Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 320

Poetry serves many purposes. It can be entertaining; it can communicate; it can help change minds and hearts; but it can also be cathartic. Heck, some of the best poetry can do all this and more in the same poem.

Today’s prompt is to write a gripe poem. Do you have a gripe with someone or something? Write about it. Maybe it’s a personal gripe. Maybe it’s a general situational gripe–like people who litter or don’t know how to handle a left-hand turn when driving. Some gripes may be justified; others may not. Let them out with this prompt.

Thanks to Susan Budig for inspiring today’s prompt and poem!

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Recreating_Poetry_Revise_PoemsRe-create Your Poetry!

Revision doesn’t have to be a chore–something that should be done after the excitement of composing the first draft. Rather, it’s an extension of the creation process!

In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

Click to continue.

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Here’s my attempt at a Gripe Poem:

“The End of the World”

This is how the world ended: Me in my navy blue shorts
that should’ve been royal blue. Or the next day when I appeared
in sky blue. My phys ed teacher wanted blue, but only
the right shade. On the third day, I wore dodger blue, and then,
I showed up in cornflower. My gym teacher shook his head
and made me run laps. I imagined I was as fast as
electric blue. I wished to hide in midnight blue or move
to Carolina blue. I missed the days when blue was blue,
but that’s how the world always ends: With a brand new knowledge
of how the world really works. When Friday rolled ’round, I thought
I finally nailed it, but my teacher was quick to point
out the difference in royal blue and cerulean.
So I ran a lot of laps and joined the cross country team.
Years later, I even joked about it with the teacher,
who was wearing periwinkle shorts in the middle of Lowe’s,
and asked him if I should paint the rooms in my house crimson
and emerald or scarlet and chartreuse. He shook his head
as he would do and said, “Hell if I know! I’m color blind.”

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Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.

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253 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 320

  1. taylor graham

    OWNER’S MANUAL

    Childhood is ice cream and watermelon
    grin to grin. Youth tries to make of bingo
    a business whiz, of friendship a celebration
    with fizz. Of course money keeps getting
    in the way, and the car needs tuning,
    the floor to be scrubbed. And what to say
    of love’s first glow? mutant as salamander,
    sun to shadow. And if it doesn’t work,
    do you just toss it out and look for
    a newer-model life?

  2. SarahLeaSales

    The Fickle Wheel

    Buying unnecessary vowels,
    calling letters that have already been called–
    it’s not using your noodle, is all.

    Listening to the host without the most,
    who holds the female contestants’ hands,
    makes me want to hurl my rum and Coke.

    Contestants who jump up and down after every triumph,
    who use flowery adjectives to describe their significant others,
    and rattle off all their kids’ silly, pretentious names,
    are just a few of the many gripes I have about America’s game.

  3. victoriahunter

    just inspired to write (first write)

    TIPPED WINE

    Lets all laugh at the drunk fool now,
    that is me, who promised to have a good time
    before she gets a taste of heaven
    and cost you nothing to bring it to me,
    but somebody have a gun
    cocked and ready
    to shoot the one
    who will be drunker than me
    some guy in his kid brothers clothes
    knocking my drink over,
    with his belly like a planet with it’s own galaxy
    it kept bumping the table, til finally my drink fell
    and all he can do do thing to make it right,
    is speak an apology like it has the value of money
    or crack to an addict on the first day of recovery,

    they, of course, have no idea,
    that uninterrupted good times
    is what, we, sad, sad, people
    want, and those,
    who work til our bones bleed,
    and then go home and work some more,
    til our bones, can’t breath and silently, faded into dark

    some should tell the jerk,
    When I’m drunk, all I want is a good time,
    that doesn’t end with me
    choking the breath out of something
    then calling god to bail me out of some bull crap I can’t bury

    maybe, he doesn’t know
    that he is not the only one
    after a good time, it in everything he does
    that in the night when we can’t sleep, in the morning
    when we refuse to sleep,
    even as old virgins and old whores, we are after the good times,
    we are glad when we brought them into our home
    like groceries of all the things we love,
    baked in raw sugar and we don’t care a f if they are,
    we want to devour it all like every single good times,
    that has opened and ended with a sunrise,

    we learn when we are married to our misery
    to be cool about them,
    don’t over react when someone
    makes them a pinata

    but seeing your last wine dripping from the table
    and you are still sober in the secret suffering
    amongst the celebration you don’t quite no what for
    you think perhaps, what you imagine,
    the right for women to walk topless in the street?
    the last of gloom of a storm, cleaned up on a clear day
    is a torture, a demon
    bound to earth, wish they could experience.

    it doesn’t matter who you are,
    you will get weaker seeing only one drop of wine
    left for you to push into your own spirit
    you realize then, good time, leave as they want to,
    taking more than you thought they would,

    eventually fly out any window, like a fly that’s always wanted out
    they run out the door, like a dog that’s always wanted out,
    and it’s always the same, quick and uncatchable then,
    going without a break in the stride or glance back,
    never once thinking to be, merciful to the
    just drunk fool, kiss it goodbye at least,
    come back, soon, to someone
    with the fraigal soul,
    seeing their wine
    sucked up
    by the flesh of hell walls

  4. victoriahunter

    SERVING SOUP

    young married women,
    think they know everything
    yet they sit down at my table,
    and never know the name of common dishes
    they settle for ordinary simple minded soup
    like tomato soup, (the kind you tell came out of the can)

    but in my kitchen, the soup is started thick,
    it’s every color you can think of
    it is swollen with chunks of carrot noses
    and softened potato heads
    it’s slow stirred,
    and there is always some pepper brooding in it,
    dig into the soup
    and you will strings of greens
    draped over tender chicken breast

    of course,
    there is a special bowl my soup goes in,
    the bowl must have the smoothest cheeks
    the deepest mouth
    and the cleanest forehead

    and nobody gets nothing,
    until the soup is served
    do you hear me, I mean nothing!
    they can push away the soup
    or attempt to ignore it
    but I don’t want to
    even imagine that
    that’s real bad news,
    you give it to me slowly
    the way I would give you my soup

    If you want more soup, just ask for it,
    but Don’t come to my table
    and try to tell me,
    all soup goes down the same
    all soup, turns inside you, the same

    I’m somebodies old housewife,
    I invented soup, and every day I evolve it
    and spit it new, into the world

    Everybody knows
    in my kitchen, their will always be
    the best kind of soup
    if you burn my soup
    you’re a dead man
    you’ll be out with the rats.
    and the wilted tossed salad
    that nobody wanted,
    because they wanted my soup

    1. victoriahunter

      rewrite
      I Got My Own Soup

      young married women,
      think they know everything
      yet they sit down at my table,
      and never know the name of common dishes
      they settle for ordinary simple minded soup
      like tomatoe soup

      but in my kitchen, the soup is started thick,
      it’s every color you can think of
      it is swollen with chunks of carrot noses
      and potato heads
      it’s slow stirred,
      and there is always some pepper in it,
      strings of greens draped over tender chicken breast

      there is a special bowl my soup goes in,
      the bowl must have the smoothest cheeks
      the deepest mouth
      the cleanest forehead
      the slickest grasp

      nobody gets nothing,
      until the soup is served
      I mean nothing,
      they can decline the soup,
      but I don’t want to
      even imagine that
      that’s bad news,
      you give it to me slowly
      the way I give you my soup

      Don’t come to my table
      and try to tell me,
      all soup goes down the same
      all soup, effects you same

      I’m somebodies old housewife,
      I invented soup, and every day I evolve it
      and spit it new, into the world

      Everybody knows
      in my kitchen, their will always be soup
      soup with a scent that reminds you
      of the garden grown urbs, stroked by the rain
      but if you burn my soup
      you’re a dead man
      you’ll be out with the rats
      tossed, into the box on the sidewalk,
      the one, with the wilted tossed salad
      nobody wanted,
      because they wanted my soup

      1. victoriahunter

        REVISION 3

        young married women,
        think they know everything
        yet they sit down at my table,
        and never know the name of common dishes
        they settle for ordinary simple minded soup
        like tomato soup, (the kind you tell came out of the can)

        but in my kitchen, the soup is started thick,
        it’s every color you can think of, from a fresh rainbow
        it is swollen with chunks of carrot noses
        and softened potato heads
        it’s slow stirred,
        and there is always some pepper brooding in it,
        dig into the soup
        and you will strings of greens
        draped over tender chicken breast

        of course,
        there is a special bowl my soup goes in,
        the bowl must have the smoothest cheeks
        the deepest mouth
        and the cleanest crown

        nobody gets nothing,
        until the soup is served
        I mean nothing,
        they can pass over the soup,
        or attempt to ignore it
        but I don’t want to
        even imagine that
        that’s bad news,
        you give it to me slowly
        the way I give you my soup

        If you want more soup, just ask for it
        don’t come to my table
        and try to tell me,
        all soup goes down the same
        all soup, effects you same

        look here,
        my soup is served for a profound reason
        different for everyone

        try not to forget, I’m somebodies old housewife,
        I invented soup, and every day I evolve it
        and spit it new, into the world

        Everybody knows
        in my kitchen, their will always be
        the best kind of soup
        soup with a scent that reminds you
        of the garden grown urbs, stroked by the rain
        and as always, if you burn my soup
        you’re a dead man
        you’ll be out with the rats
        tossed, into the box on the sidewalk,
        the one, with the wilted tossed salad
        nobody wanted,
        because they wanted my soup

  5. victoriahunter

    1st write
    TITLE: ANGRY BUM

    damn stuck up bastards
    someone need to teach them some respect
    someone need give them a good spanken
    like my pops did me
    I bet their mommas were cheap whores
    and their daddies were communist
    and they don’t want nobody to know
    they think they are so slick
    yeah right,
    I’ve seen pimps in Cadillac cars slicker than them,
    how dare those bastards go through my things
    one of those god damn bastards,
    pissed on the door to my home
    and kicked it down
    they wasted a perfectly good bit of cardboard
    my neighbor said, it was a group of boys
    dressed in pink and blue
    those little bastards, think I don’t their kind
    they wipe their butts with baby wipes
    and smoke flavored cigarettes
    those bastards think I’m a monster
    they want a monster, i will give them a monster
    when I see them
    I’m going to dig their eyes out and chew off their ears
    I’m going to find me another large box, before it starts thunder storming
    and no one is going to take it from me this time
    I’ll be here, next time they come back
    at this tree, no matter the weather, ready to attack
    just like pops if you touched his car after he cleaned it
    next time, I’ll be waiting, yes, I’ll be waiting
    I’m going to jump out, with a dark blanket over my head
    and scream, get the hell out of here, you damn monsters
    go screw someone else, while they are sleeping
    this isn’t trash I’m in, this is my god damn my home

    1. victoriahunter

      revised
      Persona poem
      ANGRY BUM

      damn stuck up bastards
      someone need to teach them some respect
      someone need give them a good spanken
      like my pops did me
      I bet their mommas were cheap whores
      and their daddies were communist
      and they don’t want nobody to know
      they think they are so slick
      yeah right,
      I’ve seen pimps in Cadillac cars slicker than them,
      how dare those bastards go through my things
      one of those god damn bastards,
      pissed on the door to my home
      and kicked it down
      they wasted a perfectly good bit of cardboard
      my neighbor said, it was a group of boys
      dressed in pink and blue
      those little bastards, think I don’t their kind
      they wipe their butts with baby wipes
      and smoke meat flavored cigarettes
      those bastards think I’m a monster
      they want a monster, i will give them a monster
      when I see them
      I’m going to dig their eyes out and chew off their ears
      I’m going to find me another large box,
      before it starts thunder storming
      and no one is going to take it from me this time
      I’ll be here, next time they come back
      under this tree, no matter the weather, ready to attack
      just like pops if you touched his car after he cleaned it
      next time, I’ll be waiting, yes, I’ll be waiting
      I’m going to jump out my box, with a dark blanket over my head
      and scream, get the hell out of here, you damn monsters
      go screw someone else, while they are sleeping
      this isn’t trash I’m in, this is my god damn my home

        1. victoriahunter

          revision 2

          damn stuck up bastards
          someone need to teach them some respect
          someone need to give them a good spanken
          like my pops did me
          I bet their mommas were cheap whores
          and their daddies were communist
          and they don’t want nobody to know
          they think they are so slick
          yeah right,
          I’ve seen pimps in Cadillac cars slicker than them,
          how dare those bastards go through my things
          one of those god damn bastards,
          pissed on the door to my home
          and kicked it down
          they wasted a perfectly good bit of cardboard
          my neighbor said, it was a group of boys
          dressed in pink and blue
          those little bastards, think I don’t know their kind
          they wipe their butts with baby wipes
          and smoke meat flavored cigarettes
          those bastards think I’m a monster
          they want a monster, i will give them a monster
          when I see them
          I’m going to dig their eyes out and chew off their ears
          I’m going to find me another large box,
          before it starts thunder storming
          and no one is going to take it from me this time
          I’ll be here, next time they come back
          under this tree, no matter the weather, ready to attack
          just like pops if you touched his car after he cleaned it
          next time, I’ll be waiting, yes, I’ll be waiting
          I’m going to jump out my box, with a dark blanket over my head
          and scream, scream, scream,
          get the hell out of here, you damn monsters
          go screw someone else, while they are sleeping
          this isn’t trash I’m in, this is my god damn home

  6. SheepCarrot

    I wish I was a writer,
    is what I’ve always said.
    To put the the words to paper
    That fill them full of dread.

    I wish I was a poet,
    was never what I’d say.
    The way the words speak to me
    Just never flowed that way.

    While the rhythms confound me,
    Meter and rhymes perplex.
    There’s sonnets and there’s hiaku.
    Can’t they be less complex?

    For some make it look easy,
    It comes naturally.
    Never so for my mind. It
    gives me difficulty.

    I’ll continue to write on
    and hope I’ll learn some things
    to hone my craft, master words
    until my pencil sings.

  7. Doakley

    Sorry I am so late posting

    Never too old for a vasectomy

    It was at the outpatient surgery place
    an ingrown toenail to repair,
    an older nurse with a kindly face
    was prepping me for the surgery fair.

    The doctor telling her what to do,
    spoke softly, so not to cause me fear
    because, to surgery I was new,
    but the nurse was struggling hard to hear.

    Now this is where my gripes occur,
    a serious issue, not to scoff,
    happens when he softly says to her,
    “please slip his spectacles off !”

  8. Shennon

    Grammatical errors
    Drive me insane
    When you speak incorrectly
    You’ll hear me complain

    It also annoys me
    I find it quite rude
    When you mention the weather
    With a mouth full of food

    Conversation with sages
    Too much to ask?
    When confronted with wit
    You fail at the task

    So if we must speak
    This I implore
    Avoid all small talk
    Let less, be more

    –ShennonDoah

  9. grcran

    Gryme of the Ancient Mariner

    He’s old but he’s mine
    He’s bold and we’re fine
    At times, I gotta say,
    I love him madly.
    But oft in the dark
    Perhaps on a lark
    Just wish he’d sit, because dear Lord,
    He misses badly.

    * note: i’m a guy, but i do clean toilets, and wanted to write this from the wife’s point-of-view
    ** note 2: alternate title is Gryme of the Ancient Uriner, and not sure if i should cite Coleridge in some way

    by gpr crane

  10. grcran

    herbicidal harangue

    driving today saw a mauve pickup truck.
    two tanks off-white plastic in back.
    spraying the anti-life serum on weeds.
    depriving dead ducks of their quack.
    yes i complain about this awful scene.
    poison the land as we please.
    nothing is bland in the tasting of death.
    no hoe rake or shears. toxic sleaze.
    thus do we ruin the face of the earth.
    murder ourselves as we go.
    my gripe is this: with a chemical kiss
    there can be no more miracle grow.

    by gpr crane

  11. cmariee

    A young boy loses his family.
    Leaving high school
    His new chorus teacher follows.
    His friends can’t leave.

    In a Hurricane aftermath
    A family looks out into an empty plot.
    Loved-ones lost, but would-be-heroes rush at once.
    Reporters, not empathy, win the race.

    In a world of tragedy it seems
    We lack the ability to step back.
    To say honestly, perhaps it is not me they want to see just yet.
    And realize, egos aside, that that’s okay.

    In a world governed by impulsive actions
    We forget to stop and think sometimes,
    And strive too much to be the ones to help
    The most, the best, the first with pictures of our deeds, of course.

    Immediate response is needed
    As long as it is partnered with listening and compassion.
    What bothers me is that immediate response is often given
    With a motive of self-interest and self-satisfaction.

    1. victoriahunter

      I love the poem it reminds of the lesson I learned in a poetry course, this year, writing poems as an essay.
      I can see you turned this into a persona poem if you like:0) really enjoyed reading this. good work.

  12. tunesmiff

    POT AND KETTLE
    (c) 2015 – G. Smith (BMI)
    ————
    Some call me a racist, ’cause I honor my ancestors;
    And some say I’m sexist, ’cause I think a girl’s cute.
    Some call me ignorant, ’cause I trust in Jesus,
    And I fish and I hunt and I eat what I shoot.
    I fish and I hunt and I eat what I shoot.

    Some look down their noses at the truck that I drive;
    And don’t think it’s right what I do to survive.
    I work for a livin’ and some say it’s not fair,
    That I keep what I earn and I don’t pay my share.
    I keep what I earn, do they pay their share?

    Don’t hate me, tolerate me,
    Can’t we all get along?
    Are the chorus and verses
    To their favorite song;
    But heaven forbid should I sing it off key- ee-ee…
    Odds are they won’t ever sing it with me.
    Odds are they won’t ever sing it with me.

    I choose the innocent who don’t stand a chance,
    And think you must pay the piper the price of his dance.
    I believe in forgiveness, when forgiveness is asked
    Justice is easy, mercy’s a task;
    Justice is easy, mercy’s a task.

    Don’t hate me, tolerate me,
    Can’t we all get along?
    Are the chorus and verses
    To their favorite song;
    But heaven forbid should I sing it off key- ee-ee…
    Odds are they won’t ever sing it with me.
    Odds are they won’t ever sing it with me.

  13. seingraham

    IN WANT OF ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE

    Once again the bridge is blocked by an accident
    and I’ll be late to work.
    The barista got my order wrong—my coffee’s
    bitter, then I notice the name on my cup—
    Shawn—it’s not Sharon, is it?
    So it’s not my sweet macchiato grandé either…
    The weatherman is once more warning of poor air quality
    It all seems doom and gloom and a bit too much.

    But then, I get to work and am about to start in
    when a friend calls and invites me to a film
    at the museum tonight
    It’s in celebration of New Orleans surviving
    a decade beyond Katrina
    Can it be ten years already since that
    devastating hurricane took apart the city?

    I agree to go; I have nothing on, and my friend
    and I always have a good time.
    Little do I know, it will be a life-changing night.
    I come out from watching “Ten Years Past”
    literally shaking, grateful for my life.
    How is it I could so easily have forgotten the
    terror of those days?
    Or the pitiful attempts to help and aid those
    who survived in the weeks that followed?

    And to think I was griping about a mixed-up
    coffee order, or snarled traffic.
    Everything seems so petty and picayune to me
    Driving home, pictures of people trapped
    in their beds and dying there keep surfacing
    in my mind,
    As do those of the thousands baking
    in the Super Dome waiting to be rescued,
    waiting for food, for medical help,
    and all without relief from the unrelenting heat.

    How long before I forget what I’ve seen
    tonight, I wonder, pulling into my driveway.
    How long before I forget how very fortunate
    I am…I hold my good luck close, walk up
    to my house.

    1. BDP

      Oh, and I also want to say I love this thought: “…but that’s how the world always ends: With a brand new knowledge / of how the world really works.”

  14. strandedmoon

    Friday morning

    On this groovy Friday morning
    I have nothing much to gripe
    Because I already learned to treasure
    My current situation, spending precious while
    With my loving daughter, unconditional
    This is most relaxing moment of my lifetime
    On another Friday mornings
    I will share some seconds of a whine

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