Five Lines or Less: My #micropoetry

mi·cro ˈmīkrō/noun
noun: micro; plural noun: micros
a combining form with the meanings “extremely small” ( microcosm; micro dining area), “very small in comparison with others of its kind” ( microcassette; microfilm), “too small to be seen by the unaided eye” ( microfossil; microorganism), “dealing with extremely minute organisms, organic structures, or quantities of a substance” ( microdissection; microscope), “localized, restricted in scope or area” ( microburst; microhabitat),

I have been responding enthusiastically to a writer friend’s recent challenge to me: to write micro-poetry every day for a week and post it.

1. Create a world in five lines or less.
2. Sparse or no punctuation.
3. Title not compulsory. (But I love titles so…)

Ever forward-thinking I now envision Section One of my Book Three (why not dream big?) with the working title:

Five Lines or Less: Poetry. Quickly.

How could I have missed this poetry form? They are so much fun to do, and great cortical exercise. Like jumping jacks from the neck up. The only kind I could ever do anyway.

I welcome your reactions. Post your comments, do.

Here are the first few entries.



Late August
and slyly
the light becomes
a miser


September First

Boats pulled out for the season
Children rushing to school
And like a switch was flipped overnight
The water in the bay now darker


Almost Flying

The two nuns, arms linked
their billowing voluminous habits blowing them
up the steep hill toward the gates of the convent
like black forbidding



We’d meander slowly
past the convent at night,
hoping for the slightest gap in the curtains
a peek into their cloistered
alien lives



hotel rooms up and down the coasts
identical save for the key card
quiet as tombs
we slip in and out touching nothing
we make our lives up as we go



How can the unstoppable
the brilliance diminish to nothing
the tributes already receding
alongside you.


His Mornings

Even the way his hair’s combed
is proof.
See how he missed a button
on his little shirt?
And the sleep still in his eyes.



His book propped opened with
spectacles on the side table,
his reading light still shining
on the place he left


Strip Mall

Orphaned and standing in the rain
but it’s not as bad as it sounds
I can hear Bonnie Raitt’s voice from a car in the parking lot
And a little boy in a shopping cart just smiled at me
No reason. Just smiled.



The school uniform, penance
the wool knee socks even in summer
the black serge tunics
shiny, slick, crisp, from too many
hot irons.


Only in the U.S. you say? Why I oughta…

These cool summer days I’m busy working to create some buzz for my new book of poetry due next month from Demeter Press.

Today I was targeting newspapers, both here and to the south, in hopes of stirring interest in reviewing it. I opened the website for the New York Times and what did I discover but this:

The New York Times only reviews books published in the U.S. !!!

Chagrined, ticked off, and generally bothered, I immediately fired off this letter to them, via email:

Dear Editor, NYT Book Review:

I know, I know, you said only U.S. books…

But that’s exactly what the New Yorker said about Canadians submitting cartoon captions to their contest until I helped change that policy (I won’t say singlehandedly although I am tempted and it may in fact be true) with dare I say a scathingly witty letter to their editors extolling the legendary and oft-documented contributions to humor in all its forms made by Canadians, now and past.

Don’t get me started on a list. Because you don’t have the time. And it would be too long. And ridiculously impressive.

To introduce myself, your first Canadian poet ever reviewed and always the optimist, I am a two-time poetry contest winner, with my second book of poetry The Music of Leaving coming from Toronto’s Demeter Press in October. May I have the publisher send you a pdf this week in advance of its printing?

Might you reconsider your position a la the New Yorker? Pretty impressive precedent there, wouldn’t you say?

It’s always nice to be in good company.

Let’s see if I hear back..

Writer and Poet

Tricia McCallum profile

Tricia McCallum

Always be a poet. Even in prose.
Charles Baudelaire.

In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.[…]

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