Tag Archives: poem


Cenesthesia is, according to Merriam-Webster, “the general feeling of inhabiting one’s body that arises from multiple stimuli from various bodily organs.” It is also spelled coenesthesia, reflecting its roots in Greek κοινός koinos (Latinized as coen–) ‘common’ and αἴσθησις aisthesis (Latinized as aesthesis) ‘sensation, feeling, perception’. But coenesthesia tempts a person to say it as “co-enesthesia,” when in fact it is to be said as “seen-esthesia” – very similar to synaesthesia, which, however, it is not (that’s cross-modal perception, as when a person has a tactile or visual sensation in response to a sound). There’s no point in trying to make it closer to the Greek or Latin pronunciation; it was assembled from the classic plastic bricks in the mid-1800s.

I think a poem is appropriate. Here.

Hello, feet, which glow
so warm (too warm) with distance
thumped by walking for my health.
Hello, legs, which twitch
curiously on random days.
Hello, ass, which has a pain,
several, in fact, literally.
Hello, back, which remembers
all the things I’ve lifted
and a life of slouching
and just wants to discuss
the date of our next massage.
Hello, shoulders, which
are made of hardwood now,
if hardwood aches like this
and keeps me awake from sleeping funny.
Hello, arms, which feel
strong enough once every never.
Hello, fingers, which are just
eight supercharged antennae
knowing fabrics and knots unseen,
sensing every passing sound,
feeling when nearby insects have sex,
so rarely touching other hands.
Hello, thumb, which hurts
for some strange reason today.
Hello, heart, which beats
harder when I’ve had a tuna sandwich
or after climbing the stairs
or when someone drops a dish.
Hello, belly, please tell me
why the things my mouth enjoys
make you hot and bothered so.
Hello, lungs, I’m glad
you haven’t killed me yet
though there were times you tried.
Hello, neck, I know
you’re always wondering when
the next time is that you’ll be kissed.
Hello, eyes, you itch
to see and also itch
whether you see or not.
Hello, nose, don’t pick on me.
Hello, tongue. Hello. Helllllooooo.
Hello, scalp, I hear you say
you want some fingertips;
I’ll see what I can do.
Hello, brain, even though
I’ve never felt you yet,
and that may be for the best.
Hello, body, hello, feelings,
hello, sense I’m still alive,
hello, cenesthesia. Hi.


Another poem for you. Today’s word is chirapsia, which means ‘manual friction’ or ‘massage’; it comes from Greek χειραψία, which could mean ‘gentle friction’ or ‘hand-to-hand combat’ (!), from χείρ kheir ‘hand’ and ἅπτω hapto ‘I touch’.

Whose hands, whose talons
seize my small fond cares,
pull at knots I’ve nicely tied,
tear the guts of my favourite stress?
What raptor takes me face down
and makes me face down
days of clenching and joy,
shrugs and spindled ecstasy?
In your chirapsia’s rhapsody,
have care of my rapt back,
bare arms, uprooted fingers;
soak my aches in your hands,
fit me to fight relaxation again.


The other day, while playing Scrabble, I saw that I could play the word RANTICLE… if only it were a word. Well, I want it to be a word. And obviously it’s a canticle that’s a rant, or a rant that’s a canticle. Or maybe it’s just a little rant. Whatever. Here is a ranticle for you! (Click on the audio above to hear me sing it.)

Here’s to the people you see every day
Who stop on the sidewalk, ignoring the fray,
In ones, twos, and sixes, and get in the way:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the chuckers of trash on the street,
Of wrappers and cigarettes under your feet,
Who think it’s for others to keep the world neat:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the grammar creeps stuck on correct
Who pounce on each error they chance to detect
But treat fellow humans with zero respect:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the journalists, eager for story,
Who haunt the bereaved any time it turns gory,
And zoom in on tears of the upset and sorry:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the drivers, lead foot on the gas,
Who hang on your bumper, so eager to pass
That if you slowed down they’d ram right up your… tailpipe:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the whiners who always protest
When some inequality might be redressed
And by “common sense” mean they get to be best:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

Here’s to the thoughtless, whatever their station,
In things of the neighbourhood and of the nation,
Who can’t spare two seconds for consideration:
Watch what you do! What’s wrong with you!

imminent, immanent

You really want to listen to this one:

Here’s a manic mnemonic for imminent versus immanent: Continue reading


Today, a poem on threnody, which is a song of mourning, from Greek θρηνῳδία.

A wail, a wave, a melody,
a singing throng, a mourning song,
a lilt of loss, a threnody,

enthralling, throttling, memory
relief and peace of grief release,
a pyre of choir, a threnody,

the seamstress of humanity
to rip the skin and stitch within,
a thread, a threat, a threnody.


I just can’t quit writing poems. I’ll get back to regular word tastings, don’t you worry, but first, here’s a sonnet. Continue reading


This year, I’m writing poetry for every word tasting in November. I’m calling it Povember. Today, to finish the month, a rondeau. I have enjoyed doing my word tastings as poetry for a month. I will probably keep doing so from time to time. Continue reading