Editors Blog

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 268

In case you missed it, I have another poem posted at Kind Over Matter (they accepted three poems a while back–so a third one will go live sometime in the future too). The poem is titled “discovery.” Click here to read it.

For this week’s prompt, we’re going to try something a little different: a word association prompt. I’m going to list some words below, you pick one (or more) and use to write your poem. The word does not have to appear anywhere in the poem or title, but it’s totally fine if it does. Here’s the word list:

  • toast
  • pop
  • right
  • paper
  • howl
  • little


Workshop your poetry!

Write and receive feedback on six poems during a six-week Advanced Poetry Writing course. Each course is taught by a published poet and provides an intimate workshop format.

Click here to learn more.


Here’s my attempt at a Word Association Poem:


whether words or bread

it’s hard to swallow

this left over crust

no robin would touch


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He chose “toast” as his word. He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and a princess).

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


Find more poetic posts here:

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250 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 268

  1. RohiniB


    I am,
    (imagine, you are holding me down)
    the cramp in your right foot.
    You are right about me,
    I am at right angles
    with all your sore-throated theorems,
    so very upright.

    right hand side
    equals left hand side,
    that’s what they taught you.
    You are right about me,
    right into me,
    but to your right
    are things you stow away
    for later use,
    things you want to hide,
    want to negate.
    I am,
    (imagine, you are stowing me away)
    your right hand side.

    I have-
    how should I say?-
    two right feet:
    One follows the other
    in a bitter symmetry.

    I am
    (Imagine, you are drawing me)
    A rectangle.
    One unwavering pattern,
    So right,
    So wrong.

    You are right about me,
    I am
    (imagine, you are reading me)
    A right-winged paragraph
    of an orange newspaper.
    Somewhere inbetween the broken lines,
    a wrong turns to a right:
    I right your name
    in right-slanting calligraphy.
    It is a travesty, how they
    always spell it wrong.

    Sometimes I stare at your right eye
    (Imagine, I am staring right now)
    It gleams conspiratorially
    As if it has met me,
    Like I’m an old friend.

    Two wrongs make a right.
    If I were a wrong, and you were a wrong.
    And to become a right, we…
    well, you know the rest.
    we were right for each other,
    right within each other)

    One two three
    One two three
    counting down
    of the waltz,
    Your right arm in my left.

    Its a funny day,
    rightly so.
    Look at me, being so right-handed.

    I am
    (Imagine, you are sussing me out)
    right-limbed, right-angled,
    right-aligned, right-heighted
    right-numbered, right-positioned
    chain reaction of rightnesses,
    Hanging equalled
    (like they always taught you)
    with your incorrigible
    left-hand side.

  2. taylor graham

    for Natalie & Jeremiah

    Let her consider patiently the unfixed
    plumbing, and ladle the memory of Bridal-veil
    Falls from the sound of a dripping faucet.

    Let him find her quick, fluorescent
    smile flickering up, for no particular reason,
    on a sullen Thursday.

    After the coldest winter night, let them
    surrender to the dawn, not dark, though its
    sparklers hide behind clouds.

    However little they own, let them see
    that everything in Nature – the budding leaf
    and the falling rain – is theirs.

    For the next sixty or seventy years
    of their lives together, grant them as much
    courage as love.

  3. BDP

    “Breakfast Lasso”

    “Are you about to sneak to school?” Darn, caught.
    “Sit, please, and eat your toast.” I hear his claim
    (no spoken words required, I’m mantra taught):
    your stomach’s empty, nothing fills your brain.

    Pop’s stare tells all, my thinning down in doubt,
    svelte teenage prom. I swivel, eye the door
    ten paces to my right. Then pick a drought
    of calories and stage a tug-of-war.

    “Tomorrow.” Paper down, he squints, digs in.
    Heels slip, I whine: “I’ll be a horse or cow!”
    He’s silent, yanks, eyes snapping Now! Rope burn,
    hands raw, feet sliding. Oh, his style knows how

    to counteract my howl! I draw a chair, hasty.
    More than a little butter, spoons of jam. Tasty!

    –Barb Peters

  4. Bruce Niedt

    How y’all been?


    While I read the morning paper
    he decides to fill the toaster
    with flat pastries filled with fruit.

    He watches his reflection
    in the silvery housing
    as the prize inside browns up.

    He anticipates a jack-in-the-box moment
    when they pop up at just the right time,
    but too eager, burns his tongue

    on the berry-lava center,
    lets out a little howl,
    then a moment later, bites in again.

  5. Countrygirl_97

    Wolfs at Night

    Their yellow eyes
    that stood out from the darkness
    of the forests edge met mine
    as the hairs
    on the back of my neck raised
    when their spine chilling howls
    grew louder and louder
    Their massive figures pacing
    just as the moon rose further
    into the sky
    revealing little white specks
    of snow that fell
    and landed upon
    the hardened ground.

  6. Al-Logaha Hand

    How do I stand when I am so dizzy?
    When my soul screams
    How do I stand when my heart always says amends?
    I holler
    I squabble with the moon
    All in a dream
    There are infinite reams of paper flowing with demon’s ink
    Once removed by an angel
    Spreading open wide
    I holler again and talk about spending time with strange calculations
    Let the dogs come home
    Let the sense of disparity remark on the Seven Wonders of the World
    I am hear
    I am here..;

  7. icandootoo

    This form of poetry is kicking my rear end. Would love constructive criticism :-)

    Sestina: Toast

    We would sit still, hands white on plain toast,
    Clenched tight. Saturday morning, our Pop
    Would grumble. He needed to teach us Right
    From Wrong (with strong fists). He’d read the paper
    And we’d sit so still. One false move, and we’d howl
    Under blows, – but we’d only cry a little.

    We were young, and in our foolish little
    Hearts we’d tried again to please him; but the only toast
    He’d give us was to say, “That’s your best howl?
    Effing brilliant!” We’d been whiny, so he’d pop
    Us on the mouths, with his (tightly) rolled up paper,
    Then his knuckles, so he’d know he’d done it right.

    At night, you’d say we had every right
    To feel safe, even for just a little;
    And then we’d plot to steal that paper,
    As if the paper, and not the burnt toast
    (Or the fingers holding them ) brought his pop
    Of irritation, and his fists, and our howls.

    But at dawn, as our beagle Rufus howled,
    Then we’d remember that it wasn’t Right
    To steal the paper. If we stole, then Pop
    Would make sure – since we stole – that we little
    Losers would be paying. And our burnt toast
    Would be crumpled like yesterday’s paper.

    Just prior, plans – blue pen on white paper –
    Had been burnt in your bathroom. If caught, we’d howl
    But our tears would further doom us. We’d be toast
    And the bruises he’d give us only “right
    Earned retribution.” We’d cloak the smell just a little
    Claiming bread within the toaster wouldn’t pop.

    And then, at sunrise, you and I and Pop
    Would sit there. He’d read the morning paper
    And we’d watch and wait and listen. Little
    Grunts would make us hold our breath. Then he’d howl
    At Beatle Bailey, and the world would be right.
    We’d sigh, breathe easy, take a bite of toast.

    Sunday morning, with the funnies, Pop would howl
    At the paper, and he’d say that it was Right
    For his boys to have a little jam on toast.

    1. TomNeal

      Coleridge famously observed that, “prose = words in their best order; poetry = the best words in their best order.” Although this definition is applicable to all poetry, it has a special relevance when one attempts a sestina. One must question the end words one has selected, the order in which the words are introduced, and finally is a sestina the right form to use for what one wants to say. I would suggest that these questions remain relevant even when one is merely engaged in a technical exercise designed to hone one’s skills.

      In this instance the end words selected (and the order of introduction) are found in the prompt, but does the prompt suggest a sestina?

      Sestinas seem to work best when the end words selected are either concrete nouns or active verbs. The prompt words are: toast, pop, right, paper, howl, and little. Are these words suitable for a sestina? For example, one of the words (little) immediately seems problematic to me.

      Is “little” a word that is able to bear the weight of repetition imposed by a sestina? Is it a word so rich in meaning that every repetition is able to bring something fresh to the text? I don’t think it is.

      When I run through the text I find the use of “just a little” in the third and fifth stanzas a bit stale. Here “little” offers little. (I think Shakespeare would have found the use of “little” in a sestina a difficult challenge.) In my opinion, “little” as an end word in a sestina fails Coleridge’s best word test. It’s suiting up for a baseball game in inappropriate formal attire. (I know the Yankees wear pinstripes.)

      You have devised a fiendish challenge for yourself: an already difficult form made more difficult by the end words selected. I am not surprised that you feel as though you have received a kicking. However, as a craft building technical exercise I think this a wonderful effort, and I enjoyed the poem itself.

      I do hope my comments are in line with the type of response you were seeking.

      1. Al-Logaha Hand

        I also enjoyed the effort and I find sestinas beautiful yet butt kickin as is suggested here, i think the prompt for looking for one word association but I like how you took advantage of them all-overall it is a rhythm and i applaud you =r efforts

        1. icandootoo

          Thank you. This week marks my first real foray into any kind of writing, and this prompt left me scratching my head. Choosing one word would certainly have helped make my first ‘assignment’ easier ;-) I appreciate your kindness and willingness to give feedback.

      2. icandootoo

        Absolutely! I deeply appreciate your well-reasoned and communicative response! I have no background in writing – by education I’m a home economist and by profession a CEO in a food company – so I haven’t had the privilege of learning ‘why’ or ‘how’ to choose one’s poetry form.

        I am so glad you were able to explain to me the best way to determine whether a word series was appropriate, and your explanation makes perfect sense.

        Thank you also for the kind words.

        1. BDP

          Hello, icandootoo! Sestinas do indeed give a poet a butt-kicking. I think it neat that you took the prompt and made it into a sestina. This poem kept my attention the way through. Nicely done there. TomNeal suggests that “little” isn’t a strong enough ending word for a sestina line, and perhaps that’s true. But I did like “little / Losers”–I liked the surprise I got when I reached the next line. Seemed right on, that phrase, for what’s being said. My one suggestion: for me, when there’s a story involved in a poem–sestinas are like prose poems, it seems–I’d prefer not to have each beginning of a line capitalized. I’d prefer that the poet only capitalize the beginning of a sentence.

          1. icandootoo

            Thank you for the encouraging words :-) And thank you so much for the suggestion – poetry is pretty new for me, so the idea of not having to capitalize every line is doubly welcome, both as a freeing concept, and as an education. I agree – I think it would be less jarring, and I will definitely make adjustments on my ‘official’ version.

  8. Jezzie


    What would we do
    without papers to
    tell us the news?
    Well, speaking personally,
    I for one couldn’t manage
    without several to use
    to clear up the mess
    made by my new puppy.
    Okay, the news I can see
    on my laptop or, if I cared to,
    even watch on TV,
    but, as far as I know,
    nothing else will do
    for my puppy to use
    when she wants to go.

    Sorry it’s late, but it’s a busy life being a new Mum :)

  9. seingraham

    My try at a Golden Shovel as well as using the prompt word “paper”

    used 3 lines from Pablo Neruda’s “The Great Tablecloth”

    like wasps with big bosoms
    followed by those pale
    and unfortunate public tigers


    As if without choice, it was like
    war-time, mothers, buzzing like angry wasps
    Their faces clenched as fists, eyes dark with
    worry, they carried their kids, both small and big,
    as well as all they owned, babies clasped to bosoms.

    They kept checking to make sure they weren’t followed,
    although had they been asked by
    who—to a one, it would fall to those who were not mothers.

    Those running along beside, pale
    and uncertain, keeping pace, needing to believe and
    keeping the faith, feeling to stay behind would be unfortunate
    for all of them even if they could not say why in public.

    No-one wanted to admit they were only escaping paper tigers.

  10. taylor graham


    I wonder where the money came from
    to capitalize this house.
    The railroad, that linked civilization
    to this end-of-the-world?
    Here’s no hovel, nor even a cottage.
    This was a princely domicile.
    Look at the marble steps
    from rez-de-chaussée (as the master
    might have called it) up
    to balcony with its various doors
    to the interior.
    Ladies in white gloves, dance music
    from within. A couple taking
    a waltz break under the past-full moon….
    Break – what Time does
    so well, more dependably than
    the railroad. How little
    is left. These marble steps go nowhere.
    Periwinkle entwines
    a craftsman’s masonry.
    My dog sniffs here and there,
    finds nothing recently human. Scent
    of fox and deer, a crow
    who gives corvid play-by-play
    from the grand old oak still standing.

    1. Julieann

      These vignettes or moments in time are wonderful to our senses. I love “These marble steps go nowhere. Periwinkle entwines a craftsman’s masonry.”

      1. Al-Logaha Hand

        The dog senses nothing recently human, it is evocative and past full moon makes one aware of the mystery it is taking on. The marble steps remind me of my childhood and the wonderful masonry of my grandfather. You take us by the hand step by step and help us dream out loud-lovely

    2. icandootoo

      I love this poem – so many emotions pulled through your words – nostalgia, sadness, wonder. The passage of time and the futility of our efforts to build lasting monuments….well done!

  11. gloryia

    PAPER –

    The Old Diary

    I turn each page
    black scribbles
    of yesterdays long gone.
    Eyes strain, ache,
    hold back tears that threaten
    as words half remembered
    sear my brain.

    Stained, brown-edged, each
    page a sword that pierces,
    draws forth old resentments.
    Frustrations buried deep,
    worms that gnawed held
    ever close through
    wasted years.

    A story told,
    once dear, buried beneath
    words spoken in haste.
    Never revealed the love, the hate
    held close to snake through
    body and soul until

    1. PressOn

      This gave a new slant on diaries, something with which I’m not familiar. The line that stands out for me, “A story told, / once dear, buried beneath / words spoken in haste.” Wonderful

    2. Julieann

      This is wonderful. The part that tugs at my heart, and such a truth, in my opinion is, “the hate held close to snake through body and soul until eternity.” Powerful!

  12. foodpoet

    At right angles

    The paper is empty except for
    A whimper idea scattered
    Little now comes to mind
    As I cope with
    Drowning in
    I eat a bagel
    Toasted in
    The dark and I
    Want to howl
    But finish the bagel
    To face work

    1. BDP

      Ah, facing work poemless–can be an empty feeling. As with PressOn, I like whimper idea. But “minutia drowning in family” certainly rings a clear bell.

  13. Jane Shlensky


    It takes a certain eye
    and frame of mind
    to see a tree this way—
    verdant forest slashed
    for pulp, its greenness
    bleached away, pressed
    into sheets, cut and
    cut and cut to size
    to blot a spill or line
    a cage, to swipe a bum
    or catch a thought
    that’s soon forgot,
    for packaging we throw
    away. Global warming!
    we shout, cutting shade
    trees, letting erosion
    do its work, as bird and bear,
    deer and mountain lion
    wander suburbs howling
    for trees, looking for shelter.
    Tranquilized, the danger
    quelled again, we will take
    the kids to see them in
    zoos, but not rummaging
    in our garbage cans.
    And yet their loss inflames
    our imaginations. How soon
    before we print stories
    of legendary forests, of trees
    hundreds of years old
    and the creatures who
    peopled them, who served
    us as totems and spirits
    of peace in service to
    the god Oxygen?

  14. Amaria

    The first poem I used all 6 words:

    His words toasted my fragile ego
    after I tried to do it all right.
    He did not know his abrasive voice
    made the little girl inside me howl.
    My dreams popped like a hot air balloon,
    disintegrated like scorched paper.

    My 2nd poem i used “howl” and “paper” as my inspiration:

    The other day I found your poem,
    though it has been years since we spoken.
    Your words now seem so foreign to me,
    yet at the time I thought they were true.
    Eventually I saw the real you
    and now these lines of love make me weep.

  15. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Pop-star, celebrity afar
    Pop-tart, toaster smart
    Pop- the question

    Toast- to the bride and groom
    Toast- the burnt roast
    Toast- of the Town

    Right- from wrong
    Right- handed
    Right- side up, I’m standing

    Howl- growl, grrr
    Howl- fowl bird
    Howl- silent like an owl

    Little- baby, a small child
    Little- person, a small mind
    Little- Love, no time

    Paper- weight, about 8
    Paper- statement, $3.00 fee
    Paper- sign on the dotted line.b

  16. annell

    There was a little film
    Titled Toast
    An English film
    Based on a true story
    About a boy growing up
    And how he loved his Mother
    Who couldn’t cook
    But she could make toast
    What I really loved about the movie
    Was the use of the color green
    In every scene

    June 26, 2014

  17. annell

    The Red Cardinal
    A red cardinal flew
    Right up next to the car
    So close I looked into his eye
    The message he brought
    ‘Life is fleeting’

    Arrived early
    To find you had gone
    The howl I kept inside my throat
    Could not be heard
    In that hospital corridor
    Only the dead could hear me now

    Was told you can go into his room
    Yes, I wanted to….
    I straighten my back
    Walked directly to your room
    The door was closed
    Asking myself
    Can I do this
    My only child was dead

    There you were
    As though asleep on your bed
    But you were gone
    No longer my own
    Your journey here
    Had ended
    Like the cardinal red
    You were gone

    June 26, 2014

    1. PowerUnit

      Too close to my last couple of days. Not a child but a young relative. Your last stanza is my experience at 2am following a seven hour drive in bad weather. He was gone three hours later.

      A sincere thanks for this.

  18. PowerUnit

    Grandma’s house means bats
    The little black screechers invade every summer evening
    And we little ones howled all the way to bed
    Until we learned how to play cards
    Until we showed we could win at crazy eights or dirty clubs
    We had to go to bed before the fun started
    A kitchen full of grown-ups eating popcorn and drinking
    Coca-Cola pop, Old Milwaukee, or that other stuff they wouldn’t
    Bring out until we finally went to sleep
    And even when we snuck down to peek
    We were too young to read its dark, mysterious label
    On that shiny, large clear bottle
    We were pretty sure we saw its cousins lying shattered in a ditch

  19. drnurit

    (Tried to use all six words and my associations to each.)


    Slept well.
    Woke up – no pain.
    No doctor appointment scheduled.

    Smiled at the woman
    staring at me
    from the bedroom mirror.
    She smiled back.

    Savored the coffee –
    my special brand
    with aromatic spices
    and frosty milk on top.
    Stepped outside:

    First morning lights
    melting the darkness.
    The wind stopped howling –
    The storm is over.
    A gentle breeze whispers.

    The morning sun is rising,
    returning like a jewel
    to adorn a crisp blue sky
    with its promising light.
    The feel of summer.

    Planting sweet-smelling
    purple flowers – to blend with
    the pink and the blue –
    in my small garden.
    A symphony of color.

    A regal butterfly
    popped in to visit –
    landing among the flowers,
    dancing with them,
    Delighting in their nectar.

    Two little sparrows
    in the bird feeder
    devour the crumbs
    made from the leftovers
    of my morning toast.

    Not particularly upset
    with anybody.
    Not hurt. Not fearful.
    No alarming news
    in today’s paper.

    Out in a lounge chair,
    stringing glittering moments –
    not asking for More.

    1. TomNeal

      A regal butterfly
      popped in to visit –
      landing among the flowers,
      dancing with them,

      The “regal butterfly” dancing with the flowers is a beautiful image.

      Smiled at the woman
      staring at me
      from the bedroom mirror.
      She smiled back.

      Here one finds one’s state of mind reflected back in the mirror, the whispers of a gentle breeze, and the dance of the butterfly. It is perhaps worth noting that the smile precedes all of the reflections that follow.

      1. drnurit

        Thank you very much, Tom, for the feedback and for the insightful observation: yes, you are so right – the smile precedes all that comes after. It is the prerequisite…

        1. TomNeal

          A few more thoughts:

          It is interesting to me that the title of this poem is “Doing All Right” rather than “Being All Right”. The narrator is a doer. She smiles, savours, steps outside, and plants. These actions yield a better state of being. In this the poem paints a picture that differs from the famous adage “as within, so without,” and many other self-help texts. It is closer to William James advice that to be, do. States of being follow doing.

          This is especially apparent in the mirror stanza. We are told that the narrator smiled at the woman staring at her, but we are not told if the narrator’s smile is spontaneous or willed. Indeed, it makes no difference. The woman in the mirror will reflect the narrator’s will.

          In this poem, I find reasons for hope and action in even the most dire circumstances. The narrator does not passively accept consequences, she helps create/co-creates them.

          1. drnurit

            Tom, your analysis – not only of the poem but also of the narrator – is so astute! Thank you, again, for taking the time to share your wisdom! You give me ways of going back to my own words and seeing more than I have seen before. True, Be-ing and Do-ing here (and elsewhere) are not mutually exclusive but rather overlapping and complementary and, yes, “Hope … perches in the soul … and never stops – at all –“

  20. dhaivid3

    Poem focal point: Right

    It isn’t right to fill the night
    With flames and heat just so.
    But these men know not what is right
    So with their hate they roam.

    (Reference to the bomb attacks in Nigeria)

    1. TomNeal

      A poem need not be an epic to explore an epic problem. In this poem an unequivocal moral statement is made: It isn’t right to . . . . This matter is not offered as “my moral truth”, but as an objective moral truth. This objective moral truth, may or may not be grounded in a spiritual or religious teaching- the text is silent on this point. (For those interested in a philosophical (not theological) defence of objective morality see Whatever Happened to Good and Evil by Russ Shafer-Landau, Oxford University Press).

      Within the context of the poem, the problem of right and wrong is expressed in terms of a lack of knowledge: These men know not what is right . . . . The problem of evil is, thus, related to an ignorance of “what is right.” “Night” carries with it connotations of ignorance, uncertainty, and sometimes evil. It is difficult to navigate in the darkness of night, and one’s desire for light in the dark may become perverted as happens in the second line of this poem.

      This poem does not assert that one knows with certainty what is right, but rather that one knows what isn’t right. Moral truth is elusive, and absolute moral certainty is beyond the grasp of non omniscient humans, but it is nonetheless known that (in this poem) the imposition of morality by force and violence is not where the answer is to be found. (That objective moral truth is difficult to discern is not a proof that objective moral truth does not exist.) However, “these men” do not know this. When a moral truth is disputed one can either appeal to reason and knowledge, or one can appeal to the imperfect rhyme of “heat” and “hate”, and then imperfectly so/roam. (I generally do not favour lines that end with “so”, but in this case I will set this prejudice aside.)

      Well done!

      1. dhaivid3

        Thank you very much TomNeal for your feedback. While reading your feedback I had to go back to re-read the lines of my ‘poem’ (quite a number of times) because when I wrote them they were written just to express pain (or some might say confusion, helplessness, frustration). Thanks a lot for bringing out the hidden message in them.

  21. Sara McNulty

    Pop Tarts

    Everyone has small vices
    which they are reluctant
    to share. Some eat
    blue ices, some use
    devices, that others
    might find hard to bear.

    On occasion, I will give in
    and eat that infamous pastry,
    boxed in foil packets like
    protective jackets. Nondescript
    until popped in a toaster
    to a crispy brown. Fragrance
    of blueberry or brown sugar
    clouds the kitchen, and I think,
    how perfect it is that they are wrapped
    two in a pack–one serving.

  22. PKP

    Could I have some toast?
    she asked in a whisper of her pop
    He sat right next to her
    behind the morning paper
    Can I have some toast she asked
    in whisper just a whisper little louder
    his meathook hand reached round and cuffed
    her snarling – “Take a powder!”
    and running barefoot down the cold morn hall
    running as she did so often
    she wondered why she had no ma
    and how his heart to soften

    1. drnurit

      I can see her sitting there, hungry, behind his morning paper. Is she your Kaitlin awaiting to come to light? Your little girls captivate me.

  23. PKP

    Aww come on and howl a little
    It won’t hurt your image not a bit
    Come on in and pop a few maybe get a little lit
    What’s it gonna hurt it won’t be in no mornin paper
    Sit right down and toast the rising sun – no one cares about your caper

  24. PKP

    Raise a Glass

    let the toast sparkle each syllable
    floating with a clear pop
    as a champagne bubble
    right under the nose
    tickling like a parchment paper
    feather until
    begin to howl-
    just a little

  25. Cyrelia J

    Found is the New Lost

    Let’s raise a glass
    and puff puff pass
    this incendiary literary earth’s scorched
    and embittered Laffy Taffy torch
    to Snap Crackle Pop word art
    lining monolith hieroglyph walls of mart.

    Let’s march on
    poetry pipes
    broken beat left and right
    and let little magic mushrooms
    make us believe we’re more than living brooms.

    Let’s talk back to the white knight
    back talking Alice B
    and talk less until the seven seas
    of whiskey and rye
    pass under the night sky
    and Jackie Paper
    open his eyes
    from the modern matrix lies

  26. Hannah

    Joy in the Journey

    It’s in little things –
    in the small pebbles
    in the heart-shaped stones,
    in those that have stripes
    and the mottled rocks,
    no matter the type…
    in a field or beach,
    on a mountain ripe –

    a treasure’s found there.
    Placed in one’s palm sound,
    granite feels at home.
    Holder is aware
    history in her hand,
    mystery in the air.
    It’s simple and nice…
    little things of life.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    This was written with “little,” in mind and I employed Creative Bloomings Inform poets Octameter…please feel free to click over for a link to there or to see the treasures I found today! :)

    Thank you Robert for the prompt!!

    Happy writing everyone!

  27. Julieann

    Happy Birthday to Me

    Mamma suffered nine long months
    Older age and heat zapped her strengths

    Morning sickness kept her sick
    Months to go, nothing quick

    Before she completely threw in the towel
    I entered the world with a lusty howl

  28. DanielR

    Raising glasses until they gently meet in midair
    like lips softly kissing before they part
    clinks and clangs echo and ring around the room
    carefully selected, heartfelt words spoken
    smiles and best wishes offered for happy couples
    on wedding days when futures sparkle with promise.

    Daniel Roessler

  29. PoM

    I wasn’t feeling very poetically creative today, so I cheated and pulled out the Thesaurus and picked a synonym for each word and made a tribute poem for today Prompt One line for each word offered.

    A tribute I shall make
    As I strike my keyboard with delicate thrust
    True and honest it’s well deserved
    On digital cardboard wafer-thin
    I’ll bellow and shout cheers to thee
    Hasty and scant six lines at most

    1. PoM

      Figured I’d give it another go here and post another one. the toast seemed to dominate this one and took this one in a horrifying direction. I tried to make one seven line stanza for each word listed.

      We sift through the rubble all is lost
      Was a horrific night
      As we watched out shanty
      Disappear out of sight
      As an inferno engulfed our house
      It was a miracle everyone got out
      No precious life was snuffed out

      The crackling and snapping
      And heat so intense fiery glow
      Illuminating the night as if it were day
      Fiery ambers shot up to the stars
      Into the night sky they floated so high
      The explosions deafening to the ears
      Crackling and hissing is all we could hear

      Just don’t seem proper when tragedies occur
      When all one can do is watch their world disappear
      Consumed by a monster in a state of fear
      So full of terror couldn’t even shed a tear
      Twas a living nightmare was so surreal
      Tell me I’m dreaming this cannot be real
      From this disastrous illusion I try to awake

      Reporters were there helicopters in the air
      Just another story breaking news
      As they feast their eyes and take in the sight
      How I detest the media this night
      The morning edition the headlines will read
      Tragic fire that took no life occurred just after midnight
      Yet all we own burns before our sight

      The wailing of sirens still echoing in my head
      As I steer blankly at what was once my Childs bed
      I cringe at the thought of what might have been
      My cheeks all wet but with tears not sweat
      I drop to my knees and thank almighty God
      I’ve no doubt twas his loving hand that guided us out
      As I bellowed out God almighty please help us out

      Though it’s saddens my heart the material loss
      Some of which was acquired at great cost
      My heart is sings with ecstatic joy
      My loved ones are safe I could ask no more
      For material things we can always regain
      But the loss of loved ones is a pain I couldn’t take
      A horrific occurrence and loss indeed
      Yet microscopic my heart concedes

  30. writinglife16


    Ada lived an upstanding life.
    Always collected her paper
    when it was delivered.
    Even though she had
    the option of a digital version,
    she refused.
    She didn’t have a computer
    and felt they were the work of
    the Devil.

    Ada visited the sick and
    paid her taxes.
    She tithed and did it right.
    As she told people, nine percent
    is not ten percent.
    She never married because
    she had standards.
    And besides, she felt everyone died alone.
    Which she did.

    Ada went south when she died.
    After she got over her shock,
    she noticed the Devil had a laptop.

  31. Marie Therese Knepper

    Are You?

    Beyoncé and other cultures
    twisting letters,
    taking my rhymes;
    ruining rhythms.

    weathervane cocks,
    rusty arrows stuck in mid-air;
    scarecrows cawing
    mass hysteria.

    always challenged;
    the haves and have nots
    struggling. I’m
    king of the mountain.

    Take my hand.
    Choose wisely.
    Mirror imaging exclusive devotion or
    changing mores?
    You decide.

  32. Susan Schoeffield

    I’M NOT

    I should be used to it.
    Cutting through the silence,
    its swift, sharp blade
    rips through my sleeping world.
    I jump up from peaceful slumber.
    There it is again.
    A cold sweat drips down my neck.
    Clammy hands grab the sheets for protection.
    I’m not afraid of the dark
    but sound amplifies in quiet, darkened spaces.
    I roll over on my pillow, barely missing the cat,
    and quickly turn on the light.
    Once again, that eerie, plaintive wail
    fills every corner of the room.
    I release the sheets and stare at the bottom of the bed.
    There she is, sound asleep. The Basset Hound.
    Her legs are running, her nose is twitching.
    Catching up with the source of her distress,
    the dreaming dog howls again.
    I should be used to it.

    © Susan Schoeffield

    1. Marie Therese Knepper

      Excellent. “But sounds amplifies in quiet, darkened spaces” hit home. I’ve been awakened by howls, grunts and snores from our little Shih Tsu. The sounds are more sinister when I have one ear pressed to my pillow!

  33. Tracy Davidson

    Dress malfunction

    Mid-way through his wedding toast
    my Pop becomes distracted

    when the chief bridesmaid’s right breast
    falls out of its full bodice

    when she delved down in her bra
    for a paper handkerchief,

    she let out an anguished howl
    when the wedding party saw

    there was very little breast
    amid the wads of tissue.

  34. JRSimmang


    who began their days with their feet to the fire and lept to the skies without anything but their shirts and their jeans
    who left the morning light in favor of the bright fluorescent scathing rabies of ceiling tile torture
    that left their skin molting like little caverns and cages
    who stuck out their chest, emaciated and prolonged, only to beat the breath from their lungs and be so
    goddamned proud that their children were going to be less emaciated and perhaps even one day find their stupid little trinkets and give them up to charity
    who deftly defied the 9 to 5 when they really worked the 6 to 10 and only after the humdrum blue glow of that soul-devouring seraphim tripped a circuit breaker did they finally pour themselves a drop of scotch to stave off the hunger
    who let themselves stay hungry so that others could eat, never realizing that if they dried up and withered the fruit they bore wouldn’t be as sweet,
    who toiled their fingers and twirled their tongues and held signs and crashed cars
    the seedlings taller than their memories but their tin roofs rusted and dripping, leaves spreading their wilt to the ground and tainting the soil

    he has come and fled the great halls in a fit of fire and rage and has left only the charred remnants of his robes down the corridor and into the night,
    salivating and salacious, they turned their ruby-eyes to the promise of wealth! To which the old gods are dead and rotting
    as if their flesh was skin and not the flesh of their purgatoried torsos. Would that they were! perhaps their shuttered twits and face-leger pleas would appease a flesh and blood.
    To sit and twiddle idlewild, what it is to dream the dream of the dreamers,
    mocking the fantasy with less than human emotion because emotion is weakness
    while their robes burn leading fire
    “down to the river. Into the street!”

    -JR Simmang
    with a special thanks to Allen Ginsberg

  35. elledoubleyoo

    I stopped by now that I’m on vacation to see what’s up and decided to join the fun today! May and the first half of June were insane (being a high school teacher); it’s nice to come back and see your familiar names and avatars :)

    Suburban Beast

    The right sound sets it off
    like a smoke invokes a siren:
    a snapped twig in the bushes,
    a leaf skittering on the roof,
    or the clink and squeak
    of my wrought iron gate
    opened by the Papa John’s driver.

    More than a bark, not quite a bay,
    I wonder at your heritage—
    a bit of coyote mixed in
    with your well-behaved,
    mostly-lab demeanor?

    It’s enough to remind me
    that you and I
    are not so far removed
    from our ancestors,
    that instinct sometimes speaks
    (or howls) louder than reason.

  36. De Jackson


    The moon is ripe
    for sound tonight, and I
    am ready –
    haunched and haunted,
    undaunted by the fullness
    of her smile. Tucked long
    beneath this smoky sky, I
    will beg my lungs to break
    their slatted cage, and bay
    my song. I know you’ve
    known it all along, but I
    am still rearranging its
    syllables to suit my salt.

    If I cannot find it in all this
    ink and ebony spill, this tune
    I know to be mine, then I
    think I shall simply
    swallow her whole,
                 and shine.


  37. candy


    In an alternate society
    not so far away battles
    are waged daily
    Not for Top Chef or
    Chopped bragging
    rights – only survival
    Infantry predators stalk
    on long legs
    Some take wing
    like stealth fighters
    and prey hide donning
    specialized camo gear
    Left to their own the tiny
    good guys are sometimes
    Then the red spotted cavalry
    appears unseen to take
    up the fight
    And with my camera I
    am a spy in the garden

  38. Walt Wojtanik


    Not being one to boast,
    and no, I’m not a cop.
    But when you see the light,
    it will be the end of life’s caper.
    Never a chicken, not given to fowl play,
    your final days will just whittle away.

    © Walter J Wojtanik, 2014

    The provided words were altered to be “off by one” or at least one letter. I incorporated them into my poem.

  39. De Jackson


            Pop the toast right down,
                bend the paper still
                     howl a little
                  at that melting moon.


  40. priyajane

    An attempt to write a Haiku with each of the words-

    The best place on earth
    A mothers’s cozy garden
    Little buds blooming

    Shredding of the past
    Blossoming paper thin wings
    She lives amongst stars

    Within dried acorns
    secrets of the lush forest
    waiting for right time

    Seagulls making waves
    I feel their circling wind thrust
    pop open my wings

    Deep Animal sounds
    from broken human bodies
    Wars, downloading us

    Toast– a pi ku(3-1-4)
    Hot brown bread
    is always hard

  41. grcran

    The Right Paper Caper

    One day a man walked out to buy a paper
    He strode along the sidewalk on the right
    He’d no idea he’d wind up in a caper

    A woman screamed below a tall skyscraper
    Oh no, he thought, I’m shivering with fright
    I’m only walking out to buy a paper

    He peeked around the corner, spied a raper
    And no one else to aid her in her plight
    He did not want to wind up in a caper

    He yelled, “Stop that!” Then rapist was escaper
    She hugged him, sobbing, “You are my white knight!”
    He muttered, “I just want to buy a paper.”

    A newsman hurried up, a great big gaper
    Cried, “You’re a stud! No dud! Give me sound bite!”
    Said he, “This isn’t really such a caper.”

    Said she, “I’m looking for a good landscaper.”
    “I can’t do that,” he told her, quite contrite,
    “‘Cause now I’m on the front page of the paper.
    I’d no idea I’d wind up in a caper.”

    by gpr crane

  42. jasonlmartin

    Paper Airplanes

    When my grandfather was a boy, he invented the paper airplane.
    A fold down the middle, and folds of two corners, again and again,
    then two small tears on the back to make it balanced, aerodynamic,
    soaring through the humid Ohio sky like the leader of a fighter squadron.

    When my grandfather was a man,
    he fought in WWII in the Philippine campaign,
    leading his men into a failed attack,
    flying his paper airplane over where red rivers ran.

    When my grandfather was an old man
    he never taught me the art, only his pain.
    When my paper airplanes were as aerodynamic as a rock,
    I knew it was not in my blood to ever fly paper airplanes again.

  43. Nancy Posey

    Summer Visit

    This morning, I’m waiting for the toast
    to pop, three eager hungry faces
    waiting, hoping
    to be first fed.

    I know no right way to choose
    who must wait. Most days,
    two slots work well—
    just right for you and me,

    but for a few days
    I have one car seat and two boosters
    buckled in my back seat,
    three duffle bags full
    of summer shorts,
    flip flops, swimsuits.

    When you and I
    would settle in for the evening,
    the news running as background sound,
    for a few days
    we’ll have Frozen lopping
    in the DVD player,

    I’ll sort dress-up clothes
    for one princess
    and two superheroes.

    Our bathroom
    with its tub jets
    will be no worse for the wear
    after nightly bubble baths
    accented by squeals and splashes,

    and we’ll share duties,
    scrubbing, shampooing,
    checking behind ears,
    combing tangles

    before goodnight kisses,
    prayers and bedtime stories—
    just one more please—
    a ritual we cherish
    because of its infrequency.
    Too soon, their parents–
    our babies once—
    will arrive and whisk them
    back home six hours away,
    close enough for phone calls
    and Face time, too far
    for daily hugs, pancakes,
    a dozen dirty cups
    on my counter, no one sure
    whose is whose.

    The quiet will be deafening.

  44. taylor graham


    The same phrase repeated as if
    at random, from different stations of the dark.
    Detrimental to sleep. Even when I think
    “coyote” it resists rational argument, man’s
    opposable thumb, his manipulative
    place in the chain of being. We wake
    to find our campsite toppled. From remains
    of last night’s supper, carbonized
    sticks that used to be fire. From depths
    beyond memory, that song so lonely.

  45. shethra77

    Here’s one with all the words, and one about one word.

    Morning Gymnastics

    Golden-brown toast
    leaps from toaster with an audible “Pop!”
    and you must catch it as it’s flung right
    across the counter into the paper
    towels. My daughter missed her slices, and the howl
    she raised shook the room—just a little.


    Made from cotton rags or other fibrous pulp,
    bleached, pressed, dried, smoothed, stacked,
    stood ready to receive the ink of a thousand
    copiers (automatic) or quills (wielded by hand)
    or the multitudes of inks or crayons, paints or pencils
    humans use to mark their place on earth
    and leave something which might
    (contrarily, for something so fragile)
    live beyond themselves.

  46. shethra77

    Robert, I liked your poem “discovery”. It reminds me of the Muppet sketch where a little guy is singing “Windy”. He gets to the part where she’s “reaching out to capture a moment”, a monster comes up behind him, grabs him and yells “Gotcha!”

  47. JRSimmang


    Uttered wasteland,
    a pile of garbage
    tipping the
    like mountain

    perched on top
    a pop of color,
    vaguely in the shape
    of a Boeing 707.
    Once upon a time,
    it found purchase on a desk,
    perhaps the landing a little too rough,
    and was handed to a fist;
    sent to the end of the world
    with only one passenger.

    -JR Simmang

    1. TomNeal

      Once upon a time,
      it found purchase on a desk,
      perhaps the landing a little too rough,
      and was handed to a fist;
      sent to the end of the world
      with only one passenger.

      I REMEMBER WHEN. . . Once upon a time

      An outstanding poem.

  48. Azma


    Bubble wraps bring so much cheer
    when the bubbles are untouched and the pops clear
    Join in! lets pop it together
    Then, they might sound even better!

  49. break_of_day

    it isn’t always easy to know the
    preferred term, pop or soda
    like when the girl who took our payment
    for bottled drinks made a statement
    about our sodas,
    and I didn’t notice
    but the seven-year-old with me heard
    and pointed out the word,
    telling the girl at the Charleston* shop,
    “in West Virginia, we call it pop”

    *Charleston would be the state capital of West Virginia.

  50. DanielR

    The wind makes its fury known to me
    by screaming and howling with rage
    through a little gap in my barely open window
    upstairs and down the hall to the right,
    in what used to be our bedroom
    and only I know that the chorus of the wind
    mimics my own seething anger with myself
    for letting love drift away so easily
    like a flimsy piece of paper in the wind.

    Daniel Roessler

  51. DanielR

    Through sheets of rain, my blurry eyes spotted it up ahead
    a neon 24-hour sign flashing amongst the lightning strikes
    I stepped inside the diner to escape the howl of the wind
    and grabbed an empty booth to my right
    settling back against the ripped red vinyl upholstery.
    A silver-haired waitress with the nametag Rose wandered over
    said, “You look like you could use a coffee.”
    and I replied, “How about a Coke?”
    she grimaced, “You’re not from around here. We call it soda pop.”
    then turned and walked away with a rhythmic sway to the golden oldies
    playing on the jukebox. I was a little unsure what to eat at two in the morning
    cross-country road trips like this were unusual for me
    so I ordered eggs over easy, bacon and whole-wheat toast, thinking
    how can you go wrong with breakfast anytime?
    When I finished I wiped my mouth with the white paper napkin
    then paid in cash with a twenty and said, “Keep the change.”
    and watched as a beautiful Rose blossomed before my eyes.

    Daniel Roessler

  52. break_of_day


    it is your voice,
    born and shaped at the cellular level,
    in the below-ground foundation of the house,
    in the nascent sparks of the raging fire,
    among the dry ingredients mixed with the liquids and baked into a cake
    it is there

    from the heart, not the throat
    from corruption or from purity, either way
    it asserts itself,
    giving sound to the violence of human emotion
    and voice to the ineffable fury
    of existence

  53. grcran

    The Linguistics of Miaow

    It’s early, I stumble, I scowl
    I step on your tail and you howl
    When I write it down
    To sing the right sound
    The spelling needs more than one vowel

    by Nemo, and his human, gpr crane

  54. barbara_y

    Used Books

    Like a party
    packed with the friends of your friends,
    mixed, and mixing. And your bartender,
    and her kids. Some people your own mother
    introduced you to once. There are exotic birds
    and flowers, tobacco-stained fingers,
    plain brown wrappers, all leaning (or lying)
    against one another. The crazy intimacy.
    All of them–it’s the juxtapositions–look
    sexy. You’d take more than one to bed.

    1. grcran

      what a great poem! the sexual innuendos throughout… I can smell the old paper… I didn’t know it til I read your poem but I am horny for books too… very well done!

  55. TomNeal

    I have been to Bismarck and Biloxi, but I never heard of Moxie until today, and that has made me think I’d like to try the drink you praise.

  56. TomNeal


    My pop was never trendy.
    He took his breakfast with coffee
    And toast and the newspaper.
    Silence was our table rule-
    Little screams and howls,
    And other children’s rights
    Were not recognised by pop.
    No he was never trendy,
    Nor a fan of Doctor Spock.

  57. Azma


    I don’t like plain
    plain is too boring
    So I’d like my hand
    adorned with a ring
    Make sure my dress
    is spruced up with frills
    A sparkly bow
    would add to the thrills
    Your words are kind
    they don’t fail to flatter
    But a tad more praise
    would definitely matter
    Plain is too boring
    Everything needs to be studded for me
    I don’t eat my toast
    without peanut butter and jelly

  58. candy

    Square Meal

    A girl I know much preferred toast
    To spaghetti or grilled cheese or roast
    When buttered only
    She’d dunk it in tea
    But with jelly she liked it the most

  59. PressOn


    Some call it a soda
    and some speak of soft drink;
    but I say it is neither
    unless it makes you think.

    Think of all the beverages
    from Bismarck to Biloxi.
    Think upon the best of them;
    I think it is Moxie.

    1. TomNeal

      I have been to Bismarck and Biloxi, but I never heard of Moxie until today, and that has made me think I’d like to try the drink you praise.