LET'S PLAY ... UNCOMMON WORD PAIRINGS...
Some have played this game before and enjoyed letting their imaginations run wild. The results were amazing! I heard such positive feedback about the word pairings blogs that I've decided to give it another go!
Many here have heard me wax on about uncommon word pairings. Basically, it’s just two words not commonly seen side by side.
Word pairings are made with:
1) a noun and a verb
2) an adjective and a noun
3) an adverb and a verb
(Though all writers are advised by those-in-the-know to avoid adverbs all together, I have noticed that one or two adverbs in a poem when used for uncommon pairing, can “set-off” a verb, change its context, make a line pop.)
The easiest way to 'try out/ try on' uncommon word pairings is to use visual prompts.
Remember being a kid in a dark room?
You’d look at the pile of clothes on the floor and suddenly it looked like a snake? Word pairings make use of the same imagery process.
I’ll share some pictures. The first picture I will add some uncommon word pairings below it. Can you see what I’m describing?
I’ll add more pictures. Give it a try. What two words can you use to paint a photo in a whole new light?
The last time we played this game, I asked the poets if it was okay for me to use their pairings in a poem-mosai (for soup only.) The resulting poems were awesome.
If interested, I’d be happy to do this again.
So... take a peek...
cocooned graffiti dayglow kiting
stuccoed wings tigertail crucifixion
walls flutter freedom blues
rebell butterfly reaching antenna
flight stonewalled hopeful blaze
Care to give it a try?
Suspicious of land, too stock-still,
too focused on his cartographic
crinkles,*on his white net of beard,
as coarse as his speech. Shark tales
hide behind scruff-covered scars*—
perfect storms of isolation when a knife
met bone, a lifetime in the trade
shaping the scuffed contours*
of face & character. His knuckles as
red as the catch of the day. The oysters
of his shell-like eyes. Deep pearls
there, bluing an ocean of wisdom.
Debbie Guzzi “scruff-covered scars”
Ruben O “cartographic crinkles”
Brian Strand “scuffed contours”
SECOND STAR OFF BROADWAY
The asphault dancefloor barely keeps
a Peter Pan wannabe* by his Wendy
as others roll eyes & traffic blindly creeps
along. The beat of the city lends
them wings; this magic is no act,
but a practiced balance of flying/tethered,**
low gravity/high riser,*** classic/abstract,
Heaven rooted/ life weathered.
They have grooved with the Lost Boys,
hooked by pirates, dusted flight into air
with invisible strings**** & a storybook joy.
Hand holding hand, a perfect pairing.
The Seeker "Peter Pan, wannabe"
Chris Green "Flying/tethered"
Debbie Guzzie "low gravity/high-riser"
Ruben O "Heaven rooted"
Brian Strand "Invisible strings"
Togetherness lost* after thirty years,
remission proven a delusional hope*, a mirage
that held for three incomparable seasons.
Tender, the routines of Oolong tea, porch time,
dusks immortalized by reminiscence —
unhurried conversations under patio lanterns
lead to talks of no flowers, two hymns
& one eulogy; every ashen word warmed
by a shared wish: light as bright as a citrus
flambé,* ascending. Togetherness found
as they open the box, holding the unlit
paraffin-zeppelins* & regret fades as a face
is cupped between frailest hands. Death
feels less gray, oddly blossoms when they speak
of astral sails*, of a paper-phoenix* faithfully rising.
*Brian Strand ‘Togetherness Lost’
*The Seeker ‘Delusional hope’
*Debbie Guzzi ‘Citrus flambé’
Ruben O ‘Paraffin-zeppelins ‘
Taai Tekai ‘astral sails’
Chris D. Aechtner ‘Paper-phoenix’
Lightning chalks the canyon, etches
sandstone & shale with electric-
calligraphy* carves-out a new story
as old as the charcoaled horizon—
once again, a calligram of static
roots have been unearthed by a squall;
clouds feverishly ink the terrain
with a threat of hail. Pale hairlines
strummed by a storm front; lethal cords**
strung to genuine rock-stars, leashing
metamorphic layers. The echo of blue thunder***
jars masked fossils. The camera
holds steady. Wait, wait,
for the down stroke and the downpour
to give that money shot. Lightning
will strike a pose. The Dragon’s Tail~ flares
for the stratus paparazzi,**** for storm stalkers
who seek infamy in timeless illumination.
*Chris D. Aechtner “Electric-calligraphy”
**Debbie Guzzi “lethal cords”
***The Seeker “blue thunder”
****Ruben O “stratus paparazzi”
Note: the dragon’s tail is a calligraphy term. It is the tail end of certain letter strokes created by raising the pen on one edge as the stroke is being completed. But when I looked at the lightning... it seemed to describe it, too.
Alone, ghosting* a crowd
fixed on getting somewhere
else, a nightlife phantom
stands her ground. Levis jacket
like faded Kevlar, a penumbral-denim,**
holds firm against needling
strobes — sharp neon stitching the narrow
onto the packed street.
Persistent, the bluejean crush***
against a hesitance
to pick up speed, to flash past
this lonesome blue;****
the moment won’t give, won’t enter
the city stream. It resists all
push & pull, nestles
deeper into patched pockets,
stalls the need
to yield just a minute longer.
*The Seeker --- "Alone, ghosting"
**Chris D. Aechtner --- "penumbral-denim"
***Debbie Guzzi -- "bluejean crush"
****Brian Strand -- lonesome blue"
This can add a little somethin' somethin' to your work. It can also make it easier to grasp figurative language, make it just a tad less seem like 'goobly gook' :-)