Friday, April 06, 2018



"Today," says the amazing Maureen over at Na/GloPoWriMo, "we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that stretches your comfort zone with line breaks. That could be a poem with very long lines, or very short lines. Or a poem that blends the two." Well, that got me thinking about line breaks (duh; it was supposed to!), and not only from the point of view of the poet but from that of one who has occasion to make chapbooks for people and sometimes has to wrestle with long, long lines and how best to present them. 

But first... 

Today is our last day in paradise for the season. 

 First thing this morning we went to Pedro's 
for a last freshly-squeezed orange juice and to watch for a few minutes as waves crashed
and beach vendors arrived to set up their wares. 

We're headed north this afternoon. No more buzzing around town in a golf cart. 
No more amazing fresh seafood. 
No more not being cold. 

 We All Need A Break

Line breaks. Those pesky, wonderful things 
one can go on and on about ad infinitum (add boredom)
how they bring joy to the poem by assisting the reader

a how-to manual
built right into 

the words

but if you've ever tried to lay out a poem

and the poet's given you a line that reads like 

Brave Sir Robin about to throw wide his arms so he can sing, only to be shouted down with fury and impunity

or perhaps another where 

the speaker's beloved denies the obvious which is that he put the plastic bag full of cookie crumbs in the bag basket you got at the beach four years ago that looks like it should have a cobra in it and now the crumbs are all over the floor

Gimme a break! I say
gimme two or three, come to that

after I study the poem
—and I do—
I point out the difficulties 
of too narrow margins and too small font size
beg for a couple of breaks
assure it doesn't change the meaning of the song the poet's singing

how white space 

serves to amplify the silence of a pause

the breath you don't remember taking in
              until you let it go


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