When I talk about grammar I mean something deeper than slanted lines drawn under a sentence on a blackboard. Grammar is the foot that connects us to the earth. We walk across this land on it—it’s our way of being in the here and now--of relating to the world and being anchored to it at the same time.
Grammar is the way you see things, it’s the way you understand hand gestures and words people say with chopped off endings. It’s built in to the jokes in television commercials. It’s the way you bring the soup spoon up to your mouth, it’s how you walk through a chain store in a mall and expect similar things to the other versions of the store you’ve been to…grammar is how you know how to tear open the perforated flap on your speeding ticket and unfold it to read what’s inside…
country grammar (like nelly’s), street grammar, cocktail party grammar, white grammar, black grammar, young grammar, old grammar, east, south, north, wessssssssssssside grammar…
Grammar has to do with the music you listen to and the heroes you have, if you have any heroes at all.
It’s about what you see and feel and when you open your eyes in the morning. It’s the brightly lit bridge taking you from the shadowy soft dream world of the night into the harsh realities of the day: of needing to get up and make money and be the person that you are, in the job and socio-economic class and overall situation that makes up the reality of your life.
You can speak the same language as someone but have a totally different grammar. The kids who are rioting in France speak French but they speak it with a different grammar than most of those who are nestled safely within the arrondissements of Paris. The American colonists and their English counterparts started out speaking a like and as distance, time and economic circumstance created a rift between them, the grammar of being English and having the English way of doing things fell off from the colonists like over-ripened fruit falling off a tree.
They were replaced by bright green American buds—symbols and parables—the beginnings of a brand new way of thinking and talking and writing.
Now the fruit is ready to fall again…