Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 284

Before we get into today’s prompt, two things:

  1. I need to get a hold of Alana Sherman and Cameron Steele for their bios in the Poem Your Heart Out anthology/prompt/workbook. If you know how to contact them (or if you are them), please send me an e-mail at Thanks!
  2. Walter J. Wojtanik (a former Poetic Asides Poet Laureate and currently awesome poet) just released a collection of poems: Dead Poet… Once Removed. Click here to learn more and grab a copy of your very own.

For today’s prompt, write a pick up poem. In the poem, you could write about picking stuff up–like operating a crane or cleaning a bedroom. Or it could be about picking up someone at a bar. Or picking up the pace. Or whatever else you happen to pick up…on. Have fun!


Write a poem for a chance at $1,000!

Writer’s Digest is offering a contest strictly for poets with a top prize of $1,000, publication in Writer’s Digest magazine, and a copy of the 2015 Poet’s Market. There are cash prizes for Second ($250) and Third ($100) Prizes, as well as prizes for the Top 25 poems.

The deadline is October 31.

Click here to learn more.


Here’s my attempt at a Pick Up Poem:

“Disco Dracula”

Hey, baby, what’s your blood type?
You may be type O negative,
but you look type A to me.

Sorry, I don’t get out much
and when I do I have to
watch the time like Cinderella.

I do like walks in the park,
especially after dark,
but I’m not into watching

the sun rise. Or even set,
though that’s usually when I get
up and do my groove thing.

Yes, burn, baby, burn, that’s
why I avoid sunlight–
so that I can survive

off the village people
who hang near the YMCA
down in the funky town.

I agree; I’m a super freak
who can’t get enough of
your love, babe, please

don’t leave me this way.


roberttwitterimageRobert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53).

He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He is sometimes a little more slap happy than your typical poet and reads his poems in the voice of Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula (just because).

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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273 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 284

  1. Shennon

    Wayward Thoughts of a Circling Buzzard

    As a human in a hurry
    You took a wrong turn in your haste.
    What a shame now to let
    Such a perfect body go to waste.

    I love the hoarseness of your voice
    When you call for help.
    Each scorpion sting
    Brings a quieter yelp.

    You collapsed with fatigue
    Near the top of a hill.
    You’d like to push further
    But haven’t the will.

    Your breathing is raspy
    From lungs filled with sand.
    The desert is a tricky place
    To know and understand.

    Your parched lips shout without speaking
    That impending death looms.
    Soon you’ll join countless others
    In their sand-covered tombs.

    Your skin’s such a lovely
    Shade of light red.
    Did you know it keeps burning,
    Even after you’re dead?

    So lay down your head,
    Rest your eyes, frail one.
    Let me pick the flesh from your bones
    Til they bleach in the sun.


  2. BDP

    “Spend Easy” (Quatern)

    Need to pick up the pace, we have to see
    the city, opt for subway tunnel worm,
    no stop-go bus or sidewalk creaky knees.
    Our bodies sway, we grab a seat, glance down,

    our tennies join a thick array of shoes.
    Need to pick up the pace, we have to see
    the deck at Empire State, catch Broadway shows.
    Let’s take the 6—when should we change to 3?

    So ask our way from this custodian.
    “Not lost,” he states. “You’re here! Take time, spend easy.”
    Need to pick up the pace, we have to see
    a bunch of sites before we head back home,

    brag where we’ve been. He’s part librarian,
    despite this grab-a-train world, he speaks softly,
    “Where you from?” We wave thanks, our ride brakes in.
    Need to pick up the pace, we have to see….

    –Barb Peters

    1. TomNeal

      Need to pick up the pace, we have to see

      The repetition of the above combined with your brilliant use of imperfect rhyme (shoes/shows; softly/see) induces a feeling tourist anxiety in me. On the rare days I go into London I typically see many a breathless tourists wearing tennies. This poem captures the experience.

      Incidentally, shoe/show brought back memories (to me) of The Ed Sullivan Show (shew). However, that was a different NYC.

      1. BDP

        Tom: My cousin and her husband wanted to see Letterman, so off we went for a free show. The reason I bring this up is that the show tapes in the old Ed Sullivan Theater. When I wrote shows, I, too, was thinking of Ed’s distinctive shew. As a side note, I swear Ed’s ghost is still hovering around on stage, glancing up to the balcony as he speaks in his unique accent. (And right now I can see myself sitting by my grandmother, watching Ed on t.v. back in Wisconsin.) You remember the guy who spun the plates on a pole? Looking at the stage in modern day, there didn’t seem to be a lot of room for him to do that. He always made me feel so itchy–will a plate break or not?! Thanks for your comments. Barb

          1. BDP

            Hmmm…he didn’t take up as much space as I remembered (as a kid everything seems wide and big, right?), but he still makes me feel itchy! Big smile–thanks for this!

  3. Amy

    Eve picked the apple
    from the tree
    and knowledge was born;
    judgment too.

    He picked on her
    knowing she was different
    and bullying was born,
    its afterbirth, despair.

    She picked up
    a gun
    and suicide was borne
    by the weary.

    Her parents picked out
    her casket.
    Damn knowledge.
    Damn judgment.

    1. BDP

      I like how you change “born” to “borne” in the third stanza. That fits so well with your poem. In four short lines in each of four stanzas you say much–nicely done.

  4. Amy

    Eve picked the apple
    From the tree
    And knowledge was born;
    Judgement too.

    He picked on her
    Knowing she was different
    And bullying was born,
    Its after-birth, despair.

    She picked up
    A gun
    And suicide was borne
    By the weary.

    Her parents picked out
    Her casket.
    Damn knowledge.
    Damn judgement.

  5. Jolly2

    Here is my pick-up ~ Get high here 🙂

    by John Yeo ©

    I climb upwards and upwards, breathless,
    I work my way to the top
    The view from up here is priceless
    It is a very high life from the cab.

    Over two hundred metres high in the air
    I am lord and master of all I survey,
    The hoist is like a mechanical chair.
    From high above the city looks drab.

    My machine is equipped with the finest hoist,
    A huge bucket, wire and chains.
    In the high stormy rain the air is moist
    The sharp winds cut and viciously stab.

    The signaller below, when the load is ready
    Calls on the radio. Lift off. Lift and shift!
    I manipulate the levers, keeping steady
    Guiding the pick-up to the target slab.

    It is a lonely contemplative life at the top,
    There is much danger in my working conditions.
    One false move and the load would drop
    Causing much death and mayhem, below.

    1. BDP

      Whoa–this is a certain perspective many of us don’t get. I feel like I have a bit of motion sickness from the third stanza with the rain and high winds. Have to be careful with that load! Thanks for sharing.

  6. tunesmiff

    G. Smith
    Wake up, Momma, turn your lamp down low;
    The sky is cryin’;
    and I can’t get no satisfaction.
    ‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky.

  7. Cameron Steele

    Hard to pick up where I left off
    when I wake up with too much
    perfume a headache like the
    vodka I drank but I can’t remember
    it other than the smell of lavender.
    It always hides the holes in my head
    just as it opens the door to what
    I did or didn’t do or should’ve done
    before the mania finally wore off
    before I reached through the
    opening into smells instead
    of sirens that sound more like
    saving, But it isn’t saving so much
    as skin I take on I wrap up in
    and shed finally like a snake
    who doesn’t know she’s a girl
    with sisters who sniff out her
    fear. They forced me to go
    to church and take my Prosac.
    Not so much as a pick me up
    as a pushing through but to what
    But to what and for whom? I lie
    when I’m high, I slither and dodge
    and spit out words I won’t remember
    except in the eyes of the people
    who won’t look at me. Like chinese
    dolls. They say they will steal
    your souls and feed them to ghosts
    if you peer directly into them.
    They say they smell the fear
    in your chest even if you cradle
    them even if you beg them to
    turn into salamanders; Who they
    are I don’t know but sometimes
    in my head they tell the truth
    like the sister from the Shining.
    Were they really there? Did they
    smell like talcum powder
    and soap? Yes I can rise.
    Yes I’ll come back to the
    human world.

  8. grcran

    Saint Denis Didn’t Lose his Head

    Circa two-fifty AD, Denis was working in France
    Converting Parisians to Christians
    Giving their souls one ghost of a chance
    Decians and druids got mad to see Denis doing so well
    Chopped his head off with a sword
    On top of the city’s highest of hills
    Denis picked up his own head, turned into a cephalophore
    Carried it on, continued to preach
    Walking this way six miles and more
    There he fell down and he died, later becoming enshrined
    Installed as one of Fourteen Holy Helpers
    Curing your headache if he was inclined
    “Saint Denis!” French soldiers cry out when fighting in battles and such
    If losing your head is your problem
    Try praying to Denis and picking it up

    by gpr crane

    1. grcran

      thank you, Barb and William! With the prompt being “pick up,” I couldn’t resist writing about someone picking up his own head. St Denis is also the helper against demonic possession but I could not figure out how to work that into the poem, will have to early-vote today in the election and try to end the demonic possession of Texas government that has been here for decades. rusty


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