On my hands, or: In cold blood

An American sentence:

Hands bloodied, I grin. Killing mosquitoes brings me cold satisfaction.


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!

22 thoughts on “On my hands, or: In cold blood”

  1. Hmm. You can say a great deal in 17 words, it seems. Personally, I only seem able to swipe at mosquitos AFTER they’ve sucked my blood. Too late then …

  2. It’s rather strange, I never get bitten by mosquitos, it has something to do with my skin I read. Nice sentence, David.

      1. They’ve been horrible this year, and they’re truly little annoyances! Driving me and my neighbors and co-workers up the wall. Lol!

  3. Ack! I really don’t like those blood suckers! But I was under the impression (maybe I’m mistaken) that touching human blood makes you unclean so killing a mosquito is fraught with peril lest it contain blood… And that you can’t kill a mosquito or even trap it on the sabbath or certain high holy days. Am I mistaken? I recall a camping trip with my cousin when she was adamant that the mosquito could not be killed for the above reasons…

    1. I’ve never, ever heard that mosquitoes can’t be killed.
      There are two related prohibitions in Jewish religious Law that I can think of:

      1) On Shabbat (and Festivals) we cannot kill anything

      2) Blood is not kosher – we cannot consume it; so, if one cuts his finger, he cannot put that finger in his mouth. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t *touch* blood – I am 100% certain that we can and we do when necessary (treating wounds, etc.).

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