Latest American Sentences

Poster by Tessa Hulls

I was looking at the stats for this website yesterday and stunned to find over 5,000 hits on American Sentences, by far the most popular thing here. Thank you for your interest. I write today to share my latest harvest of these seventeen syllable poems, a form I’ve adapted from Allen Ginsberg’s use. I’ll be reading a whole bunch of them at our 12th Ginsberg Marathon on June 2. Though the marathon starts on June 1, early Sunday morning on day 2 I will host a Lightning Round where everyone in the circle reads or recites a haiku-length poem and there is a drum between readers. Ace Moore once compared it to Laugh-In. Please consider attending and sharing some of your short poems in that space.

And, as always, I err on publishing more poems than I ought to publish, but some have inside meaning and some remind me of my company and travels. In no particular order during these last few weeks, you’ll see reflected in these poems: family life, dreams, two visits to Canada, Sam Hamill, Denis Mair, Maleea Acker (in a scene now immortalized in two languages), Amalio Madueño, typos, mistranslations, mistaken words and Kwame Dawes. There are a couple of days here where the syllables were just flowing and I wrote several on each of those days.

All of 2013’s American Sentences here. See you at the Marathon.

3.13.13 – Mexican bakery selling sourdough but spelling it sourdoug.

3.13.13 – In an oxy, red bull world, how lonely/satisfying’s a tea drunk.

3.13.13 – Ancestors exist the same way salmon find their way home – it ain’t smell.

3.13.13 – Painting of single women at a café (ala Hopper) watching cellphones.

3.13.13 – 51, nose hairs sprouting almost as fast as I can tweeze them.

3.13.13 – Helicopters in the gray downtown sky scattering all the seagulls.

3.14.13 – It’s either applause once the jazz tune stops or rain hitting the windshield.

3.14.13 – w/ oxy, find I’m the age to prefer a good shit over a high.

3.17.13 – Zappa lapping water out of the baby’s inflatable bathtub.

3.21.13 – The after lunch cookie was too much snicker and not enough doodle.

3.25.13 – Gluten and sugar-free, but they’re carrot muffins, not carpet muffins.

4.1.13 – Turn Back! what’s an automedicador w/o his insulin?

4.2.13 – If you eat cans and blackberry brambles, you can have a beer.

4.4.13 – The only thing can stop boot crunch of stairway catkins – April rain.

4.5.13 – Her face as she tastes chocolate linguini, sees photo of beer-drinking goat.

4.5.13 – A huge S.U.V. festooned by blossoms stuck there by April rain.

4.8.13 – He sings: “Nobody loves me, no one seems to care” – I check my cellphone.

4.9.13 – Marital TMI, Mer says: “Black men should not wear colored condoms.”

4.10.13 – The Chinese alpaca might mean Grass Mud Horse or Fuck Your Mother.

4.11.13 – MC was: “orphaned by the cosmology of Mormonism.”

4.12.13 – She was telling us of the Mormon dish of “funeral potatoes.”

4.13.13 – No House Sparrow at this house, boxed & crushed between blocks of wood.

4.14.13 – In Chinese “Uncooperative Attitude, in English “Fuck off.”

4.15.13 – Euphorbia growing by the fire hydrant, always fertilized.

4.16.13 – What did the giant Western Red Cedar say to the Brandon sidewalk?

4.21.13 – After she puts Ella in the bag, Mer asks: “Can you put the moon on?”

4.23.13 – “When’s the last time you saw each other?” “About three centuries ago.”

4.23.13 – The gleam in Sam Hamill’s eyes when he talks about a font called Bembo.

4.25.13 – Here’s how to keep the morning ripe, Ella – eat mangoes, dance to ska.

4.26.13 – Her feet are dirty, her hands are yellow & I think she ate some dirt.

4.27.13 – My penis is much longer in my dream than it is when I wake up.

4.28.13 – Needle-like seeds, dead leaves, bird shit’s how we engage nature – on our porch.

4.29.13 – We’re not sure but her first word may have been “dandruff” or “picadillo.”

5.3.13 – Pigeons just outside the café’s back door get scraps before homeless can.

5.3.13 – He knows how many sips taken by counting lines in his latté cup.

5.3.13 – Kwame Dawes – he may be a reggae scholar, but he’s still dangerous.

About Splabman

SPLAB and Cascadia Poetry Festival founder Paul E Nelson wrote American Sentences (Apprentice House, 2015), Organic Poetry (VDM Verlag, Germany, 2008), a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, Washington, A Time Before Slaughter (Apprentice House, 2010) and Organic in Cascadia: A Sequence of Energies (Lumme, Brazil, 2013). Founder of the Cascadia Poetry Festival, in 26 years of radio he interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, Wanda Coleman, Brenda Hillman, George Bowering, Joanne Kyger, Jerome Rothenberg & others, including many Cascadia poets. He lives in Seattle and writes at least one American Sentence every day. https://www.paulenelson.com. Co-Editor of Make It True: Poetry From Cascadia, he is in year five of a twenty year Cascadia Bioregional Cultural Investigation. www.CascadiaPoetryFestival.org (Oct 12-15, 2017, Tacoma, WA)
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