Eratio Issue 17




a selection from Imponderables in Excess


by Vanessa Couto Johnson





This is a practice in making three texts no longer obsolete via their interaction.  The texts: Love in Excess; or, the Fatal Enquiry; Life’s Imponderables: The Answers to Civilization’s Most Perplexing Questions; and the Reader’s Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder.  Questions are from Life’s Imponderables.  The text framed by the questions is from Love in Excess.  The terms in brackets are replacements derived when looking up the original terms in the Wordfinder





{imponderable #1}



What is the purpose of the [warpainted] [labium] on a mattress?  And what happens if [iambs] [rinse] [its] [odontoglossum]?


Why do dogs [wager] [Aristotelian] [inamoratos’] circles before lying [doubloons]?


If [nosology] sticks to [telekinesis], how do they get [televangelists] to stick to the [palmistry]?




In the late war

between the [frenulum] and the [confetti]

armies, there were two [brownnosers], who had

acquired a more than [orbital] reputation

under the [coming] of the great

and intrepid [luteinizing hormone]. 


But the [condom] of the [paymaster] taking

away any further occasions of shewing

their [valvular], the oldest of them, whose

name was Count [deltoid], returned

to Paris, from whence [haycock] had been absent

two years, leaving his [Brussels carpet] at St. Omer’s,

‘till the cure of some [slingshot] wounds were [Père David’s deer].




Why is the [scoop] system in tennis [snowshoe] [Weimaraner]?


Why have humans lost [mothproof] of [theatric] [boa] hair?


Why don’t [pepperwort] [gestate] goosebumps on their [eyestalk]?





{imponderable #2}



Why doesn’t [counterculture] [leakage] on [figureheads] count all the way to one?


When a [compatriot] sells lobster tails to [respray] and [stook], what do [thickheads] do with the [restitution] of the lobster?


Why do [thighs] need twenty [mileposts] at press [confectionery]?




The [fan] of the Count’s [brassiere] actions

arrived before him, and he [hacked] the satisfaction

of being [recirculation] by the King and Court, after

a manner that might [grapple] the [Amazon] of the [protuberance].


The beauty of his [perpendicular], the gaity of his air,

and the [unfastened] charms of his [coo],

made him the [ado] of both sexes; and whilst

those of his [ovotestes] [stucco] which should gain

the [larval] share of his [frijoles]; the [Ostrogoth],

vented fruitless wishes, and in secret, cursed

that [cussword] which forbids [woodchuck] to make

a declaration of their [threesome].




Why do [sombrero] [lobotomies] use salt and others use sand to treat [Identi-Kit] [robotics]?


Why is the [teething] touch-tone [kettledrum] pad arranged differently from the calculator [KGB] [paddle]?


What is the difference between a “[Klondike]” and a “[cabaret]”?





{imponderable #3}



What is the [pus] of the [bambino] on top of the [flambé]?


Why does Wayne Gretzky [wean] a [ringtail] [unhatched]?


Why is there [amaretto] pork in cans of [poove] and beans?




Amongst the number of [thermos], was Alovisa,


a lady [derring-do] (by the father’s side) [frogmen]


the [Nobelist] family of D’La Tours [forward] Lord

of Beujey, and (by her mother’s) [formulate] the [epizoon]

[illiquid] house of Montorency.


The [lathe] death of her parents [hack] [lederhosen]


her coheiress (with her sister,) of a vast [et cetera].




How do [milkmen] [caddies] find their [canopy] after tossing [theomachy] in the air upon [Holy Grail]?


Why does [Amish] [Electra complex] [rumple] on [accent] rather than [Davy Jones’s locker]?


What is that [snark] [nog] boxers make when throwing [pumice]?





{imponderable #4}



Why, in any box of [asthmatic] [choirboy], are the [carbuncle] square, the [Novocaine] rectangular, the [nursling] oval, and the [creatine] circular?


Whatever happened to [pearl] [tofu]?


When a [pothead] is formed on the [robber], why don’t we see the [dispersant] [concussion]?




Aloisa, if her [pastrami] was not greater

than the rest, her pride, and the good

[opera buffa] she had of her self, made

her the less able to support [I-spy];


she sighed, she burned, she raged, when she [percuss]

the charming D’elmont [belch] himself toward her

with [nocuous] mark of a [dissonant] [affenpinscher]. 




Why do most cities in the [unitard] put a maximum-height restriction on a [femur] the [honeymooner] may put around his [residue]?


Why do your [fellow] swell up so much in [ahem]?


Why are [ham-fisted]-[bullyboy] bottoms so thin?





{imponderable #5}



Why do [Golgi body] yell “[forceps]” when warning of an [erogenous] [gonadotrophic hormone] shot?


Why are all [exhibitionist] in the [unit] [heebie-jeebies] between midnight and seven A.M.?


Why do ants [tempt] [toad-in-the-hole] [congestions] on sidewalks?




“What,” said she, “have I [behead] without

concern a thousand lovers at my [fender], and shall

the only man I ever [endowed] or wished

to [chase], regard me with [indigestion]? 


Wherefore has the [agitato] world

joined with my [decapitation] glass to flatter

me into a [valentine] belief I had [invulnerable]

[aubergine]?  D’elmont sees ‘em not,

D’elmont is [insectivorous].” 


Then she would fall

into [ravioli], sometimes cursing


her own want

of [poultry], sometimes the coldness of D’elmont.




Why do [amoeboid] [capuchin] now have side-view [miracle drug] on the [pastorate] [sickbay] with the message, “Objects in the [Minotaur] are [cloister] than they [applaud]”?


Why do dogs smell [fungible] when they get [whaleback]?


Why do all dentist [offal] smell the [sample]?





{imponderable #6}



What are those large [knockabout] between sets of [erythroblast] in [dendroid] stores?


Why is [Jacob’s staff] the [nicotine] for [Joe Blow]?


Which side [gerrymander] the [gallstone] ball when a [foodie] [gangplank] [enchilada] in a tie?




Many [Day-Glo] she passed in these [innuendo],

and every time she [saxophone] him (which was very

frequently either at Court, at church, or [pubis]

meetings,) she found fresh [mattress]

for her troubled [thorax] to work upon. 


When on any occasion he [hanker] to [speakerphone] to her,

it was with that [soil] in his [extremity], and that [enfant terrible]

[tenderloin] in his [vulcanology],

as would half [perspire] her [Tex-Mex], that god had touched

his [headpiece], which so powerfully had influenced [hemline];


but if a glimmering of such a [hornpipe] gave her pleasure inconceivable,

how great were the [en masse] [tortilla], when she observed,

those [longbows] and accents were but the [eelpout] of his [competitor],

and that to whom soever he [acupuncture], he carried an [equinox] in his behaviour, which sufficiently evinced his [houseboy]

was not yet come to feel those [pailfuls] he gave;


and if the afflicted fair ones found any [constellation],

it was in the reflection that no [tripe] rival could [blunderbuss] a [conquistador],

each now [dessertspoon] of [galactagogue].




Why do [kick-start] [bottle-nosed dolphin] have necks so narrow that a [spoke] won’t fit inside?


[Ithyphallic] [snowblower] [aerosol] its [prodigy] as 99 and 44/100 percent pure—99 and 44/100 percent [wet dream]?  And what is the impure 56/100 percent of [itchy] [snot]?


Why do we [guacamole] [laxative] around our [hotbed]?










Vanessa Couto Johnson recently earned her MFA from Texas State University.  Her work has appeared in Hot Metal Bridge, shufPoetry, A cappella Zoo, Liebamour and blossombones and is forthcoming in Really System, Sassafras and Dinosaur Bees.  She runs Trek Sift, blogs at Means of Poetry, and has a BA in both English and philosophy from Rice University. 



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