words are my life

I got to use the word concupiscent today. Okay, you might say. So what? So I’ve been wanting to use that word since I first read it in Wallace Steven’s poem “The Emperor of Ice Cream” in high school. The actual line is

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.

The poem goes on to reflect a wake. But I found myself stopped dead at that word, at the way it clattered off my tongue. At the lovely round vowels and sharp consonents. I had to find out what this wonderful word meant. And yes, it means kind of what it sounds like. Great sexual passion. Works for me.

But the sound of it! I don’t just love writing words. I love saying them. I love poetry and romance because there are few things more fun than alliteration. I mean, come on. Kitchen cups concupiscent curds. Say that fast three times. Even better, dig out Poe’s poem “The Bells.” By the end you’re shouting the words so fast you sprain your tongue. At least once a year I read it out loud to my empty house (okay, and my cat. But she’s not so much a Poe fan) just to hear it.

But I got to use concupiscent in a book. Specifically in The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes. Even more specifically, about Aunt Rellie, who enslaves men and feeds off them until they’re dust and blow away. Which is just about what her niece Dee wishes would happen to her. We’ll find out if it does. But in the meantime, I got to say concupiscent. What a cool job this is.

eileenkathleen, the evil twins

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