#452: The headline of a HuffPost article . . .

Another cockamamie idea I had once, perhaps before this nutty 30 sonnets in 30 days idea, was to write a series of poems based on idiotic news stories, or the kind of article you see nearly everyday on outlets like Huffington Post and their ilk, those pieces that either report the ridiculous, or those think pieces/advice columns that terrorize readers by telling them they’ve been, all along, “doing something wrong”: Don’t brush your teeth that way! Why you shouldn’t be plucking your nose hairs! Twenty mistakes you’re making with your bath soap! This article I found today on Huffpost was screaming for a poem, a sonnet, apparently.


The headline of a HuffPost article
Reads “How to Stop Reaching For Your Phone Right
When You Wake Up.” I didn’t read the thing
Because I think I know the right answer.
My friends, if this is an issue for you
Then just don’t sleep with your stupid smartphone.
The problem solved, you get on with your day.
Do you need some expert to tell you this?
And if you must sleep with your stupid phone,
Another option would certainly be
That when you wake up, you will just decide
Not to reach for it. These are called choices.
Truth: phone reaching is my issue right now;
I’d loath to be seen as holier than thou.

Some process notes: I wrote this entire poem, except for the couplet, on my phone’s notes application. I was out of reach of computer, pen, or paper. I used a back slash when I thought I had reached about ten syllables to give me an idea about approximate line breaks, and that would make it easier when I went to copy and paste the text into a word doc or into my blog composer. I wasn’t counting those back slashes, but when I copied them into Word and organized them into lines, I had exactly 12 lines in nearly perfect ten syllable lines. I was missing only the concluding couplet. And then I remembered an iambic pentameter line I thought might be good in a poem: I dream in iambic pentameter. It appears that, one result of writing 30 sonnets in 30 days, even as I am only 14 days in, is that the ten syllable line becomes almost like riding a bike, or swimming, or breathing, or dreaming. I’m not that much of a scholar, and I can be pretty sure that Shakespeare wasn’t the first one, but maybe the world’s greatest one ever–and he knew, he felt it in his bones: iambic pentameter is the primary rhythm in the English Language. Is that a dumb thing to say? Shakespeare, whoever he was, whoever she was, whoever they were, was absolutely divine.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: