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Ben Sloan

The Wind in the Tops of the Trees

The Wind in the Tops of the Trees

It is often used as a verbal Molotov cocktail or hipspeak punctuation mark, as we know, but the problem is that from overuse it is losing, maybe already has lost, its power to shock.
Once it is defanged, we can use it as a pronunciation practice tool with a student (1) blowing air against the back of the top teeth, (2) lifting the teeth off the lower lip, and then (3) letting the explosion at the back of the throat shoot across the tongue and out the front door.

It starts soft, mimicking some people’s first year spent sucking on the corner of a baby blanket—then we awaken, with a jolt, as Hansel and Gretel did the day their sociopathic stepmother abandoned them in the woods.

Hearing the wind in the tops of the trees, him in a shirt with no collar and her in a brown sack-like dress, they shout, more or less simultaneously and more or less as loud as they can, the most offensive cussword they know. 

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Ben Sloan has recent poems in The Tishman Review, Pembroke Magazine, Northampton Poetry Review, and Right Hand Pointing. His essay “Without Any Constraints: Several Shorter Uncollected Poems by Jonas Mekas in the Company of Aharon Appelfeld” will appear Sept. 2018 in Message Ahead (Rail Editions), and his review of The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner is scheduled to be published in Rain Taxi Review of Books.

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