30 Word Ghazal

A Ghazal: it is a poetic form originating from the Arab world and traveling to most of the Muslim world.  It is composed of couplets. Each couplet has a refrain, which is repeated in the second line of the couplet. The first couplet has the refrain at the end of each line.  The last couplet often has a “takhallus,” where the poet inserts a mention of oneself (often talking to oneself).

Incorporating it into a thirty word story: There’s a refrain (with the refrain pattern repeated). I try to keep each couplet to two sentences. Each story must be a scene in and of itself. There is no continuity between the stories.  The story can go no more or no less than thirty words. Comment and critique please!

Nose receded into the skull; a nub decorating a handsome face that’s been punched in. Bleeding, wheezing, coughing, sneezing: “Sir, I’m sorry: but your death time card’s been punched in.”

The Nile river–muggy, dirty, cloudy–flows ever backwards: against its tide is going forward. Swim hard upstream–but really it’s down; your sense of direction has been punched in.

Skin was supposed to keep it all in, but yours wasn’t quite like that. Blood, flesh, guts, and shit: all strewn across the floor, with the outward having been punched.

Standing, watching, the ebb and flow of fish and shells crashing against the shoal shore. Music sputters and a plume of smoke: the stereo beside you has been punched in.

Your lips touch the mouth of the opened bottle, and water rushes down your prickly throat. The red crumbs fly into the sky, the red sandstone having been punched in.

Glittery winds swirls all around us, a tornado that pelts with perfume and sparkles. You tame your mane with a delicate paw, a teary eyed tigress having been punched in.

You felt the wind take off your cap, and when you reached to grab it you realized: oh child of Jacob, your hand outstretched, your consciousness has been punched in.


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