Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 173

Wow! It feels like we just finished writing a lot of poems, but it’s Wednesday–so let’s poem one more time.

For this week’s prompt, write a vacuum poem. Seems like every time I finish a big project (or challenge) there’s this vacuum ready to suck me into it. So I have to keep moving, or I’ll find myself staring into nothing for hours at a time. Your poem can be about this type of vacuum, a vacuum cleaner, or a vacuum-sealed container.

Here’s my attempt:

“The Night Is a Shield Filled With Holes”

And I am a troubled messenger carrying these words
in a sack strung round my neck–the stars, the moon,
and all that other jazz. The wandering boy poets and
the girls they possess in fits of line breaks, metaphors.
My message is in a code even I can’t decipher, but
someone has to deliver the news. Someone has to run
the gauntlet and break hearts as if they’re lost lines.
The night, with its hungry predators, depends on it.


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Click to continue.


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136 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 173

  1. Walt Wojtanik


    Gasping for a lung full
    in seemingly stagnant skies.
    No matter how one tries
    it becomes a chore.
    And the more you you work
    the more you’re sore.
    You’d pass it along,
    but it is all wrong.
    And no one is left to inherit
    when there’s no air apparent!

    © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

  2. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    eyes are open
    limbs catatonic,
    drool pooling
    in the corner of his mouth.

    palming wrinkled hands
    i want to believe
    there’s something
    still tangible
    rattling around that
    pretty head –

    but it’s as if
    i’ve arrived too late and
    his mind has already been
    like an area rug
    then rolled up and
    put sweetly away,
    this time for good

    and something deep within
    just breaks.

    © 2012 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. tunesmiff

    All y’all…

    With my 18 year old getting set to graduate, this scene from/following my own high school graduation #%*# years ago (at least through the first four lines of the second verse), came immediately to mind, and, I hope, addresses the “prompt” to write about a vacuum…:

    As always, lemme know, ya know…

    : )



    (c) 2012 – G. Smith (BMI)

    V 1.
    Rene and I were sitting,
    In the Waffle House parking lot,
    Celebratin’ our graduation,
    This was as far as we got.
    We’d been to a party already,
    Now it was quarter to three;
    We were best of friends, afraid this was the end;
    I looked at her, and she looked at me…

    What now?
    What do we do?
    What’s next?
    Don’t have a clue.
    What now?
    Where do we go?
    How do we get there?
    I don’t know….

    V 2.
    She went south to Valdosta State,
    I went to Georgia Tech;
    She studied pre-med just like she’d said,
    I was a ramblin’ wreck…
    I met a girl I amost married,
    She met a guy and she did;
    Ten years later I’m on my third wife,
    And Rene’s still tryin to have kids…

    What now?
    What do we do?
    What’s next?
    Don’t have a clue.
    What now?
    Where do we go?
    How do we get there?
    I don’t know…

    We try… holding on… to the past…
    Afraid… that tomorrow… won’t last…
    Our dreams… may become… memories…
    Of things that came true… or may never be…

    And so we say…
    What now?
    What do we do?
    What’s next?
    Don’t have a clue.

    What now?
    Where do we go?
    How do we get there?
    I don’t know…



  4. AC Leming

    War Torn

    I stand in a vacuum in this uniform,
    dusty from hitting the dirt,
    wondering why I’m here
    fighting for these people
    who are too numb to fight 
    back their own depression.
    Who are numb from decades of war,
    killed by & killing their countrymen
    for a life not much better than when
    we first steeped in country 10 long 
    years ago.  And we’re in this vacuum,
    sealed away from our own nation.
    Fighting  for a piece of what?  
    And for whom?  Tell me it’s for 
    the good of God & country
    and I’ll die a little more at peace. But
    here & now, with bullets in the man
    I hold in my arms, as we wait
    for the medic to arrive, I want to know
    why I’m here.  Why am I holding a dying
    comrade when I could be sipping vodka
    back in St Petersburg, where we all belong?

  5. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    Twisted Sisters

    Walk with a mirror
    under your nose
    and mushroom lights
    jump up to divert you
    until your feet
    find the vacuum
    of space and you suddenly
    are afraid of the abyss
    made above the stairs
    and you have to peek
    just to be sure
    that it’s alright
    to step up
    when you know
    you could fall
    into the fathoms below
    but it’s better than
    the other childhood game
    that lava melted your feet
    until laughter succumbed you
    both safe on the couch.

    But it just isn’t the same
    when you are alone and forty.

  6. Marjory MT

    Void –
    My brain
    as screeching
    sounds pound me with
    “rise an’ shine,” flipping
    me unexpectedly
    out of dream-land to face
    others who think I am alert.
    Will you please, try not to assume that,
    if my eyes are open , I am awake.

    1. po

      Love the images and subtle humor in your poem. Especially love the last two lines that tie the whole thing together. The comment under my poem was meant for you, evidently not put in the right reply.

  7. LCaramanna

    When Cinco de Mayo
    collides with
    Kentucky Derby Day

    roses and sombreros,
    mint juleps and Mexican salsa
    race down the homestretch
    to the finish line.
    When the party at my old Kentucky home is over,
    losing tickets overflow the trash can,
    and the vacuum cleaner sucks up
    tortilla chips.
    I’ll Have Another
    party in two weeks
    in Baltimore on Preakness Day.

  8. Caren

    After It’s Over

    After weeks of rehearsal, long days, late
    Nights, learning lines, music, dance steps, blocking,
    Opening night arrives with lights, applause,
    And dreams come true. Yet before we knew it,
    We were making our final bows, curtain
    Falling; fade to black. We held each other,
    Hoping the moment would last, but knowing
    The next day, there’d be a void, an empty
    Space, restless energy with no release…
    While we waited for the next audition.

    Caren E. Salas

  9. Bruce Niedt

    I’n continuing (for now) my momentum with double prompts. The Sunday Whirl blog has a weekly “Wordle” challenge, to use as many of twelve words in a poem as possible. Here’s my result (Robert, you especially may like this one):

    Storm Chaser

    If nature abhors a vacuum, tornadoes
    are nature’s vacuum cleaners,
    beating a lane of destruction, leaving
    a sea of splintered homes behind them
    on the killing fields of Tornado Alley.

    Yet you risk squandering personal safety
    as your truck, packed with all the equipment
    it can accommodate, slips under pewter clouds
    and you follow those intractable monsters.

    Your eyes scan for telltale signs –
    green-black sky, a dark red blotch
    on the Doppler, winds just wrong enough
    to be right.

    And when a funnel forms,
    you are there, as close as you can get,
    well past the threshold of peril,
    as the cyclone licks the ground,
    and debris flies through the air
    like crazed flocks of birds.

    (The words I had to use were: beating, lane, sea, alley, squander, accommodate, pewter, follow, intractable, eyes, green, and flocks.)

  10. PSC in CT

    Once More

    I only came to say hello.
    Our last parting, an ugly spat,
    wasn’t what I wanted for us.

    I came to make peace
    unprepared for what I’d find;
    had heard he wasn’t doing well
    (an epic understatement), but his eyes
    lit up when I entered the room.

    One glance at his pale,
    grateful face, entreating hand,
    apology smile, and I started to cry.
    “I’m sorry,” I said to his “Goodbye”,
    then I stayed ‘til the lights went out
    and all the air had left the room.

  11. Marie Elena

    GOODNESS! Haven’t gotten back out here. Haven’t written a new one … but here’s an oldie (true story, too!).


    I come home. Keith is running the vacuum.
    “What are you doing?” I ask.
    “I am just sucking up.”

  12. Lynn Burton


    I shake off the heavy chains
    enjoy the release of breath, however brief,
    so as not to get too comfortable
    the pen doesn’t become an anvil
    one day doesn’t flow into another
    and another, sucking me into the abyss.

  13. taylor graham


    box could hold
    anything – my
    past, long forgotten
    except for these few scraps
    of memory – postcards, maybe.
    Or will I open it to find
    the box is empty – empty, empty?

  14. deedeekm

    there is no air
    it has been sucked out by the world
    by the whirled smoke of a thousand
    burning buildings
    by the raised eyebrow
    of the man down the street
    by the grains of sand on the beach
    that no one walks on
    by the broken heart
    silent and dark
    beaten, not beating
    by the balloons filled
    and sated, now soaring
    on the end of a thin string
    by the attitude of the altitude
    of the head in the clouds
    by the house all alone
    at the edge of the world
    vacant windows flung wide
    as the wind would rush through
    if it could
    but there is no air

    and I am hungry for it
    starving for lung filling
    skin cooling
    something to walk on
    or kite filled
    like milk spilled
    can’t cry for it
    eyes dried by it
    hair lifted
    like wings floating
    bubbling brooks
    pages in books flip for it
    leaves fall through
    cushions of pockets of
    holding it til you turn blue
    for it
    breathe in and out
    sigh for it die without
    sing about
    give a shout
    all needing air
    as I climb
    I am out of it
    out of the clouds
    there is sky
    filled with sails
    I would spin til
    I’m dizzy with
    drunk on
    the wind

  15. cstewart

    and Still: Get an Education

    In the vacuum of memory, the bad gets disappeared,
    Melts like butter in the sun of forgetfulness,
    Ghee, gee –
    And the good gets amplified, or at least remembered,
    With a halo effect that for some makes everything
    As if it was always comparable to It’s a Wonderful Life*.

    Aside for a specific women’s view here:

    With all its nostalgia and crisp cotton dresses
    Ironed by someone who was discouraged from
    Working outside the house. Stay in, it’s so nice in jail.
    There is food and a sofa. You can…..sit.
    There is no cuff on your ankle, well actually,

    There. That is memory for you.
    Betty Friedan told the story in Feminine Mystique
    We can not forget the women who were in the home still,
    What it was, what the jail-house did –
    What they did there, the hours of buzzing boredom,
    Followed by hours of hysteria, tranquilizers, lobotomies,
    So many intelligent, creative lives fallen away into the
    Vacuum of memory.

    *the movie

  16. Arash

    Hadn’t visited the site, but as I have started to post more poetry on my own blog, I am feeling inspired again and so decided to take on this challenge today. Here it goes:

    Inside Me

    There is nothing, I am standing
    in nothingness, a vacuum.
    But look closely; the vacuum

    Empty of something, once full
    of something, has the potential
    to be filled, it’s the memory
    of what was once there, and the hope
    of what there could be, and a name
    that brings up so much, inside me.

  17. Miss R.

    Hanging On

    You know you should
    Let go, because
    It hurts a bit
    Less if you choose
    To go with the
    Flow, but you dig
    Your nails in, and
    Though they break
    And bleed, screaming,
    You hold on. You
    Won’t, you say, be
    Sucked in.

  18. uneven steven

    The surprise preemie
    when her seal broke
    only hinted at
    what was to come –
    months in the hospital
    being trained to constantly
    troubleshoot equipment –
    knowing when the black gasket
    wasn’t quite catching
    in the suction machine,
    dropping O2 sats – the fault
    of a probe or a hidden leak
    in the tubing of the
    dirty filters, trach cuffs, gtube
    ballons to be monitored,
    their little boy, the fighter, the miracle,
    beater of all the doctors odds,
    so fragile
    their hope
    under the weight of the work, the pressure
    of the years to come,
    the little leaks
    of doubt
    always needing to be
    carefully retaped each night
    with quiet sobs
    under the covers
    while the other watches the
    heart beat
    of the machines,
    sitting alone
    in the dark.

  19. MiskMask

    Bird Brain

    This pen that’s kept my muse
    is ready to pop its top. No
    notes, no words, no lines, no
    no way to release its creative
    Vowel by vowel, word by word, I
    up rhymes to cite, but my pen sips
    and sucks
    up each heady gem, leaving pretty
    to fly about like little baby


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