american sentence


While I love to be in the lap of receptivity, gathering the light and the sounds. I can also be a mover and a shaker.

With my birthday soon approaching this month, I have been thinking about all the wonderful ways, I have been able to celebrate or ways in which I have celebrated others. A fun and easy project is to start an American Sentence chain email. They can really be about anything, but if a friend’s birthday is approaching feel free to try this.

An email pre-fortieth birthday and by the way a merkin is a wig that actress’s wear, you know, when they are neked.

The American Sentence:

To the friends that were a part of my life when the dough was forming, who helped to shape me into the woman that I am today, and to the friends who have helped me to rise, and who have baked me, to the friends who will help break me, and to the friends who consume and are nourished by me….I am too lazy to clean my house and I don’t want to get out of my pjs or shower, so I am using you all as an excuse to write this email about my upcoming birthday more than a month away. It is true that most of you have already entered into your forties or even fifties, into the middles of your lives. As you know, it is hard not to take stock whenever one passes the threshold of another decade. And don’t worry, I am not going to complain about my white hairs, or my drooping boobs, or incapability to party like I use to, because I know how annoying that is when my younger friends complain about their inadequacies. I also won’t talk about or hint at the fact that the physical part of life and body takes a LOT more concentration these days, and how this little inner voice is recommending that I start planning healthier and more physical activities with friends, rather than only eating and drinking.

I can’t believe I will get to spend time with you all and get to meet a little smile or glance of yours in person. I also know people don’t like homework, but it is something that is easy enough to do spontaneously. This will have a theme though, it can be about disco, Me, aging, horses or friendship. Or if you are super clever maybe all wrapped into one.

You are allowed to think I am egotistical, by including myself in the THEME. But I quote Whitman and “I celebrate Myself”. I honestly do. I am honored to be part of this crazy road called life. And in a way, anytime we sing praises, we are singing praises about ourselves as well due to the fact that we are a part of the ONE.

Here is the skinny. Lani was the first person to tell me about the American Sentence. Here is an entry about the American Sentence. ..”It was developed by beat poet, Allen Ginsburg, in salute to the haiku. But instead of a 5-7-5 meter, an American Sentence is a sentence that includes 17 syllables. That is all.” She had us all write one for a dinner/bookclub she had a couple of years ago.

These were mine:

A Merkin Sentence has been decreed upon our nude, vertical smiles.

Each sentence will create a universe from the moments we have shared.

The haiku sounds like sweet, babbling brooks, and the American Sentence?

Hitchcock must have knocked down a crow’s nest, to have become wildly inspired.

I don’t believe Darryl when he tells me we had orioles nesting.

and these about a hummingbird that got caught in my kitchen:

A hummingbird rests a top my flagpole and my heart starts to flutter.

I wonder if it is the same sweet jewel that I held in my hands.

Whether in my heart or in my hand, I can barely contain the joy.

And there is not adequate space in this sentence to speak about it.

In Kim Addonizio’s book Ordinary Genius:A guide for the Poet Within, she also speaks at length for the benefit of writing a daily American Sentence. After I offered a few more examples of my own, everyone seemed to enjoy getting on the American Sentence chain gang.

More of mine:

Like a stampede of horses, friends mark your heart with a thousand hoof prints.

Claiming their place in your heart and the earth, a permanent indention.

The dust clouds created, imagine the sun as a great disco ball.

And they dance around your heart, soothing such torrid rushes of beauty.

Wearing full protective headgear, I attempted to write this poem.

Some great response from friends:

Taking some risk to write this down despite the fact it not be profound.

Forever concerned with getting it right, he did it anyway, wrong.

Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.

The wind whistles my name, someone else yells, “Hey mister! Get down from there!”
Adventure dissolved instantly, we shouldn’t have picked up the hiker.

we love to dance and even more, we love to laugh – Spirit’s song revealed.

sneezing and blowing while leaking out my ass,  I am so beautiful.

Seventeen syllables,on my fingers, 0CD takes root again.
Da da da,da da da,da da da da,da da da da da da da.

Of course you can always get creative. Here two examples of what I call the “Italian” American Sentence from my friend Lani:

She milketh her birthday like a red-faced farmer with sixteen starved children and overgrown barn cats.

Just as her gyrations synched with the raging mechanical bull, she catapulted into the stellar fabric forever.

On a separate occasion I asked friends to bring an American Sentence to dinner to share. My brother-in-law who is somewhat shy refused so I threatened to banish him to the kiddy table….

With a snow day gifted, I have no excuse to have a scummy house.

Don’t worry if your american sentence sucks, bring it anyway.

I’ll only speak in 17 syllable sentences from now on.

Only kidding, that would be totally lame and obnoxious and weird.

See everyone around 6 pm. Come hungry!

My sister: James re-fu-ses to par-ti-ci-pate in Cher-i’s wri-ting as-sign-ments.

My boss: What the hell is wrong with James that drink-ing a pale ale cold not resolve!

And finally from James: so let it be , a seat at the kid table , and no beer to drink , shit .

SO as you can see, the American Sentence can truly be a tribute to anything under the sun. They are quite addicting and fun to create!


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