When I was Thirteen a Thesaurus Lied to Me

ataraxiaContrary to the alleged wisdom of Roget’s Super Thesaurus 1995 edition (what deemed it “super” the tome never explained): “poetry” and “prose” are NOT synonyms. Thirteen-year-old me did not realize this. I trusted the almighty power of the printed word. Old notebooks now hold embarrassing hand-lettered titlepages. Of course, by “hand-lettered,” I mean letters cut from Seventeen magazine like a ransom note.

I digress.

Full disclosure: I don’t write poetry very often.

Any more at least. Between the ages of twelve and seventeen, I filled nearly a dozen hand-written journals with my awkward, adolescent odes. In some of the earlier volumes, I hadn’t even mastered the dexerity required for elegant cursive writing. And I consulted the aforementioned thesaurus far too often, believing this great book to be the key to it all, thus peppering my poems with endless malapropisms.

I don’t think I’ve gotten better with age.


I’ve written a total of about four poems in the last seven years. Two are terrible. Another two, not so bad.

One of those not-so-bad two, Madrid, Before a Recession, appears in Ataraxia Vol. 4, available here.

When I first wrote this poem, nearly six years ago, it was simply titled Madrid.

I sat on it for a while. Years passed.

Looking at it again, it suddenly became something of a time capsule. (Like a thesaurus from 1995.) And a rather accidental one at that.

Thus, the renaming.

2 thoughts on “When I was Thirteen a Thesaurus Lied to Me

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