The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Hebdomadally Speaking


As you may recall, these are the things that I have said you need to write a poem: 1. Words. 2. A form to put your words in. 3. Something to say with the words you put in the form (this will affect how you arrange the words.)

Regarding the words themselves, there is some controversy over how many different kinds you need. Here are three viewpoints on this matter: 1. "You just need to know everyday common words. People don't have strong feelings for the others, so they tend to get in the way of whatever mood you are trying to create, so don't use them." 2. "What a crock. Poems are made of words -- uncommon words make uncommon poems, but they're still poems you dolt." 3. "So, you don't think I have strong feelings for 'martingales'? I feel so hurt and misunderstood. I'm going home to Mother, right now."

Another viewpoint says that you can sometimes discover poetry inside uncommon words -- in just the same way that, sometimes, you can discover ugly mollusks inside beautiful sea shells. With a pen or a sharpened pencil.

Lets look for mollusks inside the beautiful but uncommon word-shell "hebdomadal."

What are hebdomadals? Well, lots of things are... there's original episodes of X-Files and I Love Lucy, lunar quarters, approximately, blue collar pay days, days set aside for gods, the TV Guide, the Stranger, Monday Night Football, days of rest, TGIF, Saturday Night Live, my parents' trips to restaurants, days set aside for gods, soup kitchens at some churches, bowling days, poker nights, days set aside for gods.

OK, all it really means is "weekly". But it means it with so much more beans than "weekly" means it. If you say that you go to church weekly, it sounds like you don't care the other six days of the week. But if you say you go to church hebdomadalistically, it sounds like you're putting serious effort into it. .

Here's a poem with hebdomadals in it. I was inspired to write the following "prose poem" by the fact that hebdomadal nearly rhymes with "bomb it all", but not with much else, so don't look for any rhyme.

Charlie's Hebdomadals
by Copyright Dr. Wes Browning

Wednesday at noon used to be air raid drill time,
get off the street behind your screen door.
Charlie had to prepare for World War III
so we could all outlast the Russkies.

Then Charles went to college.

Noon Wednesdays brought the experimental film series.
An Andalusian dog met with severe abuse.
After that Charlie's Wednesday noon hebdomadals
rapidly became personal.
Once, a kangaroo escaped from the zoo
and jumped in Charlie's mocha.
Last Wednesday noon Charlie's shorts everted
while he was wearing them.

Next Wednesday Charlie will attempt to eat lobster.
He expects his food will assault him.
Let's surprise him with a tie.

I wonder how many people here in Seattle remember how frightened everyone was back in the Fifties by the threat of being bombed to death. There really were air raid drills every Wednesday noon. Though everybody knew about them and could brace themselves for them, they still sent chills up people's spines. Of course it was nothing so personal as having a zoo animal in your drink. Or like having a ten ton bomb dropped on your own house.

The US gets bombed once in half a century and all of the sudden we're the world's victims.


© Dr. Wes Browning:
2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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