Texting prunes our language, while
Twitter compartmentalizes our thoughts.
The working dialectic is a leafless tree –
pollarded, with inadequate adjectives,
resulting in smooth grey bark.
Modern language does us a disservice,
when you tell me of your workplace woes –
the meaning spans a library of potential,
from gently anxious to freaking out.
The beauty of our mongrel tongue
is usually found in perspicuous specificity.
from talweg to tor, the susurrus of gab
should give us the perfect word –
or at least a pleasurable dictionary fumble.
Stress is barren, with anxiety, tension,
and a small set of engineering terms,
practically lifted from a command prompt.
In our lives of sweaty plastic keys
and accelerating expectations,
we need a new lexicon of stress.
Smoos – lightly frazzled, but everything is under control,
is cute and fuzzy, but slightly uncomfortable,
like an Ikea office chair.
Garbleforp – can’t keep up, keep getting buried,
is a velarized stumble, dropping a stack of files
and needing a cry.
Damfrigizt – freaking out with anger and fear overtones,
a tautology more than a minced oath,
best said under the breath and repeatedly, as a koan.
Umberwold slows us down, it’s too much to even try.
Let’s just pretend the power went out and turn off the server.
And lie on the floor in the cold room, rebooting.
A few starters to share, pass the meme.
we are name-givers after all,
and with a lexis of stress,
a precise understanding,
we will be able to rise above it
to have nuanced strategy and tactics.
The Inuit didn’t idly coin their snowy terminology,
they make their words work for a living.
In English our history of violence is tediously long,
with an associated richly evocative
and distressingly poetic word-hoard.
But the balance to the cruelty is a dictionary
of amends and amity.
It is hard to see a dagger in the emails.
The slow building of adrenaline from cubical-drama
doesn’t share the same threat as an axe-handed invader.
But both we can better understand
when we give it a name, and pause,
considering our enemy.
Chris Hardy is a designer in the San Francisco studio.