When Words Lose Their Meaning

When words lose their meaning
I listen for the sounds they make.
Some are like dirty water swirling in a can.
Some are like deflating a truck tire.
Some are like when a child dumps
her blocks on a tile floor.

When words become their opposites
their dignity is not diminished.

When the journalists who covered the protests
against the North Dakota oil pipeline
were arrested and charged with rioting,
their words sounded like hammers
annealing hot iron.

The words of the US president,
when he said he wanted
to restart construction on the pipeline,
using a company he owned part of,
sounded like cheap pants ripping
when someone has grown fat
stealing bread money
from his grandmother,
the one with tired eyes
who remembers what she paid
for every piece of clothing
she ever bought.

3 responses to “When Words Lose Their Meaning

  1. Alan Shusterman

    I think of my own grandmother in Duluth. She came here from Russia. Twice. The first time she had an eye infection and they put her back on the boat and made her go back across the Atlantic. My grandfather was patient. A tailor. Another stitch, another button, another coat. He saved his pennies and brought her again. And here we are one more time, watching another crook dip his hand into the cookie jar, while he tells us how “great” it will be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Mist and Mold and commented:
    Listen for the sounds … cheap pants ripping … the sound of the lid on Grandma’s cookie jar being lifted as the thief reaches for the bread … the sounds of outrage … like hammers on hot iron. The sounds are there for all of us to hear. We just need someone to call them to our attention. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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