Not Another Word! (ASL Poem)

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Image description: A white young man is standing in front of a orangish/whitish wall. He is wearing a white T-shirt, grey-ish pants, and a brown belt. He is signing something that means a sign is literally being unraveled and assigned many words.

Purpose: I wanted to demonstrate wordplay and poetic devices in ASL. I do not wish for anyone to literally experience the events in this poem.

Keywords: sign language, gun smoke, I love you, sentence, tree, ballerina, meaning, drop sentence, soul, birds, vocabulary, multiple meanings, skate, frozen grammar, fireworks, popcorn

Synopsis: The poem opens with saying that sign language is so fast while producing signs related to gun smoke. English approaches sign language and assigns words, only to see them fly off when the hands move. English then takes down a plane into the words “I love you”, chops down a tree with a line by Deaf poet Dorothy “Dot” Miles (“Hold a tree in the palm of your hand”) into a linear sentence, and commands a dancing sign to a formal ballet while producing the ASL sign for rule. Then, one sign flies by so fast that it drags the entire sentence (a dangling sentence) before English drops the sentence into the sea only to find a soul (literally the rotated sign for sentence) which is now a wire occupied by birds that then fly away as vocabulary becomes animated into some sort of gymnastics using the same ASL sign for fun. The ballerina of meaning is freed and words are literally decomposed and the sentence is now fragmented. As a sign approaches English, the sign is accosted by various English views trying to tie him/her into different words. The rebellious sign cuts off those words with a scissors and then skates so fast that a fire cracks the frozen grammar. English then understands like a fireworks exploding from the brain while sign language understands like a popcorn coming out from the brain, to be enjoyed with butter. There are way more instances of wordplay and multiple meanings in the poem not covered by this synopsis.

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