Sound Translations: Oath of Office / Miranda Warnings

Translator’s Note

Sound translation, also known as homophonic translation, refers to the practice of recombining the phonetic elements of an existing text to form new words and new meanings. This practice of “intra-language” translation, in contrast to that of conventional “inter-language” translation, maintains that meaning can be transmutable and versatile. To further experience the process of sound translation, it can be useful to read aloud the original and translated text side-by-side.


Oath of Office of the President of the United States

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.


I do so lonely wail (for a turn)
That eyes well
Fade fully
Hexecute Theophus
Servants of You Mighty Snakes
Vandals to bleed us
Of my ability
Prozac and descend
The convulusion
You Mighty Snakes.


I’d ooze all enmity
Swear (our farm)
Zip tie
Fouly exit gut
Thaw face
Confess Eden—tough
The All-Nighted Spades
Therapissed-off my ability
Undeafen death cans tattoo shun
Of the All-Nighted Spades.


Adieu, salaam,
Nearly snare (off a rim)
Then I wilt
Ain’t filthy
Execute cough
Off price
I’d enter
Your Netted Status
Canned wilderness
Tomb, lamb
Bullet me
Pretend and deflect
The Klanstitution
Of Your Netted Status.


Il Duce!

Where? (orifice)
That I wall faith
Leaks acute
Press indent
A fee
Ignited State
Sun dwell
Tooth bust
Oh Mab, ill lady!
Press nerve
Rot pact
Ayn dead-end
The cost
A shoeshine
Of the Ignited State.


I doze soil mainly
Sway air (terra firm)
That I will fatally accept you
The off kiss
Off precedent
One Eye Dead Strays
All wind
To the best of my ol’ balladry
Pass turn
Prod it
And death
And the coin
Still two
Sum of the One Eye Dead Strays.

Miranda Warnings 1-3


You half-right to remain silent.

And teething? Use a candle. “Baby,” you said again, “You in a court of wax.”

You half-right to talk to Allah. Year, end. Have hymn present with you while you are questioned. Breathe.

If you cannon fodder, too, hire Allah. You’re one. Wildebeests anointed to reprison. You the horse (an equestrian if you snitch).

Canned youdicide at any Dime to hexercise these rights and don’t answer equestrians or mistake any stalemates.

Do you under stone. Eat of these rights I have explained to you. Having these rights inside, do you wish to talk to the snow?


You had to fight to remain siloed.

Anti-thing. You slay Cain and we be used again, stewed in a court of law.

You had to fight to walk through a long yard, his hand pressing you while you are bleeding westerns.

…if you can knock a Ford. Two hire a lawyer, one will be apportioned to represent two. Deplore any secession if you live.

You candy-eyed anatomy, time to exercise these fights and not swerve any lessons or miss any stitches.

You do understand me, Chaff. See these rings? Have I explained you, too? Having these fights in kind, you do walk. Now, run to us.


You hack the light. Tore main filament.

And you *Bling* can dwell abused. Say you in accord, Olaf.

You hack the light–too tall, too raw, a talker, and pretend he’s with you while you are being quantumed.

If you cannot afford the fire, you’re raw. Whole hill of poison. To be Pontif, you’re before any questioning. Issue wish.

You decide. Can’t? Anytime. Textercise. All these lights and no answer. Angry questions court angry statements.

Do you stand under each of these lights I’ve expanded in you? Having these lights in spine, could you kiss their hog on the snout?

Keith Donnell Jr. is a Bay Area poet and book editor. His recent work has appeared in Puerto del Sol’s Black Voices Series, jubilat, Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review, and Best American Non-required Reading 2019. His first collection, The Move, is forthcoming from Nomadic Press in 2021.

Appears In

Issue 10.1

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