check my flow

There are plenty of songs that say “check my flow” but I always think of this one.

Besides, that’s not what I’m writing about anyway.  Instead I’m going to write about…


I’m sure that is more exciting to me than you.

But I believe that everyone has some poetry in their soul (well, maybe not Donald Trump, that soul-less orange bastard), and that they can learn to admire it even if they can’t produce it.

Me, I can write poetry better than the average girl.  If I were to grade my own poems, I would give them at least a high B, probably a low A.

My strength and my weakness are the same: very personal. And one more thing…

I confess that I cannot write iambic pentameter.  In fact I can not iamb at all.

What the fuck is an iamb? you might ask.

Hell if I know, I’ll reply.

No, in truth, this is the definition from Poetry Foundation:

A metrical foot consisting of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable. The words “unite” and “provide” are both iambic. It is the most common meter of poetry in English (including all the plays and poems of William Shakespeare), as it is closest to the rhythms of English speech.

The problem is that I can’t tell (easily) the difference between stressed and unstressed syllables. This stressed me out a lot in college (hahahahahaha).

I can count syllables, that’s do-able. In fact, when I recite my poems in my head, I sometimes hold up fingers and go 1-2-3-4-  Wait! Damn it! That line has one too many beats! So I get up and change it online.

But that is the limit to my rhythm-making abilties.

Still, I like to experiment with different forms as much as I can in poetry.

For example, my poem Red was technically written in pentameter (which is to say 5×2=10 beats per line), just not iambic pentameter.

Or maybe it is. I sure as hell don’t know.

That poem also utilizes heroic couplets. They are called that because they are two lines that rhyme each other per stanza. And that it is hard to do this, so you must a hero.

Usually, this rhythm/rhyme combo is used at the end of a poem as a one-two punch.

For example, the poem below employs a heroic couplet at the end.  So do the three sonnets in two dozen roses.

The poem I am posting tonight can also be labeled as a terza rima.  And although the traditional form in Italian doesn’t use heroic couplets, the English form does.

This style of poem is tricky to write/read because the first line of each new stanza (called a tercet because it is comprised of three lines) shares a rhyme with the preceding stanza, and often shares meaning as well.

BTW, all haikus are tercets.  Now you have something interesting to NOT say at parties.

haiku red bird.jpg

I played around with stanza flux on my poem candy.  If you re-read it (or read it for the first time, I’m not choosy), you’ll see that none of the stanzas end with a period.

Terza rima has a long and lustrous history in Western poetry.  It is said that Dante Alligheri himself invented the style, and the list of poets who have tried their hand at it is equally long and lustrous.


And the rhythm-set is, of course, iambic pentameter. (Blows raspberry). Thzzzzzzppppp.

There is a variation, called piccola terza rima, which cuts 10 beats per line down to 6 beats per line, or 18 total per tercet. I’ve gone even further by striking it down to 4 beats per line, or 12 total per tercet. And I cap it off with a heroic couplet, Americano style.

So here it is, my piccolissima terza rima sans iamb con distico. Grazie.


sweet words are best
after a screw,
and sex will test

all that we knew,
fits in a box
which housed a shoe,

fleet as a fox
with amber hair,
turn back the clocks

abolishing care
with gentle hush
speak tender love

oh what a crush.
oh what a rush.

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