Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 106

This week, write a poem about a person. Any person will do. The person can be famous, infamous or someone you know personally. I suppose imaginary friends and/or fictional characters might count for this prompt as well. If you wish, please put the name of the person in the title of your poem. I actually posted on this subject yesterday (click to read the post), and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether to use any of the techniques mentioned.

Here’s my attempt for the day:

“Virgil Brewer”

If I start at the beginning,
he didn’t talk much. There wasn’t
a lot to say. When his father
left for the war, he didn’t write
home, because he didn’t know how.

So his father disappeared and
reappeared when he finished
his stint. The hills of Kentucky
are filled with coal and snakes. They’re not
always easy to see, but some

people were killed by one thing or
the other. Of course, nobody
lives forever. If I start where
he fell asleep after working
all morning, I have to create

a dream. Maybe it was his wife–
the woman he’d marry–covered
in white. Her eyes blindfolded, she
wasn’t sure where she was, but he
held her hand and guided her home.

It’s not easy to wait for words
that won’t arrive. If I begin
where he woke as people hollered
for him to run, he didn’t yell,
“Fire!” He stood watching the hill burn.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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124 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 106

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  4. A.C. Leming

    prompt 106. person 

    former friend

    in college, he clatters across blacktop in clip-in shoes,
    tight bicycle shorts outline his manhood,
    a decade from maturation.

    in his late twenties, he’s a hedonist caught by Russian 
    roulette unsafe sex, a baby daddy forced
    back to school in hopes 

    of earning a living for his on-coming child.  narcissist  
    who tossed aside twelve years of friendship
    for the underage stripper

    he wanted to escape.  did he finally find the man 
    he hoped to be when he first stared 
    into his daughter’s eyes?      

  5. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    for gary lee ~
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    back before
    he became an ass,
    trying to lose me in a
    city park filled with gypsies,
    my brother used to
    hold my hand crossing streets,
    feed me slices of bologna
    carefully rolled up like cigarettes,
    and ride hell bent alongside to
    the musical anthems of
    cosmo factory and
    sepia ponies ‘cross the
    juniper washes of heber, arizona
    back before the monsoons
    of jealousy came calling.

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  6. Kim Yvonne King

    Salvatore- loved the description of Matthew. "wave his thin arms like one of those desert prophets" is a great visual.

    Amy Barlow- Thanks:)

    Taylor- I enjoyed the zucchini descriptions like middle ages women. I have a fat-bottomed one on my counter now.

    Now, back to work until later this week.

  7. Salvatore Buttaci


    They gather around him as if
    Matthew were the boy Jesus
    teaching the temple scribes.
    They form a circle around
    the six year old autistic boy
    and hang on his every word.

    Some even jot down notes
    to google later for authenticity
    The boy’s a genius!
    Matthew knows it all!
    The praises swirl like auras
    around the boy’s small frame
    as he pontificates about life,
    the probability of a meteor
    striking the Earth in the 21st Century,
    mathematical sines and cosines…

    an almost nonstop outpouring
    of the incredible and the trivial.
    They watch him wave his thin arms
    like one of those desert prophets
    or Jesus on the mount
    and he tells it all with such assuredness,
    such precision, that some suspect
    Matthew is a saint perhaps or
    the reincarnation of Albert Einstein

    but his mother fixing sandwiches
    in the kitchen and his father working hard
    to pay the bills know none of that is true.
    Evenings they kiss the boy goodnight
    praying just once he will see them there
    at his cheek, not stare through them
    as if they were objects in the way
    of the fact machine churning out numbers
    from dark recesses deep in Matthew’s head
    as if the two of them were shadows
    darkening bright sparks igniting there


  8. Taylor Graham


    All week, no one’s ordered a ploughshare
    or a pruning hook. For a blacksmith, no work.
    You stand idle as the wagon’s tongue
    without the team of four. How can you pay
    your board, when all an August afternoon

    brings is a bit of gossip from a passing tongue?
    Even your fine-wrought words don’t pay
    when no one cares to buy translations. Work
    should be a confirmation, an afternoon
    profitably spent as mind and body share

    the labor. Can books alone bring joy? Work
    buys leisure to reward the sweat of noon.
    Come evening, Portuguese or Manx might pay
    their respects, exotic visitors who share
    their pleasantries in an unfolding tongue –

    the one you hope, through study, might pay
    at last. But soon? what about your share
    of meals and lodging? The cook’s workday noon
    has been hot and sweaty too. Her tongue,
    a knife to carve and mince a piece of work

    like you, young sluggard of an afternoon.
    In your room, books whisper a foreign tongue.
    Will they speak to you again, and share
    their revelations, let their beauty work
    a spell? Can you calculate that kind of pay?

    Afternoon shares its tongue of breeze
    to cool you – such scant workman’s pay.

  9. Linda Robertson


    It wasn’t until I read his children’s poems
    that I noticed the similarities between him and me.

    We spoke the same language,
    effected the same moods,
    and wrote of our undying loves.

    Our styles match in meter and rhyme,
    and our word choices could be traced
    one over the other
    with nary a shadow showing.

    Though I never wrote of pirate ships,
    we’ve shared buried treasures of the heart.

    He conjured up tales of fiction and inspiration,
    and I, tales of inspiration and humor.

    But we both saved our best
    for the tiny heartbeats of our littlest bookworms –
    the children.

    Robert Louis Stevenson
    and I
    share the same name with converted letters –
    Robertson –
    and we also share the deep majestic flow
    of the poet’s soul

  10. Taylor Graham


    Dog-eared pages, notes & clippings stuck at random:
    “Zucchini Casserole is a favorite among Southern women
    who love to whip up casseroles and often end up
    in various combinations in greased baking dishes.”

    I imagine Mom, searching out recipes for “summer-
    squash past its prime.” She’s got two middle-aged
    yellow crooknecks – ample ladies – one voluptuously
    gourd-shaped – slender waist and flaring hips –
    with a tough, pimpled hide ; the other, actually two
    squashes grown together (“various combinations”) –
    flaunting a single huge, two-cheek, golden bottom.

    They’ll end up together, grated in the mixing bowl
    with eggs and biscuit-mix, minced onion, parmesan;
    then into a greased baking dish.
    They may be past their prime, but they’ll be dinner.

  11. Debra Cochran

    "The Forgotten One"

    First born to a family of neglect
    You persevere in the only way
    You can

    I, holding to hope, bring only
    well wishes for a life yet lived
    as you enter adulthood

    Hold on to the Good, The Light
    and know you are Right, in that You try.

    Family isn’t always equal to Love
    When they live in a hell all too familiar,
    but one in which they choose…

    Getting out of the Haze
    Takes Effort

    Effort I’m sure you’re capable of
    Forgotten One–

    You are as the Shining Sun
    You can Become.

  12. Walt Wojtanik


    Prestonesque, your fingers danced
    across the ivory and ebony,
    your now bony fingers, danced.

    The ivory is the purity of life’s page,
    played simply and powerfully,
    a tribute to your aptitude.

    The ebony is the blackness;
    the cursed cancer consuming you.
    A tribute to your strength.

    A musician and mentor,
    like all of us, life’s renter.
    In decline, but inclined to play

    every sweet note left in your magic hands,
    harmonic, symphonic; an iconic sound.
    One of the best around Buffalo town.

    Awe strikes with each passage played.
    Awe strikes with the courage shown,
    never over-blown, gratefully, home-grown.

    Ned, glad to have known you.
    And yet, we hardly knew ye!

  13. Debra Ann Elliott

    Thanks for all the comments. My mother passeed away in 1996. She had a lot of problems that reflected onto me and I am still adjusting to her parenting skills. I didn’t realize how much I still resented her until I sat down to write the poem.

  14. Colette D

    I’m strapped for time lately but got to read a few!

    Sheila, omG, your Debbie hits extremely close to home here, right down to the name. Only difference is the shorter and shorter trips are still occurring and I’m just praying and praying. It’s amazing how differently lives can turn out, two girls closer than sisters drifting toward life’s disparate offerings, one not being able to help the other despite their bond of love and similar beginnings. I’m so sorry for your loss of your dear friend.

    Amy, thanks! Yap. That’s sure a funny phenomenom. And you wonder why there aren’t more women in mathematics… they get trapped in biology!

    Amy again ~ re: Jan Long, from what little my grandma ever let on, it seems there was an awful lot of reinventing going on in those days. My prayer is that someday that wheel will stop turning, having enough punctures in it from people like you. Beyond reinvention.

    Debra Ann Elliott ~ how about ‘Momster’? I knew one of those too. Such a conflict.

    PKP ~ I keep hoping for a Sara Gwen fix too! Hope she comes back and soon.

    Bruce Neidt ~ Yikes! I have to taste a lot of grill fat where I live, too. Can’t say it’s a flavor I’ll ever favor.

    de jackson ~ While I have been there, done that, understand that AND witnessed that, it wasn’t me @ the Red Robin last Tuesday, L☺L

    See y’all next week!

  15. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Debra, your "Margaret dearest" broke my heart. I understand.
    Brian, BRILLIANT! And her name is Legion!
    Kim K, a squirrel clinging to a walnut? Great writing. Moment upon moment, each leading to the next, yet seemingly random. Liked this a lot.
    Dick Jones, your "Uncle Bill" was astonishing both in the way you worded descriptions and as a whole. Come back often!
    PKP, LOVED Sparkling She!
    Colette, LOL on the coed. You know, half the oldest kids on my street were not only the result of failed condoms, but the reason their parents married in the 50s in the first place. For some reason, they were all about three months premature, ha ha

  16. Kim Yvonne King

    Barely checking in before the next prompt tomorrow!
    Love to all from Hershey. Keep the poems and good vibes flowing. It gives me motivation.

    Morning in the Courthouse

    She waits her turn, trembling, traffic
    citation clipped to her statement
    with photos and diagrams of the accident.
    She reads a sign and switches off her phone.

    A young mother enters, her baby dozing
    in a carrier, the tattooed father in tow. They stop
    at the window, set the baby on the floor
    and arrange payments for drug charges.

    In the corner sits a boyish man peering
    behind thick glasses. His hands, cuffed
    at the wrists, hold folded papers––a squirrel
    clinging to a walnut. The constable
    announces a five day jail sentence.
    Boy/man just nods. Cloudy eyes search hers.
    They lead him out. She checks her phone.

  17. Sam Nielson

    Thank your for reading my poem! I keep thinking that someone will ‘shrink my head’ with the stuff I post and find out something embarrassing or otherwise show my stupidity, but as they say, full speed ahead, anyway.

    The opportunity cost thing is just that. It is a common economics term. The idea being that to choose one thing means you cannot choose another. For example, you have $3, and you have to decide between saving it, buying a hamburger, or a yummy ice cream shake. Whichever you choose, the other two are a ‘cost’ to you, meaning you can’t get them because your $3 is gone.

    For the poem, is one choice for a living better or worse than another? That is a universal problem.

  18. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Robert just posted the winners of the Monetra (I think that’s how you spell it) Contest. Congratulations to all of the winners!! I am posting the list here for everyone to see!!

    "Learning to Write," by Elizabeth Johnson
    "Of Insomnia and Execution," by Brian Slusher
    "It wasn’t me," by Tracy Davidson
    "Poet-in-transit," by Jacqueline Hallenbeck
    "End of Year Blues," by Cara Holman
    "Outta Touch," by RJ Clarken
    "Hard Times at the Office," by Margaret Fieland
    "Stalemate," by Nancy Posey
    "Bare Love," by Laurie Kolp
    "Getting Our Feet Wet," by De Jackson