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Famous Starts, Humble Endings

It’s that time again! Grab a piece of paper, and let’s play!

Ginsberg – his Howl and the Beat movement – also gave the poetry world the American Sentence.

While many of us already feel like time has contracted and condensed, so much so that one week in 2018 often feels like a month, Ginsberg’s poetry pushes us to go faster. To be immediate and now – which when life feels overwhelming, can be liberating. An intense focus on creating can help us escape for that moment.

He didn’t want Haiku. There’s a whole literary movement with Pound and others around cultural forms and purpose of poetry that is beyond this game we play (at least for today).

Ginsberg wanted one sentence. 17 syllables, and if there was a turn, all the better.

I thought it might be fun to imagine the next sentence!

The challenge is to hold the tone (or turn, if that feels better), to dilate or contract the mental image, and keep with his 17 syllable rule. You have all weekend, right? We can do this!

His famous American Sentence is in bold. My humble attempt follows. Please leave yours in the comments if you’re inclined to share. No one is expecting anything other than fun from this, fyi. Relax and enjoy the goofiness of the game!


That grey-haired man in business suit and black turtleneck thinks he’s still young.

A boy in shorts needs no accessories to laugh at the sun and run.

(aah, not bad! How’d you do? The challenge is the syllables, isn’t it?)

Crescent moon, girls chatter at twilight on the bus ride to Ankara.

Starlight streams from their open mouths, blinding my heart with sparkling sound.

(ah, poo. This one isn’t 17 syllables, but I like it, so I’m leaving it. I wish I had an experience of Turkey that would give me more tangible sense-memory to work with! Heck, I just wish I had an experience of Turkey – who’m I kidding?)

Bearded robots drink from Uranium coffee cups on Saturn’s ring.
An affectation programmed by humans who need a jolt of caffeine.

(Aaaah! I did it! And it rhymes! lol)
I don’t know about you, but these were fabulously fun. Feel free to search up more American Sentences and use this as a creative exercise to help you relax and put you in a better brain space for making things. I’d love for you to share your attempts.

Don’t leave me hanging here with my silliness alone!

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