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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Free Verse: 69 words
By Bob Lucky

Shit (an adjective; a noun; a verb), a Sonnet

A shit job. 
A shit car. 
A shit show. 
A shit life. 
This shit stinks. 
You’re full of shit. 
The shit I have to put up with. 
The shit I have to do. 
I don’t give a shit. 
I don’t take any shit. 
Don’t give me that shit. 
I’m tired of this shit. 
You’re shitting me. 
I shit you not. 



Publisher’s Notes:

Even though I usually believe that overuse of all-purpose obscenities like “fuck” and “shit” can weaken short-form writing, I simply could not resist this 69-word poem with “shit” in each of its 14 lines (plus in the title). Lucky’s little sonnet is the exception to “MacQueen’s rule,” tee hee!

As Bob mentioned during our correspondence, he thinks that “Shit” was inspired by two poems he read “a lifetime ago and couldn’t forget”: Ron Padgett’s “Nothing in That Drawer” and “Fish Fucking” by Michael Blumenthal. Both poems were new to me, so I rooted around online and found these links to share with you:

1. Check out this five-minute reading and commentary by Ron Padgett of his playful take on the sonnet form, “Nothing in That Drawer,” recorded for Poet-to-Poet, the Academy of American Poets’ educational project for National Poetry Month 2014. Includes Padgett’s comments about repetition, how words sound and feel, and how the words of his poem may look the same on the page, but each line sounds slightly different when read aloud.

2. “This is not a poem about sex...” begins “Fucking Fish,” an insightful and sensuous poem by Michael Blumenthal about language and sound and meaning, and how “the germ of an idea / has little to do with the idea itself...”

Bob Lucky
Issue 4, July 2020

is a regular contributor to haiku and tanka journals in the US, Europe, and Australia, and his work has been widely anthologized. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous international journals, including Flash, Rattle, Modern Haiku, KYSO Flash, MacQueen’s Quinterly, SurVision, Haibun Today, and Contemporary Haibun Online (the latter for which he served as content editor from July 2014 thru January 2020).

His chapbook of haibun, tanka prose, and prose poems, Ethiopian Time (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), was an honorable mention in the Touchstone Book Awards. His chapbook Conversation Starters in a Language No One Speaks (SurVision Books, 2018) was a winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize in 2018. He is also the author most recently of a collection of prose poems, haibun, and senryu, My Thology: Not Always True But Always Truth (Cyberwit, 2019); and an e-chapbook, What I Say to You (proletaria.org, 2020).

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