Exhale, or: Expire

An American sentence:

Relating to death as tragic increases one’s suffering in life.

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!

25 thoughts on “Exhale, or: Expire”

  1. Your American Sentence, David, gives me to contemplate a non-tragic relationship to death which would reduce my suffering in life. The flip side of tragic comes immediately to mind. But when my sides split, oy, do I suffer! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Well, perhaps, but also serious. In a binary paradigm with linear time –start/finish, on/off, awake/asleep, life/death–what is the flip side of tragic/___? ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. Of course, between tragic and comic are many ways one might relate to death, especially one’s own, any of which might decrease one’s suffering in life, But I think it depends on the degree of one’s suffering and one’s philosophy of life. l’chaim! ๐Ÿ™‚
            “If anyone at my funeral has a long face, I’ll never speak to him again.” Stan Laurel

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