Three-Lettered Language

Poet Cal Harris explores what would happen if we abbreviated everything to three letters. Contains content which may offend.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how language is regressing,
and I get a sinking, depressing feeling in my stomach.
You see it’s sickening how spectacularly
our vernacular is becoming a torn tapestry;
our vocabulary worn thin, barley there;
our once long yarns now threadbare;
songs and psalms too long to share
in 140 characters.
You see this is where we are going wrong:
the port at which we are now berthed
is fraught with abbreviated words
(which I shall henceforth refer to as ‘abbrevs’, for short).

I recall when I was a school,
(specifically in English class)
we were all asked to take a spelling test,
and it was vast.
It was the same list of a hundred words every year;
starting off with easy ones like dog, and cat, and ear,
through medium words like prologue, combat, and austere,
and ending on atrocities like onomatopoeia.
It was supposed to be a yearly work in progress,
but really I yearly nearly died a slow death,
because eventually there came a time,
when I was consistently scoring 99.
This was due to one single, solitary, soul destroying,
stupid, son-of-a-slut, shit-house word… portmanteau.
P – O – R – T – M – A – N – T – E – A – U.

Portmanteau means two things:
a portmanteau is a type of luggage;
and a portmanteau is a word made up of other words,
like ‘smog’ is made from ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’,
and ‘fugly’ from ‘fuck’ and ‘ugly’.
This brings me back to my opening point,
for a portmanteau is two ‘abbrevs’ which are joined.

Now I’m sure that you are all aware,
that the Oxford English Dictionary,
and I despair,
is becoming full of slang ‘abbrevs’
like LOL and OMG,
and even,
for a reason unbeknownst to me,
included is the ‘abbrev’
OED.
Who, of sane mind,
would pick up a copy of the OED,
with the sole intent and purpose
of looking up the definition
of the abbreviation
OED?

Apathy, stupidity
and sheer bone-idle laziness
are the causes of this absolute absurdness;
this abominable violation of a language once so elegant.
Our eloquence has been denied
by a tide of kids too preoccupied
with phones, Facebook, and Twitter,
and tiresome three-lettered chitter,
to just pick up a book.
A real. Paper. Book.
Anyone responsible for saying, out-loud, the letters L – O – L,
anyone who actually says ‘lol’,
must be too emotionally detached,
or too hopelessly apathetic
to coherent conversation and learning,
to physically ‘laugh out loud’.
How could a kid like this ever hope to be able to spell portmanteau,
when all their conversations
are made up primarily
Of three-lettered ‘abbrevs’?
In a world where
‘OMG WTF LOL!?!?’ (exclamation mark, question mark, exclamation mark, question mark)
is a legitimate sentence,
I feel portmanteau is best forgotten,
because PMT means something completely different.

Cal's performance poetry is laced with witty observations of banality and infusions of pop-culture. Spoken-word for the everyday man.

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