Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 354

A little later with the prompt than usual today. Been volunteering in the mornings this week and just ran out of time before I had to be out the door.

For today’s prompt, write an assembly poem. An assembly poem could be about a meeting (an assembly of people). Or an assembly poem could be about an assembly line or assembling something or whatever else you can assemble with your poetic minds.


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Here’s my attempt at an Assembly poem:

“assembly line”

i take a metal cylinder
& place it in the machine
then i take one more
& place it in the machine
then i grab another one
& place it in the machine
then i repeat ten times a minute
& place it in the machine
then i repeat 600 times an hour
& place it in the machine
then i work 12 hours
& place it in the machine
then i work 6 days a week
& place it in the machine
then i sleep when i’m not working
& place it in the machine
then i make a lot of money
& place it in the machine
with an offer for a full-time job
to place in that machine


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He spent a summer working on an assembly line (for automotive struts) in college; it was the longest summer of his life. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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123 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 354

  1. taylor graham


    We passed the lobster tank.
    I had no appetite.
    We kept on walking, abandoned
    the main street – its
    assemblage of odd but somehow
    identical attractions – and
    ended up on the beach. Picked
    clean, I expected.
    One seashell. I put it
    to my ear, listened for news
    of a universe coiled
    into a time capsule shimmery
    as sea. There were
    no words for its living waves.

  2. dsherman

    Awake and dress and shave
    Line up fall in fall out
    Boots are pounding on the pave-

    ment falling in as per command
    react to every barked demand
    stilling now in perfect rows
    all before the rooster crows

    singing chanting say our creed
    every morning so, indeed.

  3. Shennon

    A solemn assembly
    treaded through the
    bleak countryside.

    Void of color.
    Void of life.
    Her death left a void
    none other could fill.

    The procession advanced
    to pay last respects
    a solemn assembly indeed.


  4. cmariee


    They don’t know how to zone out.
    Bloody, callous-less hands.
    Adjust their chair, stand, repeat.
    Bathroom breaks
    And carrots for snacks.
    They don’t know how to relax.

    They are literally the only ones stressing out.
    Should I offer an audio book?
    Or music?
    Engage them in the conversation.
    I don’t think so.
    Let’s see how long they last. Two days, two days, I say.
    They don’t know how to relax.
    They’ve never had to zone out.

    They don’t know how to make rate.
    They’ve never had to work this fast before.
    Manipulating tweezers is a skill.
    Boney wrists are not helpful when operating a screw gun for twelve hours.
    Solder does not feel good in the eye the first or second time.
    You will break your twenty dollar bill for dollar coins, Newbie. I guarantee it.
    Chocolate is a must some days. A must.
    – A dependent rush that could save your fingers.

    They don’t know how to survive.
    They didn’t know that was the goal.

    Fidgeting from anger, caffeine or personality? That must stop, Newbie.
    Medicating is highly discouraged when operating machinery…
    Especially the kind that you are smoking. I smell ya.
    Let’s think, it is hard enough staring at the wall
    -without an added reason for doing so.
    But you wouldn’t understand that, Newbie.

    You see,
    Zoning out on purpose gains respect.
    Learning to talk of nothing is the first defense against crazy.
    Mandatory overtime is their way to try and break you.
    And let me tell you newbie, you are not impressing anybody.

    It’s okay.
    You didn’t know you had to.
    You are very good at being new.

  5. qbit

    Still Life

    I enjoy taking a box of bees
    And carefully placing them one by one
    In the air
    Like daubs of buzzing paint.
    Then standing back,
    Assessing where they need un-bunching
    Here and there
    As when putting up the
    Holiday ornaments.

    Bee swarms are sort of easy
    If you think about it.
    I have a buffalo that isn’t going so
    Well though.
    It is massive
    And will need to graze somewhere
    When I’m done.
    Not a good size
    For an apartment in New York
    Although I don’t know where
    I will put the bees, either.

    Taking a break from the bee thing,
    We take a walk in Central Park
    Where in the Sheep Meadow
    We hear the wide, humming Pastorale
    Of the thousands marshaled
    With their Frisbees, dogs and soccer balls,
    Each family with its blanket and picnic cooler
    A painting by Fragonard
    Exuberant with the insistent demands
    Of its cherubim.

    Can we but hold on
    For just one moment
    To what we have assembled,
    To all that is alive,
    All that is
    Still life?

  6. ReathaThomasOakley


    So beautiful his skin was
    that I had to ask,
    trusting my question
    would not give offense.
    Africa, along the Amazon,
    England, and Germany,
    he answered with a smile.
    In Brazil all things are possible.

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Some Assembly Needed

    I put myself together
    piece by piece
    knowing you
    all I am with
    a single glance.

    My mirrored face
    in your dark eyes
    remade, my mirrored
    pulse pounding
    in your throat.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Made Love
      The look in your eyes
      And quiver in your voice
      The touch of two hands
      Callous against callous
      Satin on silk, the beauty
      Of love in a boy or girl
      Calling of his name upon his
      Silent lips that society
      Depicts as unsound
      But the music plays
      Her arms around her
      Love’s embrace is the
      Same love in all eyes
      And hearts that is assembled
      In the stars and the making of
      By Pamelap

  8. artifiswords


    It happens nearly every day
    Choose one from column “A”
    Two from column “B”…
    And what have you?

    Discordant, out of sync…
    A life of being out of sorts
    Where we act like we’re
    Hiding in disguise, or should

    We face such a wealth
    Of phony choices…not
    What we want or need
    But choices devoid of flavor

    They start by taking away
    Our individuality…that’s
    What schools are for
    They often succeed…

    Soul-killing sameness
    The house with picket fence
    Or paying ruinous rents
    Pay your money…really? Choice?

    I bought part of the story…
    Played their roles too long
    I hated it…knew it was wrong
    I’m done. Gone. Never coming back!

    The letter, when returned, will say…

    © 2016 Robert Mihaly

    Posted also to:

  9. taylor graham


    I walk the path through sun-burned field
    to the lake; inhale, let it out again.
    Those people – orphaned from their home-
    land by power shifts, human tectonics –
    landed here. Landlocked.
    Re-assembled here, they’d make a farming
    colony. Silk and tea, in this land
    of riches and drought. They couldn’t
    understand the language – miners
    who dredged and sluiced for gold, diverted
    natural water from this beautiful spot
    they chose. Ponds dried up. Was it a fiasco?
    The survivors drifted on to other jobs,
    assimilated; descendants moved on.
    The farm’s still here, its barn blown off
    in a whirlwind, rebuilt. Restored now.
    Visitors from the homeland have made this
    a kind of shrine. Today I’m walking
    lakeshore, watching artists and artisans
    at work. Seven wild geese float on ripples.
    Violet-green swallows sail, swoop, sail,
    zapping insects. The land goes on.

  10. De Jackson

    Assembling the Dragon

    We give her wings, knowing
    she will leave us. Knowing she

    will take all this glorious bold
    jade skin and match it to the sky.

    We etch her scales with salt
    and sea and sorrow and hope,

    knowing she will ache and sing,
    knowing she will conquer, smile.

    We weave her teeth with words
    and wind, knowing she will stretch

    out tongue and taste the sour,
    savor the sweet. We know she’ll

    breathe fire, leave ash in her wake,
    wake the dawn with her roar, score

    the earth with her scorch-sting. We
    feel her heat, her unsprung heart,

    the way it stops and starts and fears
    no thing. We play with light and dark

    and quiet sparks and bright crimson and
    small slow indigo sway. We know she’ll

    love and hate us. We fold and form and
    plant and poem and make her anyway.


  11. ely the eel

    Putting Together a Week

    No alcohol crossed my lips,
    and I stayed away from chips,
    eating mostly vegan food,
    which helped elevate my mood.
    Daytime protocols I kept,
    as more peacefully I slept.
    Enjoyed my first art class.
    It really was a blast.
    Spent a day at a monastery,
    which left me feeling very
    calm, and in fine mental health,
    not bottom, nor middle, but serene top shelf.
    So there’s your weekly total, a pretty decent score,
    I liked it a lot. Please, sir, can I have more?

  12. Tracy Davidson

    Some assembly required

    he shakes his head
    instructions are for wimps

    four hours
    and a dozen curses

    my lopsided bookcase
    sadly, not the only thing
    with a screw loose

  13. PressOn

    EASY AS 1-2-3

    I bought a mower kit;
    it came with full instructions
    so I could put it together
    without the need for deductions.

    I tried to assemble the mower;
    goodness knows, I tried,
    but the scattered pieces told me
    the instructions must’ve lied.

  14. mjdills

    (Mine’s a little late, too. I had a hard time putting this one together.)


    I don’t have personal history so
    I can’t truly speak of inner and
    constant fear,
    threat to safety,
    misery of concealment.
    What I have is familiarity,
    memories of mirror balls and strobe lights,
    techno decibels and Gloria Gaynor,
    beautiful sweaty bodies,
    glistening with rendezvous and desire,
    walking home in a tropical dawn,
    laughing with my gay boys, arm and arm,
    one last cigarette and
    maybe a splash in the pool in the dark.
    Gathered in clubs with smiles large and
    laughter unbound,
    modified salsa way past midnight.
    Never a thought of danger,
    nor an allusion of dread,
    no panic, no fright.
    Shaking the images in my imagination
    is not a simple process.
    I can no way comprehend
    the terror.
    I cannot accept the anguish.
    These feelings of loss and sorrow
    are not mine personally but
    they could have been
    We could have been
    My mourning is not extinguished.
    My grief is still twirling on the dance floor.

  15. seingraham


    I am a sucker for words and collectives
    Oh, not the kind of collectives that evoke
    scenes from the sixties – communes
    and the like
    No, I mean collective nouns tickle me
    You know – the old “murder of crows”
    or “sleuth of bears” type of thing
    So when I discovered that a collection
    of nouns is called an assembly—
    it’s actually a venery, i.e. nouns of
    assembly, but – why quibble—
    Of course, I couldn’t resist mentioning it.

  16. Azma


    Precious words handpicked
    and disciplined
    into a perfect order
    to be produced
    at the right time and mood.
    The line eventually followed by
    a precious word for acceptance

  17. grcran

    A Semblance

    Affluence of our nation. Mind-boggling.
    The food we feed our dogs is far beyond.
    That’s not to mention cats. Finicky-er.
    The meals for our mc sons mc daughters fond.
    And all that garbage that we pay to see
    In theatres. On pay-per-view tee vee.
    The bling. The labels that we splurge to wear.
    The hair product. Production. Do we care
    At all about the underfed. Orphans.
    War. Wounded. Ravaged. Pestilentialized
    personas. OK. Good. Gimme high five.

    gpr crane

  18. grcran

    end of the commencement

    a symbol for assemble was a cymbal
    lightly played
    a simple little pimple pomped the circum
    stance that day
    the grads their dads did gladhand and they went up
    on their way
    and moms with much aplomb succumbed that night to
    hit the hay

    gpr crane

  19. Asha1000

    How to Create a Magic Blanket

    Catch a falling star
    make a glowing heart
    scoop a cupful of fairy dust
    scatter over airy batting
    thread a golden spider’s web
    quilt squares of sunrise bright
    baste a mockingbird’s morning trill
    gather into lacy frill
    assemble a magic blanket
    swaddle the world in folds
    tight flower buds of promises

    – Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming

  20. deringer1

    A bit schmaltzy, but I think it’s true!


    When the family’s all together
    and we sit down for a meal,
    it’s then we share the love,
    the connection we all feel.

    In breaking bread together
    there is formed a certain bond,
    and lots of fun and laughter
    as we pass the beans around.

    All families have their oddball folks,
    some aren’t your favorite ones,
    but they’ll be here to comfort you
    whenever trouble comes.

    Loyal friends are great to have,
    but when it comes down to it,
    you need your family to be there,
    they’ll always see you through it.

  21. Anthony94

    Raining While Waiting on the Web

    Low ceilings, and no service from
    the web permits me to listen to
    each drop plinking onto various
    surfaces: the muted thud onto
    wooden railing, the higher tone
    on the glass table. I strain for
    the sibilance of drops sliding
    into the petunia’s tubular
    throat, watch them pool onto
    the first step and realize that
    these are a unique assemblage
    of trillions of droplets that in
    some cavalier fashion we call
    rain. Gentle, torrential, sporadic,
    icy, warm, we label the collective.
    But today, in this hour, it is a
    gathering, audible in its comings
    on the upturned bucket, silent
    on the deer’s back. I try to catch
    drops in my hand but they are
    part of the whole already assembled.

    1. Sarah Metzler

      I enjoyed how these sounds brought me into the present moment (as it is raining here also), became quite intimate (“I strain for the sibilance of drops sliding into the petunia’s tubular throat”), and I especially liked the inclusion of silence when you wrote, “silent on the deer’s back.”

  22. writinglife16


    In my dreams,
    I’m making a new world.
    One where my mother loves me
    and wants me around.
    One where my mother
    talks and listens to me.
    One where my mother
    doesn’t beat me.
    I have a new world,
    in my dreams.

  23. jubob2

    God’s Assembly Place

    Leaving the Masons’ Lodge behind,
    there was Mrs. Shimer’s cool dark little house
    and the grade school slides to pass,
    then spirea bushes to pull the petals from
    before I reached the mysterious brick church
    nestled in trees across from the lumber yard.

    The sign said “Assembly of God.”
    Everyone else said, “holy rollers and speakers in tongues,”
    but they threw the best Bible school of the summer.
    My mom let me attend them all: Lutheran,
    Community Bible, Seven Day Adventist, Assembly of God
    and our own Church––Methodist.

    The Community Bible Church called us Jet Cadets
    who made progress through the skies
    by attendance and memorizing Bible verses.
    The Methodists had the best art supplies,
    but the Assembly of God
    had that aura of mystery–
    as though God had assembled us all there for a special purpose.

    Because I had heard what went on there
    when I wasn’t present,
    I was the Nancy Drew of vacation Bible school,
    looking fruitlessly for clues
    as I made do with Kool Aid,
    peanut butter cookies and
    mimeographed pictures of Bible stories to color.

    Then every day, the short walk home again
    through that bridal path of spilled spirea blossoms,
    with faith that tomorrow
    religion just might turn into that great adventure
    that I knew I was born to.

  24. ReathaThomasOakley

    The righteous man

    Not forsaking the assembling
    of ourselves together,
    as the manner of some is;
    words chiseled into the granite
    that marks my grandpa’s grave,
    not the Thomas one, but the other,
    the one with a heart as cold and hard
    as the stone that bears his admonition.

  25. trishwrites

    Assemble for Love

    When he looks at you and asks you why
    When she looks at you and says but how
    What will you say when you look in his eyes
    What can you tell her to make it less vile

    Would that you could tell them it will be okay
    That evil will never win when we fight
    Even when many hearts are filled with hate
    Tell them nothing can diminish your light

    That who you are inside is real and true
    That one day judgement will come to an end
    Never will you be afraid to be you
    To be you, to be you, in all your magnificence

    Because love is love is love is love
    Love is bigger than them, love is love

  26. Stephanie H.

    Trying to get a Nut

    It slips away
    The nut
    The bolt
    Bouncing and banging
    Right through my fingers
    Fumbling for connection
    For correction
    Of the things that refuse
    To stay together
    A simple part
    It falls apart
    Time and again
    Despite my intentions

  27. Stephanie H.

    Handle with Care

    Break in case of emergency
    This heart
    Encased in fate
    In case you didn’t notice
    The first time
    Was the hardest
    Putting it together
    And now
    I’m a pro.

  28. De Jackson


    of us gather
    ourselves in stars,
    stones, scars, and the
    quiet places traced
    between the usual lines.

    together softly,
    we find our centers.
    Add skin. Begin to wonder
    what we were building in the
    first place. Call in a committee

    or two
    to be sure we’re
    on track. Smack our
    heads in disbelief when the
    original doesn’t look quite like
    the plans. Join hands. Stand. Smile.

    we’re a work in
    progress and this all
    takes awhile and meantime
    isn’t that certain slant of sunlight
    just right for all this meandered dancing?


  29. taylor graham


    I’m driving Green Valley, looking for people assembled along this two-lane county road.
    I’m looking for a horse with rider, moving fast.
    I’m looking for them coming from the old Pony Express station, Pleasant Grove, where – 155 years ago – they’d switch horses and riders, whip the mochila saddlebags from worn-out horse to fresh, and off the new team would go.
    I’m pulling in now to the Rescue PO, 16th stop on the route, Old Town Sacramento, east to St. Joe, MO. Ten day trip, how many horses and riders, never stopping day or night. How do they ride all night over the mountain, in the moonless dark of trees? Trust your horse. I remember.
    I’m sizing up Mohawk, small pinto, saddled up and waiting.
    I’m waiting with Mohawk’s rider and the Rescue postmaster. This is the crowd assembled to watch a buckskin trotting fast up Green Valley.
    I watch the rider dismount, lift the big mochila off one saddle, single motion onto Mohawk’s.
    I wish a safe trip, rider up, and off they go. Trying to make good time. The horse moving on pure heart for a human concept: the mail must go through.
    I’m riding the big black mare of my childhood, back into history that is my self.

  30. Arash

    I used the idea of assembly in the sense of how Frankenstein assembled body parts in a cemetery, except doing so with poetic lines of dead poets. I mean no disrespect to the poems and poets I’ve chosen, these are in fact among my favorite poems. First line is from “A Blessing” by Wright, second from “Wind Will Carry Us Away” by Farrokhzad, third from “The Waste Land” by Eliot, fourth from “Ode to a Nightingale” by Keats, and finally the last two lines are from “Archaic Torso of Apollo” by Rilke.


    by Arash

    Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass
    I’m addicted to my own hopelessness
    I can connect nothing with nothing
    I have been half in love with easeful Death
    There is no place that does not see you
    You must change your life

  31. PowerUnit

    Cruise Ship

    They wander in groups
    To be singled out a sin, a target
    The rain drives them off the street
    While natives wander undeterred, unbound from God

    Tourists must think rain harbinger of tornadoes
    Or it’s a boatload of witches
    Their melted carcasses would be an improvement over the polkadot pigeon poop, peppering the walks

    They search for foreign treats
    Mementos to spend their magic money on
    I wait in line behind shuffling feet and craning necks
    No breaks in the clouds today
    No value for money coming your way

    Excuse me I say
    I weave through the unbelieving, and step
    Unhooded and unhinged, I swing into a downpour
    Wash the sins from my heavy shoulders
    And hurry!

  32. Julieann

    Blackberry Cobbler

    I at the stove and
    Him at the counter
    We just settled in
    For an afternoon’s cooking
    I use thickening and sugar
    Water and lemon
    Mix all together
    Then add the blackberries
    He measures flour and sugar
    Sifts and remeasures
    Then adds the milk and butter
    Mixing all together
    Then into the dish it goes
    Topped off with
    A thick layer of blackberries
    Pop it all into the oven
    The baking time is short
    But seems oh so long
    When bubbly and golden brown
    Remove from oven and
    Let set for a few minutes
    Serve it up warm
    Topped with a heaping spoonful
    Of homemade whipped cream
    Yum – yum

  33. Charley

    Some Assembly Required

    Assemble the evidence
    Start with presupposition
    State your bias as a mantra
    Echo the refrain of those prior
    Make the case air-tight, unarguable
    Badger those with whom you disagree
    Lie to the public who are so easily misled
    Yes, and legislate the problem out of existence

    Personally, I prefer to observe the forest without your help

  34. SarahLeaSales

    Acts of Congress

    An assemblage of polar opposers,
    of wingers left and right–
    many whose reign exceeded that
    of queens and kings–
    could all but agree on one thing:
    a disdain for the American people.


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