9-Line Poems



The 9-line poem is an invention of mine. It has, not surprisingly, nine lines, which are organized into three phrases or sentences of three lines each. Though the phrases don't have to be actual sentences, they should all be either phrases or complete sentences. Furthermore, they must be of the same phrase type--three questions, statements, commands, etc.--and they should not be much longer than ten words each. Rhyme and meter are optional, and I'll leave the options open there. These are arranged in chronological order, and listed below (with links!) if you want to find a specific piece.

Far Sound
Damocles and Pandora
Sixth Senses
Reflex
Found
Proxy
Avert
A New Face
The Outing
Extreme Measures
22
Schrödinger's Grandfather
A Woman's Prerogative




Far Sound


What do you say to a contraption of wire and plastic
When all that will filter through the line to another
Heart is understanding, without time or focus?
How long do you wait for the second tin can to
Pick up the hint before you say it yourself
Hoping by then there's nothing left?
Why do we dance in circles around our intentions
And throw fuel to the fires while we raise our walls
Higher to keep our love from lighting our neighbor's yard?

Copyright 1996 by Katherine Foreman.

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Damocles and Pandora


Trading stories, stepping around it
With sibling dreams and displacement
A body without confidence, a face without hope.
A character, all too aware
Of living the storied entrapment
Knowing, but for it no better.
Pivots and hinges for the planless and plannerless,
A threaded sword invisible and permanent,
Potential lost and impossibly real.

Copyright 1998 by Katherine Foreman.

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Sixth Senses


It comes back to me sometimes,
The scent of basil, the taste of chai,
When I think of then and now.
You know the world is sure
Of who you are, but mute continents
Offer up no clues.
Collisions without earthquakes or pyrotechnics,
Quiet and unrecorded,
Barely noticed in the heady sensuous swirl.

Copyright 1998 by Katherine Foreman.

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Reflex


The taste of betrayal
Slipped past indifference in unexpected delivery,
Worse for the mark it finds.
I offer up what I can,
The self-desecrating altar blinded to consequence
Hoping my sacrifice will please.
I speak against the grain of my being,
Roiling with disgust at more than self or inadequacy
As I see my own interests beneath my knees.

Copyright 1999 by Katherine Foreman.

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Found


There for no reason, embattled and waylaid
Nothing bound by spell or desire,
Existent and waiting for discovery.
Nothing noticed, neither hidden nor obvious,
Quiet and sequential, natural in possibility and
Lacking only acknowledgement.
Possible and uncertain, but no more than life--
Ideal unsought brightness, there for the taking
Provided the chance.

Copyright 1999 by Katherine Foreman.

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Proxy


Pure mind, robed in spirit spun of whole cloth
Without whatever flaws prop up the walls
Immaterial in the material plane.
And I can talk all I want about separation
Without knowing whether it's the truth
In my head or any other.
But something tactile still lingers,
Foreign, enough for confusion and wishes
Guilty and vicarious in days to come.

Copyright 1999 by Katherine Foreman.

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Avert


Metal to block, food to occupy,
Laughter to shift my stare,
A shoulder to calm my shuddering.
I will stare into the mirror later
And wonder as I have before, frightened,
What I would look like, free.
But to stave off possible hypnosis
My gaze frames nothing now,
Desire bent and focus gone.

Copyright 1999 by Katherine Foreman.

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A New Face


No pretentions to glory, whatever accusations,
Yet standing outside the heart of
Any storm but my own.
Willing, in pieces of the soul,
To outline a task despite tragedy,
Knowing that even the love is far from alike.
And knowing of only the barest overlap
In anything else real or ephemeral, yet still
Finding it all too comfortable a face.

Copyright 1999 by Katherine Foreman.

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The Outing


A twist of certainty that it was somewhere already
With knots in my middle to show I haven't really
Escaped Puritan tyranny after all.
Remembering being asked what I never could,
Never wanted to know--fearing truth dropped casually,
The silent reactions while the yammering goes on.
Freedom gained, but made up in lost validity
Of direction, intention, attribution,
Confusion past and future trust.

Copyright 1999 by Katherine Foreman.

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Extreme Measures


Lying fetal on the couch, shivering in summer heat
As everything crashes head-on where no one wants to look
But we all see, and bite nails to blood, and pray.
The affectation of electrons and magnets--
As visceral as we let it be, the holographic heart
Pumping between insubstantial ripping fingers.
And through the ache of fantastic discord we know
We will hypnotize ourselves again with the tears,
To know that we can still be made to feel.

Copyright 2000 by Katherine Foreman.

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22


Take all the hate bottled up in blue
The fear of yellow, the blank white ignorance
And set it on fire with souls denied.
Then what will be in your front yard?
A burning crucifix, to raise the alarm--
Someone without compassion lives here.
But leave your rifles racked, stay inside
As absolutely nothing in your life is broken,
As those you would denigrate pass you silently by.

Copyright 2000 by Katherine Foreman.

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Schrödinger's Grandfather


Every time the phone rings
Answering is a duty, half a chance
Better than a lost hope.
They speak in clinical smalls and observations,
Routines and confirmations,
Knowing what we have to hear beneath.
And all we can do is wait, setting
Cellular grapevines abuzz when something comes through,
And crossing fingers like switchboard wires.

Copyright 2000 by Katherine Foreman.

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A Woman's Prerogative


Based on one point the curve changes
Swelling outward with curiosity,
Dormant desire looking for its passage out.
One step short of hungry communion, kept out by
A wall years old growing thinner, with the rule's exception
Sitting quiescently, mysterious and treasured.
I want to know beyond the telling, the borrowing;
I could never dare, but there is no other way
But to internalize, and bring forth experience of my own.

Copyright 2001 by Katherine Foreman.

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