English is a dynamic language; it changes all the time. Sometimes the changes occur slowly, sometimes they occur rapidly, but they do occur continually. The advent of cell phones and texting and services that demand a premium on collecting meaning into a limited number of characters have produced a plethora of acronyms, so numerous that whole Internet sites are devoted to interpreting them. One of those acronyms, LOL, seems to be a favorite of many who comment on this blog. Write a poem about LOL, or RAD, or any words or phrases you hear that are not “standard” English. Don’t feel restricted to “new” coinage; these days, even the King’s (James’s) English sounds strange to some.


The Fax of the Matter

A stay-at-home mom, now single,
I needed to enter the workforce.
It had been more than a decade
Since I’d graduated from high school.
No college for me.

We were not of the privileged few
With home computers.
In fact, I had no computer experience
And was not tech-savvy
In the least.
So I entered a local college on a –
Ready for this? –
“Displaced housewife” grant.
I chose a secretarial course.

After just a few months in,
I was offered a decent job
At The University of Toledo.
I quit college and snatched it up.
That, after all, was why I was in school
At age thirty.

My first week on the job,
I received a call from the U.T. librarian.

“Miss, will you please tell Dr. Burnham
He has a facts.”

I thought for a moment.
Did I hear her correctly?
I responded.

“Pardon me. Did you say Dr. Burnham has
A facts?”

“Yes ma’am. He can pick it up at the front desk.”

Completely baffled, I repeated again…

“I’m sorry. Are you saying Dr. Burnham has
A facts? As in singular ‘a,’ and ‘facts’?”

Now she seemed a bit impatient.

“Yes. A facts. He has a facts. We’ll hold it for him.”

Well, I wasn’t going to question her any further, so
I wrote down the message for Dr. Burnham.
But seriously, I don’t know how some folks land a job,
Much less at a university.

(Embarrassingly, a true story. 😉 )

© copyright 2013, Marie Elena Good



When I look up the LOLs and the RADs and the JAFs,
I think I am at a convention of gaffes.
Computers and phones have produced a new lingo:
a modified English: alphabet bingo.

This strikes me as silly and somewhat dismaying;
it screws up all meaning. Ya know what I’m saying?
Now reading, like having a cup with no saucer,
takes far too much work, like the English of Chaucer.

© copyright 2013, William Preston