Monday, September 14, 2020

The Grammar of Self

The self is a forever conjugating verb


No fixed noun with three definitions in Webster’s 


but an ever-moving, ever-changing, active part of speech. 



The old photo scrapbook captures some fixed points on the line


But the mirror asks, “Really? Was that you?


That ten-year old who hadn’t had his heart broken yet?


That twenty year old who never paid a mortgage?


That newlywed with shining eyes before 10,000 mornings waking up together?”



You see how that verb has traveled across your face and left its lines, 


has weighted your skin with the baggage of the years, 


has changed and weathered that forever conjugating verb called self. 



But adjectives and adverbs also hover about, float about the surface of personality, 


make their way into the astrological chart or job interview. 


Some get spoken at the retirement party:


“Kind, hard-working, fun-loving”and so on, casual clichés tossed into the ephemeral air.


But was that really you? 



The whole paragraph of self is dotted with prepositions,the myriad selves before or after, above or below, between or beyond, because of or in spite ofinstead of or except fornext to or withminus or plus. Now things get a bit more interesting.


But what of the noun?

No fixed boundary, confining and limiting, but a tiny sliver of promise, a hidden acorn carrying the whole blueprint, the driver of the whole show. 

It’s the part you can still recognize in those old photos, that gleam in the eye 

that sees it all and is constant amidst the changes. It connects the 2-year old 

with the 92-year old and announces to the world:


“This is the sentence that has never been written before and will never be written again. You can diagram it and analyze the grammar, but best to just read it and enjoy. 

Better to speak it out loud. 

Best to sing it. ”


You are the grammar lesson they don’t teach in school. 

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