The Last of the 2012 American Sentences

Ed Dorn, PN 3.9.99, photo by Jim Bodeen

It is one of the worst feelings I ever get and most poets have experienced it at one time or another. The lost poem. I remember Ed Dorn at the Spokane Library less than a year before his death talking about losing poems that were the best he’d ever written. Maybe they were, or maybe that was an expression of the grief at having lost them, especially so late in his life, but I got what he was saying.

(An aside, what a great thing it was to meet the old Gunslinger himself. Charles Potts set his old friend up with a tour with readings in Walla Walla and Spokane and we stopped to see the remarkable Palouse Falls on our way to Spokane. I’ll never forget Ed breaking down at the Spokane reading when he was discussing heretics. Do you know that passage from his epic poem “Gunslinger?”

Entrapment is this society’s
Sole activity, I whispered
and Only laughter,
can blow it to rags
But there is no negative pure enough
to entrap our Expectations)

But I digress. I misplaced my pocket journal which covered late September, October and November 2012. 2012 had ended, I completed 12 years of writing an American Sentence every day and I could not find the journal chronicling a twelve week period! ARGH! For about two weeks, that was always in the back of my mind somewhere, the missing journal. There were several attempts to find it and then finally, with the help of my better half, we went through my typical thought trains until there it was, under a pile of “to-dos” on my desk. ARGH! I went over the sentences, reading ones to Mer that had a chance and seeing her reactions. Of course I shall add them to the 2012 archive post haste. For your enjoyment, the last few 2012 American Sentences:

9.30.12 – Harvest Moon corona for a moment until the dogs start barking.
10.4.12 – Robert Duncan: “Vowels are the spirit, consonants are the body.”
10.4.12 – Someone chopped off half of the highway sign & so it said “Odinville.”
10.5.12 – Too wired on Hua-yen and white tea to see the tailgating moon.
10.6.12 – After playing mini-golf I want to drive home bouncing off the curbs.
10.8.12 – Skyline (typewriter started) shrinks as the ferry pushes it away.
10.9.12 – Ruby Beach sea stacks trip up these waves for a millennium or four.
10.14.12 – To the dad w/ kids on a child leash: “Taking them to the off-leash park?”
10.19.12 – Willie calls it “The crushing hallucination that is daily life.”
10.20.12 – Before performing Jaap takes lozenges made w/ moss from Iceland.
10.22.12 – They can’t really call it drool until it’s on the outside of your mouth.
10.27.12 – The first cold raindrop on the back of my neck in rainrainrain season.
N.4.12 – He had a green arrow to turn – information not on his cellphone.
N.8.12 – For those of you who never floss, then eat crackers, then smile – yecch!
N.12.12 – Only at open mic would you get “quivering unicorn nostrils.”
N.16.12 – The receipt I was using for a bookmark was for buck 49 gas.
N.18.12 – We’ve moved into our new house – let the feline vomiting begin!
N.20.12 – Monsoons and menstruation are not making our move any easier.
N.22.12 – Potts says four will survive: kiots, cockroaches, wharf rats and tea baggers.
N.30.12 – Waves on the asphalt reflected by streetlight looking for a creek.
12.8.12 – C.E. informs us – masturbating zombies are not how babies are made.
12.11.12 – Their extensive lights say “Merry Christmas” – their gated porch says “Fuck Off!”
12.13.12 – A Thursday evening w/ Bill Porter, bourbon, Buddhism & the Borg.
12.17.12 – Christmas tree atop their car in a net like it was an abduction.
12.18.12 – Not Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the Solstice – it’s lost scarf season.
12.19.12 – Jogging in rain, shorts on, she gets puddle-splashed by a plodding Prius.
12.20.12 – My Google calendar alert says: “World Ends, one more reminder.”
12.28.12 – It’s “Homelessness” not the Interfaith Council to prevent Homeschooling.

& one more Ed Dorn photo, this one with a young version of me and a bearded Charles Potts:

Charles Potts, PN and Ed Dorn, photo by Jim Bodeen

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB in Seattle and the Cascadia Poetry Festival. He wrote a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger.) He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets, has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois and other places & writes an American Sentence every day. www.PaulENelson.com

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2 Responses to The Last of the 2012 American Sentences

  1. Love these sentences, Paul. I’m currently compiling a collection of the last lines of internet posts by John Barlow. Something about the form of these haiku-inspired sentences (cf. Silliman’s Albany)is haunting and beautiful. Though they touch the fringes of aphorism, they gently avoid the definition that would carve them in stone and inscribe them on tea mugs. I can see them etched in brass, though (cf. Sam’s monumental poetry at Fort Worden, including the ones defaced by the enraged).

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