Body Language

Gordon Osing

ISBN 978-1-944682-41-5          $8.00        26 pages

In the Beginning of Autumn, ’16


Nothing promised, certes nothing guaranteed,

nevertheless, for reasons of envy of finesse,

I entered upon this matter of momentary

finalities in what one might call confession.

But that’s not entirely “it.” It’s more like

discovery than ending each time I find

what I can say about a moment. And

each time it is a beginning as much as

anything. I needed to be familiar with

the archaeology that is language, times

and circumstances for words assimilated,

because there is no language without a past.

None can be made up on the spot, nor

stopped in its tracks for eternal definitions.


It can be played like musical notation.

be colors squeezed and daubed from a palette,

be sound that shapes thought. It contains

no meaning of itself but there is no being

without it. It yields to the temptations of

hierarchies all too easily. The fall of language

into the present is both more gradual and

more complete, and more remembering than

anything, but there it is, ample and fine.

You have it ready or you don’t. Used or

used by it but one gets to name the terms.

It is the body of the heart of the mind,

“Love’s Body,” Norman O. wrote, or fear’s.

You choose or are chosen.

Gordon Osing is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing at the University of Memphis, where he founded the River City Visiting Writers Series.