Crash, or: Burn

A Cadralor

In the form of 5 Kimos


traffic grinds to a halt in thunderstorm;
driver curses to himself,
considers his options


dark smoke visible from over the hill;
playing in car seat with phone,
youngster's oblivious


directing vehicles around orange
traffic cones in his trench coat,
policeman braves the rain


upside down, medium sedan husk burns,
original paint color


emergency medical services
at scene with sirens blaring,
declare no survivors


The cadralor is a poem of 5, unrelated, numbered stanzaic images, each of which can stand alone as a poem, is fewer than 10 lines, and ideally constrains all stanzas to the same number of lines. Imagery is crucial to cadralor: each stanza should be a whole, imagist poem, almost like a scene from a film, or a photograph. The fifth stanza acts as the crucible, alchemically pulling the unrelated stanzas together…


The kimo shares much in common with the haiku: it appears in three lines, making it a tristich, with each line following a diminishing pattern:

  1. Ten syllables
  2. Seven syllables
  3. Six syllables

Each of these lines are unrhymed.

The kimo often deals with a static image, a single moment in which there is no movement. Along with its brief nature, this makes it an excellent form to reflect on or celebrate a particular instance.

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!

19 thoughts on “Crash, or: Burn”

  1. The way you’ve written this reminds me of a storyboard for a film–each stanza is a fully realized scene (like the Cadralor and Kimo descriptions suggest) depicted in little sketched-out blocks. It makes for a longer coherent sequence, “just like in the movies.” Plus, the imagery is intense (the detail of the oblivious youngster playing with a phone in the car seat is brilliant). Nicely done, David. 😉

    1. ❤ Mike ❤ – thanks – that particular image was inspired by my daughter – kids really get absorbed into their YouTube videos like you might not even imagine!

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