According to Kim Addonizio in her wonderful book Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, Allen Ginsberg adapted the traditional haiku form to create what he called American Sentences: seventeen syllables, no intentional line breaks, no required seasonal reference, but an “Aha!” at the very end. In addition to being fun, these sentences promote careful observation and control of the language. I’ve been having a great time with these and here are a seventeen that I’ve come up with.
- Orange paisley pants show off a figure in need of a long, full skirt.
- I should not be out in public today, given the distressing dress.
- Dog stays close, ever faithful companion though he still licks his pickle.
- I leaf through a book in search of pictures, too tired for any more words.
- I question myself but I rarely hear an intelligent answer.
- Unlike ET I cannot phone home because I left the phone at home.
- Dawn brings responsibility but sleep too is a heavy burden.
- That barista’s jeans must be stuck to his butt, his hips are so pointless.
- I have coffee at home but at Starbucks I don’t have to drink alone.
- Right now I prefer that you go away and come back as someone else.
- A baby wearing glasses looks very much like a little wise man.
- Should I worry that I can no longer name all seven of the dwarfs?
- I listen to a cricket in the dark, better than the radio.
- No two witnesses see the same bar fight; a camera blocks the view.
- Some of life’s unpleasantnesses have too many esses, I guesses.
- Danger, you may never exceed seventeen syllables ever again.
And this one in honor of Ginsberg:
- I have heard the worst racket of my generation become music.
I would love to hear back if you try this, but I warn you, it is a bit addictive. Please leave your Am Sens in the comment section here.