Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Single Shot, Adverbial Twist

Build it the way you want it, but watch out -- it slips and slides:

1) You've got this only.

2) You've got only this.

3) You've only got this.

4) Only you have got this.

5) Only, you have got this.

What puzzlement of construction! How elastic the meaning becomes as the qualifier ducks and bobs! How worlds can be said to change and minds light up with the traipsing and high-stepping!

With one, there's no question at all but that your possession is singular. With two, that sense carries over, but resting on 'this', its substantiality rather than its isolation is emphasized: it is 'something', at least.

Three begins to demean the fact of possession itself. You've 'got' it all right, but that's all one can say about your relation to it. That relation may be very fortuitious. It may be virtually empty.

Four brings a sense of singularity to you, yourself. Perhaps a pride lucky or earned, or in comfort of a secret knowledge.

Five provides a sense of exception. Everything else in the world may be the way it is for good or ill, but, in any event, whatever the situation, however the universe wants to turn itself, it must take into account the 'fact' of your having or having obtained this.

Surely, I haven't tapped the meaning out. I don't feel I've drunk this to its bottom. Only, I feel you're done.

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