Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 249

I hope everyone sent in there November PAD Chapbook Challenge submissions. If you happened to “forget” the deadline or your dog ate your manuscript, I’ll accept late submissions for today and today only. Click here for the guidelines. (And thank you to everyone who’s already sent in their manuscripts; I can’t wait to start reading them this weekend!)

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “This Is (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. So possible poem titles include: “This Is My Happy Face,” “This Is the End of the Line,” “This Is the Last Straw,” and so on.

Here’s my attempt at a This Is Blank poem:

“This Is Only a Test”

I’m the ancient rune
you found in a cave
hidden by the sea.

I’m the Higgs boson,
the unfathomable bosom,
finally unclasped.

You burn for I burn
for we both yearn
and yearn to unlock

why the planets turn.
Our particles collide
and the rest is theory.


Take your poetry to a new level. Click here to learn how.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and a casual lover of scientific advancement. By that, he means that he listens to Science Friday occasionally and reads biographies of living and deceased scientists from time to time. Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems. He’s also married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poet-scientists (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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171 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 249

  1. veronica_gurlie


    This is my last wish,
    keep thinking of me, so you stay dizzy
    and hold on to nothing as I still move you,
    be with no one else– forever.
    take your heart to the bridge, and throw it over,
    lock it up in the attic or shove it under your bed,
    pretend you do not not have a heart,
    but if you can’t, tell nobody you still have it,
    If I was able to steal it, by lifting you up,
    somebody else will, by pulling you from the edge.

  2. veronica_gurlie


    This is my introduction,
    my big embarrassment,
    as if I’m caught with my finger up my nose.
    I’m your obvious rejection,
    your imitation of me now,
    with a face like a blow fish
    and a distinctive smell of a loser.
    I laugh with you,
    and the hyenas besides you,
    cause what else an can do I.
    Nobody said a damn thing,
    nobody can stop you, you’re like rain,
    you’re like the boss,
    you’re welcomed,
    in some strange way.

    1. veronica_gurlie

      sorry guys, fixing a mistake:


      This is my introduction,
      my big embarrassment,
      as if I’m caught with my finger up my nose.
      I’m your obvious rejection,
      your imitation of me now,
      with a face like a blow fish
      and a distinctive smell of a loser.
      I laugh with you,
      and the hyenas besides you,
      cause what else can do I.
      Nobody said a damn thing,
      nobody can stop you, you’re like rain,
      you’re like the boss,
      you’re welcomed,
      in some strange way.

      1. veronica_gurlie

        Decided to fix it up a typo.

        This is My Introduction.

        This is my introduction,
        and big embarrassment,
        as if I’m caught with my finger up my nose.
        I’m your obvious rejection,
        your imitation of me now,
        with a face like a blow fish
        and a the foul smell of a loser.
        I laugh with you,
        and the hyenas besides you,
        (cause what else can I do)
        nobody said a damn thing,
        nobody can stop you,
        you’re like rain,
        you’re like the boss,
        you’re welcomed,
        in some strange way.

        1. veronica_gurlie

          REWRITE: I decided to trim the poem down some more and move things around. Satisfied now:0)


          This is my introduction,
          your imitation of me now,
          with a face like a blow fish
          and the foul smell of a loser.
          This is my introduction,
          it’s my big embarrassment.
          it’s your shinning moment,
          and I just laugh with you,
          and the hyenas besides you,
          (cause what else can I do)
          It’s as if I’m caught with my finger up my nose,
          nobody can stop you,
          you’re just like rain,
          you’re just like the boss,
          you’re welcomed,
          in some strange way.

  3. PromptPrincess13

    This is the Day He Smiled

    I saw him every day, at the same time each morning,
    He looked to never age, the scars were visible always,
    Not just on the skin,
    No, they went deeper than that, through flesh to the soul,
    I see that now.

    He would raise a hand to me when I passed him, a hand gnarled and filthy,
    His eyes were always bright and intrigued, amused by a world I could not see,
    I often wondered how he could stand it,
    A man strong in his prime,
    Living on steps of granite,
    Always shifting on them for comfort, on slabs of cardboard,
    Yet never climbing them into the warmth that lay above him,
    It must’ve hurt, I think, to have slept in the cold,
    Watching the hotel lobby so pristine and bright,
    So close, yet never close enough.

    I’ve never been overly self-less but I tried to help, I did,
    I took him some blankets and a coffee sometimes,
    When the frost was too sharp and my worries small.

    When I didn’t find him on the hotel steps one day,
    I won’t deny I was bemused, and scared a little,
    For the man who had been a constant in my world,
    Defying the temptations of a life so far gone,
    Seemed to have disappeared, like he never existed,
    I asked around and walked through the block,
    But no one had seen the man, not then and not ever,
    I tried to call his name but I did not know it,
    We’d never spoken farther than a nod,
    Not deeper than a holiday wish that seemed to mock,
    Even though I didn’t mean it to.

    When I saw him the next day, it wasn’t by his face that I knew him,
    I’d never seen him without a layer of grime on his skin,
    Or without his hair mangled and his movements small and achy,
    I’d never seen him as he was now,
    Dressed in a suit with a tie and polished shoes,
    Hair cut short and strides long, confident.

    I didn’t know him by any of this, how could I?
    No, I knew him by the look in his eyes,
    So bright and fierce with a hunger that gave me hope,
    Hope for him and hope for me,
    And hope for human-kind.

    For on that day, a man with no education taught me a lesson,
    On how life is fast and ever-changing,
    Doors opening after they’ve closed,
    A lesson on second chances and will.

    I think that man knew this always,
    I’m sure of it, in fact,
    But I didn’t know it, couldn’t feel it the same as him,
    Not until the day he smiled at me,
    Coming off of his shift as a manager,
    At the hotel he’d lived on the step of,
    For twelve years,
    Yes, I didn’t know it,
    Not until,
    The day he smiled.

  4. JRSimmang

    This is the Land Where Few Dream to Tread

    This is the land where few dream to tread,
    ‘neath their suits of gold-laden lead,
    they shake, they sweat, they cower and burn,
    and wish for the days they lay safe in bed.

    This is the land where fires rage white,
    where your eyes will burn from hallowed light,
    where bone and sinew and all that you are
    withers away to spirited spite.

    Oh ye, brave trav’ler, protect your heart well,
    for this land will turn your heaven to hell.
    Wear your iron wisdom upon your sword,
    and tie your knowledge with a silver bell.

    Sit straight in your saddle while riding on,
    and don’t look back until you’ve gone.
    Grip tightly to your courageousness,
    and live to die in days impending, days anon.

    Make good your journey, young man,
    for the other side you find will be grand.
    The arrow pierces your bosom first,
    and bleeds your heart upon the land.

    But if you survive this land unforgiving,
    you’ll be a god among the living.
    This land, the land few have dreamed tread,
    is furthermore a land of souls receiving.

    -JR Simmang

    This is a rough draft to an epic poem I began sometime last year.
    It’ll be periodically updated at my blog:

  5. JRSimmang

    This is not the World We Imagined

    We belong down there,
    my dear,
    in the mired loam
    above our knees
    and gloating, floating, frothing, golden refuse.
    We belong down there,
    my dear.

    We, the huddled masses,
    the malnourished sighing corpses
    drifting in between
    coherent towers and
    blast furnaces,
    cover our faces,
    fingers peaking,
    for the glimpse of their oil-soaked hems.

    We belong where the
    dogs seldom sleep,
    where the itches from
    the iceberg-swallows
    beckons us to the cold,
    cold fingers curled around
    our necks, necklaces of

    Double Jeopardy!
    (we belong)
    leaks and leaks and leaks
    and leads
    pooling around the heads
    the dirty
    and we belong down there with them

    we are lovers,
    we are affairs and sea-sick
    reaching our hands to be held,
    seeking to
    hold them up
    above us,

    above the boiling stench
    of eyes like saucers.

    We belong to them.

    -JR Simmang

    1. PressOn

      For me, this is an absorbing, fascinating piece, compelling and yet repelling at the same time. The “huddled masses” made me think of immigrants, and thus the poem led me to think of a land, or a dream of same, gone horribly wrong. More than that, however, is the sheer power in your writing that holds me to your words. Wow.

  6. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    This is the poem

    This is the poem I wrote last week.
    It wasn’t ready then, I reckon
    but it IS now. Go on… critique.
    This is the poem I wrote last week.
    I ran it by Gertrude and Nick.
    Oh, wait… not yet… just give me a second.
    This is the poem I wrote last week.
    It wasn’t ready then, I reckon.

  7. Cin5456

    This is the Time

    This is the time of night
    when poetry falls heaven
    carried by muses with
    dream dust in pouches.

    This is the hour of evening
    when poets find inspiration
    in the curve of a thigh
    or the color of a rose

    This is the turn of the second hand
    when chairs have personality
    when stars wink with sarcasm
    when fish scales flash like diamonds.

    These are the creeping minutes
    when a name is a peopled place
    where memory glows neon bright
    and feelings take control of the pen.

    This is the moment when
    I taste the flavor of words
    hear music in fleeting aromas
    and light evades definition.

    1. Julieann

      Your vivid pictures and imagination are superb. Wonderfully written, each idea is well crafted and extremely visual. “When chairs have personality,” causes ones imagination to ignite!

  8. Cin5456

    This is Where You Get Off.

    I’ve had enough;
    the novelty is over.
    Your tirades and demands are done.
    Deadline is the end of the day.
    I packed a bag of clothes.
    Anything you leave, send friends over
    Anything of value will be sold.
    Be quick about it. I posted my furniture
    on craigslist this morning. The ad says,
    my lover is leaving me; indoor yard sale.
    Paul Simon said it’s easy.
    He said “there must be 50 ways…”
    Choose from the song
    Or invent another.
    While you’re packing
    I’ll play the CD
    to refresh your memory
    and for motivation.
    This is you changing plans.
    If you disagree, I have
    friends standing by
    to carry your things, or to
    carry you anywhere but here.

  9. Hannah

    This is What I’ll Leave for Them

    In an antique tin
    I will place the following:
    A yellow number two pencil,
    a wooden handled pocket knife,
    a fair amount of recycled paper,
    a glass swirled marble,
    a brass greening key
    and a gray striped stone
    for inspiration.
    I’ll label this container
    with a magic marker on masking tape
    with these words:
    Writing is a craft of the mind and hand
    for the betterment of the heart;
    practice daily.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

  10. tunesmiff

    you mean
    it’s warmer
    in Yellowstone
    than in Atlanta?
    Wind chill or no wind chill
    I don’t quite know what
    to make of all
    this global

  11. Susan Schoeffield


    Love has
    multiple sides,
    some complex or transparent,
    others real and firmly planted,
    and always confusing.

    Love is
    not the movies,
    happily ever afters,
    riding off into the sunset
    with fairy tale endings.

    Love is
    sometimes broken
    into tiny shards of glass
    cutting deeply, bleeding freely,
    leaving open wounds.

    But love
    can be healing,
    taking all of the pieces
    and gluing them back together
    in one seamless unit.

    Love can
    last a moment,
    unveil itself then wither,
    or can be with you a lifetime
    with rewards worth the risk.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  12. cholder

    This Is My Truth

    I’m not allowed to freely speak
    I bite my bleeding tongue in cheek
    My teeth grate from the weight of it
    My jaw aches from the pain of it
    Hang my head from the shame of it
    The truth will not set me free today

  13. learsonrx


    There is a stillness in the air
    An electric pause holding the
    World at bay, as the land’s green
    Hairs rise at attention, guarding,

    Waiting for the thunderous call
    The order to kneel before the
    Deafening release of the skies’
    Assault on the sun-baked lips
    And leathred red skin,
    Of soil cracked and abused
    By desire and malicious greed

    So the light of the world turns,
    Hides his aged face and listens
    To the thundrous exertion,
    For the exhale, the release,
    The moment the collision
    Ceases and his beauty can
    Intercede with hope and promise.

    For this is her coronation day
    The end of a darkness,
    the rain of heaven overhead
    Ends and he adorns her
    With a crown of effervescent colors
    Placed high above the beaten
    Blades and wetted lands so as
    To cast his light on a world reborn

    1. writinglife16

      I like this. It strikes me as being the answer to that old song, “Is That All There Is.” 🙂 Even the song said, let’s keep dancing. So you are right.

      1. Cin5456

        William, I’d kind of like to save your line about Wed., and Thurs., too. I would like to think of others like these. Or even a collaborative poem by several poets expressing the days of the week in short descriptive phrases. Wouldn’t that be fun?

    1. Cin5456

      I love this. Its truth didn’t occur to me till you said it. It made me smile at the start and laugh at the end. I want to keep a copy of this. May I have permission to print it out fully attributed to you? I’d kind of like to share it on Facebook too, but not without your permission, especially the last two lines.

  14. priyajane

    This is my pulse

    Sometimes I feel it
    pounding like rain
    racing for sun
    at the thought of his name
    And sometimes, its muffled
    drowning with ache
    gasping for air
    In a self imposed game.
    Either way,-
    Imprisoned in shackles
    ticking away—-

  15. Walt Wojtanik


    From across the room, I wondered –
    pondered what this festering was that was pestering
    my muse. If I choose to embrace it and face it
    with aplomb and respect, I would expect it to carry me.
    A chamber full of poets, purveyors of verse
    cursed with the same need to succeed. Not out
    of greed but for love of the process. It grips us…
    possesses us (it stresses us at times) that rhymes
    can become come and extension of our expression.
    It was April and full of the fire and the desire to pen it
    I opened the door and stood amongst other writers
    of worded wonder. Pondering and wandering around the room.
    I found a space and let my face become known.
    Oh how we’ve all grown. How now i grin!
    This is where I came in!

  16. priyajane

    This is a January Sunset

    How to, translate this play by play
    Gazing through my kitchen gray
    Blue got pink and gold caught fire
    Purple clouds filled in desire

    Silent sunset spoke in hues
    Highlighting the evening’s news
    Flowers blooming in the sky
    Lotus slivers gleaming high
    Wings that shimmered,merged in point
    Then diverged through scattered joints
    Open arms with brushes grew
    Painting shades we never knew
    What music must that place withhold?!
    That lies beyond this open mould
    A glimpse into an unknown realm
    And I, SO yearned to hold its helm
    And then I blinked, and lo it seemed !
    It’s swallowed, in an ink filled breeze!
    A blotting paper sanded through
    A charcoal smudge with deeper grooves

    Those flashes now are memories
    As time just breathes and flows with ease
    A cradle glows inside my heart
    Stirring reds through hidden paths

    Each day the same sun comes to bat
    And yet a different game it chants
    Each moment marks and plays its part
    So stop, encrypt some wonder art—

  17. Andrew Kreider

    Seventy two hours at O’Hare

    This is the final boarding call
    for flight number twenty twenty two.
    Seriously, you low-lifes sprawled against the wall,
    this is the final boarding call
    I mean it this time, you’re clogging up the departure hall.
    Now get up before I call the cops on you!
    This is the final boarding call (really!)
    for flight number twenty twenty two.

  18. Sara McNulty

    This is the end

    of the word, ‘awesome.’
    I declare its death
    along with that of ‘huge’,
    ‘geek’, ‘so not’, ‘as if’,
    and ‘man cave.’ Come on
    all you innovators, think
    of new words to replace
    these passé platitudes.

    1. Julieann

      I would like to say “awesome” but there are much better words. All we need to do is search the dictionary, the thesaurus, or even better remember our grammar lessons in elementary school. So with that said, you captured today’s language laziness with grace and astuteness.

    2. Hannah

      I love this but then I think I might need to come up with a new word for love in the spirit of this poem… 😉 Truly though…you touch on a truth here…there’re way to many “used” up words out there.

    3. Cin5456

      A few months ago I tried a replacement, “awe full” for myself, or “awe fill” for someone else because full of awe sounds stiff. There’s no doubt, awesome has to go.

  19. Mark Windham

    This is, or could be, Poetry

    smells, fear,
    A sense of place,
    or lack of substance,
    feelings of belonging,
    difference of opinion.
    Whether you found it in the words,
    or simply felt a tug at your soul.

  20. snuzcook


    “This is your mother,” she said in familiar rhythm.
    It is the same rhythm I use when I call my son.
    “I know, Ma. What’s wrong?”
    “Does something have to be wrong?
    I just called to say hi.”
    “Great. How are you? How’s Dad?”
    “Your father’s just fine, like me.
    Getting older. Getting forgetful.
    You know what they say:
    Getting old’s not for wimps.”
    “I know Ma. But you’re not old.”
    She ignores me; it’s her dime.
    “I was sitting here watching the rain,
    thinking of my little girl.”
    Her voice comes from far away.
    “My little girl’s going to be a grandmother soon.”
    “That’s right, Ma, the end of March.”
    “Hard to believe.” She is quiet.
    It is my turn to retreat from emotion.
    “Guess you can’t call me your little girl anymore,” I joke.
    Sharply her voice comes back without humor,
    the cuff of a paw, the touch of a maternal tooth,
    to chastise me for challenging the way things are.
    “I will always be your mother,” she avers,
    “And you will always be my little girl.”
    “I know, Ma.” I sigh. “I know.”
    Some things can never change.

  21. Jane Shlensky

    This is Wonderful

    You tell students all kinds of things
    to get them to read, build them
    a vision of a pastime they can love,
    them sprawled on a couch,
    the TV off, no music blaring,
    just them, silence, and a story
    playing off the pages and into
    their minds casting them like
    film directors might as the main
    character, sensible and bright,
    troubled but deserving,
    kind and good natured,
    and heart-breakingly beautiful,
    them rising to every challenge,
    coming away from those pages
    changed, their adventures
    as real in their heads as they
    can be in real space—better even.

    You tell them, read one page
    and return the book. No more
    for you, m’dear, until they crave
    a chapter, taste the honey of
    story unfolding, of characters
    developing, of twists turning,
    while you smile and read, like
    eating ice cream in front of them,
    tell them this is too rich for you.
    Let writing break their hearts
    and mend them. Then ask,
    Isn’t this wonderful?

  22. Nancy Posey

    This Is My Life

    What I thought was just a dress rehearsal
    turned out to be the main attraction,
    opening night and final curtains played out
    on the same stage. Maybe if I’d known,
    I would have considered my lines
    more closely, even the asides; I might
    have blocked my movements, taken the time
    to know the crew, the stagehands, lighting,
    not just those who shared my stage, tossing
    clever banter back and forth. I might
    have picked my roles giving thought
    to the legacy I might leave behind. Instead,
    I waltzed through my life, as if I’d have
    another chance to do it better, get it right,
    finding the part that suits me best,
    not content to stick with the script,
    scribbling notes and changes to my lines,
    weighing each gesture. I might have seen
    the turning point as I approaches, instead
    of looking back as my plot unraveled
    quickly to its resolution, to its denouement.

  23. Cameron Steele

    This Is The First Time

    “And I said I wouldn’t get sucked in
    I … ” – The National lyrics from “This Is The Last Time”

    I want to know why
    when I fall in love
    I always find the words
    to some sad goodbye
    caught in my mind
    along with the letter
    he wrote – It’s not
    like I don’t know
    they aren’t the same
    a paper full of
    what we might do
    and what we could
    dream and the lyrics
    a map of where someone
    else’s been and god tell
    me how do I find a way
    to fill my own addiction
    to emptiness because
    even though I’ll pretend
    it’s not true, this is no
    first time, honey, and
    there will never be a last.

  24. Julieann

    This Is It

    The cars steady rhythm
    Lulled her into a comfortable sleep
    Until her husband’s booming voice
    Excitedly exclaimed “This is it!”

    Disconcerted she jerked bolt upright
    And stared around at the trees
    And grass, and railroad tracks
    Then asked, “This is what?”

    Years later they settled on property
    Not more than five miles
    From that fateful spot
    Where he shouted “This is it!”

    And now after nearly 80 years
    There’s still trees, and grass
    And railroad tracks, and we
    Still want to know, “This is what?”

    1. writinglife16

      I like this. I could sense her jerking up and being disconcerted. Knew she’d ask “this is what.” Like I have sometimes. And never got it either.

  25. seingraham


    She looked the new year right in the face
    Shouted loud, “Bring It!”, make it novel, unused
    Give me excitement and pick up the pace

    Then threw back her head, laughed deep and long
    Felt instinctively this time she’d not be refused
    This year she’d write new words to that tired old song

  26. Walt Wojtanik


    I have this devotion
    to poetry and motion.
    Words that move and cajole
    and control what you feel
    when you feel it. No need
    to reel it in since I choose
    to let loose with verse and meter,
    a rhyme eater spitting out
    poems. Mow ’em down
    and wait to be prompted.
    When the spirit moves me,
    it behooves me to write it.
    I can fight it if it’s in me.
    This is what I do. Do you?

  27. taylor graham


    You trudged under the weight of your pack,
    following what had been
    a jeep road washed out long ago;
    fallen logs across the path. Loose rocks.
    No footprints. Wondering if this
    could be the way that hiker came,
    aiming for the grandeur of Pyramid Peak.
    Nothing but the foundation
    of a cabin with old country stove
    white as ash; even the chimney was gone.
    No sign of the missing man.
    Your dog said no one had been there
    in a long time. You kept climbing.
    From the top of a lodgepole, a raven
    said you were crazy. Clouds
    massed over the summit, promising storm.
    Then you saw it – peregrine falcon –
    just as search base called you
    back: lost hiker found safe, at home;
    never got near the mountain.
    You debriefed with only this to report:
    a stove with no chimney;
    no road anymore. First time you’d
    seen a peregrine. It was worth the climb.

    1. seingraham

      Love this! We have a pair of peregrines that return to the city and nest every Spring, atop one of our skyscrapers (now in a protected and videographed space…feels vaguely invasive but they don’t seem to mind)…what magnificent birds they are…

  28. Walt Wojtanik


    What I lack in style
    I make up in volume!
    From Collum to Sonnet
    I’m on it like White on Strunk.
    Punk rock mocks me,
    and heavy metal rusts
    in comparison to this garrison
    of words. This light hearted farce
    is a pain just above the arse.
    As funny as a Lumbar Puncture
    (this is a Spinal Tap). Turn it to
    E-le-ven. It’s one more than ten,
    isn’t it?

  29. elishevasmom

    This is the Exit Strategy

    As any spy story will tell you,
    every operation must have
    an exit strategy,
    a Plan B, maybe a Plan C even.

    Almost nothing
    goes according to plan,
    runs on schedule
    or works like it’s supposed to.

    An exit strategy
    is what saves the day,
    recoups your energy,
    renews your focus.

    Without one you
    get stuck
    doing damage control,
    only what if you

    don’t have enough fingers
    to fix the dike?
    An exit strategy is
    preventive maintenance,

    the way a Master
    sees the chess board,
    always calculating
    several moves ahead.

    At the end of the day,
    you need whatever works
    for you. The important thing
    is too have one.

    Ellen Evans 1.8.14
    a ‘This is_________’ poem for PA

      1. elishevasmom

        Sometimes, it can be a matter of just stepping out in a new direction and believing that when your foot lands, there will be something for it to land on.

  30. De Jackson

    This is a Whole Lot of Nothing Scooped into a Pile

    Nothing speaks today, de
    -spite blue skies, slight
    rifled breeze, 51 degrees.

    Somehow I am buried
    under my own static un
    -snow. Ink moves slow
    through worn veins, and
    the day trods on, tried
    and tired and all but true.

    If you
    know where I might borrow
    the crunch of autumn leaves
    or the rustle of pine trees or
    the crumble of sand in hungry
    hand, a small map will suffice.
    I shall crease it twice and wish
    upon its many folds. I know
    the future holds more than this
    moment longing, this shallow
    swallowed song, but today it
    is possible to choke on my own

    Knock twice outside
    this frozen shell. Knock again
    and wait. Maybe I am hibernating;
    maybe I am making wings. Even I
    am not on the list of need-to-knows,
    so I suppose the line forms to the
    right. What’s left is either fight
    or flight.


  31. Domino

    I’ve been absent for weeks, so I’ve submitted two today. ^_^ Happy New Year!

    This is How a Fear of Needles is Born

    This is me, the future me,
    talking to the trembling child
    hiding under the gurney in
    the vast warren of the ER.
    You can come out.
    The shot will hurt, but
    not as much as it would
    if you hadn’t fled, frightened,
    forcing them to find you,
    angered by your anxiety,
    and “I thought you said
    she has asthma,” so six
    people (giants) chasing you
    around the room, clever and
    stealthy once you’ve gone to ground
    in a further chamber in the labyrinth
    of passages and treatment rooms.
    Then: “I see her” “Get her!”
    an “Ooof,” an “Ouch!” A muffled curse,
    and then the shrill wail of
    the creature, caught,
    ringing through the room,
    as though she were prey,
    not victim after all.
    The shot when it comes
    will be more vicious and cruel
    than it need be,
    but don’t brace yourself,
    try to relax so it doesn’t
    hurt as much.
    It will be over soon, hush.

    This is How to Cure a Fear of Needles

    The insistent buzz, the flickering
    light. The artist is a trusted friend.
    He has agreed to do this
    complex design of mine,
    and warns it will take hours.
    He puts on a silly movie,
    “Love at First Bite,”
    ironically, one I will can
    never enjoy again,
    laced as it is with the
    sharp memory of pain,
    of the needles,
    the sweat,
    the blood.

    Two sessions is what it takes.
    Two or three hours each,
    to build the design and
    erase the fear the needles
    (used to) bring by making something
    indelible and beautiful
    a part of who I am now.

    The memory of facing the fear
    is as permanent as the ink,
    forcing the fear to be subservient
    to the somehow-necessary
    needling pain.
    It has changed my point of view forever.
    Neither prey,
    nor creature caught,
    but willful victim
    nettled by design
    and mended internally
    of the stains a captive wears.

      1. Domino

        I think they were of the school that children aren’t humans yet, so their needs and wishes and fears can be ignored. It taught me to never treat children that way, so in that, it was a helpful experience.

        Thank you for your caring and kindness. <3

    1. Julieann

      I remember a six-year old friend who was terrified of needles and of doctors. I could never understand why because, even though I wasn’t fond of them, I’d been taught they were for the best and that the moment of pain would quickly subside. I felt so sorry for her. I feel sorry for those who are terrified. You painted two very beautiful pictures. Wonderful work.

  32. Misky

    This is the Storm

    Water choked the bridge below,
    Arches stopped, nowhere to go,
    A boat to float,
    To sink or sail,
    A keel, a wheel,
    Fell knees to rail,
    Our oars are held but tight
    This mud, this storm does swell,
    This night of hell.

    (c) Misky 2014

  33. Clae

    This is a Letter

    I still write them
    I still read them
    I still send and
    Still receive them
    A dying art
    Museum pieces
    Forgotten skill
    No one still teaches
    While many see it as no loss
    It’s a preference I can’t relent
    Impersonal impatient scraps
    Of thought are not an improvement

  34. Phillyfledgling

    This Is Not What It Looks Like

    This is not what it looks like
    you don’t understand
    I’m not passing you over, not one who would stand
    on your pulse, on your hope
    I’m only a man.

    This is not what it looks like,
    it’s just not for you–
    some others fit better.
    Surely you see, surely it’s true.

    Come on, be a sport, it’s not about you–
    don’t make it a race thing,
    don’t cry out those words.
    This is not about you, you’ve already heard.

    Someone else, I’m sure, will give you a shot
    This is not what it looks like,
    but we want a man, and as you’re aware,
    clearly, you’re not.

    Straighter teeth, smaller ass,
    tighter arms, tits are fine.
    (But you’re too brown) it’s just not the right time.
    No, no, no, not keeping you back,
    not pushing you down.
    It’s just, here, see the line?
    I didn’t draw it, I didn’t decide.
    It’s not about you, just swallow your pride

    Can we just forget it? It’s already done.
    Just move on, no big deal.
    You’ve got so much to offer–trust me on this one.

    This is not about you, and this is not what it looks like.

  35. Amy

    This Is Dawn

    I feel it in my bones
    before the birds
    before the sloshing of tires
    on snow
    It stretches in the
    infinite peace of indigo
    soft as down
    and hoary white
    It sings in front of
    closed eyelids, bidding
    as twiggy fingers
    point the way
    Before it paints the sky
    I watch it paint
    my skin
    a willing hue

    1. PressOn

      I’d like to join the chorus of praise. For me, this conjures up a purple morning many years ago, and a great blue heron flying directly at me out of an orange sun. The music in your words is almost ethereal.

  36. Phillyfledgling

    This Is Not What It Looks Like

    This is not what it looks like
    you don’t understand
    I’m not passing you over,
    I’m not one who would stand
    on your pulse–
    I’m only a man.

    This is not what it looks like,
    it’s just not for you–
    there are others who fit better.
    Surely you see,
    surely it’s true.

    Come on, be a sport, it’s not about you–
    don’t make it a race thing,
    don’t cry out those words.
    This is not about you, you’ve already heard.

    Someone else, I’m sure will give you a shot
    This is not what it looks like,
    but we want a man, and as you’re aware,
    clearly, you’re not.

    Straighter teeth, smaller ass,
    tighter arms, tits are fine.
    But you’re too brown
    No, no, no, not keeping you back,
    not pushing you down.
    It’s just, here, see the line?
    I didn’t draw it, I didn’t decide.

    It’s not about you,
    and it’s not what it looks like.

  37. NoBlock

    This is An Escape Route

    Some invisible bondage
    Nameless, faceless, soulless
    Tethers to fear, hopelessness, silent madness

    Attempt upon attempt
    Neither wet, dry, or burned
    Supply a permenant reprieve

    I stretch out feeling liberated
    Oh the freedom!
    Only to be yanked back to my former position

    Despair, it seems will dominate
    For every avenue has failed me
    This cage is a shapeshifter

    Maybe this is a lifeline?
    Who knew something so simple
    Could expel the arrestor

    We’ll see
    To be continued…..

  38. RJ Clarken

    This is what is in My Pocketbook

    A five, a twenty. Singles (two.)
    Some photos of my kids (not new.)
    A leaky pen, old shopping lists…
    my stuff inside just co-exists.

    A tweezers, scissors, lip balm, mail
    to be delivered. Broken nail.
    My earbuds, which are in a twist…
    my stuff inside just co-exists.

    A lucky penny, sans the luck,
    a small toy Tardis, hockey puck,
    lost bracelet (it fell off my wrist?)…
    my stuff inside just co-exists.

    A five, a twenty. Singles (two.)
    My stuff inside just co-exists.


  39. RJ Clarken

    This is a Fine Kettle of Fish

    “This is a fine kettle of fish,”
    I say to my big empty dish.
    Too sleepy to fix a whole meal:
    night- munchy is such a bad deal.

    With that, I get up off my chair.
    Into my sad cupboars, I stare.
    Not even a ‘nana to peel.
    Night- munchy is such a bad deal.

    The time? It is two in the morn.
    But…wait! Here’s an old can of corn.
    Lid popped, I scarf. Quite ungenteel.
    Night- munchy is such a bad deal.

    “This is a fine kettle of fish.”
    Night- munchy is such a bad deal.


  40. barbara_y

    This Is No Obstacle

    The membrane of the joyful soul
    is permeable.
    Osmotic forces swell interstitial spaces with kettle drums,
    skipping pebbles, belly-spasm laughs,
    Smoky Mountain rhodedendrum hillsides pink
    as a thigh warm from the shower
    and waiting to be kissed.
    A full field
    of rising starlings ripples through its beaded curtain
    like bubbles in a Coke,
    the smell of breakfast coffee
    entering a dream. Basketballs don’t touch its rim.
    Gothic churches slide in, gargoyles, spires and all.
    It uses music, moths, tornadoes. Mayflies
    and tragedy filter through. Anguish
    nourishes the joyful soul, and long aching sorrow
    is mineral. Nothing stalls,
    outside, for longer than a breeze catches
    in a screen door.

  41. PressOn


    Years ago, that square
    wasn’t even there,
    it was a wide, deep crater;
    there were fiery coals
    and various holes,
    some great, and some much greater.

    Herr Hitler had thought
    that Londoners ought
    to cringe, and vacate this place
    but our rank and file
    as one, all said Heil
    with glee, in der Fuehrer’s face!


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