Four Word Poems


                                      –title from a poem by Maxine Hong Kingston

You'll soon lose interest in walking
and talking and wearing the cap
of a fool. You'll.
            Words: walk, talk, wear, cap, fool, you, soon, lose.

Four word poems, ten
syllables per line, six
lines per paragraph. Graph.
            Words: word, poem, syllable, line, paragraph, per, graph.

The night I wrecked my father’s car
necking with my date after the dance
inching forward into traffic
foot tapping the brake like an erection.
            Words: night, car, father, wreck, date, dance, neck, traffic, inch, foot, tap, brake.

The USFS issued paper sleeping bags
like tissues during forest fires and fed us
steak and pop. All you could eat.
            Words: paper, bag, sleep, tissue, fire, steak, pop, eat, food, forest, us.

Things hurt. Pain is a message
to shut up and slow down.
Breathe deep, take care. Wait and see.
            Words: hurt, pain, shut, slow, breathe, care, wait, see, deep, message.

Just as the war
in the Iliad goes back
and forth according to Hector’s
fortunes, so does marriage and a truck in mud.
            Words: just, war, back, forth, fortune, marriage, truck, mud.

Fear destroys the last free assessment of life.
But what is there to fear. Death
is most of all like sleep. Death
is but a dream missed.
            Words: fear, free, assess, destroy, life, death, sleep, dream, like, but, miss.


Copyright 2013 by Robert Ronnow. Acknowledgements.