The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on July 7, 2012


We learn to speak when very young: rattle off mama and bye-bye with no trouble at all; mispronounce spaghetti until we’re five and continue to increase our vocabulary. What to do with all those words? It’s not a problem for those who have diarrhea of the mouth: the folks you ignore – turn deaf ears to. Others hope you’ll listen to what they say. You will if it relates to the issue at hand: you won’t if it’s about tulips and you were talking about dogs.  Some do converse about the issue at hand – endlessly. You grow weary and quickly tune out.

I like to think of a conversation as a sonata, a symphony. Each instrument must play its parts:  none can be a tuba and overpower the rest. Real conversation is circular, not angular. It’s listening not just waiting to speak; a dialogue, not a monologue. A chat is an exercise of the tongue

An old adage says “choose your words carefully. The rabbis cautioned “let your words be few,” similar to “the less said the better.” Yet another is “a closed mouth catches no flies” How to subscribe to that advice without being terse thereby ending a conversation before it’s begun. How do we use words in ways than appeal to the listener; use them so they don’t fall on deaf ears; use them to encourage the exchange of ideas; sometimes to bring forth a laugh: to converse – not just chat.

In an attempt to meet people who had something to say worth listening to I once sampled a few chat rooms.  What I found was conversation about the weather and inane comments flowing back and forth like misplaced tennis balls.  I concluded those rooms are the last refuge of the unimaginative and the lonely. Somewhere off in cyberspace there must be conversation rooms as opposed to chat rooms but I’ve yet to find one.


I’m lost in a desert of words.

Insipid words, lame words,

Meaningless words, colorless words;

Words that taste like  dishwater soup,

Three-day old Wonder Bread.


Aloha calls for a wave of the hand,

A wiggle of the hip.

Bon jour – a good day to you

‘Have a good day’ lacks the same zip.


Julie Andrews calls out to me with  auf wiedersehen;

Her seven little charges with adieu.

The Italians greet me with ciao,

Bid me farewell with arrivederci;

Words that put me in Tuscany,

A heap of pasta on my plate.

What does “so long” mean?


Shalom and salaam wish me peace.

I’m transported to a wall or a mosque,

I can sing to the melody of Adios,

Hop  on a horse and toss a lasso.

Hello and goodbye take me nowhere.


I want to live in a wavy sea, not a swamp.

Where words are more than warm breath

That escapes from mouths,

Disappears as the fog lifts

And carry no meaning.


May you have no frost on your cabbage.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,

And may the most you wish for be the least you get.

Have a  soft day.



I give up:

Throw up my hands, stamp my feet.

People around me either say nothing,

Dwell on the weather, or curse the maid.

I’m lost in a sea of meaningless words.

Where are those who understand

A monologue is not a dialogue,

Hearing is not listening?


I’ll write letters instead,                                                                                                     

Address those willing to share the stage;

Those who delight me challenge me;

Teach me, add spice to my day.


Post a comment.

Julie Rose



One response to “A FLY IN YOUR MOUTH

  1. So much truth in this post! We all want to be heard, and in all our desperation, we forget to listen. I probably won’t look at words the same way again, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. 🙂 You put this so masterfully in verse. Well done!

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