Poetry schmoetry

One Internet craze from the early days of the World Wide Web was to compose haiku about Spam (the lunchmeat, not the unwanted e-mail). My friend Eric Pivnik wrote the best possible one of all time:

Old man seeks doctor
“I eat Spam daily,” he says.
Angioplasty.

Also:

Pink tender morsel
Glistening with salty gel.
What the hell is it?

His efforts inspired some of our coworkers in the mid 1990’s to write their own. Here’s mine:

Pink ingot of meat
Bit by bit it goes in me
Now I am Spam too.

Not long after that I challenged everyone to write double dactyls, a very specific comic-rhyme form with several rules:

  • There are two stanzas of four lines each;
  • Lines 1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7 are double-dactylic: they have the rhythm “DA-da-da DA-da-da”;
  • Lines 4 and 8 have the same rhythm but with the last two syllables chopped off;
  • Lines 4 and 8 rhyme;
  • Line 1 is a repeated nonsense phrase, like “Higgledy piggledy”;
  • Line 2 is a person’s name;
  • Line 6 or line 7 is a single, six-syllable, double-dactylic word.

I started it off with this one.

Clickety clickety
Andrea Dougherty
Always takes pictures at
Every event.

Her secret fantasy:
Selling her photographs
Capitalistically
Paying the rent.

David Hartmann came back with this terrific one:

Higgledy piggledy
Robert S. Glickstein our
Poetry overlord
Starts a new thread

“Picture yourself in a
Boat on a river” gets
Beatlemaniacally
Stuck in my head.

Christine Martinez-Begle wrote this about her husband:

Piggly Wiggly
Doug is in Charleston
Prowling at night for an
Innocent hick

Diving in dumpsters for
Cannibal comfort food
Chicken-fried free-swingin’
Steak on a stick

which, apart from being macabre, has a few problems in its structure, so I wrote this to poke fun at her:

Poetry, schmoetry
Christine Martinez-B
Thinks Piggly’s syllables
Add up to three

Probably she’s just like
Those who say “fire” is
Polysyllabical
(That includes me.)

Finally, for Salon.com’s “dot-com haiku” challenge in 2000, in addition to a few forgettable haiku (the best of which was: Start a company / Get funding. Show promise. Fail. / Start a company) I offered this double dactyl:

Hump-i-ty Dump-i-ty
Jeffrey P. Bezos’s
Company made him Time’s
Man of the Year

Loyal investors say
Uncategorically,
“He’ll turn a profit soon,
Never you fear.”

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