Patricia Gomes: poetry, fiction, freelancing

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Octologue

 

A snippet of eavesdropped conversation, a bit of dialogue, monologue, any thought that is or can be spoken aloud.  It must be a complete thought.  It can answer a question; it can lead to more questions, leaving the reader begging to hear the answers.

 

The Octologue is eight syllabic lines with each line capped.  The pattern is:

 

3/5/3/3/5/3/3/3

 

For example:

 

~ Whisper of the Old Queen ~

 

Mandricart,

Can you reach the latch?

Do it then,

Bar the door.

The graveyard's chill calls

And I'm yet

Unprepared

To answer.

 

 

The Octologue was first used publicly in April of 2003.  Introductory articles were published by Web del Sol's Newswire (January 2004) and Sam's Dot Publishing's newsletter, Expressions (May 2004).  

 

More examples by the author:

 

~ The Count's Menu ~

 

Come, Renfeld.

Dawn is breaking and

I have yet

To Feast.

Is she tethered

Properly?

Can she love,

Do you guess?

 

~ Poe Wallows ~

 

That I've not

Written all I have

Desired,

All that lurks

In mind's attic

Vexes me.

I die now . . .

Unfinished.

 

~ Anne Boleyn Pens a Death Note: an Octologue in corrupt form ~

 

Poor Henry,
I shall die come morn,
You remain
Steadfast, sure.
Will you contemplate,
Justify
Your choices,
I wonder.

 

Your council
Spoke of witchery.
Terrified,
They were, of
Boleyn's sixth finger,
Conjuring
Magic where
There was none.

 

My neck is
Suitably slender;
It shall not
Encumber
the blade, freeing you
To rejoice,
To marry —
To reflect.

 

Thanks to the internet, the form has crossed the U.S. border and was effortlessly adopted by Canadian poet Roberta Swetlow.   Here are three Octologues written by Ms. Swelow:

 

Houseweeping

 

I cannot

Block out wind and dust!

I give up!

Death-grey grit

Covers everything

In the house

Like a shroud

Each spring day.

 

Keys

 

Where are they?

I can't find my keys!

I can't leave!

Did you try

Checking your pockets?

Think I'm dumb?

They're not-Oh!

Never mind.

 

Untitled

  

I just saw

A huge white hound dog

In a car

Driver's seat!

Did it have a sign

'The driver

Of this car

Is LICENSED?'

 

Roberta Swetlow 2003

 

New York-based poet Charlene Howard is quite adept at the form and uses it regularly. 

 

~ I'm Cold ~

 

It's cold here.

I'm afraid, alone.

So dark, dank.

Hard to breath...

Am I breathing?  No!

Oh my God!

Am I dead?

Yes, you are.

 

~ From Where Then ~

 

The child lies

Sobbing in her bed.

Can you hear?

See the tears.

Waiting for mother

To come back.

From where then?

From her grave.

 

~ Shadow People ~

 

Shadows

Beckon in the dark.

Do you see?

Spirits?

No, shadow people.

Lurking now.

Waiting, yes...

For who, then?

 

~ Edgar ~
 

Gloom master-
Bottomless pit of
Dark stories.
Your nightmares
Come to life,Edgar.
Twisted fears,
Bound by pen
For all time.

 

~ Jeffrey ~

 

Slice-n-dice
You are oh-so bad
Started young
Wretched one
What possessed you to
Do the deed
Dismember
Watch them bleed

 

Charlene Howard 2003 & 2004

 

If you have any questions regarding the form, or need reprint permission, please e-mail

 

Copyright 2003 All rights reserved.  No part of these poems may be used or reproduced in any manner without the express written permission of their authors.

 

 

 

Desert Moon Review used the Octologue as a weekly exercise in June 2005.   Click the link to read some excellent examples.
 

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