Thursday, April 27, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Seven

Prompt:  Write a poem that incorporates as many of these “ugliest sounding words in the English language” as you can:  gurgle, curd, chunky, bulbous, munch, clogged, jowls, slurp, quark, honk, crotch, juror, sap, gripe, angst, gob, funk, jukebox, crackpot, bulge, Sputnik.  Extra credit:  Work in 3 or 4 of these most pleasant sounding words: chimes, lullaby, mist, murmuring, golden, wisteria, Shenandoah.


 Phatic Chit-chat

Hello, Sputnik Sap.
How are you? You bulbous, gob of moist phlegm.
Nice to meet you, too, Buttmunch. Let's do lunch sometime.
A penny for your thoughts, Curd.
Oh, back to the misty drawing board,
You know, barking up the wrong funking tree.
Well, no use slurping over spilt milk.
Yeah, I’ll cross that angst when I come to it.
But I may have bitten off more chunks than I can chew
Unless I decide to let sleeping gripes lie.
So, let me know if there’s anything I can chime in,
But don’t quit your crackpot job.
Oh, don’t add bilge to injury.
You know you can drop by our clogged lodge any time.
Yeah, have a rotten day!
Golden has left the building.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Six

Prompt:  Write a poem in which you find a map that leads to treasure.  To find what your “treasure” is, pick up the nearest book, go to page 22, and point to the first concrete noun you see.  That noun is what you discover in the poem.  Extra credit:  Make references to books, movies, or characters that deal with treasure hunting:  Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.



 Treasure Quest

The Obeah women looked out of her lair.
She hissed and growled and rolled her eyes.
Her teeth were nasty and so was her hair.
“You wan’ de treasure? You pay de cruel price.”

She provided a map all covered with stains
With an ominous X marked there in red.
It wasn’t far from the Kraken’s domain
Near the graveyard of ships and the dead man’s head.

We followed the trail through a jungle of snakes.
We tiptoed passed the cannibal’s home.
We floated a raft ‘cross a fiery lake,
And wandered our way through the catacombs.

At last we arrived on the sandy plot.
We found it there on a gritty dune.
“Aha!” The treasure for which we sought!
Christopher Robin’s Blue Balloon.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Five

Prompt: Take a moment to scan a few of today’s headlines and find a story that really irks you and gets you irritated. Title the poem by using a creative variation of the headline title. Create irregular stanzas and odd line breaks, allowing your poem to have a life of its own as you write quickly—try not to edit yourself, but tap into your subconscious. Be okay with images or phrases that don’t make logical sense. Write until your irritation has been expressed and only lightly revise your poem.



We Can’t All Move to Canada

Demented, narcissist, pathological liar,
Grandiose thinking, self-absorbed fascist, autocratic hypocrite
Who appears to feel superior to everyone,
And shows total disregard for other people
Breaks promises and obligations repeatedly.
Did I mention demented?

I will build a wall 
I will make them pay for the wall
I will clean up the swamp
I will release my tax returns
I will avoid conflicts of interest
I will not be one to take time off for vacations
I will surrounded myself with the best and brightest
I will replace bad healthcare with something wonderful

But together we have the power to resist 
And the power to overcome unbelievable incompetence and a pack of idiot sycophants.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." 
Edmund Burke

Monday, April 24, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Four

Prompt:  Write a poem in the form of a spell.  Include ingredients that most likely wouldn’t be used in a traditional spell, such as: tie-tack, the color blue, a coffee thermos, a tiara, an avocado, etc.  Begin by making a quick list of these “non-spell ingredients” and then decide who or what you are bewitching.  Consider titling your poem: “Spell for_____.” 


 Spell for making you look great in a swim suit
And irresistible to the opposite sex.

One half-eaten pizza, a smashed bag of chips,
Six beer cans, (four crushed-two half full),
A dead battery from a power drill,
One greasy baseball cap,
A sweat-stained Duck Dynasty tee shirt with a hole over the navel,
Two crusty socks, one used gym towel,
A pair of jeans smeared with fish guts,
Ten hairs from a dog’s butt,
A handful of spent shotgun shells,
And the prongs of one deer antler,
Put behind the seat of a Ford F-150 pickup for 13 months.
Then remove to a black trash bag
And store in the sun for three days.
Deeply inhale the essence and repeat the magic words:
“Hell this stinks! Here, smell it!”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-Three

Prompt:  Write a 14-line poem that is a variation on the sonnet.  Look up the rules for both an English and an Italian sonnet and riff off one of those forms in a creative way.  Change up the rhyme scheme or do away with it. Make a rule for how many words are allowed per line or maybe each line must start with a noun.  Keep the 14 line structure, but get inventive with the rest of the form by creating at least 3 new rules.


 Inheritance

All those stacks of greeting cards.  She sighed.
To keep? To sort? To close the eyes and dump?
Lids and plastic tubs, bags wadded in a lump.
Worn-down shoes still holding ghosts.  She cried.

Wrapping paper, rolls of yarn and ribbons tied.
Clothes still held her essence, there beside
Faded photos. Unnamed faces. Should she hunt
For names? Or give to kids? What would Mom want?

True treasures weren’t things to hold with hands.
Mornings on the back porch shelling peas,
Fears quieted by one who understands,
The happy songs, the jokes, the mended knees.

Share the love.  There’s joy to dwell upon.
Hand down her wonder, smile and carry on.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty-two

Prompt:  Write a ten-line poem in which each line has ten syllables.  Try to include words or images that have to do with math, money, dates, or anything that includes numbers (telephone numbers, addresses, zip codes, etc.)  If you need an opening line, begin the poem with one of the following, “On a scale of one to ten…” or “Because the numbers say…” or “It doesn’t add up…”


Numbers Game

One person sat all alone in a room.
Two pencils and blank pieces of paper.
Three voices spoke to the one that was there.
Four others told her, “Give up, Basket Case.”
Five wads of paper lay in the trash can.
Six hours; a long time to stare at the walls.
Seven pages written, maybe this time.
Eight times she’d tried to share the story.
Nine times fall down.  Yes, but you can stand up
Ten.

Friday, April 21, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty One

Prompt:  Write a poem that initially gives the impression that it is going to be a joke, that something funny is going to take place.  A twist, allow the poem to travel into a sad or dark place so that the reader is surprised where the poem ends up.


Revision

There’s something strange
Coming out of Uranus.
Looks like a cloud of gas.
Great balls of fire!
It’s an incoming asteroid!

The Third Rock disappeared
In a cloud of steam.

“Start over,” He said.
“Those naked apes were worse
Than the dinosaurs.
If I hadn’t stopped them
They would have trashed the place
The way they did Mars.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twenty

Prompt:  Write a poem in which you incorporate two outlandish lies.  These “lies” can be untruths about you (the poet) or they can be historical or contemporary.  For example:  “The South won the Civil War.”



—But Maybe

The squirrels we see in park and yard
Seem hardly worth remote regard.
Fuzzy, cute and scatterbrained
They keep a canine entertained.

But in the trees they’ve hatched a plot
To vanquish us without a shot.
And so beware the evil squirrels
Because they plan to rule the world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Nineteen

Prompt:  Write a poem in the form of a letter to someone who has died.  Maybe the individual is a friend or relative, maybe someone famous you have never met. Use the poem as a device to connect present with the past using images to share what you are feeling.  End the poem with something you wish the person would have known when s/he was alive.


Dear John

I last saw you on the Blue Line to Logan.
You would have been fifty-six in 2016
if you hadn’t flown that Piper into the night.
You had every gift but the length of years.
Your family mourned.
The nation mourned.
You could have changed history.

Bigly.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Eighteen

Prompt:  For the title of your poem complete the following:  “what if?” and structure your poem so that it contains three stanzas of any length in which you explore your “what if.”  In the first stanza, mention a famous poet and a type of flower or plant.  In the second stanza, mention the title of a book and a word that starts with “z.” In the final stanza, reference a musical instrument and use a simile:  ____ is like a _____.”


What if Lewis Carroll's Rabbit Took Lucy on a Date?

She wore kaleidoscope diamonds and cellophane flowers
He wore velvet and a waistcoat of finest brocade
She came in a newspaper taxi to meet him
“You’re late.” Then he smiled, “Let us join the parade.”

Down the tunnel they tumbled in a dream sort of way
Past bookshelves and marmalade the color of sky
They blundered like zombies on into The Shining
To a party where wild things danced on a pie.

Bald guys with big eyes played didgeridoos
“Do you like it?” said Rabbit as he took her hand.
“Oh yes,” replied Lucy with stars in her eyes,
“Like a wonderful nightmare and Custer’s Last Stand.”

Monday, April 17, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Seventeen

Prompt:  Grab the nearest book or magazine and write down 14 random words.  Now write a 14 line poem in which one world is used in each line until you have used all the words.  Maybe write in the form of a sonnet.  Extra credit:  have your title subtly refer to the name of the book or magazine.


SYLVAN

Trees weave toes together
Sharing food, sharing fear
Associate to persevere
In death give life forever.
Drink the rain, feed on deer
Make energy from atmosphere
Recycling the weather.
Long arms bend whenever
Wind whispers, wind screams
Branches sweep, branches swing.
Jade leaves, gold and evergreen
Linked location where birds sing.
Leaves hiss with sibilance
Connected in a common dance.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Sixteen

Prompt:  Write a twelve line poem about a relationship (friend, romantic, family) using some or all of these words that deal with “reversing:” about face, u-turn, 180, flip-flop, turnaround, withdraw, reel in, back pedal, second thoughts, cold feet, null and void, unsay, call off.

ONE-EIGHTY

This is the part where we jump out of the airplane.
 I’m having second thoughts.
You’re getting cold feet?  This will be fun.
If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.
Aw, you’re never too old to learn something stupid.
Pilot! U-turn this bird. I’m calling it off.

You can’t back out now.
I’ll just go home and zoom in on Google Earth real fast.
Nope.  Your anxiety is null and void.
I officially withdraw from this challenge.
Well then, just stand here and hold this ripcord.
Stop pushing!  Hey…..
l
< 
^
l
> 
^
Y
!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Fifteen

Prompt:  Write a poem about someone or something you are longing for.  Maybe it’s a new life, a new relationship or a new president.  Maybe it’s a submarine sandwich, or a person you have a secret crush on.  Consider playing with the word “desire”—maybe repeat this word in every other line, or maybe use words that rhyme with “desire” throughout your poem.


Desire

Clean air
Clean water
Cures for disease
Enough good food
Opportunity to thrive
Possibility to succeed
Better unrestricted education
Teachers paid what they’re worth

See…
Under all our garb
We want the same things.

“Friendship is born at that moment
When one man says to another: 
‘What! You too? 
I thought that no one but myself . . .’”
C.S. Lewis

“Because in spite of everything 
I still believe that people 
Are really good at heart.” 
Anne Frank

Friday, April 14, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Fourteen

Prompt:  Write an eight line poem that uses the date of your birthday to determine how many words per line.  For instance 11/28/1972 translates to line 1 having one word, line 2 having 1 word, line 3 having 2 words, etc.  Zeros are wild cards, you choose the number of words.  Extra credit:  Reference an event that happened the year of your birth.


Poetic Justice

Anna Christina was hung in
MoMA
Scorned
In her pink dress she conquered limits
Still
Lost in her endless emptiness, she is now an
Icon of American art
Her mystery and reality upset the abstract judges

Thursday, April 13, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Thirteen

Prompt:  Write a poem about a frightening experience you had as a child.  Write from an observational point of view using the third person (she/he) rather than first person.

Recourse

Waiting at the church
‘Cause Mom and Dad forgot her
Went home with Allen

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Twelve

Prompt:  Write a poem that uses weather terminology, but whose theme is not weather related.  Use some of the following weather terms: pressure, storm, fog, muggy, rain, gust, chill, slight chance, etc.  Extra credit:  write your poem in the form of a letter to someone who’s angered you.


Maybe Not Today, Maybe Not Tomorrow

When you stormed through
The haze of smoke
To stop the song,
All the love I tried to chill
Revived.

When the spotlight reached
Through the foggy night
To show the way
To escape the dread,
I cried.

I know I asked you
To think for me.
You said I’d regret it
For the rest of my life
If I stayed.

You must remember this,
Wherever you find yourself,
In my heart I’ll never leave you.
We’ll always have
Paris.

Ilsa

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Eleven

Prompt:  Write a poem inspired by this line from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby:  “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”  Extra credit, use at least five of these words from the novel—ravenous, melancholy, dissolve, resentment, ceaseless, menagerie, nebulous, scorn, sport, fool, parties, tender.


How Did Your Day Go?

The sky is blue, the sea is calm,
The beach ahead is smooth and gray.
A time to shake off melancholy,
Escaping the menagerie.

I ease around the rugged point.
I scorn the slow incoming tide,
Ignore the ceaseless hiss of stones,
Putting common sense aside.

I stroll along the narrowing sand.
I relish blissful time alone.
Then, ravenous, reverse my course,
Resentment and all outrage gone.

An exclamation breaks my lips.
The sea has swiped my exit out.
Steep crags on left, high surf on right,
A fool I am without a doubt.

The loneliest moment in one’s life
Is when they watch their world dissolve.
I don’t stare blankly at my fate
But strive to climb the cliffs above.

My tender fingers split and bleed.
Three times I tumble, nearly fall.
I fight my way through briar and brush
And finally scale the rugged wall.

It’s dark but I can see the glow
Of headlights on the road to town.
Yet no one gives a ride to tramps.
Sad and wise I trudge back home.

Monday, April 10, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Ten

Prompt:  On a piece of paper, quickly make a black dot. Write a 12 line poem in which each line is a description of what the dot could represent.  Don’t mention “dot” in the poem.

Clueless

It’s only a fleck,
A grain of sand.
I can barely see it from where I stand.
The size of a pill,
No, the size of a pea
And now it’s the size of a bumble bee.
This doesn’t
Make any sense at all
‘Cause now it’s the size of a golfing ball.
It see it growing before my eyes.
Why is this rock increasing in size?

And then it hit me.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Nine

Prompt:  Write a poem completely made up of dialog or an overheard conversation.  Extra credit—mention a recipe by name and/or the name of a saint.


Somewhere in Wyoming

Road trip day five.
Burger King somewhere in Wyoming.
Overheard from the next booth.

“I got this video to watch tonight.
Eddie get those fries out of your nose.
I’d seen it before
But it was on sale at Walmart.”

“Yeah we have that one.
I’ve watched it over and over,
And that is the STUPIDEST movie.”

Saturday, April 8, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Eight


Prompt:  Write a poem that uses one of the following as a first line. “Because the earth’s axis is tilted by 23½ degrees…” or “Because the sun will fade into a in a billion years…”  or  “Because only 59% of the moon’s surface is visible from Earth…” Allow your poem to be cosmic and galactic but include a few ordinary household items.


A Great Disturbance in the Force

“Because the Earth’s axis
is tilted by 23½ degrees
and I didn’t allow for it.”
That’s what my dorky brother said
When his toy rocket
shot into the chicken coop
and one of the chickens landed
in the cow trough
so the cow jumped the fence
and ran through the garden
tipping over the wheel barrow;
scaring the cat
so she jumped on the dog
then they ran through
the clothesline
and pulled down the sheets
which surprised me
and I stepped on my hat
and kicked the dog
and got in trouble.
Then Mom assigned me
To clean the bathrooms.

Friday, April 7, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Seven

Prompt:  Write a poem that explores beauty, love, joy in painful, tragic or sad time.  Allow the reader to experience these opposite feelings by juxtaposing beautiful images with less pleasing ones.  For example: falling in love during a hurricane, giving birth after being evicted.  Or write in first person that is inspirational to you in a not-so-perfect world.


Hell in Montana

A mushroom cloud
Appeared on the horizon
And stayed there
All summer.
Yellowstone burned.
Miles of forest
Seared, torched, charcoaled.

Armies with axes
An air force of bombers
Struggled against
The forces of nature
Advanced, retreated,
But stood their ground
At the Old Faithful Inn.

September 9, 1988
Seven stories of history
Faced a wall of flame.
With sprinklers and hoses
They drenched the roof
Choppers dropped slurry
The firestorm roared.

By late afternoon
The inferno moved on
The largest log structure
Stood, flags flying
In the clearing smoke,
Thanks to brave people
Who faced down the blaze.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Six

Prompt:  Synesthesia is the mixing of senses. Use as many synesthesia inspired phrases as you can in a poem.  Write in couplets.


Never Miss the Chance to Dance

A tumble of tutu
A running of rainbows

The peanut butter-jelly
Trip of tubby toes

Bouncing to the candy bop
Laughing in her bubble babble,

She spins into the kitchen
Sharing sunshine as she goes.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Five

Prompt:  Write a 15-20 line poem in which the first word always begins with the same word e.g. Praise, begin, let, understand, trust, believe, etc.  Address it to someone specific, or an inanimate object.  Extra credit: use name of city or science team.

Spring

Spring! That time of year when the sun
springs up directly in the east, flowers
spring from the soil and frozen
springs thaw.  Blackbirds return and sing
Spring!
Spring!   And so, my off-
spring,
spring from your bed.  I hate to
spring it to you but Daylight Savings time
sprung the clocks ahead an hour.
Spring forward!  Do not fall back into that bed of sagging
springs.  If you don’t
spring up and
spring into action, you will be late for school and your class will go to
Springfield without you.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Four

Prompt:  Write a rant poem based on something that annoys you.  Make it a poem, not a manifesto.  Avoid cliché or abstract language.  Write in the form of a prose poem—a paragraph without stanza breaks or intended line breaks.


Bang Head Here

I’m sorry for world horrors and disasters.  Still, I take comfort in kindness and companionship.  The earth is filled with countless beauties—which I can’t see because someone is standing in front of them trying to take a photo of their big head.  And what about those fools who think they can rule the world!  Oh, and bad grammar, poor spelling and folks who want to, “axe” me a question but can’t be, “pacific.”  And sticky floors.  And hair on my bar of soap.  Not to mention people who want to make every conversation about themselves while they constantly check their phone.   So I catch a break from crazy in a quiet, empty place to enjoy a cup of yogurt--and find I have no spoon.

Monday, April 3, 2017

National Poetry Month Day Three

Prompt:  Something magical happens. Someone tells a secret that reveals something about your life.  Extra credit.  Use citrus, prism, shallow, chickens, silk, lemons, shenanigans, chagrin, chariot, spin, prim, sin, splendid

Magic Number

Say the magic:  “One point six one eight.”
Behold a portal to a splendid world.
Step in lightly, there see spirals spin.
Seed-heads, pine cones, snaily shells,
Flower petals whirl and swim,

Rotation of the hurricanes,
Repeated in the galaxies,
Crystal prisms, chickens, lemons
The DNA of everything
Is numbered by this golden mean.

National Poetry Month, Day Two


Prompt: Write a poem that sneaks in two intentional timeline errors.

Secret Weapons

The courier hurried down the road,
Dropped bicycle in the mud.
“The troops are primed, machine guns mounted,
But Brits are more than can be counted.”
Jackson smiled, “We have Lafitte.
We’ll never go down to defeat.
He’ll help us safeguard New Orleans.
He as a fleet of submarines.”