The POTW: Verse Til It Hurts


POTW #704
(Week of 22 November, 2009)

I was reading an article on the Science Daily site about kuru, which is a disease you can catch that puts holes in your brain like a sponge (it's like mad cow disease). Before you get too worried about this, I'll mention that the way you would typically catch it is by eating the brain of someone else who has it - kuru is best known for an outbreak that happened last century in Papua New Guinea, where they used to have a tradition of eating your deceased relatives as part of regular funeral practice (the kuru outbreak has caused them to rethink the wisdom of this). The interesting part of the article was that people in that area have apparently developed a genetic resistance to kuru in a very short period of time, which is cool and fascinating because it's evolution occurring before our very eyes, but what really attracted my poetic sensibilities was the phrase "transmissible spongiform encephalopathies," which means "diseases you can catch that put holes in your brain like a sponge." It demanded to be used in a poem. I used to think that words were my tools, but maybe it's the other way around.


Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy
A happenstance of cannibal religiosity
Degenerative dietary cranial monstrosity
Inhibiting retention
Obfuscating comprehension
Personality suspension
Locomotion unconvention
Unpredictable dementia dimension
Disbanding the mental constabulary
Expunging extravagant vocabulary
Squeezing the juice from the fruit
Gradually less acute
Does not compute
Immobile and mute
No eat brain
Get sick same
Move jerky
Act quirky
Forget own name

Copyright © 2009 by Dave Grossman

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