I hope everyone took advantage of Daylight Savings Time to get an extra hour of sleep last night. I know I did. Also, a quick note, because some have asked: Poets are more than welcome to jump in and start poeming along, even if they’re a day or week late to the party. The more the merrier, and you’ll still be just as qualified to send a chapbook in December. So get poeming!
For today’s prompt, write an addict poem. There are lots of possible addictions out there–some of them serious and some of them not so much. For instance, there are times when I think I’m addicted to work and pop (“pop” is what we call soda or cola in Ohio, where I was raised). Anyway, I realize today’s prompt might stir up some skeletons for some folks. For instance, I doubt I would’ve ever written my poem today without this prompt to prompt me.
Here’s my attempt:
“In the blood”
At family gatherings on my mother’s side,
I was always someone else to everyone.
You look exactly like Tommy, they’d say, meaning
my uncle Tom, who laid carpet for a living
and who raced hot rods at Kil-Kare on the weekends.
He was the spitting image of my Grandpa Fox,
a car guy himself. Even Grandma Dorothy–
near the end–mistook me for Tommy. Come closer,
she’d say, let me have one more kiss from you, Tommy.
The last time I saw him was at my mother’s house.
We’d heard through the grapevine he was into drugs now,
but he gave Mom a story of how he wanted
to turn things around (and maybe he did). First thing
he said when he saw Ben was, He looks like Robert,
which of course meant he looked like everyone else,
though I admit I’m not into cars, though I do
love to race. Like Ben, I was fast on my feet and
sometimes with my mouth. We had a good last dinner
with Uncle Tom. Over the weeks afterward, Mom
noticed things missing until finally she had
to call in the police, because her van vanished
with him behind the wheel. Every so often,
we’ll get word that he’s moved in with someone before
getting booted out. But still, when I travel to
Goodland, Indiana, on Labor Day weekend,
I hear the same thing: You look so much like Tommy.
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In Writing & Selling Your Memoir, literary agent Paula Balzer draws upon her experience working with New York Times best-selling memoirists and carefully explores the genre. This book helps memoir writers identify strong opening and closing points, find and develop a strong central hook that your readers will relate to, structure your memoir for maximum readability, and more.