By Matthew P. Gallant
How to Write a Double Ghazal
A double ghazal follows all the same rules as the regular ghazal, except that instead of just ending the first two lines and then every second line with the same word, you do it with the first word as well. Also, the poet refers to his or herself in both lines of the final couplet.
Eyes open to light brighter than white
eyes devoid of pigment, even the iris is white.
There is no suitable justice for those
eyes afflicted with the ghostly white
pale of indignation cruelly beset by
eyes glowering behind raised flags of white.
But surrender isn’t enough in a battle of wills.
Eyes must avert if they are unworthy of their own white-
washed prison walls constructed while
eyeing the calendar, all those black lines separating white
space like fences when neighbors don’t yet
eye the other’s latest project: shutters that used to be white,
lawn so far from green there’s now mulch beneath the
eye-high bushes so their shape pops against the white
lattice-work with trellis to naturally contrast, so that the
eye is instinctively drawn onward, the way white-
winged butterflies would love clouds, which is how they move. Our
eyes tricked by this unrealized creature beating white
wisps of smoke caught between earth and moon, that other
eye in the sky with the sun, white
hot with the fury of ancient gods whose
eyes blinked and ripped galaxies in half, leaving white
scars in the night sky. This is what curious
eyes see when they scan the heavens’ glorious white
twinkling lights trying to remember constellations, their
eyes like felt-tipped telescopes that connect the white
dots of stars to spell my name: “G” in every patch
these eyes see, “G” in that dark blanket, ever color except white.
How to Write a Symmetrical Double Abecedarian
You’ll notice in the poem below that the first letter of each line is “A” — “Z” in order. Same as the last letter of each line. And somewhere in the middle of each line, there is a word that ends with the other end of the alphabet, and the very next word begins with that same letter, so that each line goes: A — Z, Z — A / B — Y, Y — B / and so on.
Adam Was a Spaz
Adam was a spaz, zipped tight inside an aura
bought with money, yawning, a tide on the ebb
‘cuz he shopped like a fox, X’ing out items like a bad acrostic.
Devilish was his maw, wide open for gold,
especially when his Molotov-vise grip could no longer squeeze
for it had been betrayed, a guru used beyond its means, stuff
God has never even felt, touched like a mortal being.
However the times pass, surely Alan will wish
(if he seeks an answer reduced by even a quasi-
Jungian IQ, quarantined like an infant raj)
kings on horseback might gallop past his issues run amok.
Lost inside a so-so orb of outright denial,
men like Adam nosh each respective album,
noting each life’s pendulum, marking each sweeping turn
of one’s gains and toil, leaving pages open to behold and lo,
parked in an unlit corner, dark knocked on the door with a lamp.
Quivering, Adam traced the double “JJ” of the signature, esq.
Ridden with guilt, a semi-inquisitive Alan confirmed his fear:
“Savior of none but death,” heralded the quote about Zeus,
tipping his conscience scale, set him to climbing giant stairs, devout
underneath the holy cliff found amid fennel and rhu.
Victory comes to the sane eventually, sooner to those who improv
with annals of the dead, deceased after a most sacred vow:
X and Y are forever linked by a magic, created by a double-helix
yodel uttered as a guttural barb, breathy with tones so sly
Zeus himself couldn’t grasp the idea and besides, Adam was still a spaz.
Matthew P. Gallant is a high school English teacher in Plaistow, NH, and a youth poetry slam coach whose team will compete at Brave New Voices 2011 in San Francisco in July. He was the alternate for the Slam Free or Die poetry slam team in 2009, a member of the Mill City Slam poetry slam team in 2010, and will compete for Slam Free or Die at the 2011 National Poetry Slam in Cambridge, MA.