Today’s (optional) prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.
Spring facial, after friend’s directions
“You’ll love the beautician’s new center,” she said.
Striking, brand new, at the end of town, right where the cobblestones stop,
after roundabout, crossroads, traffic lights,
block of buildings, mushroomed overnight,
where caramel-colored cows once grazed
and plum trees quietly bloomed,
erasure made way for macadam boom,
relentless advance, no chance of respite,
busy barricades across no-name street.
Straight thru, she said, then sharp right,
can’t miss, grey cement, clear glass face,
center at number 4, Orchid the name.
Where to park? Trapped by roadwork, dazed by intrepid renewal game, or
head into setting sun, eyes blind,
when center gleams. Owner unfazed,
had sensed mainstream dream,
moved, modernized, determined to find
radical remake, fancy inventories,
for tweaking selves into shining shape,
no lurching back to plum memories.
* * *
And now for our final (still optional!) prompt. Today’s prompt is based on a prompt written by Jacqueline Saphra, and featured in this group of prompts published back in 2015 by The Poetry Society of the U.K. This prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.
Our prompt today (optional, as always), is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. (For detailed prompt, see below.)
When the whys
get in your eyes
Why are you holding a knife
in your hand? Portends no good. Looks life-threatening.
To make an incision!
Why? To make a decision, you need a knife? There’s no strife.
Your question is rife with misunderstanding. I said: incision, to do some grafting.
Why a decision to do drafting? I do a lot of that. It’s a craft. Why…
You’re daft. It’s simple: I’m going to make a cut.
Why cut? What? Whom? Up or off? We’re here by a tree. Do the bees bother you? Follow them to their hive, find sweet honey and we’ll thrive.
You’re way off. Well, not quite. Because, right, it’s about the tree.
Why do you want to cut the tree down? I see you frown. That, clown, will be rough: your knife isn’t big enough!
Enough! Enough. You’re making it tough.
Why? You make me laugh. What is it that you want to cut? Or is it all nothing more than a bluff?
Enough! Cut it out! I can take no more! For heaven’s sake, shut up!
* * *
Our prompt today (optional, as always), is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious (“What is the meaning of life?”) and humorous (“What’s the deal with cats knocking things off tables?”), the interruptive (“Could you repeat that?”) and the conversational (“Are those peanuts? Can I have some?”). You can choose to answer them – or just let the questions keep building up, creating a poem that asks the reader to come up with their own answer(s).
And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” (For detailed prompt, see below.)
who en earth am I
a multiple no one
I seem no thing yet
I can be a killer wall
I am the intermediary
let you sell yourself
warning I may switch
* * *
And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?
Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. (For details, see below.)
“The damselflies pass as they would over water” from Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
Damselfly, graceful, dainty,
iridescent, silvery green,
ephemeral dream, yet
you’re ancient, damselfly,
roamed the skies in the Permian age,
a predator, boasted an eagle’s
size, taunted dinosaurs.
You’ve survived, reinvented yourself,
a slimmed-down elf, you rise
above brook, pond, morning dew,
morphed from a nymph, you grew
savor life with humongous eyes,
surf on transparent wings.
Why of all things did you pass thru
the open window, mistaking glass
for watery sheen,
lured by a curious, fateful gleam,
fancy, neither sun nor moon,
till entranced beyond reprieve,
trapped in a luminous orb,
you lay dead among house flies,
intrepid wings no more to unfold.
I grieve, yet wanted the ending bold,
believing it’s ours to choose
invincible when we lose.
* * *
Now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). One thing that makes me want to write poetry is reading poetry. Sometimes, reading another poet’s work gives me an idea or image. And sometimes I read a poem that I want to formally respond to – whether because I agree with it, or disagree with it, or just because it starts a conversation in my head that I want to continue on the page.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
Our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a humorous rant. In this poem, you may excoriate to your heart’s content all the things that get on your nerves. Perhaps it’s people who tailgate when driving, or don’t put the caps back on pens after they use them. Or the raccoons who get into your garbage cans. For inspiration, perhaps you might look to this list of Shakespearean insults. Or, for all of you who grew up on cartoons from the 1980s, perhaps this compendium of Skeletor’s Best Insults might provide some insight.
Woke up with: “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam”.
(“Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed”)
Weird, I thought, did Latin ages ago, then: aha! caught by NaPoWriMo’s
Prompt to Rant!
A historic sample of a rant,
scant examples of wilful iteration
so swiftly sealed the doom
of a neighboring civilization.
“Ceterum censeo”: a repeat,
by-the-way expression, inculcates
intended aggression, irate mantra
succeeds, leads awareness astray.
Right now, too, there’s
little repose, rare rejoice,
brain transmits monkey confab,
broadcasts tidbits of voice,
loose morsels of junk
picked up anyplace,
sediments, senseless funk,
shuttled along synapses,
like apses in a church
sacred pathways, meant
to spell silence, consecrate space
to spirit, wisdom’s intent,
like a birch, softly bent to the breeze,
whispers of an invisible might,
slow frequencies’ realm of ease
rather than overwhelm, peace, delight,
where the eagle of consciousness
soars above conflict and strife
and compassionately watches
over all life.
A soon forgotten, distant reign,
we quickly fall back again,
let the wild-goose chase rage on,
perennial noise, rat-race refrain.
The choice of
falls prey again
Here’s today’s prompt. Because it’s Friday, today I’d like you to relax with the rather silly form called Skeltonic, or tumbling, verse. In this form, there’s no specific number of syllables per line, but each line should be short, and should aim to have two or three stressed syllables. And the lines should rhyme. You just rhyme the same sound until you get tired of it, and then move on to another sound. Here’s a short example I came up with.
A toad beneath a log
Cares not for storm or fog.
He’s not a bee or frog
Or a naïve polliwog.
No! He’s wise and bumpy.
His skin is thick and lumpy.
He doesn’t work for money.
And his disposition’s sunny.
2021 NaPoWriMo April 16
There was a gnu
lived in a shoe
friendly and true
but she felt blue
that was taboo
had no luck
got on a truck
full of muck
it ran amok
Girl from Aberdeen
loved glint and sheen
when reached thirteen
followed her spleen
drank a lot of coffee
turned into toffee.
Rupert the kid
from the roof slid
bumped his head
used rear instead
that burst asunder
flash and thunder
it’s still under
what a plunder!
In the road
sat a toad
quite a load
o’er this lump
of a dump