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Friday, November 21, 2008

Physical Words


I have a love-hate relationship with words. In a very real sense, words have been my vocation. Sure, they were technical terms, mostly. Thousands upon thousands of words offered in memoranda, depositions and reports. I made my living by proffering words, factual words, for employers and clients to digest in return for recompense. Words put food on my table, paid for the roof over my head. Words paved my career and financed my life.

Words have been my avocation. Words encountered in poesy transported me to dreams. Words discovered in novels, words heard in song, words uttered from the stage, words of historians, shamans, biographers, philosophers and scientists taught me everything I’ve come to know, admire and revere. My skull would be empty without words. I’ve loved so many and have learned so much.

But...(there’s ALWAYS a “but”)...there are the physical words. They may not appear menacing at first. More often than not, they were uttered in (somewhat) good faith. My ears once heard the following:

“You are my lover for life...you are my future”

Then she left. The soft words, the beautiful words, morphed to fists and razors.

There was the lover who met another and informed me that: “When I look at him no one else exists.”

Words such as these are physical. They bruise. They stab and tear...leave gaping, burning wounds that never heal. Once soft words become instruments of torture. Loving words, in a different light and a different time, transform into cudgels and knives.

My heart is scarred. My heart is black and blue contused. My heart bleeds from open wounds that never seem to heal.

There are words...profound and satisfying and beautiful words. And there are words...the physical words that destroy the body, mind and soul.

* * *

"I am struck by how difficult it is to get back to something we knew to be true once we have been converted, forced by circumstances, or simply denied and turned away from it, to whatever lonely mess we have managed to make since."
- Terrance Keenan

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12 Comments:

Blogger Maithri said...

Your words are always deep, tender and lyrical.

Thank you for that,

I once saw a painting with "words" written over and over without any spaces in between... it soon began to look like "Swords"...

If only we could be mindful of the power that 'little words' hold.

Soft light, Maithri

Sat Nov 22, 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger shadowlands6822 said...

Oh, Jonas, I, too, learned that words had the power to heal or to wound...and, for most part people use the wounding is more readily than the healing.

You, my friend, have the words that mend...if only other's words could mend your wounds...

Sat Nov 22, 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Cheesy said...

Wounds do heal my dear... if you let them. Try to never close yourself off from the possibility of finding your mate because of the chance of getting hurt again. Life teaches us tough lessons if we let it.. and stay aware of the joys it holds for us. Hugs baby boy...

Sat Nov 22, 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger Selma said...

My mum always recited the 'Sticks and stones' rhyme to me. Trouble is the words did hurt even though she said they wouldn't. I love and hate words in equal measure. I am really struck by how profound Maithri's comment is - words as swords. WOW!

Sun Nov 23, 02:18:00 AM  
Blogger the psycho therapist said...

Yes.

Sun Nov 23, 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

we live, we die, we may contrive...

Sun Nov 23, 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

For some people, words are temporary -- flighty, even -- though the emotions last forever. For others, sadly, neither lasts.

Tue Nov 25, 06:16:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm not surprised that a congregation of bloggers...souls with words to share...have insights into the power of words.

You all do my heart good. Really.

Tue Nov 25, 08:21:00 PM  
Anonymous serenity said...

Jonas,
A first visit and a thank you for leaving me a bread crumb so that I may click through and marinate in your beautiful writing.

Words...amazing the ease with which we use them, often without a thought of their impact, spoken in a moment and yet burned into the memory and the heart like a laser, the irony being those closest to us hold the most powerful vocabulary in their impact on us. Words...abusive....or... uplifting...encouraging...or discouraging...empty...or very full...healing....or...damaging

I have been on both sides of all of them.

I once wrote with so much care over things like grammar and style...my education taught me this.

I now write and speak from the heart, my life has taught me this.

I have plunged myself deeper into the darkness of the heartbreak and pain which has made me understand that I can navigate in there... while there are scars that some days feel torn open anew with the flicker of a memory or awakening from a dream, it is all part of the landscape that defines my life, now a terrain with many more hills and valleys than before, but nonetheless one that makes me more capable of sharing and understanding and giving to others than ever before.

And to quote a newly found friend, "When all is said and done, it’s only the sharing that matters."

Wed Nov 26, 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm glad you found your way to my humble blog abode, Ms. Serenity. You're always welcome to share your words here...anytime.

Sun Nov 30, 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Woman in a Window said...

I wonder. I'm wondering if it is the words, or perhaps what is behind the words that hurts. And maybe not only what's behind the words but maybe what's in front of them too. How we perceive them.

I tend to grab words by the neck, like grabbing a rubber chicken and then I shake. Sometimes I get zinged by the chicken and it stings. Sometimes the wringing turns into a gag. There's certainly always a lot to be had in the power of a word!

Wed Dec 03, 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Well...when it comes to the power of words, Ms. Woman in a Window, you're no slouch.

Just sayin'

Wed Dec 03, 11:49:00 PM  

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