(1)
Natural Anguish
52(1)
Once Ever After
53(1)
O, 'Tis William
54(2)
Outside Art
56(1)
Present Tense
57(1)
Quality of Life
58(2)
Resistance Is Fertile
60(1)
She Swam On from Sea to Shine
61(6)
Sleeping with the Dictionary
67(1)
Souvenir from Anywhere
68(1)
Suzuki Method
69(1)
Swift Tommy
70(1)
Ted Joans at the Cafe Bizarre
71(1)
Transients
72(3)
Variation on a Theme Park
75(1)
Way Opposite
76(1)
We Are Not Responsible
77(1)
Why You and I
78(1)
Wino Rhino
79(1)
Wipe That Simile Off Your Aphasia
80(1)
Xenophobic Nightmare in a Foreign Language
81(2)
X-ray Vision
83(1)
Zen Acorn
84(1)
Zombie Hat
85

Excerpts


Chapter One

All She Wrote

Forgive me, I'm no good at this. I can't write back. I never read your letter. I can't say I got your note. I haven't had the strength to open the envelope. The mail stacks up by the door. Your hand's illegible. Your postcards were defaced. "Wash your wet hair"? Any document you meant to send has yet to reach me. The untied parcel service never delivered. I regret to say I'm unable to reply to your unexpressed desires. I didn't get the book you sent. By the way, my computer was stolen. Now I'm unable to process words. I suffer from aphasia. I've just returned from Kenya and Korea. Didn't you get a card from me yet? What can I tell you? I forgot what I was going to say. I still can't find a pen that works and then I broke my pencil. You know how scarce paper is these days. I admit I haven't been recycling. I never have time to read the Times . I'm out of shopping bags to put the old news in. I didn't get to the market. I meant to clip the coupons. I haven't read the mail yet. I can't get out the door to work, so I called in sick. I went to bed with writer's cramp. If I couldn't get back to writing, I thought I'd catch up on my reading. Then Oprah came on with a fabulous author plugging her best-selling book.

The Anthropic Principle

The pope of cosmology addresses a convention. When he talks the whole atmosphere changes. He speaks through a computer. When he asks can you hear me, the whole audience says yes. It's a science locked up in a philosophical debate. There are a few different theories. There could be many different realities. You might say ours exists because we do. You could take a few pounds of matter, heat it to an ungodly temperature, or the universe was a freak accident. There may be a limit to our arrogance, but one day the laws of physics will read like a detailed instruction manual. A plane that took off from its hub in my hometown just crashed in the President's hometown. The news anchor says the pilot is among the dead. I was hoping for news of the President's foreign affair with a diplomat's wife. I felt a mystical connection to the number of confirmed dead whose names were not released. Like the time I was three handshakes from the President. Like when I thought I heard that humanitarians dropped a smart blond on the Chinese embassy. Like when the cable was severed and chairs fell from the sky because the pilot flew with rusty maps. What sane pilot would land in that severe rain with hard hail and gale-force wind. With no signal of distress. With no foghorns to warn the civilians, the pilot lost our moral compass in the bloody quagmire of collateral damage. One theory says it's just a freak accident locked up in a philosophical debate. It's like playing poker and all the cards are wild. Like the arcane analysis of a black box full of insinuations of error.

Any Lit

You are a ukulele beyond my microphone

You are a Yukon beyond my Micronesia

You are a union beyond my meiosis

You are a unicycle beyond my migration

You are a universe beyond my mitochondria

You are a Eucharist beyond my Miles Davis

You are a euphony beyond my myocardiogram

You are a unicorn beyond my Minotaur

You are a eureka beyond my maitai

You are a Yuletide beyond my minesweeper

You are a euphemism beyond my myna bird

You are a unit beyond my mileage

You are a Yugoslavia beyond my mind's eye

You are a yoo-hoo beyond my minor key

You are a Euripides beyond my mime troupe

You are a Utah beyond my microcosm

You are a Uranus beyond my Miami

You are a youth beyond my mylar

You are a euphoria beyond my myalgia

You are a Ukrainian beyond my Maimonides

You are a Euclid beyond my miter box

You are a Univac beyond my minus sign

You are a Eurydice beyond my maestro

You are a eugenics beyond my Mayan

You are a U-boat beyond my mind control

You are a euthanasia beyond my miasma

You are a urethra beyond my Mysore

You are a Euterpe beyond my Mighty Sparrow

You are a ubiquity beyond my minority

You are a eunuch beyond my migraine

You are a Eurodollar beyond my miserliness

You are a urinal beyond my Midol

You are a uselessness beyond my myopia

Ask Aden

for A.D.

Are aardvarks anxious?

Do dragons dream?

Ever see an eager elephant?

Newts are never nervous, are they?

Excerpted from Sleeping with the Dictionary by Harryette Mullen. Copyright 2002 by Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.



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