Human, or: Effervescence

An American sentence in 10 words:

It’s clichรฉ, but evil despots bring [human]โ€™s meaning into question.

Another American sentence in 10 words:

The effervescence of Ukraine’s children has been flattened by missiles.

What’s an ‘American Sentence’?

Allen Ginsberg, inventor of the American Sentence, felt that the haiku didnโ€™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.


The above American Sentences were first written for two #10WordJournal Twitter prompts; the prompt words were: ‘Human’ and ‘Effervescence ‘. This prompt requires a response of exactly 10 words.

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!

53 thoughts on “Human, or: Effervescence”

  1. just wanted to clarify….when i said God in my head. i was referring to the big god, ya know, like the creator of the universe and what not…as opposed to some voice in my head

    1. Steve – I don’t believe in a god who is directly involved in our lives or who cares about us. I cannot speak to the version of God that you may believe in.


      1. Thanks David. I grew up a Reform Jew with little to no talk of God in a personal sort of way. At some point, I got involved in Chabad and Bratslav and took the personal relationship with god very seriously. Now more than anything, Iโ€™m confused.

  2. David, nice work on the 14 syllables. that’s not easy and you came up with something very appropriate for these daze – democracy or dictatorship? I guess it’s a chess game between the two or it has been most recently in our human history. I’ve never experienced a dictatorship, not overtly, but in my head, i’ve suffered/enjoyed a self-imposed one, that being God. Does God qualify as a dictator?

    1. Steve – I don’t believe in a god who is directly involved in our lives or who cares about us. I cannot speak to the version of God that you may believe in.


  3. David, please don’t deny the light still so very present in these souls. Evil can hide that light but it cannot extinguish it. My little brother was given up for adoption days after his birth in Romania, when Ceacescu was in power. He lived in an orphanage for the first 15 months of his life. The light of love in my brother was never extinguished. Yes: covered over by the abandonment and abuse of those he trusted most, but not extinguished.

    Please let’s give these children a voice by affirming the light and effervescence in them. If you look for it, it will surprise you how present it is. It takes patience and courage and humility from those who parent them and befriend them and teach them and advocate for them to keep looking for the light and affirming it: but that is also healing us too, as we learn to receive grace ourselves in our struggles. I have been praying for these traumatized parents and children, but also for the communities that receive them. For trauma will make these kids fighters and/or fleeers: not easy to love.

    Romania’s horror became a gift to the world. Thanks to these children and the fight of adoptive parents for them trauma’s impact on the brain and body was uncovered, as hospitals began to do scans searching for help for them. Was it fair that these kids had to suffer? No. But talk to my brother and you will see just how much brighter his light is now than many others because of what he went through and because so many saw and affirmed the light in him, even when my parents struggled to.

    1. Anna, when I say that their effervescence has been flattened, I don’t mean to imply that the condition necessarily need be a permanent one. I very much hope that it won’t be!

      1. Thanks for clarifying, David. I appreciate your grace. As you can see this is a subject close to my heart. I am watching an 80 year old who is dear to my heart healing all these years later: it might often look like there is no hope and I thought that of my brother as a kid watching my parents struggle with him, but now I know there is a God who fights for us all, to bring that healing…no matter how long that journey takes, HE never gives up, even when we do.

        1. Anna, I would never think to give up, nor suggest that somebody else give up on another person… I was just attempting to describe the situation as it is at this moment in time, and, of course, there’s only so much one can do with 17 syllables…

          1. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚ 17 syllables is not much.

            I was speaking more of myself as the one who gave up hope through the years- not for my brother but that my parents would have a change of heart towards him. Now, I know they too needed comfort and healing themselves to get there: just as I did to forgive them.

          2. Yep ๐Ÿ˜Š. I have corona and am writing from my bed … I was harsh with my daughter last night in my exhaustion too: ended up seeing that what I pointed my finger at in her was just as present in me ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ. Grace met us right where we were. Thanks for being willing to engage and perservere with me too. I appreciate it.

          3. I was sitting with what you said some more and really do think we do see things differently – which I felt at the time but was too timid to suggest.
            I don’t think the effervescence can be flattened, only covered over. That effervescence is separate from the covering and whether it’s covered or not doesn’t impact the essence of the effervescence. Just makes it harder for us on the outside to see it.
            Flattening to me suggests that the effervescence becomes less, which I don’t think is the case. So, on second thought I think I will agree to disagree for now, on the understanding I have right now.
            I so value that you are genuine in what you share with us all (which is what attracted me to your blog), and one of my greatest desires is also to freely live out my convictions too, also being honest about the changes in my convictions as I learn and grow and shed the old. Thanks for encouraging me through your example- your honesty is helping me be honest too and to lift off more of that cover hiding the effervescence in me ๐Ÿ˜Š.

          4. I just don’t think that it’s a permanent state, Anna. But I do think that the bubbly’ness of children is unfortunately reduced during war. How could it not be with death, destruction, and tears all around them?

            Anyway, I am totally okay with disagreeing ๐Ÿ™ƒ

          5. Thinking further, I must add that the visual of effervescence being covered over doesn’t describe the trauma of war to me. Those children will be bearing scars for years.

          6. I guess for me when I think of effervescence I think of what makes each one of us unique: that breath of life in us that goes beyond what we can see with our physical eyes: what makes you you, and me me.

            I can’t imagine how deep the wounds go in children who have gone through wars. So much is stripped away from them. But at the same time, as I write this I am reminded of this lady I watched, who grew up in a sect where she was abused in multiple ways from birth, told her story. She lived in constant fear with a deep knowing that what was being done to her was not okay. She left in her twenties, leaving everyone behind. But as she told her story, she glowed with such purity, as she didn’t cover over the horror, nor carry bitterness or anger but such selfless love and compassion for those left behind. It looked to me like what she went through (black pitch evil darkness) in fact made the light in her shine even brighter. It was almost like because so much was stripped from her the purity of her soul became so much more visible, as nothing mattered to her more than loving others from a pure heart.

          7. Oh but that fits perfectly with the way I see it!!! Thank you for sharing this. It’s a gift. I see that appealing lively quality in us as what makes each of us who we are. It’s also what gives us energy (makes us bubbly), when others see that in us and help us to see it in ourselves and value it in ourselves.

          8. Yes, I think we do. Somehow you help me to better isolate what I see in what you share though. You help get me to the core. So thank you so much!!!

          9. my pleasure.

            just to be clear – I was not ever suggesting that any individual’s essence or essential goodness is destroyed by war.

          10. It’s just like with the 80 year old I spoke of who I am watching unfold. That has been happening slowly in people listening to and asking him about his story (he went through multiple traumas as a kid). He has been coming alive. And I have loved watching it because I always saw that beautiful soft heart in him that lay hidden beneath anger and depression – as it would rise ever so occasionally. And he’s had the same impact on me – his story has uncovered my zest for life and bubbliness too – as he’s validated my trauma but also the beauty in me that trauma could not steal.

          11. To me, you’re romanticizing the concept. Effervescence in bubbly’ness – playfulness. You could just as well romanticize any other positive character trait and say that it represents an individual’s essence: intellect, kindness, empathy, etc…

          12. Oh no: I am definitely not. That man I am speaking of went through unspeakable horror I wish upon no one. But that beauty in him is bubbly and playful – and it is stunning watching it become more visible. Even his wife is just so touched by it – amazed at the transformation these past years.

          13. but not everyone is bubbly and playful, Anna – maybe that man is – but that’s not the case for everyone.

            there are plenty of amazing, wonderful, special people who are not bubbly.

          14. I guess we can agree to disagree. I think deep down there is a playful kid in us all- but what that playfulness looks like in each of us differs from person to person. I have a friend who is very quiet and speaks little, listens intently and is not at all your extrovert. But her face shines and her eyes exude a playfulness and liveliness that is so attractive. She is playful in the way she’s so curious about the world and the people in it. My husband – who is very rational minded (an engineer) is very playful when he’s with us kids and in his sense of humor.

          15. as you say, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

            I’m very happy for you that you figured out something about yourself in relation to your perception of the concept of effervescence vis-ร -vis the human condition.

            I suppose that at its best, that’s what poetry does – it helps people understand more and/or better… And the truth is that it doesn’t really matter what I meant by what I wrote because the poem is as much yours as it is mine – your interpretation of the poem is “your poem”, so to speak. I just put my words out into the world- but they’re not mine any longer ๐Ÿ™‚

            be well.

          16. For me, this exchange has very much highlighted how poetry can be understood differently by different people, based upon their life experiences, beliefs, personalities, etc….

            It’s actually quite fascinating – nobody can ever know how their words will be understood by another!


          17. BTW I saw Israel has taken in 100 orphans from the Ukraine. May one of those kids get to go to your daughterโ€™s school and may you and your daughter get to be some of the ones to continually look for, find and affirm the light and beauty in them through their trauma triggers.

            My local government elections are coming up and a party with a lot of support wants to stop a refugee center opening here again. My husband and I will be voting and fighting for compassion to prevail in this town. I have walked beside refugees from Syria and Uganda and it so angers me at the lack of compassion and love for them and their families in this town.

    1. that’s pretty cynical, Pete

      I mean, I’m often cynical, but that’s way more cynical than I am regarding democracy. Democracies that I am familiar with have branches of government – so the power does not rest entirely with only one individual.

  4. Unfortunately so David, unfortunately so! ๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ™ Watching the news this morning and I saw a little Ukrainian fella perhaps about 4 or 5 years old just walking on his own out of the country crying. It was heartbreaking! ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ˜ข The long term effects on the children after this war is over will be equally as devastating!

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