Can’t Hit Unsend

Kimberly Burnham
3 min readMar 22, 2022

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Found poetry for April 1, 2022 National Poetry Month

The Hidden Brain Podcast lead in for You Can’t Hit Unsend reads: “Social media sites offer quick and easy ways to share ideas, crack jokes, find old friends. They can make us feel part of something big and wonderful and fast-moving. But the things we post don’t go away. And they can come back to haunt us. Today, we revisit a 2019 episode about one teenager’s social media posts, and how they destroyed an opportunity he’d worked for all his life.”

This is a series of Haiku’s from the Hidden Brain transcript. These poems are known as found poems, blackout poetry, or erasure haikus.

A haiku is a kind of poem that comes in three lines with 5, 7, 5 syllables.

Found poems, blackout poetry and erasure haikus are poems where the words come from a text or set of words. The poet finds that keeps the words she wants or blackout the word he doesn’t want or they erase words that are unwanted leaving only the poem.

Often the words in the poem are in the same order as the words in the text, which can be a book page, a podcast transcript, the back of a seed pack, an advertisement or magazine or newspaper article.

Social Media Quick and Easy

Internet rumor
an amazing story false
photoshop damage

The Story of a Young Man

terrible mistake
social media destroyed
watching firestorm mess

Concerto and Pi

wood gleams violin
melody elegant sway
infinitely long

Violin erasure poetry by Kimberly Burnham, Photo by Joel Wyncott on Unsplash

Social Media Mistake, a Persona Poem

I wish I could take it back
I didn’t see until someone questioned
made it personal
took it personally
made me see my cost
crossing the line came gradually
inch by subtle inch
until I lost track of where I was
not myself at all

A persona poem is a poem where the poet attempts to write from the perspective of another person.

100 word story prompt:

Billy, a mathematician, and futurist had an army of interns watching world news media on high speed 24/7. They reported on one thing per hour. The overall trends popped. Billy evaluated reports twice a day, making predictions for global businesses CEOs, suggesting marketing and investment strategies. This was the first time he faced a major world leader asking him how to implement an attack on the US and make recommendations on locations and timing to create the most destruction. He could do it but that wasn’t the point. He couldn’t unhear it.

Photo by Ismael Bashiri on Unsplash

―Found poems / blackout poetry / erasure haikus by Kimberly Burnham from Hidden Brain podcast https://hiddenbrain.org/podcast/you-cant-hit-unsend/ from an interview between Shankar Vedantam and William and Jeffrey. https://www.nervewhisperer.solutions/world-peace-dictionary/category/hidden-brain

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Kimberly Burnham

(She/Her) Writer, Poet, currently working on a memoir, Mistaken for a Man, a Story for Anyone Struggling to Feel Comfortable in Their Own Skin, Clothes, & ...