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Sleeping with the Dictionary

I beg to dicker with my silver-tongued companion, whose lips are ready to read my shining gloss. A
versatile partner, conversant and well-versed in the verbal art, the dictionary is not averse to the
solitary habits of the curiously wide-awake reader. In the dark night's insomnia, the book is a
stimulating sedative, awakening my tired imagination to the hypnagogic trance of language.
Retiring to the canopy of the bedroom, turning on the bedside light, taking the big dictionary to
bed, clutching the unabridged bulk, heavy with the weight of all the meanings between these
covers, smoothing the thin sheets, thick with accented syllables-all are exercises in the conscious
regimen of dreamers, who toss words on their tongues while turning illuminated pages. To go
through all these motions and procedures, groping in the dark for an alluring word, is the poet's
nocturnal mission. Aroused by myriad possibilities, we try out the most perverse positions in the
practice of our nightly act, the penetration of the denotative body of the work. Any exit from the
logic of language might be an entry in a symptomatic dictionary. The alphabetical order of this
ample block of knowledge might render a dense lexicon of lucid hallucinations. Beside the bed, a
pad lies open to record the meandering of migratory words. In the rapid eye movement of the
poet's night vision, this dictum can be decoded, like the secret acrostic of a lover's name.

Written by Harryette Mullen


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