Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 296

If you haven’t caught it yet, check out the results of the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Then, get back on over here…

For this week’s prompt, write a disappointment poem. I honestly didn’t think about the timing of announcing the challenge results with this prompt, but there you go. It can be disappointing to not win, I know, but there are so many other ways to be disappointed as well (with presents, affection, attention, motivation, and so on). I hope this prompt does not disappoint.


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Here’s my attempt a Disappointment Poem:

“jury duty”

i am happy to serve: so let’s get
that out of the way first thing, okay.

it’s just that i had plans this week,
you know, and really, it’s not like

i’m going to get selected, and anyway
there’s a better than good chance we

will be dismissed before lunch, because
that’s what always happens, and then,

you know, i’ve been here for nothing
and rearranged the stars and the moon

because the lawyers had to wait until
the last minute to finally sort things out.


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 married to a paralegal who is on jury duty today.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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169 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 296

  1. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    it’s the tone
    in your voice that tells me
    I’m in quicksand,
    that somewhere between
    love and expectation
    I’d taken a wrong turn,
    that no matter how many times
    I circle back to the on-ramp
    that always leads back to you,
    it’ll never be enough to keep
    this tow-chain taut between us,
    and disillusion from your
    downcast eyes.

    © 2015 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  2. grcran

    the drones arrive… perhaps, too late

    born waco tx 1952 it was. some call it wacko and i don’t blame you. grew up allover: newengland florida denver iowa memphis. this kid got the grits, the grist too. American, in a very true sense, neopolitan, melting-pot-ian. irish. but there’s no law against that. now he lives in austin, helping to keep it weird, but there’s something wrong. he’s ashamed to be a Texan now. george w. and rick. wtf. and that might be enough of a rant in itself. he’s disappointed. in himself, he didn’t fight enough against the imbecility. also, though, disappointed in you. amerikans. you voted for george w and for rick, for vengeance, for war, for the corporate money, for your mcdonalds fat lunch. yep, disappointment. some would call it a liberal rant. i guess i just call it freedom of speech. damn, i’m disappointed, i thought the drones would show up faster. aaarrrrgggghhhh

    by gpr crane

  3. James Von Hendy

    The Daily Grind

    We stood outside the coffee shop,
    She with her latte and I with
    My Americano swagger.

    “168 hours in a week,”
    She said, “40, at least, for work,
    The commute’s another 10,

    2 more gone each weekday morning
    Getting ready and feeding cats.
    There’s groceries, errands, and the bills

    To pay, chores around the house—
    Some weeks that takes but 20 more.
    Email, text, and chat eats away

    More time, call it 10, face-to face
    With friends another easy 10
    That can’t be overlooked, workouts,

    Zumba, meditation, and meals,
    12, and much-needed 56
    For sleep. My week’s accounted for.

    Sorry. That leaves no time for sex.”

  4. JRSimmang


    The river barely covered our ankles,
    but it was cold and the
    summer had begun a few weeks earlier.

    We stood,
    you and I,
    against the running shadows
    dripping from the overhanging branches
    and washing to the adjacent shore,
    letting the pebbles and stones
    break our feet in places pleasant,
    thinking they were an army of lovers,


    we were an army of lovers…

    You said things then;
    I was listening to you from under water,
    and that’s the way it usually was,
    You’d talk, and I’d drown,
    breathing only as an afterthought.

    I don’t want to think about that, though.
    Let’s think about something different.
    Let’s think about the plans
    we’d made to return to Italy,
    to speak another language for a day,
    to trace the angles of the Sistine Chapel,
    corrupt and speechless…

    but the water was cool on our feet,
    and the summer had only begun.

    -JR Simmang

  5. grcran


    disappointment has no antonym except
    finding you was and is the undisappointment of my life
    elation overjoyousness supremeexcitement
    happy surprise
    at your beauty your depth your strength
    unexpected pleasure
    in your helpfulness your thoughtfulness
    delicious delight
    of your touch your visage your company
    at in of you
    no disappointment
    simply love

    by gpr crane

  6. taylor graham


    someone died of tuberculosis, sometime from
    the late 1890s to early1900s, when some
    110,000 Americans died of TB every year.
    The date was recorded in a registry along with
    a number (the one embossed on a metal stake)
    along with the inmate’s name; the records lost
    when the hospital burned in 1912.
    Whose stake did I find this morning, behind
    what had been the pestilence infirmary? For
    so many dead, so few stakes remain – rusted
    iron from old wagon wheels. If there was a
    stone of “golden slate” to mark the grave,
    I didn’t find it. Farther up the hill, 2 small
    pieces of slate – not golden, more the shade
    of dirty fog tinged with dried blood. I’m sorry
    I couldn’t find more, not even a name.

  7. strandedmoon

    Personal Absence

    And yet, how did we get here?
    In personal absence so deep
    We buried the ecumenical pall
    Inactions and ironic words
    There comes a time for taking a separate path
    The road each one of us must walk alone
    With hardness of the fist
    New destinations from as far West as South
    Hope remains despite
    And let’s not sound again “Back for good”

  8. shellcook

    I Do Believe

    I’ve been here before,
    this is not déjà vu,
    Dare I let you break
    into my heart again~

    I’ve ridden this ride before,
    and I know the age old score.
    Have you changed your truths,
    or will my heart pay your dues~

    Quick. Clap your hands.
    I want to believe in you.
    I believe, but do you~

    I hear the answer in my tone.
    Can I let you in? Again?
    Is it worth my breaking heart,
    to open myself,to start again?

    Wondering where the end will lead,
    to enlightenment or
    just a path I’ve already taken.
    Is this the circle coming round, again?

    Clap your hands.
    Quick. Clap your hands.
    I do believe in fairies.
    I do believe in fairies~


  9. grcran

    disappointment doesn’t reign

    she lost her husband after all those years
    disappointment rained down on her dream
    she left for Kenya left behind her tears
    decided Africa might reign supreme

    he’d looked ahead retirement might be fun
    disappointment reined him in and killed
    his wife with cancer wasn’t she the one
    decided death was better lived un-tilled

    these two did meet on peachy perfect day
    no disappointment ray nuisanced the pair
    they took the bait and ran together way
    beyond all pain and suffering to where

    they fled had bled enough at last to reach
    this point Mount Rainier snow on rock cold sea
    bald eagle salmon bear nature to teach
    beyond belief they lived love’s ecstasy

    by gpr crane

  10. taylor graham

    You must… write only about what you vaguely
    suspect. – Heaven Is Not Verbose, Vera Pavlova

    My dog has that look in her eye. In an instant
    she’ll go blind and deaf to my call;
    she’ll flick the wild switch, turn on her daemon-
    muse that lives in a cave far below the surface,
    past the adit of her nose, through damp passages
    to a brain with laws of its own; her domestic-
    dog self huddles collar-chained to stone
    while her spirit dashes up to daylight glinting
    against fencewire, blinding, just one leap to
    an unmapped world alive with scents to pursue.
    But look, in an instant her eyes
    can change, and look deeply into the caves
    of mine.

  11. drnurit


    By: Nurit Israeli

    She is the grandmother
    of grandchildren
    that will never be born –

    I see the weighty void
    in her empty arms
    that yearn to be filled
    with bundles of joy.

    I am struck by the barrenness
    as hopes sneak away,
    and a long-dreamed-of sequel
    is deleted for good.

    I breathe in her longings
    and I want to reach out,
    but I am at a loss for words.

  12. PKP


    There it was cherry
    mahagony gleaming
    under the store dust
    She could see it opened
    to full length –bulging
    three board leaves full
    with food and china
    They carried it home
    and shined it up and
    for a time it was five
    Three children and the
    two of them at the table
    Until one by one they
    grew inspired supported
    wings and flew and she
    foolishly smiled –during
    “Nesting time” – waiting
    patiently through their
    tears and cheers, their
    would-be forever loves
    and careers spun like
    cotton candy – waiting
    for their inevitable return
    She could see the full table
    Yards of linen – endless
    china passed laughingly
    from hand to hand –
    She could wait
    And did –
    The table sitting with a
    single leaf opening wide
    in the center of the long
    room – holidays fell one
    into the other fragrant
    dishes served for most
    often three – and then
    Finally, it began – they
    Married and procreated
    She ran to airports and
    down hallways to meet
    the small newcomers
    For they were far away
    Yet, still back at table she
    knew they would return
    But, the wind under wings
    carried them far – Still she
    cooked for twenty though
    there were only two or three
    or one year or two four – and
    in a flash of tumbled time
    it was thirty years before
    it struck her – hard – obvious
    they never would return –
    Some fairytales are for children
    others whispered to and by adults
    The difference lies
    in the happy ending
    and a table set for two

    1. ReathaThomasOakley

      When I first read this I was reminded of Gurney’s play, The Dining Room, and could see this poem/story unfold scene by scene. So beautiful with a great finale.

  13. Cameron Steele

    The Disappointing Story of Being in Love with a Pyromaniac

    I collect burnings for you

    a candle by the bath, scented pink

    and fatty

    the news of Farocki’s death

    inextinguishable, indistinguishable burn

    scars on skin

    are not all equal

    your melting calf in a YMCA steam room

    an old wound from childhood

    cigarettes caulderize a wrist

    400 degrees celius

    napalm at 3,000 in Vietnam or

    the number of leagues I fished

    the sea for you

    only to find you as ashe

    in my fireplace

    only illuminate the shit

    with hidden values

    the day your mother crashed

    the hatchback

    a Monday morning when my sister

    ate dog food before school.

    We were pregnant, trying to burn it all away.

    Nothing does so well as stories.

    Raise up the candle

    to white images of love

    we won’t name

    we won’t call flames.

  14. priyajane

    Disappointed Blue
    She gave up her cobalt blue
    for the lure of pink silk satin
    Now she watercolors her smile
    with bright flourishing scents
    and busies her gray time
    In sunglassed, adrenaline trends
    afraid to face her disappointed self
    in the mirror of her ashen heart
    That sandy smell of defeat
    in every inhale
    will do her in, someday
    She wonders, when- ( sigh!)–

  15. Jane Shlensky


    He stands
    humbled hopeful
    fouled by life
    all the world
    a free throw line
    becoming the ball
    intent on arc and breeze
    and swish like rustling
    skirts against nylons
    roars of approval
    static in his ears

    Spin is what you do
    when nothing turns
    out the way it should
    is for those who
    time after time
    simply cannot
    hit the mark.

  16. Jane Shlensky


    He smells brownies baking,
    the house chocolate-hugged,
    and keeps himself away
    out from underfoot until
    they’re cooled anticipation.

    After his nap, he creeps
    Smiling into the kitchen
    And reads the note:
    “Taking brownies to bridge
    club tonight. Don’t wait up.”

  17. julie e.


    Like dust back on the table top
    like rusting on the coffee pot
    like laundry from the hamper pours
    her quandary is to grumble, OR….
    Give thanks because there’s coffee and
    there’s family with many hands
    to hold around the table, then
    to fill their hampers once again….
    Her heart, her life, are never dull,
    half empty? No, they both are full.

  18. Shennon

    We fall asleep
    To the promise of snow
    The temps will drop
    Winter winds start to blow

    We awaken early
    To confirm the great news
    To jump back in bed
    Instead, we stand, confused

    The storm drifted north
    Mother Nature’s so cruel
    So like it or not
    We are headed to school.


  19. Arash

    This is odd, the “submit” button doesn’t show up when I use firefox. I am in Chrome now, the only way I can submit a message. It was the same last time I visited the site a few weeks ago.

  20. Sara McNulty

    The Queen and the Prince

    Not going? Why?
    We go out in all
    types of weather.
    Anyway, it never
    rains in front
    of the house.
    Everyone knows that.
    How ill can you be.
    Take a pill. We want
    our walk–even a shortie
    will do, but we need you.
    Woof! WOOF!

  21. LeeAnne Ellyett

    So close,
    I can feel your,
    breath, on my ear,
    a whisper, soft,
    for me to hear,

    tempting, teasing,
    so pleasing,

    So close,
    moments away,
    from ecstasy,
    I sway, pray,
    that you’ll stay,

    So close,
    in love with me,
    no disappointments.

  22. taylor graham


    A carven cobra guards granite steps
    to the madhouse – cold token
    of the last of the lower creatures, or
    disappointing reminder of how mad Man
    gets even for his fall from grace.
    When streetlights obliterate the stars,
    I imagine the snake swaying
    to an electrified flute. But in that mad-
    house, only humans are allowed.
    No kittens to mess the carpets,
    no caged finches to scatter seed and song.
    Even the cockroaches jumped ship.
    Only humans allowed.
    Don’t those people miss the annoyance
    of a dog forever begging
    for a walk? No nickering of horses,
    no autumn longing-call
    of the wild geese – a person could
    go mad.

  23. Amaria

    We were once like twins bounded into one sphere
    until the day came when the others decided
    that you were prettier than me
    I watched you fall under their spell
    becoming awash in their venom
    I cried as you hissed harsh words to me
    as if I was never your true friend
    I guess those days in the sun when we climbed trees
    or played with dolls and ate chocolate ice cream
    are worth nothing to you now
    I suppose I should let go and let you be
    I only hope that one day you will find within
    the woman I always knew you were meant to be

  24. Doakley

    Disappointment is all in your perspective

    The girl came up to me on the playground
    early on in first grade,
    said “I can run faster than you”
    made me look over my shoulder
    at the guys like Oh yeah, sure…

    She said come on, lets run,
    to the big oak tree there,
    and touch the old boiler
    behind the school first to win.

    She hollered go and we were off,
    She turned the corner at the tree
    just a bit ahead of me but then
    we past the school and out of sight.

    When I walked back, the guys
    all said, my gosh but she was fast,
    so I told them, I finished second,
    but she finished next to last!

  25. ReathaThomasOakley


    Not the good one
    who put his hands on blind
    Saul’s eyes
    so he could see
    as Paul.

    No, not the
    evil one
    who had prisoner
    Paul slapped at his trial.

    I mean that weasly one
    who lied about the gold
    he got
    for selling off his fields
    and bragging that
    he gave it all to Peter.

    One year, in my youth,
    I memorized almost
    all the book of Acts
    now when I
    am disappointed by
    by others’ small
    I think,

  26. Hannah

    The Challenge

    Disappointment tastes like the hot meal I forgot to eat while it was hot.
    It looks like the brilliant cardinal glimpsed seconds too late.
    This time it feels like that memory I was on verge of overlooking…
    like a dedicated fall month of inspiration and processing words
    only to turn around and forget to remember
    to submit.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2015

    Oh well…there’s always next year! Congratulations to everyone who participated AND to those who made the lists!! Thank you for another challenge, Robert! Great fun. 🙂

      1. Hannah

        Thank you, De…I appreciate your heart. I’m not as disappointed as I think I should be…I’m just not very competitive, I guess- never really have been…I used to run cross-country races just for fun…just to feel the forest breeze and pine-needle path beneath my feet. 🙂

        1. PKP

          Well good then…it is just we who might then be disappointed – then again a reason for anything and perhaps the competition dilutes the enjoyment of participating. Nevertheless, whatever the case, bright vivid images of disappointment .

  27. Nancy Posey


    James could have been poster boy
    for self-deprecation.
    Wearing his work uniform
    with the monogrammed
    school name—David Lipscomb—
    he quit trying to correct people—
    No. My name is James.
    David actually died in the 1800s—
    He just smiled and nodded.
    Why bother?

    He claimed he only asked out girls
    he knew were engaged—Great practice,
    he said, in accepting disappointment—
    he could take a “No” without flinching,
    expected it actually.

    So when he asked and she said yes,
    he almost mumbled, “Never mind,”
    and walked away, not hearing yes,
    not ever expecting yes. “You, David,”
    she told him, “have conquered
    disappointment and humility.
    Why don’t you just try

  28. Susan Schoeffield


    It started out with a spark and a shout.
    There wasn’t a doubt this love was true
    but no type of glue could keep you in place.
    Off you would race to whomever you found
    not willingly bound to promises made.
    Our union decayed because of your ways
    and the flames in our blaze quickly fizzled,
    drizzled with your self-serving arrogance.
    You removed any semblance of respect
    and I detect you’ll always be same.
    Love isn’t a game, it’s a lesson learned.
    When you play with fire, you might get burned.

    © Susan Schoeffield

  29. grcran

    once upon a firstdate not disappointed

    showed up on time we took a
    walk we’d met online had quite a
    talk twoweeks eachday looking for
    words which came to see the bees and
    birds sycamore tree with orna
    meant something much deeper came and
    went down into soulspring heart head
    hat with smiles inside like Cheshire
    cat coming to terms we saw sun
    set saw stars fireworks in kisses
    wet we lassoed tightly to-and-
    fro-ed that once upon a time we rode

    by gpr crane

  30. PowerUnit

    It is four walls with no doors
    Four corners and a steel floor
    Breaking out takes planning, requires tools
    To make even a dent, takes persistence
    Yet without courage, you may as well lie down
    And die if you find it easier
    It is not all sunshine and roses, on the outside
    Only you know what waits
    Only you can overcome and find it
    If you can muster the faith

  31. De Jackson

    The Trick of Losing What You Did Not Have

    It tastes like sulfur
    copper penny blood spilled
    but unspent
    like the ragged hole
    where a tooth used to be,
    like impotent sweat
    streaming down,
    mouth filled with salt
    and cotton regret
    at having ever wanted.

    It rings in the ears
    like wasted years and
    startled, sizzled out
    wishes burned by
    too much sun,
    things wanted pushed
    back into dark closets, hidden
    atriums, dusty corner bones
    that cannot
    mourn their own loss.

    It stings like wisdom
    found too late,
    the places in the heart
             that ache
    for more, the whispered
    no that shatters soul
    and scatters all she is
    to the four winds, unwound
    and waiting to be
                whole again.


  32. PressOn


    Once, streetcars, the essence of jollies,
    were as common as fools and their follies,
    but the bus and the truck
    and the car ran amok,
    and put paid to the days of the trolleys.

  33. catprincess16

    The Colonoscopy

    She had hoped for
    When she finally
    met his family
    the questions
    were like a
    Only more
    And insulting.
    This wasn’t going to work.
    She sighed.

  34. grcran

    twerking it out

    this ringadingdong daddy stepped to town
    not springing… disappointment had him down
    with lurch in its lurk
    it tweeted a twerk
    which twinkled sudden smiling from his frown

    by gpr crane

  35. Misky

    I actually wrote this for last week’s prompt, but life stepped in the way of it all, (battered shoulder) and I think it still fits this week’s prompt …. so here goes:

    Ageing with No Intention to Stop

    So be it. I’m a receptacle,
    an odd and curious thing
    that you might see vanish
    behind your quick glance.
    Better suited, you’d say,
    to shadows and odd monkish
    corners. But I’ll not be
    propped into heavy carved
    furniture nor turned toward
    some mind-faded interest.
    I am silent surprise. I see
    it in your involuntary
    expression and wary surprise.


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