Instant poetry, just add vodka

Back in college, I wandered blissfully through an independent bookstore one day and stumbled on my very first magnetic poetry kit. It contained hundreds of tiny magnetic strips with a word printed on each, along with some little blank strips so you could add your own words. It’s the greatest nerdiest fun you could ever hope to have. All of those little magnets (and some three hundred of their bretheren, now that I’ve added to my kit collection with a few more kits) are stuck to the side of my four-drawer filing cabinet so I can push them around with my finger into veritable masterpieces of poetic flow. Or raunchy limericks, depending on my mood.

This year for Christmas my daughter bought me the Far Eastern companion to my poetry cheat-sheet, a set of Haikubes. This kit contains 60 smooth marbly dice with words printed on each side. The idea is to roll all sixty of the dice in order to pick out the words that scream themsevles at you to create a haiku. Half the fun is not having any control over what words appear. It feels all the more mystical, like a literary ouija board.

And as someone who is easily amused by shiny new toys, I have to say I’m absolutely in love with the clackity sound these dice make. They feel like super duty mah jong tiles, all smooth and noisy. Poetry be damned, I could just sit here and roll these things for the next hour.

Obviously my daughter stinks at keeping a surprise as much as I do, so I’ve already received and relished my Haikubes. I have to say, a book of my poetry is forthcoming. Any day now. To save you time and a few dollars, here are some of the gems the Kubes and I have given birth to:

I marvel at us,
Our full fortune looks simple.
It’s only a dream.

Okay, I’m having flashbacks to high school poetry full of oozing teen angst. Someone talk my inner poet off the ledge before she jumps. Ever see the South Park epidose where the Goth kids sit around writing poetry? I’m there.

Her smiling lips sang
But thunder consumed her words.
Still her voice shines on.

There’s a reason Japanese monks take a vow of silence. It’s so they don’t have to read their haikus to anyone. But they don’t have the magic cubes to blame it on. At least I have the benefit of pointing at the little dice and saying, “Give me a break! That’s all I had to work with! Let’s see you try it!”

Oh wait, re-read the directions. The two cubes with red words are supposed to be your topic/title. Okay, let me try it that way.

Topic: A Reflection on My Childhood
Nope. My therapist said I’m not ready to write haikus about that yet. Re-roll.

Topic: A Regret About My Future
There aren’t enough syllables to write a haiku about that one. Re-roll.

Topic: A Dream About Our World
Okay, that one seems harmless enough.

A radical grace
Last ran heavy and sleeping
Desperate for hope.

Oh my goodness, these dice contain the words ass, hump, and screwed. Where did these things come from? Did my husband take her Christmas shopping at the adult video store under the interstate bypass? Holy hell!

Re-roll. Last try before the Kubes go in the closet where I keep other embarrassing items.

I slowly realize
Every gorgeous dilemma
Is what’s next for me.

Okay, I’m no Maya Angelou, but this has been some of the best thirty minutes of wasted time ever. I even feel more inner peace than I did when I first sat down. Besides, this has got to be a drinking game waiting to happen. Competitive Haikubes, anyone?

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