SPAM prompt line: I really feel like I’m 17 years old again, seriously. . .
There are all kinds of potions and procedures that promise to restore youthfulness–or at least keep aging in check. But not everyone was at their prime at 17, sexual or otherwise. (I certainly wasn’t.)
For this exercise, start with the line “I really feel like I’m 17 years old again, seriously,” and concentrate on all the reasons you wouldn’t want to be that age again. Reasons can be personal (examples: the way you felt about yourself, girl/guy problems, being at the mercy of authority, confusion or anger about life in general) and/or cultural (whatever was going on in the larger world that made you unhappy, uncomfortable, worried).
Overwrite, putting it all on the page, 50 lines or more. After a day or two, revisit your first draft and see if you can distill it to a shorter poem, no more than 18 lines, deleting the initial “I really feel like I’m 17…” line.
Some of you may not be that far removed from the age of 17. Try the exercise anyway and see what you come up with. If it’s just not working for you, substitute “13” for “17.” (I loved my 13th year, but I still wouldn’t want to be that age, even if I could go back to 1967. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there and abandon the present–especially if I had to go through puberty again.)