Respire, or: Expire

An American sentence:

I wonder how many are breathing their last whenever I exhale.


What’s an ‘American Sentence’?

Allen Ginsberg, inventor of the American Sentence, felt that the haiku didn’t work as well in English. Ginsberg decided to remove the line structure of the haiku, maintaining the requirement of 17 syllables total. He felt that removing the line count freed the American Sentence up for the idiosyncrasies of English phonemes.

The requirements:

  1. Composed in one line;
  2. Syllabic, 17 syllables;
  3. Condensed, written with no unnecessary words or articles;
  4. Complete sentence or sentences;
  5. Includes a turn or enlightenment.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

42 thoughts on “Respire, or: Expire”

  1. for every one gone there is a new one coming.. always seems in our families at least.
    Happens more than I like in our fam with cats and birds. Many of times I hold them and breath life back into them with Reiki.. other times I bury them David. 💖🙏🙏🙏

  2. as Ginsberg ws also at one point teaching haiku, his views may not have been so clear-cut as the statement makes out? (Have not checked chronology) – in any case before dropping the haiku requirement to let the mind leap, I think it’s worth considering and exploring all beneficial effects this exercise has on the mind – eg loosen the common attachment to one’s results of thinking

    respectfully submitted,

  3. What a thought whilst you exhale

    So real…
    This morning my finger got caught in the drawer…thank goodness it was a sliding door
    I walked up and down the kitchen shaking my hand to take my thoughts away from the pain.
    But my thoughts immediately went to people suffering excruciating pain, having no outlet or control to let go.

      1. I have cancer patients
        All their needs
        The stages of their suffering
        Their hopes and their dreams
        Their anxieties
        And their incredible zest to live
        To be here for their children’s
        children
        In my prayers as i move through the day.

        Thanks for highlighting this immense pain, anxiety and hope that many families carry with them everyday.

        Increasing their reservoir of hope i carry them in my heart
        Shedding tears regularly
        Cleansing with tears is so uplifting

        Thank you
        Thank you

          1. 🙂
            I thought you knew
            I’m retired for a long time ⌛ ❤

            What i needed to add, we have our own way of recognizing a message
            And quite honestly when i feel physical pain I feel that I’m being reminded to pray for those who are being tortured in that moment.
            I don’t know where who or how
            But need to inhale, exhale and shed a tear.

            It’s different with all of us, the call to prayer.

          2. Oh i never followed a straight line. My special line is… life happens and with it as you know comes many changes. These affected my working life.
            But I retired as a Development Practitioner

          1. There are still some very special nurses in this world.
            In my experience, they are hard to find
            They are not bred like this anymore
            Hold your integrity as you support their dignity
            Thank you incenseandevergreen

        1. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s stage
          Massage her everyday
          I make a prayer for mom and David’s aunt
          Cancer cuts deep
          Into our loved ones
          Massage them daily

          1. Thank you Abi! My mother is an incredible strong and resilient woman. The doctors are surprised that she’s still alive. She keeps saying that God knows when her time will come. We’ve always been very connected, in spite of the physical distance. We must enjoy every moment of life.

          2. Amen
            Massage the strength and resillience, she needs it
            And enjoy each moment
            Our lives are truly in God’s hands

  4. While some take their first expiration, others have their last breath. Yesterday, I was literally saved by a colleague at work. We were having lunch. I was eating and laughing at the same time. Suddenly, I got choked. I couldn’t breathe. I am asmathic, but this sensation was different. I couldn’t swallow anything. They were about to call an ambulance when my colleague came behind me and made me expelled the rice and the fish. I saw their faces and I was scared. Life is so precious.

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