Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 109

For this week’s prompt, write an “other side of the fence” poem. It’s easy to get caught up in our own worries and concerns. This poem should attempt to empathize with the other person, animal or situation. For instance, you could write a poem from the perspective of the person who did a horrible job bagging your groceries (smashing the bread) or the spider who made you gasp.

Here is my attempt:

“Biggie Burger Cashier”

After a few hours, the questions grow stale:
“Would you like fries with that?” “Want to upsize
your biggie meal?” Don’t mistake my bright eyes
as interested. I just want to sell
you a burger and soda. My main goal
is to get out of here without raising
my voice or blood pressure. It’s amazing
how you rush your orders as if your whole
world will end if you don’t receive your meal
within one minute of sharing with me
that you would like your fries without salt
and your black coffee hot (but not too hot).
I admit I often dream I will free
myself of taking orders for these deals.

*****

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*****

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189 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 109

  1. ann

    Bread

    I don’t bake bread;
    it takes too much time
    in the light-fading afternoon.
    The fire has to be stoked.
    There is the long kneading.
    I’d have to be patient, tireless.
    Still, the baking awaits—
    more chance for forgetfulness,
    impulse, burnt hope.
    But if I did,
    I would take your recipe
    for crusty white bread–
    gather flour, water, yeast and bowl.
    I’d knead and watch it rise;
    then open the oven, set the clock,
    and bake, never turning away once.

  2. Taylor Graham

    AT THE OPEN MIC

    Hear the void of the bare-bones
    who presentiment, passport, and futility sees;
    whose Easters have heard
    the homebound Worm
    that walked among the ancient tremolos;

    calling the lapsed sound-box,
    and weeping in the ever-blooming devotion
    that might convect
    the startling polemic,
    and fallible, fallible likelihoods renew.

    ‘O eastward, eastward return!
    Arise from out the dextral grate!
    Nimbus is worse,
    and Morpheus
    rises from the slushy massif.

    ‘Tunnel away no more;
    why wilt thou tunnel away?
    The star-thistle florescence,
    the wavery shortcut
    is given thee till the breath of deadfall.’

  3. Monica Martin

    On the other side of the fence,
    the house stands empty,
    and is falling apart.
    The grass is unmowed,
    the green pool draws mosquitoes.
    On the other side of the fence
    is the face of foreclosure.

  4. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Thanks, Pearl!! I wasn’t going to write anymore and then of course, you know what happens. It’s those off moments when you are waiting to do something that usually bring me to write.:) Anyway, I appreciate your kind words and happy that the Bettys made you feel happy too!!

    You have a good night too!! New prompt tomorrow, but I’m also at the Muse Online Writers Conference tomorrow.

    G. Smith, I liked the repetition and rereading it could be a ballad if set to music. Really well done.

    Walt, I went to your website to read your poems. All beautifully done with your usual craft and intelligence. Come back!

  5. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Barbara and a happy "Boop boop de boop" to you… lovely poem… enjoyed being a chorus of Bettys for a few moments.. a happy place to be (except for the mourning of those maimed or destroyed 🙂

    Patricia … you captured the exquisite pain of marginalization…

    De … lovely peek at greener grass and a delightful return to one’s own

    Jacqueline.. enjoyed the view from the poem… ingenious use of prompt.

    G Smith… don’t know if this is a welcome or a welcome back in any case bravo… truly a stunner of a poem… I could feel his sense of her head on his chest, that little black dress and of course hear Faith and Tim… lyrical and lovely

    Amy thanks for the mention… I did enjoy this prompt along with so many others…including of course yourself… and tomorrow we begin again.

    Have a goodnight all… (I was very tempted to write one of those ‘weekly’ commentaries but just don’t think that time is going expand to include) Wonderful poems as usual but particuarly creative moving outside … to the other side of the fence. Thank you Robert for some great fun, introspection and all sorts of images…!

  6. Barbara Ehrentreu

    OOps! There is a big error in the beginning of that poem. I am reposting it:

    Betty Boops’ Soliloquy

    You wrapped us in soft cotton
    Foam cradled our delicate features.
    And nestled us with loving hands
    into cardboard boxes
    We lay there reassuring the new
    ones all would be fine
    Soon we would be unwrapped and safe
    Standing on crocheted antimacassars
    Protected from dust and grimy hands
    We would be there observing this
    strange family that skirted around their love
    Fighting with loud harsh voices
    Forgetting to say I love you

    And she, the one who wrapped us,
    would place each of us eyes facing
    forward in our own spot
    in the cabinet crafted hundreds of
    years ago when quality meant
    whittling elaborate crowns and there
    were no factories like the place
    where we were created.

    Then when all are placed properly
    she will peer at us through
    the tiny glass openings
    in the doors and sides
    and we will see her face alight
    with the smile we always bring to her.

    We mourn for the few
    who didn’t make it to safety.
    Whose limbs were severed
    or who lost a hand She wept
    for them we know
    And we also know
    no matter how sad we feel
    we are always the same,
    black curly hair painted on
    and tiny rosebud mouth
    topping our impossibly
    tiny bodies waiting
    for the only goal we have-
    her sunshine smile.

  7. Barbara Ehrentreu

    While I was sitting in the car this came to me.:

    Betty Boops’ Soliloquy

    You wrapped us in soft cotton
    foam. Cradled our delicate features
    and nestled us with loving hands
    into cardboard boxes
    We lay there reassuring the new
    ones all would be fine
    Soon we would be unwrapped and safe
    Standing on crocheted antimacassars
    Protected from dust and grimy hands
    We would be there observing this
    strange family that skirted around their love
    Fighting with loud harsh voices
    Forgetting to say I love you

    And she, the one who wrapped us,
    would place each of us eyes facing
    forward in our own spot
    in the cabinet crafted hundreds of
    years ago when quality meant
    whittling elaborate crowns and there
    were no factories like the place
    where we were created.

    Then when all are placed properly
    she will peer at us through
    the tiny glass openings
    in the doors and sides
    and we will see her face alight
    with the smile we always bring to her.

    We mourn for the few
    who didn’t make it to safety.
    Whose limbs were severed
    or who lost a hand She wept
    for them we know
    And we also know
    no matter how sad we feel
    we are always the same,
    black curly hair painted on
    and tiny rosebud mouth
    topping our impossibly
    tiny bodies waiting
    for the only goal we have-
    her sunshine smile.

  8. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Jac, I admit, even though my blog is called "Sharp Little Pencil"… alas, I have forsaken my Ticonderogas for a really cool pen my daughter bought me… I loved your take, plus your "bitter poems" theme. Inspired! You are rocking, my dear!
    De, it IS always greener on the other side of the fence. Loved your peek through the wood.
    G. Smith: Teen angst is alive and well in this 54-year-old. That was a nice take and a heartfelt offering. Faith and Tim… nice folks!

  9. Pkp

    Back to read more and comment tomorrow….
    Dennis thank you for the mention …. I do believe you are correct and enjoyed what you had to say about different versions and no right or wrong poems…..very much enjoyed the many layers in your poem…the tree grown from a seed long sown when joint land was young… Thought provoking…lovely in itself…as usual wonderful poem….

    Goodnight all

  10. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    When a poem is mad at you (part III)

    it was a mystery
    the sad news quickly spread
    in quiet Genevieve
    a poet was found dead

    slouching in a chair
    his back facing the door
    a laptop underneath him
    hands STILL on the keyboard

    the cops had zero leads
    but suspected foul play
    the victim’s clothes and hair
    appeared in disarray

    there seemed to have been struggle
    the man’s fingers were bruised
    the laptop’s ‘ENTER’ button
    looked battered; had come loose

    On the screen, a single poem
    not a great one, thought the cop
    the e-mail button read: ‘SENT’
    and that’s the end of that

    (c) jh 10/12/10

  11. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Jac, very clever. At first I thought it was a typewriter, but a second reading confirmed a pencil. "my chewed-off head/ misses your lips" made me realize it couldn’t be a typewriter unless there was something weird going on.LOL

  12. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Replaced

    you don’t need me
    anymore

    every day i see you
    tap-tap-tapping away
    on the keyboard
    while i sit
    collecting dust
    inside a metal holder
    alongside pen pals
    who aren’t really

    gone are the days
    when you would place
    me behind your ear
    showing me off to the world

    when the #2 label
    did not once bother me
    as back then i knew
    i was #1 in your life

    my chewed-off head
    misses your lips

    your calluses are gone
    only proof that i was once there

    you have wited-me out of existence

    trees celebrate my loss

    (c) jh 10/12/10

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  14. de jackson

    Green

    There’s a hole in the fence just wide enough to catch
    the faintest glimpse of verdant pasture beyond. Here,

    Envious eye pressed tight, breath caught behind tired
    teeth, she watches, waits, takes copious notes with open

    Pen. Cries, admires how their grass has grown.
    Smiles. Sighs. Turns around, and waters her own.

  15. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    Thanks, Barbara, Pearl – you give me courage. PKP, once again, rocking the prompt.
    Arash, don’t worry about the amount you post. It’s posting what you are truly happy with – but then, I post a lot of first drafts that get edited later, sometimes because of interesting feedback I receive here. You NEVER get trashed for the quality or content of your poetry here, and even if you think it’s stinky, it’s still probably better than a lot of my typographical diarrhea, ha ha ha. Post away!
    Patricia, b/c Lex is a pastor, we do a lot of joint visits to shut ins. Your poem resonated for me…
    Willy, Willy, Willy. Now that is empathy. It’s also the situation for some members of my family, and there but for the grace of God go I.
    Dennis, you’re so kind to post the remarks about the Rapture, etc. And it’s true. Good news is that my sister and I were able to stay out of "that place" and concentrated about our lives, being kids, laughing… it was a great visit, no matter what. And she seems to have mellowed a bit!!
    Brian, having played clubs for years (and always scanning the room for the mood), I have witnessed RIP many times, but I could not have stated it as eloquently as you did. "the toe of her shoe as though
    her obituary were printed there…" Wow, that blew me away.

  16. Dennis Wright

    Over the Fence

    I met my neighbor,
    at the privet edge,
    of our two yards.

    I saw two holes,
    in his roofing cut by
    the wind and storm.

    I got my ladder
    and foot after footstep,
    I went to my roof.

    I took down branches,
    blown right over fences,
    to find no loss.

    No loss from branches
    blown right over fences.
    from his same tree.

    His tree yet aging
    from a seed long sewn
    when our land was young.

  17. G. Smith

    This is a lot like an exercise I use when stumped with my songwriting… take a song that is specifically "one-sided" and write the "other side" or point of view…

    Works sometimes, sometimes not… but I offer the following as an "alternate point of view" to Taylor Swift’s "Tim McGraw"… though I’m not real sure how well teen-age angst works for a (YIKES~!!!) 50+ year old… = )

    g
    ==========
    FAITH
    (c) 2010 G. Smith
    ———————-
    You didn’t believe me when I
    Said the way your blue eyes shone
    Put the stars to shame…
    I had that old Chevy truck
    Funny how we always got stuck
    Breaking curfew was our little game.
    And you were right there beside me all summer long,
    And then when I turned around, like the summer, you had gone…

    And now when I hear Faith and Tim,
    I remember dancing in the gym;
    Then I think of you… going out with him,
    And that song turns in my heart;
    I still remember your little black dress;
    And how your head felt on my chest,
    And how we tried for happiness,
    It just wasn’t meant to be,
    And now when I hear Faith and Tim…
    There’s only you and him.

    September saw a me working hard;
    Staying busy, keeping up my guard;
    Still seeing you everywhere;
    Above the visor in my pick-up truck,
    Rode a letter that I wrote and tucked,
    But never mailed to you.
    It’s hard not to find it all a little hard to face;
    When I see you smiling nearly every place… I go…

    And now when I hear Faith and Tim,
    I remember dancing in the gym;
    Then I think of you… going out with him,
    And that song turns in my heart;
    I still remember your little black dress;
    And how your head felt on my chest,
    And how we tried for happiness,
    But it just wasn’t meant to be,
    Now when I hear Faith and Tim…
    There’s only you and him

    I hear you’re back in town for the first time,
    Since you went away, and I wonder if I’m
    On your list…
    Or if I’ll even be missed…

    And now when I hear Faith and Tim,
    I remember dancing in the gym;
    Then I think of you… going out with him,
    And that song turns in my heart;
    I still remember your little black dress;
    And how your head felt on my chest,
    And how we tried for happiness,
    But it just wasn’t meant to be,
    Now when I hear Faith and Tim…
    There’s only you and him

    And I still wonder why…
    You didn’t believe me when I
    Said the way your blue eyes shone
    Put the stars to shame…

  18. Dennis Wright

    Amy, Someone around 1900 came up with this idea there will be a rapture. They based it on their own interpretation of bibical events. Maybe they are correct, maybe they are not. Clearly, they are on the other side of the fence.

    Pearl, my friend, is it possible there are no right and wrong versions of a poem? Is it possible there are only rewrites? At any rate, I enjoyed both versions.

    Connie, reminds me of my last moments with my dad. Well done.

    de jackson, "soapbox" is very good. As usual you get to the point and present it in your own way.

    Where the heck is Walt?

  19. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Farm Girl Harvesting

    My name in marker
    on strung together
    paper plates
    decorates the fence.

    All my years
    amounts to fifteen cards
    tossed casually
    into an old Easter basket.

    My hearing aid
    turned up
    but still not catching
    one word of sincerity.

    My relatives
    more interested
    in a free beer
    or the recipe
    for barbequed meatballs.

    I could spill eighty tears
    but my eyes
    are too tired
    to cry.

  20. Willy

    DRUGS WILL DO THAT

    I don’t know why the family looks at
    me sideways; old friends turn their heads and walk
    away. I’m smiling, always smiling; so
    happy; eyes wide open; rarely blinking.

    I look ev’ryone in the eye, if they
    let me, at least for a few seconds, I
    will. It’s true, the grinding of my teeth is
    painful, but I have to do it, because.

    It’s necessary for some reason you
    can’t hear. Moving fast is important to
    find out what can be found and touched, taken
    to hide for me later when I’m alone.

    Alone. Please don’t leave me behind again.
    No sleeping happens when someone’s not where
    I might have to go. Does it cost so much
    to stay by me, look at me, just hug me?

    W

  21. Pkp

    Arash… I just write what comes….you are " the. Careful Poet" you polish each word and they sparkle….I don’t even remember what I write….I just transcribe….Sometimes dear Arash it truly is quality over quantity….. You write beautifully and memorably…. Thank you for the mention….I’m honestly riding this wave of words as long as the keep crashing through….I do know what originally freed me up on this site was a first challenge where Robert suggested to just write and think about editing later….( this was for a poem a day challenge). I’ ‘ve continued submitting basically from the gut or hip or wherever these poems come from poetry since then…. Always enjoy your writing….

  22. Arash

    PKP, I’m quite impressed with your productivity. Today I killed myself and could only come up with one poem which I immediately deleted as soon as I completed it. You must share your secret with me. 🙂

    Arash

  23. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Brian, I echo De and Pearl’s Wow!! From the first line it is crisp and clean and heartbreaking. You make us believe that this fashionista would gladly trade her Prada bag for a loving glance across the table. I loved these lines:

    "He’s not showing, so she reads
    the toe of her shoe as though
    her obituary were printed there
    —a shame, so young to die."

    But also loved the beginning stanza and the idea of a "well-dressed stroke".

    Pearl, I can’t keep up with your output of poems and can’t comment on all. I liked White Rope, because it gave us the POV of a sea soaked thick rope.:) I didn’t get to reread the other ones, but all are great!!!

  24. Taylor Graham

    JANUARY JAN

    All down the hall, all they can hear
    is funky chords of my piano
    slightly out of tune. My song –
    just let them try
    to remember the words.
    I’ll be stepping out on them
    into thin gray air empty
    as last May’s seed packets.

    Turn up the volume. Don’t they
    know nothing grows but
    wishes? Throw out the old placebo-
    effect – it’s just sunshine
    and song. Who says the cure
    of Spring
    is still so many months
    away?

  25. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    UNWIRED

    out there through
    the barbed wire
    that carefully
    coils thought
    captive
    in potential pain
    out there beyond
    where possibility prevails
    float the freely flying
    thoughts of it all
    simple as a barefoot walk
    grass squeezing through
    clean toes
    rising to a sky dive fall
    rocketing to earth
    from bright bluest sky
    both and all
    all that could be
    synapses firing in
    a joy filled me
    that me
    freed from
    the crippling
    barbed wire
    certainty
    of cataclysmic
    catastrophe

  26. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    SORRY WRONG VERSION POSTED!!!!!! HERE IS CORRECT "WHITE ROPE"

    White Rope

    I am the rope
    that was twisted
    and tested coated
    to shine and looped
    shimmering coiled wristed
    Traveling home in
    the back of your car
    placidly waiting for
    a sea trip near come or
    in future far
    I am the rope
    twisted, tested, coated, shined
    and looped shimmering coiled
    If animate would have your plan
    resisted, halted, fatally foiled

  27. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    White Rope

    I am the rope
    that was twisted
    and tested coated
    to shine and looped
    shimmering coiled wristed
    Traveling home in
    the back of your car
    placidly waiting for
    a sea trip near come or far
    I am the rope
    twisted, tested, coated, shined
    and looped shimmering coiled
    If animate wishing your plan
    had been halted and foiled

  28. Brian Slusher

    SWF RIP

    The filed point of a blush red nail
    taps the lip of her cocktail glass
    as her fresh-dyed hair cascades in curls
    whipped up just for this blind date.

    In the sidewalk café, the couples
    couple, their hands, eyes locking
    her out. A code’s being passed
    she’d sell her Prada bag to crack.

    Her mouth arcs down, a taut crossbow
    that wants to shoot a bolt at the blue.
    She slumps like she’s having a well-dressed
    stroke. He’s not showing, so she reads

    the toe of her shoe as though
    her obituary were printed there
    —a shame, so young to die.

  29. Pkp

    Empathy…is the other side of the fence…there can be no movement or change in anything unless there is the power of understanding …again in complete agreement with Barbara… NOT condoning behavior but acknowledging that there is a POV so that it may be addressed ..be that a suicide bomber or a chubby kindergartener who cries after being bullied on the first day of school…. Amy …. Wonderful poem….Bravo to you.. Again too many confuse empathy with agreement…. It is often troubling to the depths of our beings to stand even for a moment in the imagined mindset of one who is either in pain or vilified through heinous actions…yet for all time past and forward this is what must be done whether it be to understand and for give or to understand and punish or to understand and hopefully thwart any repetition…. After WW II the saying " never again" rang when the world began to "see" the inexplicable inhumanity…. I think we cringe at times because empathy implies a kindness toward togs who often do not seem to warrant any such offering…. Ido believe that this prompt stated as " the other side of the fence".eliminated the tinge of kindness or understanding and allowed more freedom to stand in different places. Enjoy the weekend all…..

  30. Iain D. Kemp

    I’m late to the street this week as I started two new contracts this week and am working very long hours and oh my! I still have two more clients to start… for those that don’t know, I teach English as a foreign language, to kids from as young as 7 up to University professors.

    My class of 8 yr olds got their first ever course book this week (after 4 years of singing songs etc), hence this poem:

    Little Eyes

    He’s scary!
    He’s funny!
    I like him!
    I can sit next to my best friend
    but only if we don’t talk
    or play – we must be good

    He’s scary!
    He’s funny!
    I like him!
    I can speak English better now
    but I don’t understand it all
    ¿Como se dice…? How do you say…?

    He’s scary!
    He’s funny!
    I like him!
    We mustn’t talk Spanish or chew gum
    but if we try hard he’ll translate
    or draw a picture… (he can’t draw! Tee hee!)

    He’s scary!
    He’s funny!
    I like him!
    We have our first book now
    and we listen and write
    and we read and draw

    I like it when we have tests
    Why does he hop like a kangaroo?
    I can spell it: K-A-N-G-A-R-O-O
    He’s scary!
    He’s funny!
    I like him!

    BTW this week’s podcast is "To Thrill a Rockin’ Bird"

    I’ll be back to read when I’ve caught up with my week’s writing

    Cheers all

    Iain

  31. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Amy, just because you put yourself in the mind of another doesn’t mean that you condone what they are doing or about to do. So I think you showed your love for all by telling this man’s story. He is being manipulated as we all are from the people in our lives. From birth we are taught to believe in whatever our parents believe in and it is difficult to tear ourselves away from these beliefs. I agree we should use empathy more and maybe will do that because of this prompt.:)

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