Regular Poem: Forgotten Modal Auxiliaries

27 Apr

it sometimes doesn’t even make the list
tragically omitted
leaving a silent but profound hole

Modal auxiliaries include
may, might, must, can, could, would, should, will, shall,
and blah blah blah grammar;
blah, blah, blah lexical–

i’ve stopped reading the article by now
screaming to the heavens

it’s a perfectly good
modal auxiliary

and we ought to bring it
from whatever ’30s grammar text
it’s been hiding out in
whatever dialogue
in black-and-white westerns
it’s been wearing a fake mustache in

i use it as much as possible
in my own speaking and writing

ought shall make a comeback!
(and so shall
the distinction between shall and will)

i’ll let others
adjectives used in place of
(i like the sound of it too much
real quick
rolls off the tongue
so well
and fits my dialect
i can’t help myself
forgive me
if you can)

i do my best
for our old pal
mostly just avoid situations
in which i’d have to say it aloud
it sounds so silly
people look at you funny
whom are you taking to the dance
ugh so pretentious
i opt for
what person are you taking to the dance
that way i don’t want to take a red pen
to my own naughty mouth
but i also don’t have to sound like a snob

but i ought not worry about that
i mean
i’m already saying ought on the reg
and shall sometimes too
but now that i’m thinking about it
i usually replace shall with am gonna
and use will traditionally

when i taught this stuff
for a living
it was a lot easier
getting away with
sounding different
(that adjective was correct because
the gerund sounding was copulative
see i still know

but now i’m in gen pop
and don’t want to have to explain myself
all damn day
i don’t get paid for that

i ought to do it for free
i will start with ought
(that’s the determinate will
bee tee dubs)
and see what happens

but it ain’t that big of a deal
rules change
language evolves
and people talk and understand each other

and i will use ought
(determinate will again)
because i like it
and i ought
to be able to do
what i want

One Response to “Regular Poem: Forgotten Modal Auxiliaries”

  1. Silver Screenings 30 April 2017 at 3:36 PM #

    You said it. I love the word “ought”. Where did it go? Why did it get banished?

    I’m with you. Let’s try to bring it back. #TeamOught

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