WD Poetic Form Challenge: Prose Poem

It’s time for another poetic form challenge, and–as some may have guessed yesterday–this time the form will be prose poetry, which some poets may understandably argue has no form. Well, you’ve got to make the decision to not break lines and still write poetry. Here’s your chance!

Click here to read my post on prose poetry. Basically, you write a poem that doesn’t have line breaks.

The winner of this challenge will be featured in the February 2012 issue of Writer’s Digest magazine as an example of great prose poeming. To be eligible for this free challenge, just enter your previously unpublished prose poems in the comments below. I will review only those poems in the comments attached to this post; poems attached to other posts or sent in via e-mail will not be considered.

The deadline for the Prose Poem challenge is October 7, 2011, 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time). That gives you a little more than two weeks to get poeming or prosing or prose poeming! Good luck!


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69 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Prose Poem

  1. taylor graham

    Deadline’s past, but oh well….


    An island of our own for that week of summer. No boat, no float-plane. Rental cabin with plank table and married bunks. In my pack, milled wheat; sourdough starter kept tenderly as a baby. The stove didn’t work. Short history of our lives below tsunami line. Skirl of wind, scrape of sea on shingle. A continent’s edge. The salmon were running – King and Coho, humpies. We scavenged a big tin box that floated to us on the tide; what luck, it made an oven, with rock we hauled from the river. Of driftwood, a smoker for our catch of fish. That week, I baked our married history, brown loaves to break like waves on that island briefly all our own.

  2. dhauser

    Given War as a Male Instrument

    Postage being insufficient for the weight of the message, this arrives postage due, asking you to bear witness to my praise song against forgetting. Between memory and sorrow there should be more outrage. Complicity won’t stop machine gun stutter. What velocity propels us into the next day, and the next? Memory being an unreliable index, women become difficult in new ways as the war draws on. The whore knows the length of her leash. Women used to string clothesline, we used to hang laundry out to dry. The leash, the line, they bind us in abstractions when all we really want is for the rain to stop.

  3. dhauser


    remember how a broken record would skip/repeat
    needle stuck in the groove a junkie’s tough vein look
    for a needle in a haystack you’ll find the straw that broke
    papa’s back a broken racehorse is put down euphemis-
    tically hallmark verse breaks mama’s heart the lines
    on my palm break and veer off mystics won’t look
    me in the eye the tail of a kite is stuck in my hair
    it weighs more than I thought it would

  4. dhauser

    Figuratively Speaking

    The proverbial cat has got my tongue, again. I can only speak in metaphors; most of them clichéd. To decode, spin the dictionary and move your token 7 verbs forward. It left a welt on my forehead. I deserve this because I have been too forward. Not having read the foreword, I was unfamiliar with the rules of the game. The foreplay presentation was a drag. I forswear drinking BLANK on the first date ever again. BLACKouts are not ladylike.

    Am I telling too much? Strike that match. Let me show you what I mean instead. I don’t know powerpoint, but I can simulate a fraught simile. Flip through the alphabet, insert random numerals to create your own slideshow. It doesn’t matter what I tell you anyway. You already have your mind set on a particular perversion of events. Anyeverything I tell you now will only verify the script you wrote me into.

    Truth is not a finite number. It’s more abstract than you’re comfortable admitting. So plant this semaphore in your window box and watch it release noble radium. Yeah, I saved the canary from the coal mine. And then I swallowed her. I’m grinning like the Cheshire cat right now as I write this. Oh, Alice called. She asked me to relay this message: she’s had her cake and eaten it 2. And she’s never coming back from Wonderland.

  5. dhauser

    Let Evening

    let evening come, let it come, but don’t let it fall, let it hang between the hard, bright moon and the earth, embrace it like a new lover, like a shiny cent that warms the palm and clangs the lips, let evening come, let it stay, suspended, take every frowning clock and set it on fire, let evening stay, stare into its eyes as clock gears blaze and melt, let it come, but never fall, let morning never rise, let evening just go on even-ing, burnishing, let it come and stave off night, let us never be even one particle less than this, the moment when evening comes

  6. dhauser

    I Wanted a Pony

    A pony with wings like the ones on those gas station signs I remember reading a book about a girl who lived in the city in an upstairs apartment Each night before bed she knelt at the window & prayed to the winged horse I wanted to fly away on that pony You want too much he said Don’t provoke him like that she said I wanted a pony I got his belt again.

  7. a.paige

    Click. Clack. QUERTY.

    Click, click, click. Clickety click. Fingers fast slipping across the keys. Click, clack. Clack, click. Back and forth, forward and backward. Up, down, and all around. This is actually fun–Ding! Onomatopoeia, she whispers, smiling. Left to right, and right to left. Fingers pushing and pulling. QUERTY, her mind utters. Why that now? whispers she again. Like you should still be sighing. This happens all the time–Ding! Fact is, she and her mind are forever talking. Talk about being engaged! Click, clack. Deep in her subconscious too, no doubt. Even when heavily submerged in her REM. Click, clack. Call it constant communication on auto-pilot, while still getting some zzz’s–Ding! This endless conversation, this often mindless, mental stream, she’s used to it by now. She should be. Clack, clack. Unlike those days when she’d pound herself for what she thought was a self-imposed ADD. Self-diagnosed it was really and entirely not her fault. Click, clack. You wouldn’t blame a mind that simply goes on overdrive, would you? Clack, clack. Actually, she deserves a pat on the shoulder. And coffee. Starbucks would be nice. Or chocolate, or both. Sweet caffeine for a hyperactive mind. Or a new book. Even a finely bound classic. Would a tap do?–I’m kidding, her mind teases, more often now, it seems. How in the world did she manage college? I helped you, her mind…clacks, for lack of a better word. But even then, she knew better. She started over–Ding! An AA this time. Click. It was a tough decision, but she took it anyway and did not back out. Even with a BBA–heck, after a BBA!–for crying out loud. Back and forth, forward and backward. Clack. How scary was that, to feel so left behind, as spates of new grads flood the gates, all hoping to till the ground, year after year after year. Clack, clack. To have gone back is to have seriously lagged behind those who stayed, those who were now way ahead. But to have continued in a new direction presented great uncertainties and intimidation. Could one expect anything less than fierce competition? In a creative arena, you’ve got to be kidding. I warned you, chides her mind. I told you to stay in the path, keep your emotions in check, and watch that passion. Your heart would get you in trouble. Clack. I’m just saying…clack, clack.

    But she has long since passed that crossroad and traveled a new road. Click. Her consciousness switches. Click, click. Where did you store that information anyway? Her mind shifts. Typical mental random access mode. Speaking of RAM, as in computer-speak, it’s such a common term nowadays. Kind of like Jobs. No, not the workplace stuff. Steve’s surname. The apple guy. Besides, workplace jobs are fast becoming extinct these days. But poor Steve… He isn’t poor, what are you on? Clack. He’s recently rested in peace–honestly, don’t you read? Oh…sorry. RIP Steve. Still, such a shame, with all the apple stuff now orphaned…QUERTY. What now? Clack. Wait, she’s remembering–Ding!–the convention salesmen used to efficiently type the word, “typewriter”, of course! The keys were all conveniently located on the same line. Click. Hence, the potential buyers were impressed–Ding! Thank goodness for Google and Wikipedia for their ever-growing presence to ensure that our source materials are just clicks away. Clack. And to Steve. But I helped too–her mind chimes in–Ding! In fact, I’ve always helped you. Clack, clack. See, you’ve written this much already. Wow, sure glad that Writer’s Digest has posted this challenge. Or was it Robert Lee Brewer? Remind me to give him a shout-out later on Twitter. Oh, now you need my help?–her mind chatters, as she shifts in her chair. She doesn’t mean to ignore it, this integral part of her life. Click, clack. Yet, every now and then, she yearns to call the shots. It must learn to live with her. Her art. Her passion. Her heart. She’d do the same. She’s been. I’m really liking this, she says with a grin. Click, click. Same here, if it is indeed prose poetry, her mind yaks. Clack, clack. But there isn’t any typewriter in sight. Tap, tap. What’s that tapping noise now? What happened to the clicks and the clacks? The ding’s gone too. Onomatopoeia. Must have all just been inside her head, and none of it real, she reckons. Of course it is happening inside your head…but why on earth should that mean it is not real?–recalls her mind. Apparently, it’s what the greatest wizard who ever lived told the boy who lived at King’s Crossing, according to J.K. Rowling. By the way, Rowling initially wrote her stories by hand. With a pen. Burning your eyebrows writing stories with ink on your hands makes you a real deal. Just saying, while tapping on the iPAD.

  8. Originality

    (Can’t think of a title):

    Yes, I wonder at the woman who wistfully walks yet with ease; nearly six feet high in her golden wedges, of sweet nectarine her scent is in the summer breeze. At the Million Bells marvels she, between her index and her middle fingering one, stemming its stream of air as she stops to smell. Her fingers slip, and, alas! She knocks One, Two, Three, off their sepal thrones, and they topple with grace and with fury, their last yelp for help – O’Keeffe, O’Keeffe! – gone unnoticed, and with the cold stone floor they collide. And the girl? Past the wailing flowers shrugs she and strolls she, into the receptacle carelessly tossing the seed of her nectarine. And when she spots me, buries she in her hands her ashen face, falls to her knees with fury and with grace and like a child she weeps. For in her mind my soul is a breeze and my words are a dream; but, alas, the breeze is but a breeze, her dream but a dream. And I? I am but a flower wafting in the wind.

    -Lahevet Pollack

  9. Tawny Powell

    Nouri stumbles upon violets in parks, fields, open meadows where few dare to pass. She gasps at the beauty untouched, unnoticed by locals passing by. She sighs. Whispers gently to herself, “Another day. Shall I walk to the market? The school? Shall I just stumble down streets sideways wondering what the tumbling weeds will tell me? Or shall I just be? Right here. Where all the violets grow.”

    All little violets rise to the surface. Crawling out from underneath her stacks of paper sprinkled across her room, her poetry gone wild. Their little violet petals cry their existence into the sky, softly, hoping someone will listen. She hears them but prefers to gleam her little violets, dreaming at her fingertips. In her mind eye she is slowly strumming the sacred songs of angels. Playing chords she never learned, only listened, and sung with feeling.

    After a pause from the song, the creation, from the words, she wonders if that is the way you operate. Like a little violet wriggling within, edging out of silence, coming out from under poetry gone awry. Slowly. Or quickly. Do you creep into the crevices of restaurants, bedrooms, parking lots, or mountain tops wandering for audience? Are you off in the Serengeti? Your little violet is not so little in her eyes. She beholds a little violet behind the iris. Two flowers in a green field. A pasture. She finds a little hope under sunshine to smile in silence. She listens. Holding your words on her tongue. She breathes deeply. Intentionally. Waiting for the rest of the violet to come.

  10. Uma

    Where Every Drop Carries Memories Of You

    The fault line where a shoulder of rock breaks away, a crack runs all the way to the insides of relationship. Hold the torch as gnomes heave out of dark pits bearing smell of burnt cinnamon, singed bay leaf: reminders of soup cooked on windy evenings, mint carrying the taste of your kiss.

    A detour of pretences when love has died, memories like frayed threads on fabric. Fingers run over them again and again till the colours fade, details blur.

    The lake of grief is clear, the minerals at the bed fossilized pain layered, pressed by slab of water whose every drop, each one of them retains you.

  11. Uma

    This can’t be love

    Mangroves on the way to the beach hold shadows in thick knots of branches that do not know where to go in green mirror of humidity, precipitation.


    His hands probe for crevices where sensation pool and flow over; but dry today; frustrated he hurts –
    a bruise deeper than skin cannot be love.


    A thought lost like paper swept under table, an unuttered word fills space between us, an imaginary kiss – lips remain pursed, the taste of salt on skin denied.


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