National Poetry Writing Month 2018, Day 6

The Day 6 prompt from Napowrimo.net felt sort of safe, and the examples of different types of line breaks didn’t seem all that unusual. Even the Amiri Baraka poem, while starting a new sentence at the very end of lines here and there, didn’t go as far as to make sentences span stanzas.

For a while towards the end of high school, and on into college (until I stopped writing for a few years), I used very short lines, with three words being my unofficial maximum per line. A couple of years ago, when I was exploring specific forms, I found that some forms led me to write very long lines. Most of the time, I try to break lines somewhat logically, based either on where one might mark the end of a phrase when diagramming linguistically (though I don’t consciously approach it that way), or on where I would otherwise use a comma or semi-colon.

For this poem, I opted to create an exaggerated contrast between long(ish) and short lines—with the short lines, going so far as to break at the ends of syllables…

New-cold throat

It feels so good when the ice cream slides
down
my
throat

Otherwise I hate to
swal-
low

the warmth of my tongue against my raw
red
throat
most
un-
com-
fort-
a-
ble

(4 April 2018—posted April 5th)