Three of Diamonds: Stretch Marks

justthismuch1You feel my quickening heart
My heart marks you…
       only my heart?

Quickening, you stretch my heart,
you feel my body…
       only my body?
you stretch my body-part,
only you.

You… my heart,
you feel my quickening.
Only… you part.

Stretch marks part my heart,
stretch marks part my body.

My parts stretch,
My stretch parts.

Feel my part-you body part,
Feel my only part-you heart.

my part-you body marks my heart,
only, my body marks my part-you heart…
feel my part-you heart quickening,
feel my part-you heart stretch,
feel my part-you heart part.

Stretch marks part my heart,
stretch marks part my body.
Stretch marks, only stretch marks.


I never really intended to shadow the Masters of Song Fu competition, but last week a happy song just happened to come into my head, and this week, the challenge was irresistible, and also suited one of the cards. Write a song using only ten distinct words. Poetry is condensed language, so this would have to at least be a useful exercise. So I wrote the poem that I conceived of several weeks ago, although the mere half-teaspoon of legal words prevented me from using the gruesome imagery which seeded the idea.

If it’s not clear enough, the basic story goes like this: Boy meets girl, they get involved emotionally and physically rather too quickly, girl gets pregnant, boy leaves, girl gives birth, baby (part-you body) dies (due to a complication of the birth, and/or a poorly developed heart), and emotional and physical stretch marks are all that’s left.

Writing this was much like finding anagrams, only with words as the elementary units, and no software to search for them for me. It was a difficult birth, and some parts are certainly a stretch, but perhaps you’ll give me some marks for trying. I’d have loved to use the words ‘left’ or ‘tear’ or ‘split’ in several places, but ‘part’ proved to be more versatile.

I allowed myself homonyms, words that have different meanings but the same pronunciation and spelling, because that’s half the fun of limiting the words or phrases that can be used. I don’t consider that cheating; with homonyms, it can be difficult to even tell what’s a separate word and what’s a metaphorical use of the same word. What I do consider cheating, however, is adding the ‘s’ to ‘part’ during what I’m going to call the birth scene. I like those two lines though, so I  will retroactively justify this by saying that this is when the single pregnant narrator is split into two separate people (two ‘parts’, if you like), and therefore the word ‘part’ is pluralised.

All up, this poem contains 117 words, of which:

This also makes it a lipogram, although the only letters it does not contain are j, v, w, x and z, all letters which score at least 4 points in Scrabble™. This makes the letter of the week doubly relevant though: not only does the poem feature an ex, but it’s a lipogram which does not contain the letter X. Hopefully this makes up for last week’s Thing having nothing whatsoever to do with the letter W. 

Although this wasn’t intended to be a song, I assigned a unique note to each word pretty much at random (but in C-minor, because I’ve been learning about music theory, thanks to the people on the Jonathan Coulton forums, so I know what C-minor is, and that it should sound sad) and got my robot choir to sing it, just to see what it would sound like. I literally did a search-and-replace to replace each word with the commands to sing it. It sounded ridiculous, but probably more because of the timing and pronunciation than the tune. I might work on it a bit and then put up a recording and the TUNE-enriched text so you can get your own Macs to sing it.

Don’t forget to comment on what I should submit to Offshoots 10.

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  1. #1 by iheartfilm on February 23, 2009 - 3:58 am

    “my part-you body marks my heart”

    Great line.



  2. #2 by Angela Brett on February 27, 2009 - 11:43 am

    Glad you liked it. 🙂


  3. #3 by Marks on April 25, 2009 - 12:36 pm

    Yeah, I like this a lot, Continue writing, You have a good future.


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