Not a hoax, a POEM

In the spirit of “showing how I do revisions, or come up with stuff, or SOMEthing,” here’s one way to grow a poem.


I hate
this book. Gratuitous sex scene
spotted, page 12. That’s too early
for me to care. How can they?
Furthermore, her eyes changed color
from green to blue and then to brown
To match her hair–which started out red.
The last straw: bad thing happens
to little pets. Don’t they know
that is a deal-breaker?
Wham! Book hits the wall.
Next book has flaws, but
I put up with them
because I like the voice.
Until I hit the fourth misused word
And sixth outright mis-stated fact.
The author thought I’d never notice.
Well, I did. Remember above all, bard:
It’s never too late to
turn the

This is a poem I thought of as I was falling asleep last night (and I was so tired that it may have been a transmission from the planet Eris, as I neglected to put on my tinfoil hat). So, class, what do we notice?

“It’s blank verse!”

NO. It’s free verse. (Blank verse is unrhymed iambic pentameter. It makes up Shakespeare’s plays.) But you were close.

“The lines are all different lengths.”

Good catch! And why is that?

“I don’t know, sir. It’s kind of affected.”

That may be, Marcie, but I imprinted on e. e. cummings at an early age. I did grow out of “shaped” poems, but I still like the way you can emphasize certain words or images (or even create a different cadence) by breaking lines at various spots. Notice it’s not particularly sticking with any particular meter, but I do like to think it has a certain rhythm, a cadence.

“If I may, sir: at the end, you threw the book away. But ‘turn the page’ doesn’t really imply that you are finished reading.”

Yes, that may be a bit unclear. I wanted to imply that there’s always another book available to the reader without much work, though, or another story ready to begin on the very next page. I dunno. I said it was a draft.

“Very drafty in here, sir.”

Yes. Um. Well, the poem, then. However, I don’t think I would tinker too much more with it. It was just a fun toss-off. We could play around with revisions and so forth, but we don’t want to take it too seriously.

“Perhaps this still qualifies as a hoax, sir?”

Take it as you will.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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