Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 267

For this week’s prompt, write a TV-inspired poem. It can be a poem about a game show, talk show, news show, or an entertaining series. The poem can be about commercials, remote controls, or having the biggest/best entertainment system in town. The poem can be about contemporary TV, or it can go old school. There’s so many possibilities that I’m sure a poet could easily write a whole collection of poems based off this prompt.


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Here’s my attempt at a TV Poem:


He carries a gun in his holster
and a bullet in his shirt pocket.

An expert on firearms (and everything
else), he’s quick to discharge his weapon

and lock himself up in his own cell.
He’s a worldly man who knows a lot

about nothing, but he can write up
a ticket, cite a citation, and

get lost in technicalities with
the best of ’em. Lucky for Barney,

he’s always got a girl, whether it’s
Thelma Lou or waitress Juanita.

As long as he’s around, Mayberry
is, if nothing else, interesting.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems and Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He spent last week volunteering 10+ hours a day with the local Cub Scout day camp and looked forward to relaxing with reruns of The Andy Griffith Show each night. Robert is married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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303 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 267

  1. BDP

    “Bleached Film”

    Has to—unless The End is really near—
    rain. Corn’s just ankle high by July Fourth.
    The farmers growl off Jake the Barber’s ear,
    beside themselves with misery: a dearth’s

    come down upon the fields. The Dining Nook’s
    red-faced regretful with its sign: NO CASH,
    NO FOOD. Those researched facts of agri-books
    are useless for cracked topsoil bleached to ash

    as city folk watch news, the awkward teen
    who hugs her repo’d calf. The camera
    zooms in behind her to the auction scene,
    her parents and their melancholia,

    the homestead farm that’s on the chopping block—
    oh, yes, we care! We’re spies on their bad luck.

    –Barb Peters

    1. TomNeal

      You have highlighted a real problem, and indicted a serious national character flaw (voyeurism).

      NO CASH,/NO FOOD. Those researched facts of agri-books/are useless for cracked topsoil bleached to ash


  2. JRSimmang


    With your eyes of solid blue,
    I am a marionette, bound to you,
    to make you smile,
    to make you cry,
    a twisted pas de duex.

    I long to sleep, a grand respite,
    if only I could turn you off.

    -JR Simmang

    1. PressOn

      The use of “marionette,” with its connotation of strings attached, which often get “twisted,” stood out for me. Very thoughtful piece.

  3. Marie Therese Knepper

    Paid In Time

    I’m the greatest magician.
    Right before your eyes,
    My slight of hand has tortured souls
    And shattered many lives.

    Tick. Tock.

    I have your children
    In the palm of my hand.

  4. jakkels

    take the lowly human form

    art and insight can transform.

    clay and plastic paint and glue

    cloth and dirt and chemicals too

    like some witches’ transforming brew

    can with mind craft something new

    take what everyday can provide

    mix with spirit and the everyday hide

    Take a creature from the wild

    cultivate with foam and glue

    bring forth something we never knew

    Skin you know and wear so well

    torture with paint and technique to tell

    your life in picture we can read as well

    Take the naked human form

    a picture from the wall and paint

    mix them in your mind, don’t wait

    create a cover not the norm

    Take a world where you can’t go

    different climate, flesh, and form

    with foam and plastic paint and glue

    transform a human into something new

    take a nice guy from this time

    mould and shape a tortured mime

    with weapon dread an unforgiving sign

    to perpetuate a gory crime

    take a man with clean shiny face

    his costume and face informs your mind

    with technique and skill put hair on his face

    take a he and make a she

    and take a she and make a he

    create a fantasy where this can be

    make some blood from kitchen goo

    blend in chemicals to make it true

    spread it so the crime shows through

    bring the undead from your mind

    costume sculpt and paint their kind

    zombie dance grotesquely mimed

    take yourself and craft disguise

    to hide you from a loved one’s eyes

    take a tale some clay and paint

    a theme and friends to get it straight

    two models and a backdrop quaint

    and twist it into what it ‘aint

    Add a judge, or maybe three

    masters of the crafting of what can be

    add music and reality

    and the winner is


  5. RuthieShev

    Murder I Wish I Wrote

    If I could write like Jessica Fletcher
    Then I’d be a famous author by now
    I’d write about every intriguing adventure
    That my time frame would allow.

    People would be begging to get their hands
    On my books before they were released
    Grabbing them from all their local book stands
    Just to read about the newest deceased.

    I’d be going from town to exciting new town
    Having book signings all the time
    With police asking me to help them crackdown
    And assist them in solving local crime

    In between writing my next mystery
    I’d ride my bike down the street
    Taking in Cabot Cove’s unique history
    As I waved at the friends I would meet.

    I always dreamed that would be me
    And every one would one day take note
    Of the author I turned out to be
    For the amazing Murder I wrote.
    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      Murder She Wrote is another of my favorite shows; in fact, I’ve been watching the first season on Netflix. I relate to her character differently now that I’ve started writing. You did a great job capturing her essence.

      1. RuthieShev

        Thanks. I, too am watching it on Netflix. I often revert back to her reruns on Hallmark channel when there is nothing else I want to watch on tv.

    2. BDP

      A nice trip back in time. I like the biking part–makes me envision the opening credits and hear the music, which in turn makes me remember Jessica Fletcher’s voice and some Mainer accents.

  6. RuthieShev

    I must admit I don’t often post comments on many poems or stories because I don’t feel qualified but these poems are so good that I found myself posting good responses on each one. For the first time I got “you are posting too fast slow down.” That just shows how much I am enjoying everyone’s poems on this prompt.

  7. RuthieShev

    Dancing With The Stars

    I really love dancing under the stars
    Imagining moonbeams shooting down
    From as far away as Venus or Mars
    As I sway in a fairytale evening gown

    Well I got the evening gown part right
    But there are no lightening bugs aglow
    Nor me dancing in the mysterious night
    But the stars are famous people we know

    I enjoy watching professional dancers show
    Amateur celebrities how to move their feet
    To tunes each week as I see them grow
    In their ability to follow each different beat

    As I watch them perform to a delightful tune
    My mind wanders and sometimes I pretend
    It’s me dancing under a glowing romantic moon
    With my husband who is still my lover and friend.

    By Ruth Crowell Shevock

  8. Marie Therese Knepper

    Inside The Box

    Can you tell me how to get to
    777 Sunset Strip,
    The Jersey Shore,
    and Electric Avenue?

    You see, I’m Lost;
    stranded on a tropic isle,
    feeling Mannix, like I’m trapped
    in The Twilight Zone.

    Please don’t take me to the ER.
    I’d rather have my day in The People’s Court.

    Everyday I feel Big Brother watching me.
    Tommy, can you see me?
    Tommy, can you hear me?
    Oops, wrong genre.

    Back to the Truth Or Consequences
    of My So Called Life,
    where she can turn the world on with her smile.
    Where did the Good Times go?

    The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is
    Everybody Loves Raymond.

    1. RuthieShev

      I love this!! I smiled from beginning to end and enjoyed the way you mixed the shows. I purposely don’t read any poems before I post mine afraid that I will subconsiously take from someone else. So this is the first one I read and I am looking forward to reading the other poems here if they are even half as good as yours.

      1. Marie Therese Knepper

        Well, didn’t you just make my morning! Thank you!
        Have fun reading, because my poem pales in comparison to other gems you’ll find here.

    2. writinglife16

      This made me laugh. My mother never understood why I watched Gilligan’s Island, but I suppose you may be referring to Lost, which I never watched.

  9. Marie Therese Knepper

    Inside The Box

    Can you tell me how to get to
    777 Sunset Strip,
    The Jersey Shore,
    and Electric Avenue?

    You see, I’m Lost;
    stranded on a tropic isle,
    feeling Mannix, like I’m trapped
    in The Twilight Zone.

    Please don’t take me to the ER.
    I’d rather have my day in The People’s Court.

    Everyday I feel Big Brother watching me.
    Tommy, can you see me?
    Tommy, can you hear me?
    Oops, wrong genre.

    Back to the Truth Or Consequences
    of My So Called Life,
    where she can turn the world on with her smile.
    Where did the Good Times go?

    The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard is
    Everybody Loves Raymond.

  10. James Von Hendy

    Tell a Vision

    We’re sitting around the dining table
    Telling stories peopled with strangers and friends,
    And for the briefest moment something slips.

    The candles flicker. Wine, as red and dark
    As garnet glints above a woman’s pale,
    Translucent skin. It hugs her tender throat,

    That lovely spot between bones. She tilts
    Her glass and drinks. That’s all, but suddenly
    I’m lost, transported ages away. Lutes,

    A drum, a song, a drunken yammer fill
    The air, and then a steady voice that brings
    The wine-dark sea alive and ties me

    To the mast. It summons the sirens’ song.
    I yearn toward beauty, a hero torn
    Between desire and a call to arms.

    My wife sets down her glass and turns away.
    She listens to the story a friend weaves,
    His bard’s voice sonorous, rich with pleasure

    And simple life. We’re rapt. He’d shrug and say
    It’s just a tale were I to claim he spoke
    Like the bards of yore, just as my wife

    Denies her beauty when I point it out.
    Her hair, dark wheat, shimmers in the candlelight,
    And I reach for her hand. It’s palmas,

    Spanish guitar, and cahon behind us,
    The music soft and sharp. I’ll dance for this,
    The joy of friends, the real stories worth hearing.

    1. PressOn

      “Delicious” is a good word for this piece. The pun on TV led me to expect a funny story but instead I read a bit of magic, a real story worth reading. Just wonderful.

  11. break_of_day

    The Emmys

    it’s natural
    to care
    about the accolades,
    the recognition
    for a thing you love,
    or a person you like well enough
    who has made you happier
    or sadder
    or excited or thoughtful,
    for a few moments
    that matter
    in their own way,
    to you, anyway

    and it’s easy
    to feel too good
    to care
    about the spectacle,
    the worship
    of fleeting things
    and pretty people
    who surely make too much money
    for their
    day jobs and their
    shows that are merely

    it’s irrelevant,
    though —
    the argument against
    the superficiality
    of the thing —
    when doused by the emotion
    of the memory
    that Dexter was nominated
    like 500 times
    (for Outstanding Drama)
    and Friday Night Lights
    was nominated
    only once

    1. writinglife16

      This is great. You pointed out at the end why I don’t watch these shows. I hurt more for those who lose. Happy for the winners, but…

  12. TomNeal

    Neo TV

    As night begins to extinguish the day
    A screen in the corner illuminates
    Your room with a smiling false promise
    Of escape from the savage empty way
    Of life and ennui that own your day.
    Your stifled mind contemplating nothing
    But nothingness embraces posed despair,
    And hunts relief in electronic lairs
    That hide hallowed stories of something
    Hollow until dark night has fallen,
    And an undead chill inhibits the air,
    And breathless whispers inhabit your clay.

    1. PressOn

      “Electronic lairs” is a phrase that’s going to stick with me. The images conjured by just that one phrase are delicious and a bit frightening, accentuated by “undead chill.” I think this is a superior piece of work.

    2. grcran

      interesting and effective and different… like electronic zombies drinking vampire blood then roaming cyberspace and finally entering the victim, bringing relief and some nameless problem along with it… only your poem is much better

    3. BDP

      I read this several times to get the full effect. For some reason, I like the “screen in the corner” image. Simple, true, but I can feel it staring at me.

    4. drnurit

      Beautiful. There is so much I like about this poem that I don’t know where to begin. It takes me there – to the time when night begins to extinguish the day (love the metaphor), to the room with its false promise of escape… No escape… I agree with James – one cannot escape oneself… Insightful and soulfully written. It reminds me of Pablo Neruda.

  13. Reynard

    i want to be the star,,
    a talk show host
    where everyone cares to hear
    my every opinion
    no matter how
    conceited or
    misguided or

    i want to be the star,
    a reality show centerpiece,
    where everyone cares to see
    how i do everything
    from eat
    to shit
    to sleep.

    i want to be the star,
    a game show contestant,
    where everyone hangs on my
    every decision
    and i can win
    tons of money
    or lose it all
    while the world holds its breath.

    i want to be the star,
    a soap opera all about me,
    or maybe a legal thriller,
    or even a medical mystery,
    but i do not want to be
    the corpse
    on a detective show.

  14. taylor graham


    The sky, that last night turned deadly,
    this morning is just austere.
    A network helicopter hovers above
    what looks like blind multitudes of families
    and neighbors battling jackstraws
    of what had been their homes –
    an old man with bare hands
    trying to connect with his past buried
    under rubble, his wife
    confiding fate to faith; an off-duty fireman
    searching for strangers.
    Interview with a dazed survivor
    who swears she heard, just before
    the storm, the mating call of a katydid.
    Its song of scraping wings.

  15. Ber


    Switching on the box
    with nothing else to do
    no remote control to help us
    we hadn’t got a clue

    Waiting for the weekend
    for our favourites
    to come on
    hardly able to contain ourselves
    wanting to have some fun

    With a story to unfold
    right before our eyes
    musical entertainment
    dancing and surprise

    we would learn to copy and sing
    the songs of those days
    putting on our shows
    in a field of sun rays

    swimming in the rivers
    jaws came alive before our eyes
    with the mischievous boys
    with their playful enterprise

    Then came us singing
    as we swam up to them
    catch me i’m falling
    dirty dancing

    Your the one that I want
    some were really not
    scary hours we spent
    popcorn in the pot

    Movies of yesterday
    once came alive
    not only on our big screens
    but through our teenage lives

    Memories are etched
    in our minds of our young selves
    the characters we played out
    helped us express who we were
    stories of someone else

  16. Amaria

    Every day we stare at our screens
    barrage of visions floor our minds
    we see the world in vivid colors
    that slowly descend into madness
    but we cannot turn our eyes away

  17. De Jackson

    Rabbit Ears

    As a family, we sat and watched
    The Dukes of Hazzard and
    Grizzly Adams and the Hardy
    Boys. We kept our own ears
    pealed for commercial jingles
    we knew word-for-word, sang
    J-E-L-L-Oh! at the top of our
    lungs, and hung on every
    phrase flung by our favorite
    characters. We kept the Reynolds
    Wrap at the ready, and some
    -times just sat and enjoyed
    the mumbled silence of
    static din.

    As a parent, I vowed my
    children would never have
    TVs in their bedrooms, just
    as we don’t.

    Enter the iPhone.

                           Foiled again.


    1. PressOn

      This makes me think on how grandparents used to exclaim, “Do you mean they just sit there all day?” I love the ending; it connects old-time comic strips with the present.

    2. RuthieShev

      I watched the same shows but could have added Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk and Dick Clark and yes we had rabbit ears too. I actually laughed out loud at your ending. How true it is!! Wonderful piece of work.

  18. shellcook

    That Is The Truth of It

    Rabbit ears
    sideways oval ring
    brown, tan, brown again
    with silver ears that pop up
    like a peace sign
    that delivered anything but peace.

    The things I have seen from then to now
    on this plain brown boxy screen,
    which my grandma said would steal our minds
    if we watched too long.
    Go outside and play.
    There is nothing on today.

    In the early days that was so true
    three channels open from six a.m. to midnight.
    Things i saw that broke my world,
    Kennedy, King, and Kennedy,
    brothers and friends ‘over there’
    trudging through the fetid swamps of Nam
    in technicolor.

    The sound barrier broken,
    men in orbit, men on the moon,
    Nixon and watergate,
    an American pie in the eye
    to pie eyed Americans.
    Those two decades were televisions
    years of constant interuptions.

    Hostages taken in a world
    so very far away,
    both here and there,
    the same, I say.
    My opinions formed by whatever
    newscasters had to say.

    In my lifetime the wall in berlin
    up with the destruction of families,
    then ‘tear down that wall.’
    and they did.
    I have a piece of that wall
    in my sock drawer,
    which is where I think it belongs.

    The lives lost,
    and dreams shattered
    while we tried to escape that anxious world
    where war was waged, and we were spared no details,
    looking for a way to escape with the Lucy show, and Carol Burnett,
    and Jonny Carson, a man who could diffuse any bomb.

    Today I realize that I must turn the tv off
    to find my center,
    my sanity,
    my love for our stressed out humanity.

    Today we carry tvs in our breast pockets
    next to our hearts.
    Dont get too close.
    Youll ruin your eyes.

    Were there ever truer words spoken,
    other than this token,
    The news will break your heart
    and that is the truth of it.

    Copyright 2014@ Anne Michelle Cook


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