Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 163

For this week’s prompt, write a friend of a friend poem. This poem would be one in which you write about or in the voice of a friend of a friend. Why a friend of a friend instead of just a friend? Because there’s a certain distance you have in which you can take liberties and make things up. Of course, you don’t have to name the friend of a friend–just use him or her as inspiration.

Here’s my attempt:

“Harold Oberlin”

Any time you ask him to do anything
he’s bound to screw it up, which is why
I don’t ask anymore. It’s not worth killing
myself over. And anyway, you know,
he cooks the best chili on the planet.
Not too sweet, not too spicy, it haunts
you for weeks after you’ve devoured it,
and by then, he’s making another
batch that he shares with any takers.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

Check out my other blog: My Name Is Not Bob


If you prefer writing about yourself, check out 10 ways to tell if your story should be a memoir or a novel. If it doesn’t fit either, there’s always a poem.


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372 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 163

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Lady in Red
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    A southern funeral ~ 1975
    moist somber faces, kerchiefs & tissues
    amid a room liquid hot with dark rippling colors.
    There are enough flowers here to gag a horse at the Derby,
    not to mention a Eulogy dragging on despite the humidity
    and makeshift obit-paper fans that protest against it.

    Unto a world of Ansel black & white she entered the
    room, a Lady in Red portrait of contrast and clarity,
    taking center aisle like a Queen at her Coronation.
    She is stunningly beautiful, with full lips carved in
    candy apple gloss under a wide-brimmed hat,
    polaroid red with black velvet polka-dots.

    With legs mesmerizing as a barber pole all the way up
    to the short hem of her dress, sleeveless and form-fitting
    in an Audrey Hepburn kind of way, her dark serious eyes
    affix on the task ahead while a dark mane pulls back
    against the nape of her neck, not unlike thick reins
    intent on holding back a headstrong mare.

    Long delicate arms entombed inside black silken gloves
    kiss the edge of translucent-skin elbows swinging wits
    with every step. Everyone is staring now, or else fantasizing,
    oblivious to the fat flies buzzing lazily about their heads.
    Even the Funeral Director stammers as the Lady in Red
    passes by as if a ghost, sucking the last words from his
    throat and leaving nothing behind but vapors.

    Approaching the gold-inlaid casket, the aged fatted calf
    propped inside like a waxed Ripley’s celebrity on exhibit,
    she bends the rim atop her hat back, then leans over and
    kisses him, lingering momentarily, as if recalling a sweet
    memory, hoping the very act will invite pain and speculation
    from the congregation now straining necks, backs, eyes, and
    imaginations (“forehead or lips? forehead or lips?”)
    while a catatonic Widow watches the Chaplin’s winced
    reaction for her own margin of truth,
    this apparition, this omen,
    this Lady in Red.

    © 2012 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. Hannah


    Found in future
    Story of failure.
    In silent honey
    As if in amber,
    Held in a timeless tale.
    Lead weighted,
    Pollen leg-warmers.
    You were disoriented
    Never finding the hive.
    Bloom boxes became empty
    Fields void of vegetable
    Fruit or flower.
    Without our flying friends
    We’ve on our hands
    Withered weeds,
    Poison control
    Paving the way.
    Money hungry
    Greedy country,
    Who’ll pay the ultimate price?
    Systemic pesticides
    Lacking long-term testing
    EPA leaving the footwork
    To Chemical companies
    Who’ll of course
    Concur that the system is safe,
    Based on incomplete data,
    On false findings.
    Mystery for mind to unravel
    New trail to travel…
    Informed decisions
    To protect our produce
    Our people, planet
    Even the bees.
    The friend
    Of a friend,
    Cross pollinating,
    Love far-reaching;
    With only the best purpose,
    Planned for global good.


    So, I watched a video this morning that blew my mind and sent me into a tearful tangent which became this poem. I apologize for the apparent rant quality of this piece but while I wanted to be poetic I also wanted to relay information.

    Hope it's okay to share links here, Robert. I apologize if otherwise but if anyone is interested this is the link to the video I watched.

  3. David Greenwell

    Waiting For A Friend

    We come to gather
    Each whistling a different tune
    Filling gaps in the silence with our own refrain
    At times becoming stifled in an air of uncertainty
    Our songs seem so different, as if we were of different tongues
    And yet, there is
    One, who were they here
    Would bring the harmony we need
    To bridge the notes of unfamilarity
    With lyrics pleasing to the ear and soothing to the soul
    A sweet melody, like that of a favorite song
    That we would all sing together
    For wasn’t it that song that drew us to them in the first place?

  4. DanielAri

    “FOAF, Nevada”

    Vegas has fascinated me for half
    my life. While my own city has bright lights,
    no other town but Vegas makes me laugh
    so deep and darkly at its sky of lies.
    A friend of mine said his friend once shot craps

    starting with just a buck on the pass line–
    and the next day bought a Mercedes Benz.
    Or the time the motel room filled with flies
    and a stench no maid could dissuade or bend.
    They searched my friend’s friend’s room from for to aft

    and found, at last, a whore’s corpse in the bedsprings.
    And one FOAF partied nude backstage with Cher.
    But I can tell you truly: my own friends
    have played poker with Slash from GNR,
    have hidden from their wives their double lives,

    assumed identities of high rollers
    and emerged as stars of the boulevard.

    *FOAF = friend of a friend
    *GNR = Guns N Roses

  5. Mary Mansfield

    Back with another one…I put a bit of a twist on the prompt and came up with a happy poem (for once!)

    A Curious Pair

    George has been her best friend
    For more than five years,
    A constant companion on
    Escapades through her imagination,
    Sleeping snugly in her arms each night,
    Two monkeys swinging from tree to tree
    In search of life’s next adventure.
    His brown felt skin is well-worn
    And just a bit dirty,
    His left arm bearing the scar
    From an unfortunate accident that was
    Quickly mended by Mom’s needle and thread.
    The keeper of her secrets,
    Her comforter when learning
    Her first lessons in harsh realities,
    Wide-eyed and smiling as always.
    George truly is her best friend,
    And if his stitched mouth could speak,
    I’m sure he’d say
    She is his best friend too,
    Even without the yellow hat.

  6. Walt Wojtanik


    The ends usually justify the means.
    A circuitous route at best,
    a tremendous life-long journey at least.

    A feast for the eyes, I was surprised
    that I was attracted and reacted as I had.
    Suffice it to say, I was glad, but for a lad

    who was as shy as the day was long,
    it took a strong bit of self-prompting
    to make her acquaintence.

    I was a loner, rink-rat, hockey manager
    managing to keep a cool exterior
    when my interior was a bundle of nerves.

    The gentle curves of her hips and behind
    (which of course, I didn’t mind)
    played little part in my false bravado,

    as far as I know, she played me cooly
    and it was duly noted
    that she may have been devoted

    to having me notice her from afar,
    so I could get a closer look.
    And speaking of looks,

    she was petite, very sweet,
    cocoa eyes and a smile that,
    while it blared, flared from ear to ear

    (did I mention her hips and rear?)
    freckled nose and clothes that hugged her
    as much as I dreamed to. It seemed

    when she’d get the opportunity, she’d stare,
    but I was too busy to notice beyond
    her waist long auburn hair.

    It was there that my heart fluttered.
    I muttered some words that evoked a smile,
    and while I choked back my heart

    a funny thing happened.
    It started to beat again, hard and strong,
    long after that first glance. She was a first chance

    at a love so aspired. I was wired and jittery,
    but she just smiled. All of sweet sixteen,
    and me nineteen and never thinking

    I would be thinking of her this way.
    And I do to this day, but in another way.
    In memory of that first meeting

    and this fleeting sense of fortune.
    A neighbor of a cousin of a girlfriend of my brother.
    She still orbits my planet. Her name was Janet.

    1. Layla Coyle

      Aw! This is adorable! You were/are a hockey manager? I’m a hockey nut too 🙂 I think this is my favorite of all the poems of yours that I’ve seen so far.

  7. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    That Girl
    (My first attempt at a Dominotion)

    Sometimes I stare at her in awe.
    This girl without a single flaw.
    Her big blue eyes, her perfect skin
    makes me despise the one I’m in.
    Being cute should be against the law!
    Punish her!!!

    She’s smart, funny, does she deserve
    that perfect smile, those killer curves?
    She’s, no doubt, the “it” girl in school.
    Boys go ga-ga, teachers drool.
    She looks me up and down. The nerve!
    Flatten her!!!

    She only hangs with the “in” crowd,
    where dorks and geeks are not allowed,
    where looks and clothes define you best,
    where thoughts and feelings are suppressed.
    I did, at one point, wish out loud
    to be her.

    To walk just one day in her shoes,
    be pampered, spoiled and amused.
    To have all do my every whim.
    To have it all, this was my dream.
    I was so lost and so confused…
    I blamed her.

    I once was jealous, I confess.
    With awesome looks, this girl was blessed.
    Although I am an ugly child,
    I count my blessings, and I smile.
    I no more wish to be… or stress…
    about her.

  8. Marian O'Brien Paul

    A Cat Named Cherry

    After a lifetime of pets, mostly feline
    my last cat, her nine lives up,
    decided to die at age twenty-one.

    Being seventy, I thought I was done
    owning pets. I was wrong. A friend
    of a friend had a sister-in-law no longer
    able to live alone. What to do
    with her cat? Said my friend of the friend
    with the sister-in-law, “I know just who
    might give the cat a home. Let me call.”

    It turned out the cat was rather old:
    thirteen to be exact, but I’m old, too.
    auguring a serendipitous match, perhaps.

    Nevertheless, I must confess, the loss
    I felt to explain why the sister-in-law of the friend
    of my friend decided to name this cat “Cherry.”
    Excepting white toes, a white spot
    by her nose, she is mostly black.

    But a produce store trip reminded me
    of the multi-colors cherries come in, ranging
    from golden red-blushed to dark red
    to purplish-black . . . Aha, I thought, Black!
    and googling cherry varieties to learn more
    I discovered a site describing their flavor:
    “unusual bittersweet, cherry-grapefruit.”

    Aha, I thought. That taste exactly equates
    to the personality of this cat, so I guess I
    will no longer feel silly calling her Cherry.

  9. Colette D

    ~ The Three-Body Problem ~

    She can understand the mathematics of
    multidimensional calculus, black
    hole geometry, and the physics of
    the three-body problem as discussed in
    quantum mechanics, but when it comes to
    the friend of a friend of another friend,
    it’s about three bodies too much for her.

  10. 4marie


    She’s great they all say
    funny, smart , and sweet
    every guy that walks past her stops for a second look
    I guess it was my fault,
    the first time they met was at my bestfriends party
    she’s amazing really..
    I just wish it wasn’t MY boyfriend she hooked.

  11. taylor graham


    For almost forty years they’ve shared
    almost everything. Her poetry, his birds –
    trudging for hours with a pack full
    of tiny numbered aluminum bands.
    His lana-vetch “gloriously empurpling”
    dry hills that nobody noticed. VWs
    that kept breaking down – they shared
    the wait at some greasy mechanic’s.
    Last week, her hacking cough became his.
    They share early-morning fitness
    at the Senior Center. Now, with failing
    vision, he can hardly read; and so
    she shares her eyes. He shares his aging
    joints, till she can’t stand to hear it
    anymore, and leaves the room. And then
    she misses his voice, though she
    hasn’t been gone from him an hour.
    This is what they call sharing.

    1. fireflydarkness

      “she misses… hour” that passage was amazing. I’ve read a lot of old Wednesday prompts now, and I am continually stunned by your poetry. There’s a compassion to your writing that always sucks me in.

  12. Walt Wojtanik


    He’s a Good man to hear her tell it,
    hell, if she really let loose, she’d probably yell it.
    His claim to fame may be his name,
    but all the same, he’s staked his claim.
    An eye for art, and apart from his camera
    an eye for beauty; snagged him a cutie
    out of duty and love, and above all that
    he’s taken Steps to be a great Good one.
    He has his fun and one so prized
    has sized up the the situation.
    “Together, we’re older and wiser!”
    she’d admit. She’s older by a little bit,
    and he’s wiser for sweeping her off of her feet.
    Giving his name has made her more Good
    in a real sense than she had been.
    The “best friend I’ve never met” remains
    the best friend he’s got. Not a stretch
    to imagine, it’s her and him:
    one fine lady and one Good man.

  13. KathyintheWallowas

    he won’t talk to you
    but will take your charity
    she has forgotten
    what the hell all that was,
    and the first girl
    any of us know about
    is smart
    and keeps her distance,
    and the interim girl
    puts up her fists
    to successors.
    they say
    you are admired
    but feared
    by your close circle,
    and none of them thinks
    “I am the one who
    could love you, love you,
    reach that sweet spot.
    while your dog adores you
    but he won’t listen.
    they think that suits you fine.

    1. fireflydarkness

      The repetition of “love you” was perfect- we tend not to use those words, thinking them so over-used and cliche- but when repeated, they took on a whole new meaning. I’m a little confused about the beginning, forgive me, but I just love the end.


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