Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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ugly / laide
And I, the one who speaks, I too am disfigured:
soliloquy makes me into a monster, one huge tongue.

Split at the root: Old Norse ugga, to dread or fear; Old Norse uggligr, to be dreaded or feared. Frightful, especially through deformity or squalor, intrinsic or extrinsic. Noisome, also nasty, disagreeable, tense: an ugly mood in the room. Take that ugly mood outside and whack it with a stick, because itstinks, pee-yew, from the Indo-European pu, to rot or decay. Seldom an example that is not a she. First definition, online dictionary: She thought she was ugly and fat. 1766: After having tried in vain to find a wife, even amongst the pert and the ugly. Maybe if he’d taken off the tricornered hat. Feminized, except for Genesis: the uglike snake. She dreads, she fears; she is dreaded and feared. The snake is the fulcrum. An ugly duckling shows no sign of the beauty that will come with maturity, but an Ugly American should just shut up about his French fries. It makes an excellent verb. Richardson in Pamela: It is impossible I should love him; for his vices all ugly him over. All ugly him over! She would have to ugly him over! The film critic said Natalie Portman had to be uglied up in Star Wars, rendered ridiculous in her Amidala costumery, or her cresting beauty would have swallowed the film whole. She was in an ugly mood, by which we mean she was uncooperative. Morally repugnant, when said of behavior. Stormy, when said of weather, of the sea.  

The poem samples quotes from A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes, The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith, The Middle English Genesis and Exodus edited by O. Arngart, and Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded by Samuel Richardson.

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