Win a copy of Patricia A. Hawkenson’s new book of poems–and a few other titles

When we launched Promptly last summer, we released our digital baby into
the big scary digital world with a Kick-Off Breaking-Block Challenge
featuring prompts and prizes for a top story response.

From among clever mobsters, literary reflections, old ghosts and everything in
between, Patricia A. Hawkenson
emerged victorious for her excellent poem “Hedge Fund.”

Now, Hawkenson—a poet, stained-glass kaleidoscope artist and
educator—has just released her first collection: Magnetic
Repulsion: 100 Poems From Desire to Disgust

In honor of Hawkenson’s work, we’ll be giving a copy
of her new book (and some other interoffice swag we’ve got on hand) to a
random commenter/story-poster of this entry on Monday, and we’ll feature some intriguing abstract prompts excerpted from her poems

Here’s to hoping you have an excellent writing weekend. (If you’re going
to be in the Buckeye state today or Saturday, stop by the Mad Anthony
Writers Conference—and, better yet, swing by my workshop on magazine
querying and say hello.)

* * *

Courtesy of Patricia A. Hawkenson

free to post your
response(s) (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) inspired by the following prompts in the Comments section below.
If you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your story to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

Perhaps, it is because I have never actually seen one, that my
mind imagines a barbarous, torturous device so heinous that …

* * *

Time stands still
as our eyes connect
with my wordless stare
that threatens to end his game

* * *

“After all these years together
I thought I owed you
a final going away gift,” I said
looking him straight in his eyes.

* * *

There is no way to search for the beginning, that first drop of
suspicion that flowed from my fingers into your pockets.  Still, my hand
reached in…  

* * *  

You are slowly waking with one eye

skeptical as you see me lying beside

smearing the line between

what I remember and what you forgot.

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3 thoughts on “Win a copy of Patricia A. Hawkenson’s new book of poems–and a few other titles

  1. Mark James

    Patricia, congrats! Thanks for letting us take a prose hand to your poetry.

    Zac, this one is dedicated to the Robot God.

    Here begins my account of how I came to be in eternal darkness.

    The Truth Maker has never been seen by any living man, but it has been the last sight of all whose breath it steals.

    Perhaps, it is because I have never actually seen one, that my creative mind imagines a barbarous, torturous device so heinous that even a Questioner should have paused, bent his head in thought; at the very least, examined what it is to be human.

    On the day I arrived in Raquil’s village, the sun shone bright and hot, meager crops lay in narrow fields awaiting the farmer’s scythe, and the running footsteps of children, yet too young to have surrendered to hunger and despair, raised grey dust on the dirt road.

    When they saw me in my black robe and my rope sandals, they stopped, as though the mere sight of me had turned them to stone. I passed between the silent children, who had drawn back into two lines. The youngest among them pointed to the red Truth Maker crystal in my forehead. One of her elders slapped her into the dirt. Her cries of pain followed me to the door of the House of the Gods.

    Inside, I knelt before the icons. My crystal glowed in the darkness, and I felt the familiar power flow through me.

    A voice came from behind me. “You have come to kill my father.”

    “No, child.” I rose from my knees and turned to face her. “I have come to find the truth.”

    Her slender body was poised on the sharp edge of youth, soon to be cut with the pains of mortal life, soon to be marked with starvation and suffering that would push her into an early, pitiless old age. “Your kind only finds truth in death,” she said.

    “Death,” I said, “is simply the door to salvation.”

    “You dare speak of salvation, when our children are dying, when you poison the belly of the world with your digging claws?”

    The reports had been right. Her father was a rebel, and had taught his daughter words of rebellion. “We have brought peace to your world.”

    She flung her hands at the icons. “At what price? We are only flesh and blood. You and your Gods are metal monsters. Without souls.” She slapped her narrow chest. “Without hearts.”

    I raised my hands over my head.

    She saw her fate coming, and raised her thin arms as if to call down her ancient Gods. “May the Blessed Mother’s mercy shower down upon your wretchedness.”

    I spoke the words of power. A flash of red light passed through the icons, then she was gone.

    When we took this world, it was the first of its kind, the first to have living breathing flesh capable of thought. We plundered the rich metals, digging deeper than their primitive ways allowed. We destroyed their technology, forced upon them their dream of world peace. But for all that, the girl had spoken truly. We were merely machines, built so long ago, our beginnings are dim, even to our minds.

    Before I could repent my forbidden thoughts, the Truth Maker in my crystal whirred to life, bursting forth in red light, forming a red cube all around me. Soon the red faded, and now only I remain, caught in darkness, pondering the length of eternity.