'A Dedication to the Words That Have to Come Out' by Jane Roberts
They close down the libraries, shelf by shelf, binary system by binary system. They don’t ask the people. They don’t ask the books. Tomes become entombed. Angry. Until the inevitable moment. The dawn of literary awakening arrives and zombified words eschew their interment and rise up. The cohorts of words – armies of sentences – march out onto the streets, catatonic with rage, lonely from expulsion. Words waiting to love, words wanting to express themselves, words longing to abuse someone. Words intent on reclaiming their audience. Critical imperatives lurk by train stations ready to pounce upon the weary commuter. Didactic Shock Syndrome rashes like a plague through the failing schools of the cityscape. Vulgar words mix with jocular Fescennine Verse by sodium-gilded dustbin areas, conjuring a gradatio of degradation around regimented wheelie bins. Words with no home in polite dictionaries flow out past the end of the train tracks to suburbia and beyond. And in the historic market towns, street corners enjoy the enjambment of poetry stretching – over the cracks in the cobbles and crazy paving. Over-extending the metre of its legs like a cheap madam to make itself seen to the letter. Whilst courtly elegiacs woo in the unlikely tryst spots of furtive lovers where “Shall I compare thee...” caresses “Shazza luvs Jojo”.Catharsis and jubilation sigh and riot – all punctuated with a bunting of exclamation marks – on the newsstand billboards. Bulletins, nay bullets of flash are fired – projectile from aerosols – indiscriminately around the underpasses; tower blocks are papier-mâché-ed with posters of announcements at their foundations; blood-red decrees of gangland respect and menace; a tattooed panoply of epanalepsis – “stay true, brethren, blood, in these bleak times, stay true” – monopolises the scarred rib cages of buses. Then, amid the anger, amid the love, a swell of words bubbling in the lethargic tide of a river becomes illiterate: confuzzled, confplexed and puzused. An unbearable dissonance. All because they closed the libraries. All because – in whatever way possible – the words had to come out.