Category Archives: Slimverse

Collection of 12 syllable, four line poems, each line is three syllables

The Party’s Over (3 poems and a bonus poem)

My head is throbbing like a car stereo, there’s stubble on my tongue. Last night, I invited Slim and the rest of his Poet’s Circle over for a few drinks to celebrate the end of April-Month of Slim and it was quite a night, or at least, I think it was. It began relatively smoothly with an intense discussion about accessibility (no surprises there) and I remember making an emotional speech about the end rhymes in “Suzanne”. Then the conversation moved on to verse forms – cinquains, tankas, sestinas, halibuns, what happens if one turns a haiku upside down -fascinating stuff. Then Slim chimed in and asked where his own invention, the slimverse, fitted in to this pantheon. There was an embarrassed silence. Eventually,  one of the poets – the one we refer to as The Accomplished Poet -spoke up. I should add that he is indeed accomplished and his compact vivid poems , mostly about his garden, have been widely published. He politely suggested that perhaps a 3 syllable line was too limiting, that making music with such a restriction is quite difficult. Now there was another kind of silence, the kind that ensues when a lion tamer drops his whip. Slim says quietly “fuck you and your fucking garden” and aims a punch at The Accomplished Poet’s head, who, perhaps because of all that work in the garden, turns out to be quite agile. He ducks Slim’s punch and kicks him adroitly in the nuts. When the applause died down and Slim could speak again, he uncharacteristically apologized and gave The Accomplished Poet a hug, a doubtful pleasure given Slim’s personal hygiene issues. The evening ended on a happy note with a raucous rendition of “Suzanne”, everyone hitting the end rhymes hard.

But before we wrap it all up, just one more po-faced gem from Slim.

The Universe is Unexplainable

like a frog

down a well

we only

know the walls.

Maybe it’s the hangover but  I am having an adverse reaction to that last poem.

For Chrissakes

 doesn’t that

make you want

to smash a

garden gnome!

Before this deteriorates let’s turn to my good friend, Snoop D Doggerel, currently on tour in Southwest Ontario, who took time out to pen this following opus which I think puts it all in perspective.

COMING UP SHORT

aphorists

are gnomic

the dwarfs of

lit’rature

And that’s it! No finer ending!

I would like to point out that no animals were harmed in the making of this month of blog posts, although a few (a frog, a bull, dogs, mice) were shamelessly used as props or on the business end of a simile.

What Can I Say

 to leave no

footprint we

must fly but

never land.

 

 

 

Vancouver Jazz Festival (Re-Mix) – a poem, a discussion, a bonus poem.

Vancouver Jazz Festival (Re-Mix)

 a humid

lion house

hogo hangs

on the air

 

dogs and trees

dogs and trees

free jazz, jazz

for free, the

 

bass player

leans like a

drunk around

a lamp post.

 

Well, 3 posts into April – Month of Slim and I’m wondering will this 12 syllable madness ever end? I asked Slim if he found this verse form, this 3 syllable line too confining. Did he not want to escape its shackles and roam free, go for 5, 6 syllables or even stretch a line across the width of the page. “Au contraire”, he said. He actually said that, “au contraire”, and I thought that’s a bit effete, a bit foppish for a bald guy with gravity issues.

“Au contraire, in fact I find it liberating to escape the tyranny of free verse, the endless decisions – upper case, lower case, line length, is it really a poem or is it just chopped up prose, if I am writing a poem about a flower, should the poem be in the shape of a flower, should I rhyme or not rhyme, what is doggerel anyway? – this is like fundamentalism, the boundaries are clearly defined, this far and no further, the Lord gave you 12 syllables, make the best of it!”

Well, that answer was a bit more than I needed or wanted, if I owned a watch I would have been looking at it.

“Got to go, Slim” I said.

“Hang on” he said, “talking of religion, I saw that movie ‘Spotlight’, here’s my review.

 

Spotlight (slim review)

 Catholic

priests find the

immoral

higher ground.

12 Syllables that Shook the World

Well, after a brief diversion into haikuland, April – Month of Slim returns with the first sighting of slimverse outside of North America (well, actually, outside of this blog) and it comes from Stiofan O’Broin   (over in Ireland/ Italy ?) who shows a complete mastery of the form in his first attempt! Here it is:

Slimverse

a slimverse

is an odd

metrical

exercise.

On closer examination, this is actually a poem in which the poem is the subject of the poem itself, a kind of poetic selfie. It’s like writing a sonnet about a sonnet, or a haiku about a haiku. For example:

Haiku 

haiku: seventeen

ineffable syllables

five, seven and five.

 

I think we’ll call it a“ Narcissus”.

Here’s a vaguely related blast from the past from Slim:

 

The Pre-Selfie Years (a slimverse)

fifteen years

ago, no

one could spell

narcissist.

 

(Be sure to check out Stiofan’s blog, it’s an eclectic mix of poetry, Irish politics and music and always interesting.).

 

Autumn and Death (2 poems and a Conversation)

 

Autumn

The leaves have abandoned

that chlorophyll thing

and are leaking yellows and reds

like a paint store catalogue.

Death (a slimverse)

A God’s voice

roaring: You!

You are not

in control.

Conversation with Slim

Me: Slim, in a previous post “Slim’s Advice Part 2” you said and I quote:

“Avoid Autumn and Death

they’ve been done before

there’s little more to say

on either score.”

Are you being ironic here in a self referential way?

Slim: No.

Me: “Slim, the first poem here is an outtake or revision of a previous poem (Slim’s Advice Part 3), are poems ever really finished?”

Slim:

“Words can be ‘

rearranged

if you just

talk to them.”

Lately, Slim has taken to talking in these 12 syllable bites he calls “slimverse” and I find it irritating and more than a little disturbing. So, as gently as I can, I say to him:

“Slim, that makes absolutely no sense to me, do you not think you are being a tad cryptic, a tad gnomic, if you keep on like this, you are danger of turning into a fucking garden ornament”

We haven’t talked since.