lower case i


the average boy or girl

has a vocabulary of

seventy five thousand words –

if that’s right

how come my son

can’t form a sentence without using “like”

at least once or twice

and he can’t seem to limit

his use of “innit?”

no matter how hard he tries –

and if I hear him say “bruv” one more time

to anyone other

than his actual brother

I’m gonna go nuts – I’ve had words with his mom

she seems to think it’s a fad, a phase

that he’s going through and that

all of a sudden he going to start

spouting off verse like wordsworth or coleridge

and riffing on tolstoy with his head in the fridge

i’m not as optimistic as my spouse

because i’ve heard the crud that drops from his mouth

when in the company of friends

when it’s all “rad, yeah, totally” and “d’you know what i mean?”

Well, i’d know what you meant if you enunciated better

and didn’t confuse me by forming every sentence

with a question mark at the end(?)

i know that language is alive

therefore, it must evolve

a new word is invented every ninety seconds

or so i’m told

it’s just that at school, i had grammar class

and yes, it was dry and uninspiring

all gerunds and subjunctives, naming words

passato prossimo and reflexive verbs

but most of it went in

and now i’m glad that i know where to place

apostrophes’ (joke) “and” parentheses 

and it’s with this wisdom

that i can commit the greatest parental

cardinal joy, that of projecting my childhood misery

onto that of my favorite boy