January 14, 2005

It was about a year and a half ago that I first stumbled onto one of my favorite blogs during a fit of insomnolent meandering. I happened to arrive just after the flurry of activity in the comments for a post about double dactyls had died down. Despite my tardiness, I contributed a few examples in the comments for some subsequent posts, as the double dactyl is one of poesy’s most sublimely ridiculous forms. (I have yet to find a description of the form online that is both complete and correct, but this one comes close.)

Some of you may remember the blogathon I did two summers ago. During the blogathon, I posted, over a period of 24 hours, 49 haiku about gay dating, in return for readers’ pledges to support a theater company some friends and I were starting. Since the blogathon seems to be hibernating, at least for the moment, I decided to do it again on my own. But this time, instead of posting haiku, I would write and post 49 double dactyls about famous and/or influential gay people from the past and present.

This became a nightmare more quickly than you can imagine. First of all, finding 49 gay people with double-dactylic names (or names that could somehow be made into double dactyls) proved to be well nigh impossible, as there are only so many historically interesting Christophers. Second, and worse, where the haiku practically wrote themselves, a good double dactyl can take (for me at least) days of continual work. I got two done and was halfway through a third before I realized that if I ever wanted to accomplish anything else in my life I had to abandon this project.

And so, in lieu of 49 double dactyls, here’s one:

Hickory Dickory
David’s beau Jonathan
Told his dad Saul, “Dave’s got
Vigor and vim;
Further, in matters of
Trust me–Goliath’s got
Nothing on him.”

If this inspires one of you to give a dollar to a gay person with an unfortunate haircut, then I’ll consider my time to have been well spent.

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20 Responses to It was about a year

  1. PeeWee says:

    Aw hell. I think I will just go read some Ogden Nash.

  2. matt says:

    I’m sure it won’t surprise Faustus that I can’t resist responding to the implicit challenge…

    Higgledy Piggledy
    Christopher Isherwood
    Hung out with Sally Bowles
    Au Cabaret
    Wallowed in decadent
    Inspired a musical
    Isn’t that gay?

    Hmm. And moving swiftly on…

  3. PeeWee: Oh, Nash is fun, too. Perhaps that’ll be next.

    Matt: I bow in the presence of true greatness.

  4. Convivia says:

    Picky, persnickety
    Herr Gustave Aschenbach
    Famous historian
    Traveled afar,
    Braving the cholera
    Gus, what’s the deal? Never
    Heard of a bar?

  5. Convivia says:

    Clompity, clompity
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Stopped at the Duchess on
    One New York hike;
    One of the barflies said
    “Ma’am, it’s an honor to
    Meet our First Dyke.”

  6. rahul says:


  7. anapestic says:

    Is the double dactyl definition you linked to incomplete or incorrect? I’m dying to know what the rules really are.

  8. Convivia: I knew there was a reason I loved you. Do I sense a collaborative work in the making–the fruits (so to speak) of your, matt’s, and my labor?

    Rahul: I agree 100%.

    anapestic: I’m not sure how to classify this, but it’s my understanding that the double dactylic word has to be the fifth, sixth, or seventh line, not just “another line of the poem.”

  9. anapestic says:

    Thanks for the clarification.

  10. Anonymous J. Chickenshit says:

    Flustery blustery
    Jake (of the Gyllenhalls)
    Makes our hearts yearn until
    We don’t know what.

    All of this talk of his
    Really must ask him: Can
    I be his slut?

  11. Anonymous J. Chickenshit says:

    “Ephebiphilically” is the best thing I’ve seen in some time.

  12. matt says:

    Buggery Shruggery
    John Frederick Wolfenden’s
    Report gave rise to the
    Sixty-se’en Act;
    Made it a matter of
    Not only opposite
    Genders attract.

    Okay, some of sleazy scansion there, but sod it, it’s late at night. Also, most readers won’t have the faintest idea what I’m on about, but ditto.

  13. campbell says:

    Well I know what you’re on about and I am sure Faustus does too. Dates you (and me) a tad though, unless you are a particularly well informed young person.

    I think being able to knock out double dactyls is a genetic quirk, like being able to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time.

  14. Anonymous J. Chickenshit: I love you.

    matt: I love you, too.

    campbell: I can write double dactyls, but I can’t rub my stomach and pat my head at the same time. What does that mean?

  15. anapestic says:

    Lazily hazily
    Christopher Robin did
    Drop trou for Piglet, but
    There was a hitch.
    Piglet suggested he
    Lie down for Tigger, “cuz
    Pooh Bear’s my bitch.”

    Obviously, dactyls are not my preferred feet. On the other hand, I am a gay man with a bad haircut, so apparently I deserve charity.

  16. Anonymous J. Chickenshit says:

    Hickory Dickory
    Thomas Cruise Mapother–
    Oh, what a kidder,
    That “masculine” guy.

    Mimi, Nicole, and then
    Oooh, that Penelope!
    Certainly: Why?

  17. anapestic and Anonymous J. Chickenshit: I love the both of you, too.

    I gotta say, I’m kind of loving this.

  18. anapestic says:

    Foppishly, toppishly
    Young Oscar Wilde greeted
    Every occasion with
    Absolute poise.
    Bound for the gaol, older
    Oscar was heard to say,
    “Boys will do boys.”

  19. dork says:

    But, anapestic, isn’t the second line supposed to be just somebody’s name, not with the extra verb?

  20. anapestic says:

    If that’s the only time I get caught breaking the rules today, I’m ahead of the game, I reckon.


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