American Sentences June-Oct

The latest harvest of 17 syllable poems from my daily discipline. See more about the form at and thanks for reading. Comments welcome.

6.26.14 – Driving 34 a cherry pit’s distributed every two blocks.

6.29.14 – She talks about her one-eyed cat I say she’s looking at the wrong end.

7.4.14 – Happy Birthday America, take time to stop and smell the ordnance.

7.8.14 – Am beginning to think color of my shoelaces inadequate.

7.13.14 – How many pecks of blueberries can Ella eat before she will urp?

7.31.14 – Killing Palestinians, continuation of the peace process.

American Sentences in Puebla, Mexico

8.2.14 – Frida’s collection of musician dolls, a skeletal Lester Young.

8.3.14 – “I’m Columbian by birth, Mexican at heart, my stomach is gringo.”

(Juan Felix)

8.3.14 – Cross a Pomeranian w/ a Chihuahua & get a Pomihuahua.

(Melissa Brannon)

8.4.14 – Shadow of my hand in a cleansing latihan dancing on the floor.

8.6.14 – Shop for sombreros, some beauties, but my American head’s too big.

8.7.14 – Bapak: “I’ve given you rocket fuel & you use it like chicken shit.”

8.7.14 – Only at a World Congress would a performer have a backup mime.

8.7.14 – Only at Subud would that backup mime become foundation chair.

8.8.14 – Not sure which toilet button to press after Montezuma’s Revenge.

8.9.14 – Subud fashion show critique: “More fabric on the hats than the bodies.”

8.10.14 – “On a good Sunday we have 16 men moaning around in a circle.”

(P.S. Then  we do latihan.)

8.12.14 – Pablo feeding leftover chicarrónes to the Puebla pigeons.

8.16.14 – This Puebla bus driver in a previous life, a caballero.

8.19.14 – This Puebla sacramental marching band leaves a trail of rose petals.

End Puebla Sentences

8.22.14 – Harvest plums, blackberries, apples, lavender on my corridor walk.

8.23.14 – Dad would say while driving: “I’ve got two words for you and they ain’t ‘let’s dance!’”

9.7.14 – Plumber outside the café calls coffee: “a chemical vacation.”

9.18.14 – Warne Marsh on Tristano: “Finally form itself could be improvised.” (1949)

9.18.14 – Tristano freeing his musicians from the “tyranny of the brain.”

9.20.14 – I wanted to smash that fruit fly landed on Faiza’s white hijab.

9.22.14 – Too early in the season for frozen vomit on the side of the car.

9.22.14 – Dad after getting off his first (& only) monorail ride: “That’s it?!?”

9.26.14 – Fall winds liberate walnuts cracked open by vans delivering produce.

9.27.14 – Morning doppio at the corner of Blandena & Albina.

9.30.14 – One daughter says: “beep” for please, the other petitions for “warranted snark.”

10.2.14 – Blunck says his Senior Chief looked like “a cross between Hitler and Lurch.”

10.2.14 – His apartment’s a mixture of smells: “marijuana, piss, bacon.”

10.3.14 – I’m not sure Blunck knew Klook invented spang, spang-a-lang ride cymbal riff.

10.4.14 – For her birthday breakfast I decide against the meatball torpedo.

10.12.14 – More likely he’s chanting: “God is Almighty” than “God isn’t Whiny!”

10.13.14 – Why would a self-respecting Libra tattoo only one of her breasts?

10.14.14 – If a spoon and saliva’s involved, is a prostate exam legit?

Fallen Hawthorne Berries

Fallen Hawthorne Berries

10.16.14 – The same Hawthorne berries that’d cure my heart I crush under my keans.

10.16.14 – Are you sure you know what your corporate “healer” is trying to cure?

10.16.14 – How pitiful you, October lilac, and all your rotting blossoms.

10.17.14 – Twice sedated, a shaved paw and fatal I.V., goodbye Tupelo.

Goodbye Tupelo

Goodbye Tupelo

About Splabman

Paul Nelson is founder of SPLAB (Seattle Poetics LAB) in Seattle, the Cascadia Poetry Festival and the August POetry POstcard Fest (PoPo). He has published a collection of essays, Organic Poetry & a serial poem re-enacting the history of Auburn, WA, A Time Before Slaughter (shortlisted for a 2010 Genius Award by The Stranger) and American Sentences, a book of 17 syllable poems drawn from the first fourteen of his 20 years of daily practice. The tenth anniversary edition of that book includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. He’s interviewed Allen Ginsberg, Michael McClure, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Sam Hamill, Robin Blaser, Nate Mackey, Eileen Myles, George Bowering, Diane di Prima, Brenda Hillman, George Stanley, Joanne Kyger & many Cascadia poets (see: has presented his poetry and poetics in London, Brussels, Bothell, Cumberland, BC, Qinghai and Beijing, China, Lake Forest, Illinois, Ukiah, CA, and other places & writes an American Sentence every day.
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