Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 239

For today’s prompt, write a normal poem. I know that’s kind of a silly thing to ask, but work with me here. You could write a poem that plays with “normal.” For instance, what makes a normal person? What constitutes a normal relationship? A normal day? A normal poetry prompt? Normal may be about as elusive a thing as a poet can try to pin down.

Here’s my attempt at a normal poem:

“Tuesday”

Because Wednesday was taken,
and Monday came with a migraine.

Because I get to hear two songs
for each musician, which can be

a good or bad thing. Tuesday.
It rhymes with “blues day.” It’s

kind of an outsider, which makes
it about as normal as a day gets.

Except Thursday sometimes
on the other side of the week

swinging for the fences when
nobody’s paying attention.

******

Workshop your poetry. Learn how.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and an editor with the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He edits books, creates blog posts, writes a column for the magazine, maintains a free weekly newsletter, and lots of other fun writing-related stuff. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one girl). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.

*****

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159 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 239

  1. MimiDiFrancesca

    A Normal Chat with Eloise

    “I asked.
    He didn’t answer.
    Of course.
    There were backs turned
    and lights out
    and tears.
    Mine, of course.
    This is never going to sort itself out.
    Is it?
    I am going to spend every
    damned day doing the same thing
    over and over
    attempting to break through the wall.
    I’m sorry.
    Tell me again what you called about.”

    “To see how you were.”

    “Ah, well you see. Don’t you?”

    “Yes. So what you’re saying is,
    it’s Wednesday.”

  2. Poet Ariel

    Because Ink

    Because ink, once dried, is fixed
    able to withstand all, save water and tears
    I will write to you, draw it out for you.

    Because, even when you won’t hear me,
    I have faith that the wind will carry this to you.
    I’ll stand at the window, scatter pieces into august air.

    Because even a fragment is a complete story,
    an image whole on its own. A simple message,
    black & white; beautiful in rounded meaning.

    Because, even though silence is now normal between us,
    I can imagine you on a hill, paper snowflakes swirling;
    my words flashing to you, so thick you must acknowledge.

    Because this is the only way I can shout –
    ink to paper, line to line, a deliberate action.
    It is the only way to talk to you

    now that silence is normal between us.

    Ariel
    Oct. 4, 2013

  3. SJMcGowanwrites

    Courageous Love

    Is it normal to love or is it normal to hate?
    Depends on circumstances or fate
    Loving is for the giving
    Others void the receiving
    And find it not normal to relate
    Left out when ignoring fate
    Walking out of Love’s revolving door
    Others find it just worth faking
    For some romantic dreams are normally forsaken
    While living in the world of frustrating love.

    They were molded to believe this way
    Like a repeated night mare, they keep collecting fears
    Visualized like a mirror reflecting the surreal
    Practicing what they want the world to see and feel
    A little scrutiny to clear-up
    And cover with a band-aid the nicks and cuts
    Safer to hide the face of abnormal fears
    Rather then showing any kind of courageous love.

  4. swatchcat

    My normal is comfortable
    By Penney White

    I was about to write you about something normal so I opened a new page to write and noticed the layout was not what I usually use. I set out searching my options and clicked on the tab, “View”, only to see that it was set to “Normal.” No, No, this isn’t write. I can’t write like this. I select that which I am comfortable with, “Print Layout.” Ah, that is much better, now I can write. Normal.

  5. Cin5456

    We Keep Looking for Normal Happiness

    Why am I me?
    Where should I go now?
    What satisfies this yearning?
    Who qualifies as The One?
    How will I know?

    We keep
    looking for,
    asking about,
    seeking out.
    for something,
    someone, somewhere.

    Insanely wealthy
    answer-men entice
    with secret solutions
    nobody else knows.

    We pay to hear,
    faithfully apply,
    follow patterns, habits.
    Nirvana seems possible.

    When questions are answered
    When need is satisfied,
    When we’ve found our One and Only
    Solution, Inspiration, or Loved One…

    We feel blessed, special,
    complete – but not forever.
    Soon enough, we need
    answers, inspiration again.

    Much like our first
    bite of Cinnabon or
    buttery fistful of popcorn,
    We smile, satisfied, until
    that aroma reignites need.

    The most popular products
    of the last forty years are PCs
    search engines, and smart phones.
    Why? What made them special?

    Why does happiness fade?
    The answer is all too simple, if
    You’ll pardon my presumption.
    They facilitate man’s need.

    Seeking solutions,
    and answers is
    the single inherent
    commonality of all life.

    My answer
    to the questions,
    posed at the beginning,
    is you must always
    ask, search, and seek.

    When we want fulfillment,
    we ask questions
    and seek something:
    My one true love,
    Divine inspiration, or
    My reason for living.

    We may find answers – or not.
    But for that one essential –
    the warm, energizing happiness,
    the satisfaction of being fulfilled,
    never stop asking profound questions.
    Even if you find an answer,
    Ask another question.

        1. Cin5456

          Hi Bexwani, yes, you my use the last two lines. My name is Cynthia Page, and I would prefer if you referred to that name instead of my online nickname. May I ask about the story you plan to use it in? Will it be an epigraph as you said above?

          1. BezBawni

            hey, Cynthia, thank you for the permission. I have a short story I needed to decorate with a nice epigraph and I couldn’t find any until I read your poem. If you like, I can send it to you to read.
            Here’s my email, write to me if you’re interested))): simonamstell28@gmail.com

  6. Arash

    Common Cold

    by Arash

    When the ice lay on the branches
    of the fig tree in the backyard,
    like an ancient woman waiting
    to shimmer in the flash, or die,
    I blew my nose hard and asked, Why?
    Through the old double pane windows,
    the thick steam from my breath fading.
    My throat closing up from the cold,
    It’s normal, I answered myself
    once more. I knew. It was a lie.

  7. Cin5456

    Normal

    Sunlight filters through dusty leaves,
    glinting highlights on my long-haired,
    dappled, fur-friend. The cloudless blue,
    days made for laying in the sun and
    dreaming of mice. Hearing me, her tail tip
    flicks once. Local weathermen label this
    normal.

    A child’s laughter echoes between houses,
    and a bus engine idles at the corner light.
    The stray dog’s bark chases a squirrel
    up a tree. Autos rev away, dashing, and
    ice cream truck music haunts the day.
    Our new neighbors call this street
    normal.

    800,000 people sent home: parks closed,
    medical trials suspended, astronauts furloughed,
    but congressmen say business is
    normal.
    A woman is missing, the search delayed,
    while calls go out for experienced volunteers.

    I suppose that is normal enough, except
    park employees cannot volunteer,
    and grounded helicopters cannot fly
    to help the family search for their missing
    mother, even though her companion
    was already found dead two days past.
    How could anyone mistake that for
    normal?

    Yet, the sun shines; leaves cast shadows;
    sleepy cats nap, and dream of night hunts;
    I’m in the same chair, writing as usual, while
    deploring injustice I admit is unjustly
    normal.

    1. BezBawni

      My, this has a distinct apocalyptic sound about it. I think the contrast was beautifully achieved and the message is chiseled deep in my heart. This is one of those poems that I read again and again and find new things every time.

  8. Michelle Hed

    A Typical Day

    Morning came too early
    midnight is too late,
    lunch is not soon enough
    and supper is NOT going great.

    Ten o’clock sounds perfect
    everyone in bed,
    the house settles in a hush
    and with my book I read.

  9. Marie Elena

    TAKE ME, FOR INSTANCE …

    Not too short
    Not too tall
    Do not irk
    Don’t enthrall
    Average height
    Average weight
    Not too plain
    Not ornate
    Not too dull
    Not too bright
    Not too solemn
    Not too light
    Bit of dry
    Bit of fun
    Just got started
    Now I’m done.

  10. Sara McNulty

    Things That Pass For Normal

    Standard-issue clothes–
    uniform,
    khaki green.
    Heads shaved, they all looked alike
    heading into war.

    One did not survive.
    Parents wracked
    with grief ask,
    what is meant by ‘friendly fire’?
    Authorities claim,

    an aberration,
    however,
    it occurs
    from time to time in battle.
    Parents left to mourn.

  11. Heather

    normal

    good news travels fast
    alien impressions in a photo
    celebrate life itself.
    she radiates joy.
    hands momentarily
    rub the empty womb,
    then focus returns
    to work at hand.

    a new assignment,
    exciting prospects
    the near future defined.
    present work put on hold,
    projects get set aside.
    tasks that brought joy
    are given away.

    phone calls interrupt the day,
    crisis management is a skill
    learned through experience.
    bad news requires time away.
    grief is buried along with dreams,
    in the normal
    ebb and flow of work.

    ~
    also published at http://heatherbutton.com/2013/10/02/normal-a-poem/

  12. arunk123

    Normal for me is not the absence of trouble
    Nor is it a rain-free sunny day
    Ah, it sounds so abnormal I know
    But all I know is nothing is normal anymore
    Normal is not the absence of pain
    Nor is it the pain of absence, silly as it sounds
    It just doesn’t feel normal anymore
    when buses are on time and lunch is just right
    Normal is not when the pay checks come like clock work
    Or when dreams are all hunky dory
    Normal is when I am at peace
    With the world and my own
    Normal is when all I feel is love
    and still I feel free
    Normal is when I can face pain and pleasure just the same
    I know it is an impossible dream
    and a rare day if at all it happens
    But all I know is ‘normal’ is not not normal anymore

  13. julie e.

    Normally
    she’d be
    looking forward to the day
    Normally
    she’d have
    thought of things she’d want to say
    Normally
    she could
    keep her demons all at bay
    but they’re
    visiting
    in full voice today.

    Usually
    she can
    shake it off and rise from bed
    Usually
    she’d have
    plans all teaming in her head
    Usually
    she would
    see the sun with joy instead
    but she
    just can’t
    make it normal today.

    1. julie e.

      Wow all–I just now came to check on this and found all your lovely comments! (Yes, I choose to see “throbbing headache” as a lovely comment. ) 😉

      I do like how open-ended it is for interpretation….for me the demons are generally depression related, but after your comments I can see it from a variety of directions, so thank you. 🙂

  14. Amy

    Normal was glass bottles
    winking in the sun on
    mottled yellow grass
    and children with no faces
    beneath matted hair,
    yowling for the toy
    that was never theirs
    while odors danced like
    aborigines round the
    chain link fence. Normal
    never saw an early night
    or picked up bikes left in
    the road like glittering pink
    claymores, lying in wait
    for us, the anomalous.
    Normal left its mark
    in spray paint upon the
    sidewalk when it skipped
    out on the institution of
    integrity and took all eight
    brushed nickel doorknobs
    with it, leaving breaches wide as
    open doors between normal
    and the rest of us.

    1. Marie Elena

      Wow. Amy … I am especially impressed with and most affected by

      Normal left its mark
      in spray paint upon the
      sidewalk when it skipped
      out on the institution of
      integrity and took all eight
      brushed nickel doorknobs
      with it, leaving breaches wide as
      open doors between normal
      and the rest of us.

      Just, wow …

  15. De Jackson

    Middle of the Road

    Sun rose
    in that same old sky.
    Birds sang their common
    song. Tide came in,
    went out again. But I

            forgot to breathe.

    Because the
    new normal
    means you’re gone.

    .

    1. BezBawni

      I wanted to leave a comment to this, but I didn’t know what to say. So I didn’t, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it, because it’d moved me. Well, here I am, saying …………

  16. Misky

    It’s Normal for French Speaking Cheese

    There’s a region in my refrigerator
    that is the refuge of overly ripe,
    squeakily voiced, trippingly, toddling,
    smoothly silken and sneakily
    slippery, triple-celo-wrapped
    French cheese. It disappeared
    last night under cover of dark,
    which is not normally what cheese
    chooses to do.French cheese is not
    normally normal, particularly
    if that cheese squeaks français.

  17. taylor graham

    RIGHT LEFT NORMAL

    Trails at crazy angles through the homeless
    woods, I followed my dog as paths
    forked left then right then left again beyond
    counting. A heap of trash; bedroll
    stashed behind a tree, an empty bottle of
    burnt glass. A place where five paths met and
    one drowned in a tangle of roots.
    Around a blind turn at the edge stood
    a man, breathing hard left-handed, the side
    frowned on by my teachers. Had this man ever
    been in school? There was a hooky
    twang to his “hello.” My dog startled,
    sniffed the air, then quieted.
    I stepped a little quicker through the woods.
    And here came a man in uniform,
    even-paced right then left then right his
    boots moved fast, intent. Badge at his pocket.
    Did he mean to catch a wrong-way
    man, one who didn’t seem quite normal?
    My dog led us out of the woods,
    where I’d lost all count of rights and lefts,
    following my dog who’s mostly
    normal. Who knows what is right?

  18. JRSimmang

    THE chamber IS SILENT

    The nightlight,
    left on through the day,
    burnt out at
    quarter ’til 3.
    The hallways, now shadows, bent
    to the corner room.

    It’s dark there,
    no more a comfort,
    but questions.
    But bulbs burn
    out. You can’t talk to the dark
    and ask why it takes

    over the light.
    You can’t ask the dark
    why it chose
    to sit still
    while you waited and watched it
    take good care that you

    never ask it
    another question. But,
    bulbs burn out.
    And sometimes,
    they burn out way past their primes,
    and never before then.

    -JR Simmang

  19. elishevasmom

    Guardians

    Have you ever noticed
    that the people’s job
    it is to treat our
    mental and emotional
    problems
    havethemostdisfynctionallivesofall?

    Ellen Knight
    10.2.13 write a ‘normal’ poem for PA

    1. Marie Elena

      Yes. Your title was an excellent choice for your poem. And yes, absolutely. Perhaps because they have been helped themselves and wish to give back? Or, unfortunately, perhaps some are drawn to it via their own darkness / confusion?

      Effectively written, Ellen. Excellent.

  20. taylor graham

    NORMAL

    I drove through the dark to get here,
    straddled boulders down a steep
    4WD trail in my old Tercel which may
    not make it back to pavement.
    Now I’m strapped in the seat of a mini
    helicopter, we’re lifting off
    from the only almost-clear spot
    in a rocky canyon. They’ve removed
    the chopper doors
    because of weight (too heavy at this
    altitude of mountain, in hot
    August air). In my lap,
    my 90-pound search dog who
    doesn’t particularly like to fly. I hold
    him tight, hope he won’t try
    to bail out the open door. The other
    thing he doesn’t like is finding
    dead people. Our hiker went missing
    seven months ago in a snowstorm.
    Just a normal search.
    Tomorrow may be better.

  21. Cameron Steele

    Narcotics Anonymous

    Maybe they don’t smile
    maybe they’re not normal
    But some of them dream
    en francais:
    les belles reves sous
    la claire de la lune.

    Others want to cry
    or yawn or both
    when the bearded man
    with the pierced lip
    reads 12 promises.

    One for each month
    of the whole damn mooning
    world — (we wore universes
    on our backs pretending

    we weren’t broken
    claiming to be light or free.
    Experts at pirouetting
    through nightmares and pretty days,)

    The woman with closed eyes
    listens, wonders why uselessness
    still rings her throat, wrists, slick
    on her teeth. In her mind

    she see starbursts
    her own higher power
    when powder dried up;
    and she couldn’t see

    the mirror or hands
    green like the bills she twisted
    against nostril. Sometimes
    the weight of the world

    is not on Atlas
    but on women who tell
    themselves white lies
    before bed and call it prayer.

    (But we don’t dare
    disturb that heavy universe
    or write a poem about normal
    because then we’d break

    and beckon fog or little cat feet
    into our own strangely dreamless
    sleep) At the meeting
    they are merely men and women

    who sometimes laugh in spite
    of the French they forgot.
    And, remembering,
    isn’t this the beautiful dream?

    — That they can even move their lips,
    turn clear faces to the sun
    or, at the very least,
    circle fluorescent lights on a ceiling.

    1. BezBawni

      “Sometimes the weight of the world is not on Atlas but on women who tell themselves white lies before bed and call it prayer.” – this might just be the best piece of thought I’ve read in a long time.

  22. Cameron Steele

    Narcotics Anonymous

    Maybe they don’t smile
    maybe they’re not normal
    But some of them dream
    en francais:
    les belles reves sous
    la claire de la lune.

    Others want to cry
    or yawn or both
    when the bearded man
    with the pierced lip
    reads 12 promises.

    One for each month
    of the whole damn raining
    world — (we wore universes
    on our backs pretending
    we weren’t broken

  23. Bruce Niedt

    Situation Normal: All F***ed Up

    Hold a gun to our collective head,
    dangle us over the edge of a cliff
    so you can get your way.
    You don’t care who you hurt
    as long as you advance your agenda.
    When did “compromise”
    become a four-letter word?
    Next time you want to throw tea into the harbor
    throw yourselves in as well.

  24. ewdupler

    Overly Normal

    “I’m not a freak,”
    they heard me shriek.
    “So let me stay
    and collect my pay.”
    But they said “no,”
    that I must go.
    And I asked, “why?”
    As I could try
    to fit right in;
    I have thick skin.
    Then the letter,
    was not much better.
    I’m not so weird
    as I had feared.
    They fired me
    because, you see,
    a circus wants
    abnormal ones.
    So now its formal,
    I’m too normal.

  25. Jane Shlensky

    Halloween for Theater Majors

    They know the many uses of liquid latex,
    wigs, and makeup, unafraid of inspiring
    fear or nausea in others. They thrive
    on shape shifting in this way, making
    scars, changing shapes of eyes and
    mouths, implanting mechanical veins
    and protruding knives into the skin,
    bleeding gruesome monsters foraging
    by the punch bowl, toasting and slurping,
    reaching for nachos and mixed nuts.
    Not to be outdone by the grotesque,
    princesses and fictional heroes,
    animals and vegetables, rock groups
    and cartoon characters intermingle
    with the undead, Kafkaesque, until
    the surprised new guy thinks he is
    the normal one with his underwear
    on his head…but he would be wrong.

    1. PressOn

      It all depends on the setting, I gather. I’m intrigued that this is a theatre crowd, so the question in my mind becomes, where (and who) are the absurdities? For me, this is a thought-provoking poem.

  26. Nancy Posey

    Normal

    She matriculated at the Teachers’ Normal School,
    a brick and mortar institution devoted to training
    young women not yet headed to the altar
    to spend their lives in rooms scented lightly
    of chalk dust, standard décor a map of the world
    they would probably never travel
    and the state and American flags, to teach
    the Palmer method of penmanship, the 3 R’s,
    and good citizenship, armed only with a ruler
    used more for threat than measurement
    or corporal punishment and a cowbell
    to summon the children from the far reaches
    of the playground. Back them they learned
    nothing of self-esteem or bullying. Gum
    caused more problems than guns; Instead
    of teaching students to Just Say No,
    they focused on teaching them to say
    Please and Thank You, Ma’am or Sir.
    Some lasted until marriage, other lives
    beckoning; some never left those classrooms
    until old age and a tiny pension edged them out.
    No doubt a visit back they’d find unsettling.
    They wouldn’t even recognize the new normal.

  27. Mariya Koleva

    Oh, here I come after a long absence. I post now, hope to read later:

    *Normal Poem*

    I was asked to be myself.
    Really hard.
    It is a task
    I considered for a while.
    For years, in fact.

    What would define me?
    Or what could?
    Once, I asked to be like everybody.
    Yet, gradually, I came to realise
    There is no ‘everybody’
    that will put the boundaries of normal
    into my mind frame.
    **

  28. JWLaviguer

    Dysfunctional is the New Normal

    Abby…someone… Igor, Young Frankenstein

    Normal is relative
    but my relatives are not
    for they judge and bash
    with the best of them
    so we make our own family
    out of friends old and new
    and gladly ignore the drama
    that is so normal these days.

    JW Laviguer

  29. Walt Wojtanik

    RETURN TO EXISTING NORMAL

    Business as usual has run amok
    and with any luck you can at least
    keep the beast at bay. They say
    everything should be back to normal,
    but that’s the formal way of saying
    we’ve got our fingers crossed.
    It has cost you a lot of time and
    your energy has been depleted,
    your malady has retreated and
    you can assume planning
    a counter offensive; an attack
    to decimate your back further.
    You revert to words; they never fail,
    you can lay and flail fruitlessly
    or pen your poems effortlessly.
    For in the end you see that everything
    will return to existing normal.

    1. PressOn

      This sounds to me like Groucho Marx by way of S.J. Perelman, on a day when neither felt like fooling around. I’ve read this several times, and will read some more. Thanks.

        1. Walt Wojtanik

          Where else would I be, Doll? You love my work because you helped form it… my voice because, well, it’s my voice. I’ve done all I could. Now I’m just scattering my “seeds”. Thanks for being there.

    2. Cin5456

      You did such a wonderful job with the internal rhymes, my favorite kind of poem. It gives one more freedom to apply the right rhyme without worrying about where it fits in the schema. I loved reading this. several times. “Pen your poems effortlessly” is the best part for me.

      1. Walt Wojtanik

        I’m one of those weirdos who thinks poems need rhymes, but I’m rarely so rigid as to make end rhymes the “end all, be all”. I think the internal hides them in plain sight and make the verse pop more. Marie will quote my favorite line from the heyday, “Read all you want, I’ll write more!” Thanks Cin.

  30. BezBawni

    (A bit scary to be the first, but here’s my try)

    Two Normal People

    No, you are not the knight in shining armor.
    Where is your horse? You raced it to its death;
    you raced my heart. There is a lifeless lump
    inside my chest, just where your scorching breath
    my skin remembers still. There are more
    years for me to trudge, to crawl, to slump.

    No, I am not the princess in the tower.
    Nor is a dragon there to be slain.
    Though far more pleasing sound in my cries
    you want to hear, instead of pain,
    and bitterness, and bile; your eyes devour
    ‘All hope abandon’, written in my eyes.

    A ruthless jouster, you stabbed me in the back,
    your lance still bearing my token of affection
    and protection.

    So, slam the door shut, leave me on the rack,
    and on the hands of time – a kiss of recollection.

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