Guide to the Implications of Alphabets for the Purpose of Analysing Poetry or Founding Your Own Language
by Himali Singh Soin
This spring, new languages will bloom. Languages without tongues, languages that come and go like people in dreams, languages that sound like hesitation can be a form of certainty, languages that burst with seeds in the wind and find themselves elsewhere, at home in alien lands.
Drink three litres of water daily, to cleanse yourself of the old speech. What will survive is primal. Each day for the month of April, consider one letter of an alphabet of your choice. Does it make you sad? Does it make you crave something sour? Or is it more axonal. Finally, write a letter to the letter. Dear A---
b to be. the present participle or gerund: being. an ontological state, verb and noun.
c the unshifting baseline in western music. the tonic. to see. the sea. the third, the base.
d the way of one’s hands. determination. distance.
e the most common letter in english. in hindi, feminine. error. envelope. the letter as a missive. desire. aether. anticipation.
f sharp. if. cold.
g it makes promises it cannot keep. respectfully. ghosts.
h after the seven notes of music. two parallel lines joined by a perpendicular. the bomb. the alpha and the omega. the eighth letter. upright infinity. homesickness for a place yet to be visited. hawa.
i i am. a line and a dot. an anthropomorphised character. the eye that cannot see itself. ice. catching another’s i at a party. quiet. the beginning of the image. imagination. magic.
j wild. lumberjack. think flannel, cheese and a metallic bicycle. joy. tao.
k hard, occlusive, obstructing airflow in the vocal tract. aspirated.
l song. snow. alliteration. a moment, continuous. loss, love.
m an author. a double n. head and taste. mother. melancholic.
n no. not no. negation. a number. nostalgia that sits in the temples, pillars holding nothing up. an imbalanced mix of hope and alienation.
o the beginning. a whole, a void, a closed narrative. a ring, a proposal. the beginning of om. a realisation in soft focus, oh!
p pee. pea. antennae. pluto, the disregarded. divining secrets of souls by prodding with magnets and needles. the post. the philosophical if P, then... mind your p’s.
q and q’s. meaning “why” in hindi. contains the word “you”.
r topographical reliefs and the relief of recycled roughness. radius. pirates.
s spring. snakes hissing. silence. intestines. arteries. plural. sadness. the loop that begins again.
t the candle’s wick, the sweeping sword through it. tea. a deliberate consonant. a stressed syllable. sound like the tabla, sound like water hitting air slinging photons into rings of bright.
u you. the second person. the interminable other. uranus.
v sounds like we. the not-i. the polyphonous glitch. the vulva, the apartness that is not a chasm but a space of possibility and probability. teeth on lower lip. triangle.
w double “you”. double of you makes me. sometimes, the wind.
x the fill-in-the-blank. the not-knowing. the subversive. the disobedient. rare. before, outside.
y sounds like why. the reason we do things, the most irrational question of all. or.
z the end. that is, to sleep. the death of the present moment and the dissonant dreaming. the invention of another epoch.