Harry Crosby (1898-1929)

A Short Introduction to the Word

A nursery game called
Hunt-the-Slipper. A flower called
Lady-Slipper. Running in the
Gold Cup a horse called Slipper.
Drinking champagne out of
her Red Slipper. From these
magic sources the development
of the word Slipper in my mind
so that it becomes the word internal
and therefore as such a part of
me as my eyes or feet.

Names for girls: Clytoris,
Puma, Firedine, Sunelope, Yes, Ráhda,
Incircumscriptibleness, Anitdisestablishmentarianisms.
Take the word Sun
which burns permanently in
my brain. It has accuracy
and alacrity. It is monomaniac
in its intensity. It is a continual
flash of insight. It is the
marriage of invulnerability with Yes
of the Red Wolf, with the Gold Bumblee
of Madness with Rã.
Birdileaves, Goldabbits,
Fingertoes, Auroramor, Barabarific,
Parabolaw, Peaglecock, Lovegown,
Actress and Poet,
Prizefighter and Princess, Aviator and Nun.
I understand certain
words to be single and by themselves
and deriving from no other words
as for instance the word I.
Certain words must
be avoided altogether.
The intoxicating
promise of words such as the
words in her eyes.
Names of horses: The Arrow,
Locomotive, Firecracker, Tornado, Galloper Light,
Trajectory, The Meteor, Fleetness, Velocity.

Slang: snifetr = a little drink,
kiss-pretties = go to hell, jumping =
jumping into bed with someone hence
the expression ‘she’s a jumper,’
what’s the crêpe = how are you,
to put on a storm = to stage a wild party,
harra or harra burra = a cry of
enthusiasm, brunch = a combination
of breakfast and lunch, m. o. =
mutual orgasm, 34 ½ = ½ of 69,
d.b. = dumb blonde.


I believe that certain
physical changes in the brain
result in a given word—this
word having the distinguished
characteristics of unreality
being born neither as a result
of connotation nor of conscious

endeavor     Starlash

The evolution of a word
in the mind requires despotic
power and unlimited elimination.
How would Yes for instance flourish
among words such as dog or corset
or safety-pin or hot-water-bag or eunuch

A word should be not
merely an image but a directive
force which guides the flight of
the soul

I believe that the
constant repetition of certain words
is as necessary as eating or as
taking exercise
January          Fire
February       Barbaric and Catapult

March           The Arrow
April             Amor and Ra
June               Invulnerability
July               Meteoric Madness Velocity Sorcerers
August         I          Yes
September    Slipper         New Moon

There is the automatic
word as for instance with me
the word Sorceress where the
word goes on even while the
attention is focused on entirely
different subjects just as in
swimming my arms and legs
go on automatically even
when my attention is focused
on subjects entirely different
from swimming such as
witchcraft for instance or
the sorceress
The spiritual source of
the word is too often ignored—any
word that will serve for any other use
is seldom satisfactory.

Time in regard to the word
should be qualitative rather than
The significance of the
word must differ from that of
daily life. This is important.

The word Aphrodisiac
according to the dictionary is a
drug provocative of sexual desire.
But for me it is the name of a yacht
and white as her great white sails
and has nothing whatever to do
with sexual desire. 
Always     dominate
the word. 

For the body of man a
hareem of houris for the brain of
man a hareem of words.

Very Nice To Look At And
Sweet To Touch words written
in red lettering on a card
pinned to a bathing suit worn by a
wooden mannequin in a shop window at Deauville.

The flesh of lions is fit
meat for brave men because they
at the same time transfer its
courage to themselves. So is the word
fit meat for brave minds because
they at the same time transfer
its courage to themselves. Take
the words Conqueror Meteoric
Attack     Magnificent.
An aeroplane over Paris
trailing a long white banderole
on which is written in huge
letters the words Dry Gin.
I believe that inanimate
words as well as living words
contain stores of magical
force        Stone or Star.
The root of the word
is to be sought in one’s own mind.
A word should be
absolute in its application
Phallic    Thrust    Propellor



Há várias versões diferentes deste poema de Crosby. Esta é a versão 
original do autor para a revista experimental transition, publicada em 
Paris no final dos anos 1920.