Paul Nelson says about American Sentences,

They are haiku-length poems that Allen [Ginsberg] suggested be limited to 17 syllables, like haiku in Japanese and like the mantra at the end of the Heart Sutra in Buddhism: Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svaha…I have written one of these sentences every day since January 1, 2001…I find it an amazing way to sharpen my perception and learn how to eliminate unnecessary syllables. It aids in a sort of pre-editing that supports my spontaneous writing practice…It is my hope that others will take on this form and use it as a mode of deepening their consciousness or simply for kicks.

So, in this spirit, I offer my first American Sentence for this website:

2013.02.21 - Thorns tangle my ankle. I look up & see only her breath remains.

Don't forget to go check out some of Paul's.


I study philosophy and social theory at the University of South Florida. I am also a photographer, map lover and sometimes poet.