The Hermit Poet

November 21, 2005

Something light to begin the day

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 10:45 am

Despite appearances, not everything I write is serious. I have been known to write some funny poems as well. Take for instance this rather infamous piece (with 10-syllable lines no less) written for frustrated sestina writers everywhere…

Bad Sestina

Here begins a truly bad sestina,
something so awful that true sestina
lovers will cringe and say, “This sestina
should not have been written!” A sestina
so poorly formed, so short of sestina
perfection, so foul that real sestina

writers will send a death threat sestina
to my home, staple ancient sestina
curses to my door, call my sestina
loving parents “monsters.” This sestina
will invoke the wrath of the sestina
gods that lurk in the smoky sestina

coffeehouses of New York. Sestina
gestapo with their grey coats, sestina
emblazoned shirts, shiny red sestina
armbands, come stalking, poisoned sestina
word daggers dripping slowly. Sestina
writers know that a really bad sestina

is a cancer that kills all sestina
respectability. This sestina
is doing just that. A bad sestina
dangerous enough to try sestina
form without meaning, vapid sestina
verses that echo other sestina

failures or pointless awkward sestina
lines that tumble end over sestina
end, barely deserving the sestina
name. I think if I made a sestina
machine that spat out simple sestina
stanzas, eventually the sestina

workshop people would get mad. Sestina
writers would object to this sestina
making device. But a bad sestina
gathers power, rolls down one sestina
line after another. A sestina
counts beats, three beats for each word “sestina.”

One “sestina” and two “sestina” and
three “sestina” and four “sestina” and
five “sestina”and six “sestina.” Done.

First published in Beyond the Valley of Contemporary Poets 2004

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