Thursday, March 31, 2005

rules for irregular nouns (draft)

The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
-Adrienne Rich, “Diving into the Wreck”

1. genus, genera

a. Forget the thing you came for. As in:
There are trees enough between us.

b. Syntax breaks all the bones,
fashions an index or an acanthus.
I was threadbare and calm, and the splinter still inside me.

c. Here, we came for the ghost of the word
inside the other word:
When seen at a nervous distance,
the leaves that spring from her mouth
resemble sparrows.

2. nebula, nebulae

a. Beware any direct object that ends in –ment. It commonly implies
slowness and pralines.

b. One word may possibly be confused for another. As in,
the instruments were very accurate
the dark gears, incredibly precise.

c. Like diagnosis or phenomenon, many are remnants of archaic systems.(Germanic, Indo/European, et al.)
You believe her when she tells you the radius of her palm equals
the width of a star.

3. stratum, strata

a. The tongue prefers the Latinate, the celestrina and the castanette.

b. She was holding a nest of paper wasps,
the window sills, all the cells covered with silk.

c. What may be utterly commonplace may be utterly lost.

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