Merit, Palm, or: Halt

Three American Sentences in 12 words:

I. #merit

I have #merit like you. I must satisfy myself that it’s deserved.

II. #palm

Iโ€ฆ just can’t fathom innumerable lives in the #palm of one’s hand.

III. #halt

Screaming, “#Halt!” on a busy street corner will only draw annoyed eyes.


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.

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!

24 thoughts on “Merit, Palm, or: Halt”

      1. You’ve mastered the number 17 David, the American Sentence becomes you
        But then so does various forms of verse writing.
        There was a time i was obsessed with the palm of my hand, still love my road map

  1. I’ve come to appreciate your American Sentences more with each posting. Either they are growing on me or your technique is honed to a fine point… Nonetheless these are good!!

  2. Thanks, David, for american sentences that #inspire lunes by a fellow with no Twitter account. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Smokey Bear’s
    flint and steel consumes
    merit badge

    Son of bitch
    Falling from ass
    Palm Sunday

    Mute orphan
    with bloody finger writes
    “Halt!” on tank

  3. Indeed, we all have merit David! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜ And yes, very difficult to fathom such power and responsibility and how we would use it! ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s