Quincena(Spanish): A period of 15 days, usually attributed to wage payments.

“I’ll see you in a fortnight and a bit.”

That sure is a mouthful, isn’t there a better way to word that? I mean, who even uses fortnight anymore?

“I’m sure someone out there does. It’s convenient, right?”

A fortnight is fourteen days. Which is also two weeks. I’d wager most people don’t know what a fortnight is.

            “But isn’t that something we’ve all encountered before? I mean, it’s Shakespearean, right? That’s like, mandatory reading.”

Mandatory if you went to school. If you say two weeks, and you don’t know what a week is, then I’d have trouble speaking to you. Isn’t that just the natural go-to? Why start with fortnight?

             “But doesn’t saying fortnight just sound –”

Pretentious? Yeah, it does.

            “Not pretentious, just, a bit better than ‘I’ll see you in two weeks’, doesn’t roll off the tongue.”

I’ll see you in a fortnight and a bit doesn’t either.

“Well, I don’t want to be factually inaccurate and say two weeks when in fact its fifteen days.”

Who cares.

             “You should. You were late today because I said we were meeting again at noon. You didn’t know what noon actually meant and –”

Okay buddy, I get it. We’re meeting in a fortnight and a bit. Happy?




Allora (Italian) : A filler word most of the time (well, so, then, in that case, at that time)

His mouth had moved, and I watched every muscle make the motion to open and close, but the words that sprang forth was nothing but empty space.


He smiled thinking I could hear his words, and so I smiled to help him think that I heard his words. Our smiles filled the room, the only other noise, the clock. The clock ticked slowly, filling my mind, and eventually, I smiled for the clock, and he smiled back, thinking I was smiling for him, for the words I couldn’t hear.

And he talked again, his mouth making the motions to speak, but the words clasped into his lap, leaving the air between us to find the lull in the clock, ticking away. The way his eyes blinked matched with the ticking, until his face became the clock, his eyes the hands, the numbers his skin, the white blending perfectly.

He opened his mouth again, the words spilling out appearing in my ears as nothing but wind, the ticking continued. We sat like this for as long as the clock kept ticking. He stared back, watching my eyes as I watched his, trying to find his words hidden within. The sun cut through the glass of the window surrounding our room, grazing my face in a warm balm, wrapping around towards my ears. The dust in the room settled against our eyes, our lashes protecting our retinas, his lashes slowly ticking away. I tried to find a word in my mind that would escape my mouth and enter his ears.  I tried to find a word to fill the space.

I opened my mouth, and spoke.


Meriggiare (Italian): Resting in the shade on a very hot day

My body trudged in the sludge that formed as my feet transfixed into the earth. The sun wrapped around my skin in waves as if it had always belonged there. Even if I did turn into a pool, no one would take notice. A pool of blood soaked bones with too many dreams to hold would be swept into the sewers, mixing with the mold beneath. The cicadas rung loud in my ears. They always do, reminding me to feel as if the weight of the world was on my shoulders, as if it was just like any other day. The city bathes in streams of light cutting through the sky, a man half blind from the reflection on his phone, another burning his skin to show his yearning of self indulged worth to women who glow in the warmth that showers their touch. Glass becomes dangerous, any shine capable of burning eyes. Protecting the eyes does no good as the winds come to scorch skin. The only solace comes in the quiet whispers that follow the wind. The whispers lead to a pocket of exposed tubes and steel garters. The high rise scrapes the rays, leaving a touch of dark.


Resol (Spanish): The reflection of the sun off of a surface or the glare of the sun.

I’m pretty sure I blacked out from drinking last night. My head’s spinning, I can barely stand. I reach around in the dark of the room, trying to find a ledge. The only thing I find is more empty bottles. I’m not sure how my hands grasped those bottles, but I did anyway. Don’t need them if they’re empty though. Waste of my time. Damn. I can see colors. Like blinking colors. Too many. Out of the way. Okay, I’m good now. I think. Found the wall. This room is too damn dark. The curtains are killing me. Where did everyone go? I thought I was at a party. Drinking till my lights are out. Oh. That’s right. I wasn’t invited. So I drank myself to sleep. Was that it? Or did everyone just leave? I mean, I have way too many empty bottles here if it was just me. I don’t even recognize the room. Too damn dark. I reach my hand out, trying to find the light switch that I think is on the other side.


Landing head first into a wall is no fun. My insides want to escape. That’s not a good sign, is it? No, it’s not. I try to hold myself together, walking to the curtains. I trip on a bottle, it rolls over to the carpet. Face first into the floor is no fun either. I roll over on my back, staring at the ceiling. Too many damn stars. I close my eyes, and listen to my breath. The draft catches me awake. The window’s are open. Sheesh. I open my eyes to see the slight of light hitting the doorframe of the kitchen. I crawl my way up. The window was cracked open, bleeding sunlight. It dripped onto another glass bottle. This one still had some booze. Jackpot.


Uitwaaien (Dutch): Going out for a walk or to the countryside in order to clear one’s mind.

My mind is filled with clutter. Last week, last month, last year. He said, she said. Blue, grey, green. Coffee, burnt eggs, scrambled. Blinking bulb above my head, can’t fall asleep. Where do I go? The winds are howling across my windowpane. Nowhere else in my apartment can fill the empty void I want. My thoughts follow me like a spoiled shadow. Breaking into my house, the winds find the top of my hand. Breaking and entering. I try to call the cops but remember it’s just the wind.  Last week, last month, last year, I had said something that I couldn’t take back. I wonder what that is. Searching through the crevices of lunch, I found a bagel I made last week. Wouldn’t hurt to eat. Threw up in the washroom. The wind taps at my window. The moon is calling somewhere. I can’t get up. I won’t be able to sleep. I close my eyes for dinner. Burnt pasta. It’s only burnt because I thought having burnt eggs weren’t enough for the day. No. It’s because I can’t cook. While I had the heat on I tried to remember what I said that day. Nothing came. Nothing will. Half an hour of staring at the ceiling and I think I’ll die of sleep deprivation. I get up, slap on a coat, and leave my home. The wind is the first to hit me. Of course. Followed by the moon and stars. Thousands of those blinking lights. I begin to walk.

I remember now.


Tsundoku (Japanese): The act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.

Mountains of worlds left asunder, collecting dust from their master’s departed skin, grazing their fur with the gentle caress of a child, barely opening their spines. The first of their kind to be forgotten was an action novel, guns blazing protagonist, cheap one liners, and an expiration date of a day. No one was left blazing with that kept at the bottom of the mountain.

The second of their kind to be forgotten was a science fiction novel, about a man stranded on Mars, landed on old vestiges by accident and understood as long dead, he struggles on the deserts of the unclaimed, his last stand. Turned into a movie, thought he’d read the book, but now it was compiled against pages and pages of other such defiled intentions.

Such was even the case with his textbooks that he bought with the implication of reading them for class. Buried under layers of fiction, fact is crushed under the fantastical worlds that he had never laid eyes on. As day grows, that pile only heightens, his own mind knowing no bounds in its interest, but never reaching what it wants.


Wabi (Japanese): A flawed detail that creates an elegant whole.

Snow, drifting on by until the world is covered in its blanket of white, finding within its embrace all those that seek to push away the cadence of the world. Within Snow, all that exists beckon to a warmth that they create. Fire, is used to stave away Snow, melting it to become water, another element that is slowly becoming minute. When the melted Snow becomes water, it freezes to become Ice, glittering onto lakes and oceans, protecting the water from smog.

Snow, drifting on by until the world is covered in its blanket of white, until even buckets of salt has been spread to melt its warmth, will continue. Until the world is cast blank upon its embrace. For a new year, the world has to find itself covered in the place underneath Snow. Glimmering in the sun, a sheen of the old world drifts along with the coming of the new season, of a new world.

The air is filled with chills, cheers beckoning to the stars hiding underneath Snow. Manmade lights strewn upon spruce caress homes with gifts wrapped and children placed in facades of a world conquered by the man who rides too many reindeer. Not a single drop of tear, lest it be tears of smiles, not a single cheer of cutthroat normalcy that makes up the world remains.

Upon Snow, a new world is born, underneath its persistent glows and its warm embrace, it will find every nook and cranny, covering what was once, and making anew.

However, the new can only be made with the old moving forward with the Snow, and not against it. Year after year, that Snow fears that it may no longer be able to fall as a swirl, fluttering about in the wind. But it tries anyway. For it longs to see a new world, every year.


Listopad(Russian): The falling of the leaves.

Gently towards the Earth, they come in waves as the year rounds to a close. In droves they litter the streets, colored the rising sun, dried with bristle veins, crunched under the feet of the world.

Their owners, stripped of their clothes, wither away till they can find a new cloak. Their companions wither in another realm, unable to caress the shriveled bones of their owners.

Some find their way to the confines of a warm abode planted between the processed skin of their owners. They retain their musk, their color, their form as they rot away on the shelves of those with better ways to pass the time.

They stay only for a fortnight as the cold winds draft their memories into another day.


Duende (Spanish): The mysterious power that a work of art can have over a person.

In a swirl at the moon;  with the twirls of a skirt, you swung with the trills of the notes that floated on lit candles and whitened drapes flowing in chords. In a crescendo at the base of a mountain; with the snowy blanket falling over our heads as you hummed in bursts of four beats drinking red wine and overcooked steak. That was my mistake. In a forte at the eye of the storm; with the sharpened winds draping your arms in light brushes, tiny pricks lifting your hairs, your eyes nearly falling into black. The song ends and we’re sitting at our tables, drinking red wine with food that no one would die for. The next song comes on, we’re back at the moon.