What Do You Feel When You See My Shorts?

Someone told me that the reason she doesn’t care for haiku, senryū, and micro writings in general is “because they are not long enough to make [her] feel anything.” I was… surprised. I mean, I can’t imagine someone feeling nothing after reading, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

I decided to run my own wee experiment. I shared a blackout poem—the heart of the first of today’s poem bits—then, I asked my Instagram friends to tell me what they felt after reading it, what the 5 words brought to mind. Their responses were illuminating. So, of course, I wanted to do something similar here. After you drink in the wee bits below tell me what comes to mind. What, if anything, do they make you feel?


imagine, my heart,
but do not pretend to feel—
hollow love’s nothing


freedom is twisted
around limbs flayed by winter,
waiting to be freed


wilting blooms
sparkle their brightest
at sunset


the wee notes…
– the six-word story at the end of the first paragraph has been attributed to Hemingway, but no one is completely sure if he was the first to write it.
– for the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.
– yes, the title made me giggle, too.

55 thoughts on “What Do You Feel When You See My Shorts?”

  1. It’s not the shorts themselves that make me feel things, it’s what they reveal… 😂

    So: the first poem makes me feel so so sad. Aching like the ache will never stop.
    The second poem makes me feel melancholy but hopeful. I feel determination and strength.
    The third poem makes me feel peace and satisfaction.

  2. The second one especially gives me the sense of wind and open sky and escape… so much is dependent on the mood of the reader when they read a poem and how open they are to interpreting the words based on their own experiences. Lovely experiment..will check back to read other reactions! Thanks Magaly.

  3. Firstly LOVE that title!❤️ And second.. who thinks that micro poetry doesn’t evoke feelings? I mean just look at these they are so beautiful! I admire those who can capture emotion in a few words. Especially love the one about freedom. Happy Tuesday, gorgeous!😘☕

    • Someone who is teaching a poetry seminar at the moment. She has been teaching for a long time. But moving to a new school–with more modern curricula–is pushing to teach micro writings. She can’t get herself to love it. And it’s really hard to do something you don’t love.

  4. 1. I sense cynicism and feel disappointment.
    2. I sense a mix of despair and urgency. I feel a mix of anxiety and passionate hope.
    3. I get a sense of joy, hope, even playfulness. I feel surprise, fun, delight.

    And with all I feel grateful that they succeed in surprising me (I like surprises) plus love for their poetic skill and for the way they touch my heart and remind me to be human.

  5. 1. Aroused, to be real and authentic.
    2. Anticipation of spring about to bloom (then i saw the picture. hm.)
    3. Abandoned, by a beauty sharpened by it’s own demise

  6. What a novel idea, I suspect our reactions will differ:
    1 – I feel disappointment mixed with frustration “love’s labour lost”
    2 – I feel a longing to be let go while being held back by circumstance, and needing a little help
    3 – I feel a hope (for me) that this aging process will indeed have some sparkle along with the wilting,
    Enjoyed these so much 🙂

    • I’m right with you on the third. I hear so many people lamenting their maturation. And I know it’s hard–my bones are getting there before the rest of me. But there is also so much room for wonderful things, time teaches things, points us towards what’s important, towards the bits that make us spark… if we let it.

  7. Magaly, the first one makes me feel vindicated.. that there is another person who takes love as seriously as I do. I’d like to tattoo that haiku somewhere visible.

  8. 1. As a proponent of “fake it till you make it”, this brought forward the caution about not to fake it so long that you miss the real deal.
    2. This one evokes exactly how I feel about the current political climate. I am weary of being flayed for my sensitivity and compassion, but it is going to take a whole lot of us to break the attitudes that are holding our rights hostage and destroying our empathy.
    3. This is indicative of every conversation I have had with the good people of Hospice. The changes that come over people that are truly being taken care of at the end of their lives so that they may relax into a joyous transition shows us all that we are beings of light!

    • I never thought of that, you know? How dangerous it can’t be to get lost in once own need to believe something real in hope that it might be. Dangerous indeed…

      We are of one mind on the other two.

  9. 1.) Pretending is relationships is the worst, but my best relationships always had healthy doses of imagination. I love imagining dirty old cronehood with my beloved by my side.

    2.) That one makes me feel sad, and then makes me want to work to untwist things, even if only the smallest of ways.

    3.) *adds that to cronehood goals list*

  10. #1 mak rd me feel the writer wants honesty in their relationships, do not pretend #2 this gives me mixed feelings of despair at the current state of affairs in our politics but still hopeful that changes will come #3 reminds me of my mother’s last days. I was hoping she would pass and her suffering would end, yet, regretful of losing her forever.

    • I agree, the speaker feels that what’s not felt should not be promised.

      I like your thoughts on the 3rd. Everyone should be that lucky–to live a long, full life, and then say goodbye gently.

  11. The first- lost and desolate
    The second- a sense of freedom after escape from a harsh captor
    The third- that final glimmer of life before death takes over

    All together – 3 great pieces.
    I have a whole collection of 6 word stories on my blog…and I can’t imagine one not feeling anything when reading such a short tale.
    Good writes, Magaly!

    • I think we should really with the micro-fiction idea. But we need to find a way to do it that is both productive and fun.

      P.S. I shall lurk around your site in search of your 6-word bits.

    • Only everyone who doesn’t know you, or me.

      If they know you, they already understand that you have said to dislike haiku, but have never (not that I’ve seen published) said why.

      If they know me, then they would also know that if you had said that to me, I would ask you if I could write about it publicly. And if that was the case, then I would share your name.

      So, anyone who *knows* that about you and me is either uninformed or inconsequential. Anyone who matters (or cares) should take more time to investigating.

      Um… is your attorney hot? I want pictures. I mean, just so I can recognize him or her before we go to court.

  12. LOL….Shay’s comment made my day! The banter between you made me smile. I was thinking of her when you said that about short form. :-)) I favor the freedom one…I find it makes me feel inspired. I do think that short form can really be cool, because it says so much in so little.

  13. I like micro-fiction. My attorney knows this and only files suit against haiku manufacturers.

    Toni has actually gotten me to like *some* haiku. But I think that very often haiku is used as an excuse for lazy writing. Don’t want to invest any time or energy into someone’s prompt? Write a “haiku.”

    • I can see why some short bits could equate laziness. And since so many short pieces out there can be quite terrible, perhaps avoiding them completely is safer. I have similar feelings when it comes to super-short fiction. My heart breaks–mostly from the pressure of keeping myself from screaming–when I see a story that is nothing but a few sentences thrown together.

      I hope you are your attorney’s only client. If he or she takes a lot of haiku manufacturing cases, the office must be busy, busy, busy…

  14. what do you see
    when you see
    my shorts

    This made me laugh. Great haiku.

    Writing a good haiku is very difficult to achieve. It is also very addictive. Haiku poets in recovery always return to it.

  15. Sounds like a call for absolute honesty. And more, but the “more” is elusive …

    I hardly ever have the time to properly get into short bits of writing – for some reason they take up more time than longer pieces, or is that just me?

  16. the winter limbs struck me the most. For three seasons a kite would appear in our tree line once all the green had dropped – the bare branches and that colorful kite caught – not free to ride the wind.

    That’s what I feel when I read that poem of yours – being trapped, not tasting freedom.. Flayed is a great word .

  17. The title made me giggle too, Magaly – it reminded me a bit of Bart Simpson’s ‘Eat my shorts’! And what delicious shorts they are. The first one makes me sad and it kind of hurts, because it’s quite ambiguous – whose love is hollow? The second one is a conundrum. The third is just beautiful.

  18. First one makes me feel empty and disappointed.
    Second one is any object that gets stuck in an unfamiliar home.
    Third is a beautiful scene.

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