Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 183

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “This Is What (Blank) Looks Like,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Example titles might be: “This Is What Awesome Looks Like,” “This Is What a Poem Looks Like,” or “This Is What Love Looks Like.”

Here’s my attempt:

“This Is What Settled Looks Like”

Wedged in the cushions of your couch watching “The Office”
and telling me how you could never work in one at your age
(mid-30’s), how your chance to go to college has passed–
and besides, you’ve never been one to play by the rules,
though in the old days (when America was great, you say)
people could expect to show up for work and be able to get
whatever they wanted without any hassle, but yeah, if any
guy wants to make it now, he has to go to college or kiss up
and you say you’re not one for that. No, believe me, I know
just by watching you burn through another pack of cigarettes,
crack open another beer, and man the remote control, I know
that you’re not the kind to do anything but bitch and whine
about your rotten luck and settle deeper into your recliner
as America buzzes along outside your shuttered windows.


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170 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 183

  1. Miss R.

    This Is What I Look Like

    “Okay, this is what I look like. Okay?”

    “Um, oookay . . .”


    “It’s just . . .”

    “Just . . . what?”

    “Well . . .”

    “Ugly? I know.”

    “You said it, not me.”

    “I am you.”

  2. taylor graham


    From a linen closet she carefully extracts a box
    of rags. She needs a magnifying glass, now,
    to see the fabric patterns – sprays of lilac
    that appalled her daughter, whose 5th grade class
    was wild for horses; the scrap of red sash
    salvaged from a kindergarten tussle; sky-blue
    rayon from the borderland of high school’s
    senior year. The thick glass trembles light
    between her fingers as she smooths each worn
    square. Here’s nothing she could throw away.

  3. Turtled

    This is what Tyranny looks like

    Absolute monarchy of an undesirable kind
    The coronation of an insolent mind
    Medieval notion
    In modern quotient
    How often must we drink the potion

    Pervasive evil, restraining democracy
    Unwilled rule of insufferable autocracy
    Nietzche reacted
    Rand redacted
    Still suffocating rules are enacted

    Flesh Field released their personal edict
    While we await the final verdict
    Tireless force
    Spiraling course
    Screaming til our thoughts are hoarse

    Arising to a new tomorrow
    Will they exist with us in sorrow
    Shiver don’t blink
    Indelible ink
    No one can tell you what you think

  4. HaileyMaria

    As I sit here alone
    I contemplate.
    How I let you walk upstairs
    Away from my screams.
    How I let you start to pack a suitcase
    Including the cologne that makes me forget how I hate you.
    How I let you fold one shirt after another.
    Let you carry that suitcase down those three flights of stairs.
    How I just let you walk out the door without a complaint.
    Because maybe I don’t care,
    Maybe it’s not you I need.
    Maybe I’m past help,
    Because this is what lonely looks like.

  5. tunesmiff

    (c) 2012 – G. Smith (BMI)
    A red dirt road,
    Mud on the tires;
    A red neck girl,
    A ring of fire.
    Good old boys,
    John Deere green;
    A long black train,
    Tight fittin’ jeans.

    A man in black,
    A coal miner’s daughter;
    A neon moon,
    Stars on the water.
    Blue eyes cryin’,
    In the rain,
    On the banks,
    Of the old Pontchartrain;

    This is what country looks like;
    That’s whatever it is.
    This is what country looks like;
    That’s whatever it is.

    Tennessee whiskey,
    Waylon’s guitar;
    Tall, tall trees,
    Your cheating heart.
    Midnight in Montgomery,
    A lost highway,
    Amarillo by morning,
    Marina del Rey;

    High cotton,
    A boy named Sue,
    Family tradition,
    Good ol’ mountain dew.
    A mansion on the hill;
    A house without love,
    Praying for daylight
    On the wings of a dove.

    This is what country looks like;
    That’s whatever it is.
    This is what country looks like;
    That’s whatever it is.

    This is what country looks like;
    That’s whatever it is.
    This is what country looks like;
    That’s whatever it is.

  6. Mystical-Poet

    This Is What My Crippled Heart Looks Like

    your perfumed tidings, obscure
    your barmier requests, absurd
    a chocolate covered lesion
    scornful of love’s mischief
    evasive of solicited passion
    self-governing erratic flightiness
    Come-hither, christen these parched lips
    your sweet poison doth taint
    my crippled heart

    ©~ Randy Bell ~

  7. Bruce Niedt

    Just checking in to let you all know that I have three poems accepted in upcoming online journals: two in Lucid Rhythms, and another, “Careful in the Fog” (originally titled “Let’s Be Careful in the Fog”), which I wrote for this April’s PAD, will be in the next issue of Tilt-a-Whirl, a journal for repeating poetic forms.

  8. Imaginalchemy

    “This is What Chaos Personified Looks Like”

    Her laughter was brittle
    As she stared at the stars
    Thinking of how very little
    It all means, insofar
    As why people crave passions
    And wish to catch a lover’s eye
    When Love so easily fashions
    Itself to wither and die
    Was it right of her to use
    The golden apple, a gift
    As a device to abuse,
    To make a jealous rift
    Between three goddesses of grace,
    And to drive a man of power
    To start a war and deface
    Troy, for some feminine flower?
    However, it all did spurn
    An orchestra of chaotic chorus
    Which she so hungrily yearns
    For, for madness to flourish
    Her mantra spoken in murmur,
    While at the universe she gazed,
    “Love may cause a joyous fervor,
    But it’s more fun when Hell is raised.”

  9. Marie Elena


    “On October 27, 1967 I met with my mother. She’d been dead since September 30, 1959. At 8:00 P.M. local time, Con Thien, Vietnam, as artillery shells landed within inches of my position with the Third Marines, my world, my body and my mind explosively turned upside down and inside out.” ~ Daniel Paicopulos

    What do I know of my mother
    D e a d
    at my teenage feet.

    What do I know of being
    in body and spirit
    at the hands of an enemy
    I didn’t choose.

    What do I know of channeling
    raging pain
    into charity for my fellow man.

    What do I know of love,
    benevolent and boundless,
    born of anguish.

    What do I know of smiling
    for every being in my path.

    What would I know of heroism,
    but for you?

  10. dswain


    I see your head on my breast
    Eyes closed in peaceful rest.
    A smile’s splayed across your lips
    As you dream of life’s simplicities.
    Your weight warms my heart
    And comforts my soul,
    With the knowledge of your existence.
    My love for you is constant.
    It has neither a beginning
    Nor has it an end.
    My sweet daughter
    You were part of me before time.

  11. taylor graham


    The rueful moon has gone away. Last month’s
    moon. It’s dead. I walk out under night-sky
    guiding on Saturn and a few faint stars.
    The old dog leads the way. Wist Tramping-Song
    in my head from dogs and hikes gone by.
    Old folk songs never die. The new puppy’s
    on her first dark walk, sniffing how the night-
    world smells when everything’s passed by, every
    thing we knew before. Here’s the rock-pile
    loved by foxes. No foxes live here anymore.

  12. taylor graham


    On the road from here to there,
    two-lane winding downriver into the next
    county, a glimpse
    out the corner of my eye –

    narrow strip of littered shoulder,
    flurry of rust-red wings –
    hawk? scrabbling gravel for a field mouse?
    Already, I’m past. No

    turnout. Too late. I don’t brake
    my car in the middle
    of the road, get out. Intervene in a hawk’s
    honest hunger?

    I might have grabbed
    my camera, but keep on driving,
    hawk-strike developing behind the eye –
    if nothing else, a poem.

  13. Walt Wojtanik


    The black granite shines
    reflecting upon the edge of the harbor
    and reflecting the harbor back.
    The water’s gentle churn resounds,
    a sound imperceived as the moments pass.
    Embossed in chiseled stone
    memorarums to the fallen; some forgotten.
    Row after row; panel after panel.
    An open air chapel for the altar of sacrifice,
    on a nice day the agony still burrows deeply.
    Glints of sunlight, bright; a beam of light
    shines down on a solitary soul.
    Wheel bound, he has found his way to the place
    where the name matches the face emblazoned
    in his head. His dead friend; his deceased brothers –
    others given up for honor and freedom.
    Leather straps securing legs repurposed,
    service cap drawn closely, mostly to shield
    the tears his worn eyes yield for his comrades.
    Sobs pierce the solitude, rude interrupters
    of his memories so haunting. A daunting
    task. Head lowers to hand inconsolably,
    the toll inflicted on the so afflicted.
    I place a hand softly on his shoulder;
    his head swivels swiftly to my nod and sad smile.
    He covers my hand and I stand in silence.
    His tears fall; all he wanted was for someone
    to understand. Knowing he wasn’t alone.
    Pride that has long been squelched
    finds a chance to shine again.
    “Thank you for your service, my friend!”

      1. Marie Elena

        Tearing up in part because of the power and sentiment of your piece, and in part because it means so much to me to see your strong poetic heart is not lost in the physical and emotional pulls on your health.

        Stay strong.

  14. taylor graham


    It’s a long drive to get there.
    Left behind a husband, a faithful old
    dog. Got away so fast, you left
    your baggage, do’s-don’ts sit-stays.
    Just an untrained puppy.
    Past the outskirts, up the two-
    lane till it unpaves. No compass map
    no rations leash. Boots & paw-
    prints in dust lost
    to granite up grinding river. Horizon.
    A pup lives by its teeth, you
    by your hand. Voice a new inventing
    language. This is how you become
    yourselves, partners. It’s all
    about the drive. Away, to. Prey,
    pray. What you can catch
    to keep the two of you
    till you arrive. Survive to go at last
    back home.

  15. zevd2001


    You have to be above the ground to know
    to distinguish the landscape as it lays
    before your eyes. Where green and yellow plays
    where purple flowers wave, watch pollen flow
    around you. As you glide through wispy clouds
    following the tree line on the fault,
    descending, broken branches somersault
    down the hillside, fleeing from the crowds

    of the thick foliage. Here a soul can spin
    the raw material of a fertile mind
    let the strands of thoughts converge to find
    the unimagined truth that lies within
    you. Nothing planned, or plotted out, or drawn
    drafted onto spaces, custom made,
    no, not geometrical, nor straight or staid . . .
    Gradually descending onto a lawn

    your back upon the grass. You look on high,
    lick your finger, figure where the breeze
    is blowing. Find a good spot, seize
    the wind and soar beyond, let loose, and cry
    out, “So this is where I’m bound to set my feet
    on land that doesn’t tell me very much.”
    to seek it out, as you are wont to touch
    the objects that my eyes reach. There to greet
    what you have surveyed. It’s time get back down
    now that you understand the place where you
    are. The paths lined with flowers blooming, true
    to their roots beneath, sharing with them, you own
    this turf together with everything that lives
    here, partners in creation, each one strives
    being the thing they are and never alone.

    Zev Davis

  16. MellyM

    What Peace Looks Like

    Sunlight softens its glare,
    Animating air with florescence
    Through rose-tinted clouds.
    Birdsongs grow silent,
    Crickets delay their chatter,
    Nature, steeped in awe, pauses,
    Absorbing the glow that caresses,
    Lightens, renews the soul.
    Tensions fade.
    The glow’s secure shroud
    Softens my furrowed brow,
    Clears my cluttered mind.
    With certainty, I see
    All is as it should be.
    This is what peace looks like.

  17. Marjory MT

    KYRIELLE abcb 8-8-8-8- PA 7-18-12

    This is What DISPAIR Looks Like

    Ann is the sunshine at office,
    Boss calls her, which is surprising
    ‘”…helping your hubby go to school.
    but…the company is downsizing.”

    Next old Ben, his wife has been sick,
    Nineteen years, work he’s been doing,
    Suddenly aged. Who will hire old man?
    but…the company is downsizing.

    I get the call. It’s hard to breath.
    Son was set for college going.
    Scholarship, savings just fall short.
    but…the company is downsizing.

    Lost Med’s, plus benefits are gone.
    Plans put on hold, no more dreaming.
    Payments due where no job exists,
    but…the company is downsizing.

  18. foodpoet

    This is what no power looks like
    A heat shower with no relief
    Another run to the nursing home
    Throwing away food and hiding the fact
    Yes he would have eaten green cheese and ham

    This is what a lie looks like
    Sharp and small cutting and true
    Power and heat go hand in hand
    And we say everything is fine and can we move on.

    This is what Alzheiemers looks like
    Blank blind stares unknowing of the heat and shadows.

  19. seingraham

    This is What Sorrow Looks Like

    Mornings are the worst
    For each awakening brings
    A few moments of forgetfulness
    When everything is at it was …
    Then as sure as the sun is rising
    So is the grief ready to spring
    Back into place reminding her
    Not one part of her world
    Remains the same, not one part

    She is tempted to roll over
    Try to go back to sleep; has promised
    Her doctor there will be no more of that
    She staggers to the kitchen, starts coffee
    Sits and stares out the window, wonders
    How she will get through another day
    Why she should bother – she finds herself
    Looking at their photos – her kids, husband
    While she sips her coffee and asks them
    “Why didn’t you wait for me?”
    The same question every day.

    She knows how unhealthy it is that she keeps
    Going over that day again and again
    But she can’t seem to stop and really—
    Who could blame her?
    Once they were a family of five
    Now she lives on alone …

    They were all set to go camping
    But she had to work late
    She begged her husband to wait
    He wanted to get an early start
    She gave in, said she’d meet them
    At the campground—no-one
    Could have predicted a tornado
    On that blue sky day in that part
    of the country especially

    She was on the freeway when she heard
    The news and in a flash of insight she knew,
    She knew they were gone
    She almost drove off an overpass deliberately
    Then told herself to stop being ridiculous
    Drove on until she reached the campground
    In time to find it cordoned off – demolished
    It is hard to grieve the dead
    When no part of them is left
    To identify or lay to rest
    The doctors explained to her
    Part of her recovery process
    Is stalled because she expects
    To see her children still

    She doesn’t think that’s it
    She knows they’re all gone
    Blown to infinitesimal bits of nothingness
    She knows she’s not recovering
    Because she doesn’t see the point

    She does agree with the doctors
    Who say she’s angry
    She is that — awakes in the night screaming,
    “Why couldn’t you have waited for me?”
    If only they’d waited, she thinks
    Dead or alive, at least they’d all be together
    That much she knows.



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