Editors Blog

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 132

I hope you’ve been able to try out The Bop challenge. If not, click here to check it out.

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For this week’s prompt, write a telling it like it is poem. Many poems play with metaphor and simile, but sometimes poets are better suited just stating the reality and stepping back. Actually, that’s sort of a principle behind haiku. But you can use more than 17 syllables–if needed.

Here’s my attempt:

“Covering the globe”

My fingers touch Georgia and Ohio,
but there’s no space between. In fact, I can’t
see Kentucky or Tennessee at all.
If I stretch, my pointer can reach Paris
while my thumb stays grounded in Atlanta–
the other three digits dangle in space.

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Learn how to be your own worst critic…
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198 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 132

  1. Taylor Graham

    DEAR RESCUE, CA

    You’re the first place after the last
    red stop light. Strung out for a mile or more
    along a winding county road –
    is your downtown really a local joke?
    A few houses visible, in various
    tones of tree and earth, half lost in leaves.
    They don’t look each other in the window
    like tract houses on tiny lots;
    it’s as if they weren’t put there
    together but came about by thoughts
    of their own.

    I’ve always wanted to live in Rescue
    to save me from the interchangeable
    off-ramps and city blocks I drove,
    the stop-lights I sat through
    to get here.

  2. Dennis Wright

    One Hand Leads Another
    (Or Leo’s Bop)

    I agree with Tolstoy:
    There would be no need
    for hired governors,
    or erected state capitals,
    if we ever act moral
    toward the other being.

    One hand leads another.

    But to be perfect,
    we would need to be,
    closer to each other
    than we know how. It
    would be like living
    in a hall of mirrors,
    reflecting our hollow face,
    and worrying about the sun.

    One hand leads another.

    Home is where we are settled,
    our skin hanging from the bone,
    our clothing stretched over a chair.
    Mirrors matter not:we rejoice in the sun.

    One hand leads another.

  3. Dennis Wright

    This I Know

    It must be you
    who walked in my door.
    Only you, just you,
    I ask for no more.

    And the sun shines
    in Virginia bright.
    There’s rain in Indiana
    as I wait for you tonight.

    This I know, yes I know.
    There is but one
    where ever I go.
    This I know, where I go.

  4. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Soulless Brother
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Dear Soulless Brother,

    While many will busy themselves
    handing out condolences like business cards
    to family and friends this weekend,
    I will be reveling in the thought that you
    finally got exactly what you deserved,
    an eternal vacation in Hades notwithstanding.

    You learned early on, that talent and perseverance
    will only get you so far in this life,
    but that greed and selfishness in small bursts
    can accelerate desired results much faster.
    "Why settle for canned tuna," you once said
    "when one can have caviar right now?"

    For years, I saw you for who you really were,
    despite the loyal posse that surrounded,
    defended, even crossed the line for you–
    a soulless, manipulative, rat bastard who would
    part out a dying relative like a Ferengi
    if it meant netting a few bars of latinum.

    You thought the worse of me for years,
    fabricating, even jockeying for position
    within the family tree, in spite of weak boughs,
    so why should I suddenly start caring now?
    Prayers are best left to those that mean it.

    No, you probably don’t want me writing your eulogy,
    not if you don’t want me telling it like it is.
    I’m not a naive freckle-faced kid any more,
    I’m done covering for you.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  5. Mariel

    Dusk

    I walk in and it’s late
    the heat smells of incense and dusk
    Bed unmade; dirty plates in the sink
    bones ache from my run
    Fingers forces themselves around a blue mug I forgot to clean
    Tea steeps; your hair lingers on my fingertips
    like water passing through frozen grapes

  6. Elizabeth Johnson

    Getting down to the wire… today’s poem expressed itself as a bop, so here it is:

    HANDS

    They waltz along familiar keys with
    graceful collision and passionate whispers
    gently caressing those eighty-eight notes,
    dancing out words from twenty-six letters,
    choosing the colors to abstract their world,
    watercolor phrases, free verse melodies:

    I am my hands.

    Captivating sunlight, composing a home,
    crafting a well-worn house into coziness,
    carving smiles with curtains and canvas;
    stirring love into homemade suppertimes,
    laughter into cake batter and cookie dough,
    life into canned soups and boxed macaroni;
    arranging, composing, harmonizing each room
    a lyrical refuge from discord, a haven:

    I am my hands.

    Fingertips, knuckles, thumbs and palms,
    each their own royalty, each individual
    part of the whole the voice of my soul;
    embracing-caressing-grasping-holding-
    waltzing-composing-talking-folding-
    constructing-writing-playing-creating-

    I am my hands.

  7. Janice Windle

    My poem is posted twice because I was trying to give it a title ("In the Garden") but couldn’t work out how to make a break between the title and th e body of the poem so I tried again. Is it possible to delete failed attempts to post accurately? – Janice

  8. Janice Windle

    saw shrieks unseen
    hammer tapping roof
    thrush and blackbird confirm
    boundaries
    crow sways on high nest
    repeats hoarse warning
    somewhere a train
    overhead a plane
    white feathers drift in a blue bowl
    no sign of the ash yet

  9. Janice Windle

    In the Garden
    saw shrieks unseen
    hammer tapping roof
    thrush and blackbird confirm
    boundaries
    crow sways on high nest
    repeats hoarse warning
    somewhere a train
    overhead a plane
    white feathers drift in a blue bowl
    no sign of the ash yet

  10. Taylor Graham

    KEEPSAKE

    A day of sorting and packing.
    Resignation, she says.
    Time is elastic and brittle,
    things you let loose of, every
    thing belonging to your
    past. She says
    the hour is nothing
    but a keepsake, that broken
    clock in the attic.
    Listen, her daughter says.
    Wind-chimes.

  11. Michael Grove

    If Then

    If I had a nickel
    for every tear I’ve shed,
    Then I would be a rich man
    with a price tag on my head.

    If I could see the future
    I would buy a crystal ball,
    Then polish it so clearly,
    to gaze in and see all.

    If they said, “I don’t get it.”,
    instead of, “How delightful.”,
    Then the viral trail of oral praise
    might at times not be so frightful.

    If someone would cut out your tongue
    and amputate your hands,
    Then you would have to find a way
    to communicate demands.

    If I had six quarts
    of bluish blood instead of red,
    Then I wouldn’t be a soldier
    with a bandage on my head.

  12. LBC

    Cloud Cover

    Buffalo’s Erie clouds
    covered my anxiety,
    kept the sun from warming the shivers down my spine.
    Words at the building’s top invisible, cloud covered,
    I pretended not to enter a hospital,
    forced one foot in front of the other through the door,
    feigned a smile for the man who welcomed me inside.
    Waited to see the doctor,
    imagined floating away with the clouds
    east toward the sun, as
    footsteps down the hall came closer,
    stepped into the examine room
    where the doctor told it like it was,
    and the good news rocketed me high above
    those Erie clouds
    where my tears of joy cried a rainbow,
    my smile genuine.

  13. Julieann S Powell

    Shoreline

    White capped waves
    Crash into the squeaky, white
    Sugar sand sending
    Spume and spray against
    Sun-browned legs attached
    To feet being sucked
    Into the sand by the
    Waves ebb and flow

  14. Joseph Beckman

    Thank you Pearl-kind words and Marie -tenderness born of anger at life’s injustice. No more harsh a reality than terminal illness……… except when you read something like Joseph Harker!!!!!…….funny and good Joseph. It’s funny Joseph how surrender ultimately can make anything enjoyable and you do so well with your words.. I just haven’t figured out how to switch our last names after the comments have been written….keep it up dude. I will have to figure it out eventually!!
    :)lol

  15. Sam Nielson

    Amy, PKP,
    Thanks for the mentions of my poem. I find this type of metaphor/simile-less work more difficult. I was always told that anytime you use a "to be" verb, you lose out. I am just coming around to the idea that one or two are not so bad, as long as I don’t displace a good action verb. I have found though, that trying to rewrite a line without the ‘to be’ verb, improves things considerably, but also shifts the tack of the poem elsewhere than originally intended. A little frustrating sometimes.

    Cameron Steele,
    You are welcome. I tell it like I see it. Just like eyes, a name has it!

    Mine is a bit common. (But was announced in the Bible, old family story how it got applied to me.) I’m told there is a Sam in every movie. But I figure most of the time it is there and used for the dog! So Sam rocks, or barks, whines, or ???

    Thanks again to all. This poetry street is a shoreline between oceans for me. I think a lot about it as I run about working. It is one thing I do because I want to, and it is for me to think and feel. Other non-controllable demands of me come and go, but I control this one.

  16. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Oh Joseph… Truly a majestic offering capturing a time that is at once incomprehensible and brutally real. Your innocent image of the boyhood string with s cup on each end fills me with an aching for what was, for what is, and fir what is to come. A brilliant piece on so very many levels…. Thank you and, if this as it seems is inspired by your own pain…know that there are many extension cups tied to your string listening and breathing only positive thoughts for you.

  17. Joseph Beckman

    Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 132

    For this week’s prompt, write a telling it like it is poem.
    .
    .

    As it is.
    .
    .
    You talk so freely of your death to come.
    Calm, measured tones. You have terror filled dreams.
    Your affect is a lie. I catch your wandering eye,
    Deep it penetrates the scenes before you, wondering
    What movies you will miss when the theatre closes.
    .
    What use your “heaven”, your “savior”, your monologue
    Of truths. Your truths, our truths become fodder for
    The Truth as Thelma and Louise feel the breeze
    On their face. Your courage, is it strong or wrong
    As it betrays you like a paper shield, a mirage.
    .
    So real is your breath, your warmth, mother to
    Many, who will miss you and miss you already.
    Take this string with a cup on both ends, and
    Call me this Thomas as you walk through the
    Gates we all must traverse. Tell me you’re safe.
    .
    Tell me you’re fine.
    .
    © May 19, 2011 by Joseph Beckman

  18. Joseph Beckman

    Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 132

    For this week’s prompt, write a telling it like it is poem.
    .
    .

    As it is.
    .
    .
    You talk so freely of your death to come.
    Calm, measured tones. You have terror filled dreams.
    Your affect is a lie. I catch your wandering eye,
    Deep it penetrates the scenes before you, wondering
    What movies you will miss when the theatre closes.
    .
    What use your “heaven”, your “savior”, your monologue
    Of truths. Your truths, our truths become fodder for
    The Truth as Thelma and Louise feel the breeze
    On their face. Your courage, is it strong or wrong
    As it betrays you like a paper shield, a mirage.
    .
    So real is your breath, your warmth, mother to
    Many, who will miss you and miss you already.
    Take this string with a cup on both ends, and
    Call me this Thomas as you walk through the
    Gates we all must traverse. Tell me you’re safe.
    .
    Tell me you’re fine.
    .
    © May 19, 2011 by Joseph Beckman

  19. Taylor Graham

    CLARKSVILLE GRADE

    High overhead against blue sky
    a hawk is trailing two long streamers
    in its talons. No. It’s one
    long thin banner held in flight
    as the bird flaps hard for lift.
    Glimpsed through windshield glass,
    asphalt glare in my eyes, I guess.
    The raptor grips the center
    tight, while the ends – head and tail –
    dangle, move with the loft
    of air and wings. Snake. What was
    snake before this ascension.

  20. Iain D. Kemp

    When all is said and done

    everyone has their say
    everyone plays a part
    everyone takes a turn
    in the spotlight
    at the writing table
    it’s all for one and
    one for all
    musical direction
    the common ground
    consensus of opinion
    the binding post
    but when it’s all said and done
    it’s my band

    Iain

  21. Joann Brosnan

    Home?

    I sold that house six years ago
    along with the graves of my dogs
    and the people I sold it to
    lost it
    when the bank foreclosed

    When new people bought it for half-price
    bringing builders and bulldozers
    I drove for three and a half hours
    to stare
    at the ghosts of my life

  22. Colette D

    ~ Like It’s Not (or Snot) ~

    tabula rasa
    floodplain for unconscious rain
    muddy unclean slate 

    * * *
    it’s not rain
    it’s snot
    weather you like it
    or do not

    * * *
    L☺L
    Dad told us, "It’s not rain. It’s snot."
    when I was seven
    I believed him
    and was scared of the rain

    * * *

  23. Hannah Gosselin

    Thank you to De J., Dominoe, Marie and Pearl!

    Thanks for the kind words about my careless mishap, made me feel better about it. :)

    Happy weekend poet pals,

  24. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Hi all…Just in case anyone is not aware there is a small group of PA Friends on a FB group by same name…very relaxed ….. started by Shannon a few weeks back….De, Marie, Mike Maher, Daniel, Michele ( Banana) just to name a few. Come on over as said very laid back …..PA Friends… As I have written elsewhere may ball find some rapture not the rapture today. Enjoy your day <3

  25. Melissa Hager

    Man! Buddah is fast! I was in a rethinking, re-recording mode this morning, but too late. Mine withstanding, it was awesome to hear everyone’s voices and great works. What a fantastic idea, Buddah!

    Now, Nancy Posey, who I am blessed to be able to hear in real life, please read "Journals." Thinking of your delicious sardonic wit, it would be chilling…and might save a granny!

  26. Katie Dixon

    "Difficult Joy"

    Sometimes we love the difficult.
    To be in like requires smiles, but
    it is not always so with love.
    Joy seeps out, or maybe in,
    in sweat and sometimes blood,
    In frustration ground out through
    the biting the inside of our lip
    and deep breaths behind closed eyes.
    Reaching out we grasp tight the wrist
    of difficult joy, finding that it seizes
    our own wrists just as fiercely.

  27. Daniel Ari

    Yes, Pearl! Great idea – I’ll do what I can to put up a reading, too – perhaps of Roethke (especially for de Jackson) .
    And thanks for the encouragement Andrew, Amy, Marie, Joseph, M.A. and Jacqueline.

    One more to the topic in the bop form

    "Dwelling in distractions"

    Here’s the agreement: your interest in rocks
    makes you a geologist who can help us (all)
    pull money out of the stones, sort those to keep,
    those to drill, those to cement for foundations.
    The progressing world will use you and feed you
    and your family on your interest in rocks.

    We need to change fundamentally.

    For me, it’s words, these liquid crystals
    that catch the light of generations, but
    the days I typed crazed letters all morning
    then sat in cafes to scrawl poems longhand,
    I have sold eight hours at a time to mine
    synonyms for purchase, spend, join, have,
    get, now, new, save, you, must, need, own—
    and my daily bread arrives like nepenthe.

    We need to change fundamentally.

    This mythology of do what you love and
    money will follow has stopped the discussion
    about whether money must be loved at all.
    You can wake up some late nights and think,
    damn it, I love rocks. Why am I not sleeping
    camped on the mountainside right now?

    We need to change fundamentally.

    DA

  28. Joy Cagil

    HOME

    “Worse than a tornado,” said Joshua Landon
    standing in knee-deep muck, “but this is home.”
    His six hundred acres overflowing like a brook,
    only the crop heads above water.
    “The bears took to the hills, and no snakes nowhere,
    but I just can’t leave. Can’t because this is home.
    Deluge took Matthew, the neighbor out yonder,
    but I am still here on account of this brick house,
    you see, it’ll dry up, and chickens are
    in the hayloft. The porch I’ll replace, because this is home.”
    Far out on the road two men paddled in a boat
    not to get swept away. They waved at us.

  29. MiskMask

    Eeow Ick

    Liver makes me sick
    whether raw and wobbling on a plate
    or pronged and leathered on a fork.

    And

    Lumpy oatmeal makes me gag
    whether hot and milky in a bowl
    or muesli-ed up so dry it flies.

    And

    Cod row makes me shiver
    whether folded into eggs like tiny gems
    or served up in volumes in silver spoons.

    But

    Everything else
    whether it be animal, vegetable
    or mineral goes down truly quite a treat.

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