Janis Butler Holm


C Said, D Said

"What passes for experimentation is often an elaborate method of avoiding one's feelings at all costs."
Richard Hugo, The Triggering Town

"My own business always bores me to death. I prefer other people's."
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan

C: This evening feels special. The horses are restless, all tics and nerves. Their twitching may distract him. Imagine how the village will look after rain.

D: I often dream of hemispheres, and lately I've had visions of continental drift. Lemon crops are thriving, or so the paper says. When crowds behave in tacky ways, something must be done. Are these sketches good enough?

C: That's the price of safety. Listening to rumors is not finding truth. But if black stockings please me, I'll wear them everywhere.

D: While the counselor was speaking, the children left the room. How will that absolve you? Marble and granite were chosen for the flat. She's someone's darling honey bun. Household cleaners vaporize, but traces remain.

C: Canada seems welcoming. Possibly Belize. I prefer the ocher.

D: She's such fun to visit.

C: And guidebooks do instruct. They failed to give us notice that he'd soon be on parole. Thinking through the options, I'm liking number six.

D: His relationship to alcohol is perfectly clear. And the cantilevered windows? Comical at best. I'm in love with you, really. How elements of melodrama ruin a good read!

C: No one addressed the stranger.

D: It's hard to see what five-inch heels add to women's lives.

C: My father's death freed me in ways you can't know.

D: Heavens, look what time it is. Otiose students can drive a teacher mad. Is that vendor selling sushi?

C: All the armchairs were voluptuous, as one would expect. When the cook revealed the dishes, everyone blanched.

D: Men confuse ethics with personal taste. Plaids are not attractive.

C: I felt I had no armor, no hide, no husk.

D: Tell the joke about the duchess. The poodle's owner spat on the sidewalk a lot. If you love me, please touch me. Yesterday a ticket-taker glumly took my fare.

C: The foliage here is glorious. My favorite plays are seldom those they choose to perform. You're sure that she accosted him?

D: I'm so fond of pyracantha. The salad sounds fine. Did you spot the tardy brother? Imaginary animals still populate my thoughts.


X Plus Y

"If x is soup and y is soup, then x plus y is soup."
Barbara H. Partee, "Lesson 12: The Event Argument, Aspect and Quantification"

"Soo--oop of the e--e--evening, / Beautiful, beautiful Soup!"
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

X: My silver-braided auntie offered beets at lunch. The piano tinkled merrily, but chickens were more fun.

Y: Entitlement is interesting. You know I'm not special, and you don't give a damn.

X: Slight abrasions to the surface. The brightness of Venus--and controversy, too. For estuary movement, these figures are correct.

Y: He's exciting a market that he'll fail to satisfy. Of all the likely platitudes, this one looks most apt.

X: Ornate floral patterns or something in beige. Polychrome strapping--

Y: I hate you when you're fatuous.

X: The bibelots from Paris were a runaway success. They complained about the herons. Antiquated stirrups may cramp a rider's style.

Y: Everyone's a critic. Blackbirds, cuckoos, pelicans, parrots, storks, and wrens.

X: Though pictures flanked by figurines suggest a certain class. His methods were nefarious. Illustrations helped us to imagine what was there.

Y: Forget the usual meanings of charity and gall. Do russet backgrounds stimulate? She wanted to embellish my little tale of woe.

X: It's the mint on your pillow, the snapshot on your shelf. Lacquered torsos glistened.

Y: Be careful of my carapace. The density of sediment is hard to contest.

X: In inclement weather, one wants a macintosh. A consequence of eggshells. You've heard the ballyhoo?

Y: Casual sightseers might wish to make some notes.

X: Stop fumbling with the liverwurst.

Y: Vociferous rebuttals can signify success. To maintain the population, buy another sheep.