Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 442

For today’s prompt, write an ex poem. Of course, writing an ex-spouse or ex-job are fair game, but any words that start with “ex” should be good too. You don’t have to explain or extend an exacting explanation of how you decide to expand upon this explosive prompt; I’m sure exotic examples are extraneous.


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Here’s my attempt at an Ex Poem:

“ex post facto”

i feel like i’m forever suffering
for things i’ve done before
i knew what i was doing

& that i’m judging others for things
they did before they knew
right & wrong & how long

is the statute of limitations
on the common sense of the heart
beats i wish i could woo away


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 hopes someone pens an exemplary ode to the X-acto knife.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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82 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 442

  1. taylor graham


    From this snakeskin hilltop
    the folks who gather beyond the ghost
    pine might be waiting for a high-
    scoring rocket red white & blue arc’ing
    in hisses over the fairgrounds.
    It’s Independence Day
    coming on dusk.
    Don’t call them outlaws.
    They can’t afford admission;
    these seats are free. No lease or sublet.
    Their tactics, watch until almost the last
    red glare, then scatter in darkening
    underbrush and disappear.

  2. mena

    I know it’s late and tomorrow is a new blog it’s a new day
    What’s an old blog it’s like an old ex, thinking what you should have done last week, or years ago
    Would they still be an ex if you could start over or take back yesterday
    Words that aren’t forgotten in that last memory the good memory before the title came of yesterday

  3. Darlene Franklin


    Excel: A word to celebrate
    A statement implying all’s well
    A bell ringing praise at the gates
    A date by which time all must gel
    Foretell disaster if I’m late
    For excellence lost isn’t swell

  4. Troy DeFrates


    A plan was hatched to dispatch the true King
    The Queen had gone mad, it was all his fault
    She had venom inside, deep in her vault
    During the day around him she would sing
    He never thought of the pain she would bring
    Sanity gone, launched from a catapult
    The poison she added to his bier malt
    Unknowing she left the King a small string
    To piece together her deadly intent
    The tables to turn he did rightly so
    Goblets switched when she excused a moment
    Toasting to the King a message was sent
    With sadness he watched his Queen slowly go
    Loving her so much, he had to lament

  5. taylor graham


    Four miles by horse, this evening mid-June,
    and a winter x’d-out trail to ride.
    Extreme starry night, exiting half-moon,

    a bouldered landscape, and you’re astride,
    excising schedules beyond horse-time
    and x’d-out rock ford. Just to ride,

    every hoof beat striking journey-rhyme
    just under heaven, the planets’ gaze.
    Excising schedules beyond horse-time,

    you’re hours above the valley haze.
    This ancient trail’s an exalted course
    just under heaven – how planets gaze

    on rider and appaloosa horse
    running before a luminous dawn.
    This ancient trail an exalted course

    for the joy of it, the lot you’ve drawn:
    four miles by horse. This evening mid-June
    running before the luminous dawn
    extreme starry night, exiting half-moon.

  6. Troy DeFrates

    Fun For Girls

    A Bref Double Poem

    Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off
    To them it is a game to play with your emotions and bring you down
    It is in their nature and not in their wit, they just don’t care for you
    Some girls take extra joy in breaking boys down hard just to make them cry

    It is about control and manipulation to rule over men
    Some think that it is hilarious to make you look like a dumb clown
    What can drive this twisted fun at the expense of others’ sanity
    I do not think even the best psychologist can understand why

    They like to joke that they make the rules and the rules are subject to change
    Here is a dare for you, call one of them out next time and watch them scoff
    They do not like the funhouse mirror of reality held up for them to really see
    Next time you catch a girl lying to you do not give them a free buy

    You will see them turn red and swallow their tongue as they give a great cough
    Some girls just cannot help themselves as they take great joy in a man’s frown

  7. Jane Shlensky

    No Good

    He said, You there, you rotten kids,
    explain this if you can with your ready little minds
    all latched down and tempting as cheese in a trap.

    Extended finger pointing. Outraged voice.
    Explain how it is—caught red-handed,
    guilty as sin, thick as thieves–
    (cliched unmercifully)
    what you’ve got by with until now
    your Da is too smart for you.
    Ha! Explain how all I see is broken,
    wrong, and betrayed. Explain that.

    Jimmy swallowed the bait and took the lash.
    It’s just how you see, Da. All wrong. Nothing good,
    ever since you lost your job. It’s you, Da.

    ‘Twas how we learned the meaning of rhetorical.

  8. Troy DeFrates

    Cruel Was The Wife

    I was once a strong warrior so I thought
    Until my wife went through her mid-life change
    Chaos and violence is what she brought
    A psychotic event, she was deranged
    Once her loving husband now I’m estranged
    She could not see that she had a problem
    Manipulating my world she arranged
    She brought in a swat team stood behind them
    She called me a terrorist my anthem
    They set a trap for me and took me down
    All from her lies she made up on a whim
    There was nothing there, innocence was found
    They let me go finding nothing was wrong
    They realized they had heard a siren’s song

    1. Jane Shlensky

      The Biblical Scholar

      Exodus examines exploits
      of ex-slaves’ excited exits,
      experiencing explosive excrement,
      exhorting exorcists,
      exclaiming excuses,
      extolling exhaustive
      explanations from experts
      who exalt eccentricities.
      Expect an exam.

  9. PressOn


    When I was young I had no glasses
    but, nonetheless, I got no passes;

    in middle age I got some specs,
    about the time I left my ex;

    bifocals later were prescribed
    so I could see what I’d imbibed;

    later still I got trifocals
    to tell the middles from the locals.

    Nowadays I’ve shifting vision;
    my lenses are always in transition

    but still, their imprecision vexes:
    I can’t tell the esses from the exes.

  10. Troy DeFrates

    Toxic Subtlety

    Arsenic given to you over time
    Some women will kill you slowly with glee
    Knowing this first hand it happened to me
    She would attack me no reason or rhyme
    Play the victim then you have done no crime
    The toxic subtlety I did not see
    So slowly I did not know I should flee
    Slowly she killed me quietly sublime
    By the time I knew she was really sick
    It was too late to recover my home
    I was beat down by words and by brute force
    Bleeding me out as if she were a tick
    Left me dry and pale like a garden gnome
    Playing the victim it was me of course

  11. Rayn Epremian

    One Word

    exquisiteness is
    a salvaged fifteen
    minutes drinking
    coffee out of jam jars

    a homeless man called us
    he said it
    like it was all one word
    like it was a given
    like it was a beginning
    and [silly me]
    I believed him

    1. ppfautsch24

      Missing Ex’s
      I miss you and at times, like the Jackson 5,
      “I want you back”. We both went on with our
      lives, after a fight to keep our love alive.
      We danced around our feelings with date nights,
      sex days where we both couldn’t wait.
      Just one touch it took; we explored and experienced each other while romance blazed.
      We were both crazed lunatics, stopping because
      it was just too much for the both of us.
      I don’t want you back even if I could; even if you
      By Pamelap

  12. Cam Yee

    The Exoskeleton of a Delicate Insect

    This carapace is broken,
    the crisp chitin that encased
    all the vulnerable parts
    has parted
    and the soft insides
    have spilled
    like curdled milk
    on a clean counter

    if curious enough
    to take a teaspoon,
    stir and separate
    this viscous mess
    to see what
    makes it tick,
    you may find
    my small heart
    barely beating.

  13. Jrentler

    sugar glider

    rises when the sun sets
    when will power’s clocked out
    & no one’s minding the pits

    the crypsis crawl of noctorno
    born of midnight bloom
    bats, not bees
    spread his seed

    he sings,


    like smoke from lips
    the urge-a marionette leap
    the twirl to whoosh
    bowing to frigidaire

    he feeds with your hands
    till empty, moon or both
    are dragged out to the curb

  14. SarahLeaSales

    The Extraterrestrial’s Condition

    When all the stars gathered
    for one big constellation party,
    Cancer & Capricorn got into a Civil War;
    Gemini, being Siamese, had it worse.
    Leo & Taurus fought like a bull & a matador,
    while Pisces–a rather cold fish–
    bitched about Aquarius being
    too fresh with his salty language,
    finally going batfish insane,
    flinging Scorpio into the Darky Way,
    scaly & scabby from his incessant tail pinching.
    Libra felt the weights of the universe on him,
    hitching a ride on Halley’s Comet
    to regain his equilibrium.
    Sagittarius fancied himself as Cupid,
    setting his arrow on Virgo,
    until he found out from Ophiuchus
    that horny Aries was more her type–
    that her burgeoning lusciousness wasn’t from too many
    Moonpie shakes at the Starlight Diner.
    Even a loser in love like him had to admit that
    it was a bad sign.

    Note: Ophiuchus is the lesser-known, thirteenth sign of the zodiac.

    1. ppfautsch24

      Just want to float on the music from
      Pandora’s Box, feeling at home with
      songs we choose and sing.
      Chilling at the downing of the sun;
      beginning of the night, midway through
      our time to relax.
      No words needed, for the lyrics stream
      from our Pandora’s Box.
      Keeping us tuned in our relationship goals.
      Music soothing our souls, kaleidoscope
      thoughts put to rest, you catching the rhythm
      of my beat, and me breathing your essence.
      As we lie between the sheets and
      Pandora’s Box streams us to sleep.
      By Pamelap

  15. Sara McNulty

    Low Expectations

    If you start with low expectations
    you will live life on an even keel.
    It is possible to feel exaltation
    if you start with low expectations.
    Start your list with an examination
    of where your are on your own spinning wheel.
    If you start with low expectations
    you will live life on an even keel.

  16. writinglife16


    We met for coffee
    and he reminded me
    why he was my ex.
    His first words were not
    that I had put on weight
    or gotten shorter,
    but that I had more gray hair.
    He remembered my one vanity.

  17. Bruce Niedt

    Just for the sake of inspiration, here’s one I wrote a few years ago that won 2nd place in Robert’s PAD challenge at the time. It was later published and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

    Postcard to the Ex

    There’s a bear in the back yard
    and piranhas in the kitchen sink.

    The kids are dressing like clowns
    and the bank took back the TV.

    The car lost a wheel and a door.
    Someone painted our windows black.

    Your favorite chair caught fire,
    and last night during the storm,

    a huge tree limb crashed
    through the bedroom ceiling

    and onto your side of the bed.
    Wish you were here.

  18. MET

    To MY EX-Boss on Her Retirement

    I dreaded facing you
    Too many days…
    I would be the brunt your jokes,
    You implied I was a slut, and
    Treated me like dirt.
    I saved your ass
    Making you look like an excellent leader
    When I should have let
    That house of cards fall.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    June 27, 2018

  19. madeline40

    Exacerbating Times

    The extent of the damage
    cannot be explained
    except in terms
    of superlative examples:
    An excess of water thoroughly
    explored the walls and floors
    from the kitchen upstairs
    to the bath, laundry room, offices,
    and the long hall down below.
    This necessitated excising
    drywall and hardwood expansively,
    three excruciating days
    of drying machines
    exhaling 100 degrees
    into our house,
    and an exodus to a hotel
    to avoid the heat.
    While an exact time
    to execute the repairs
    is not known,
    we will probably
    exhale and exclaim victory
    In three months’ time

    And that’s no exaggeration!

  20. Jason L. Martin

    In a Museum of Explanations

    The placards next to artifacts we leave will read,
    “The people did not know the damage they had done.”

    GPS won’t get you there because we’re dead.
    Kids of our kids of their kids will meet with no emotion.

    Though we cannot see the future, when we lead
    with technology we lose humanity.

    1. k weber

      great food for thought. i have had thiughts on this same topic but your details are wonderfully unique. a sad vision but sadly i agree with it in many ways; enjoyed reading this subject matter in a poem.

  21. Walter J Wojtanik


    “Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.” ~Aldous Huxley

    You live and learn
    earning your respect
    and stumbling your way
    through this world. You hope to build
    strength and character and
    strength of character
    to anchor you. Feet firmly planted,
    convicted to depict a man
    who makes his mistakes better
    each next time he makes them.
    Never curse the sins visited upon the son
    for they were merely lessons the father
    never got around to teaching.
    Nothing wrong with reaching for the stars,
    venturing far from home base,
    yet keeping our heart close to the place
    that bears your footprint.
    Not all missteps are mistakes,
    every deviation takes you to a new location.
    For generations this had been your station.
    But your errors are the foundation upon which
    your life was built. Becoming sturdy
    and strong, ending up where you belong.

  22. Troy DeFrates

    Surrogate Dreams

    When your hurt follows you into your bed
    Impossible to escape the real pain
    I’ve tried everything possible in vain
    Sleep brings memories that are bad instead
    Cruelty has my reality shred
    Beaten by my wife that went pure insane
    Memories haunt me remaining my bane
    My dreams release my fear within my head
    If surrogate dreams were something so true
    Plug in at night to replace dreams of fear
    Escape reality in my deep thought
    Replace my darkness with oceans of blue
    Take away my angst replace it with cheer
    Surrogate dreams to hide pain you have brought

  23. PowerUnit

    Texas Lovers

    If I don’t get it exactly as she wants, well
    we all know what happens next

    She has high standards
    rationalization of unreasonable expectations

    Give and take is no shake and bake, they should give exams
    make sure you know what you’re getting into

    No point exacerbating things, you can’t win
    winning is losing, if you know what I mean.

    If only I could exhume her skeletons
    make the playing field even, level things out

    I know she gets around, too
    exotic types like her attract all the attention

    Can’t get overly excited about it, though
    there’s green grass in all them fields

    Need a plan, execute the steps
    efficiency and effectiveness, as though it will help

    I don’t know, it’s exhausting thinking, like this
    if only she could straighten herself out

  24. Anthony94

    Divergent Expectations

    They talk about soybeans
    extract conversation from soil
    and sky the curl of leaf the bend
    of stalk. She is prone to exaggerate
    her interest in the depth of green
    as he shields his eyes to size
    up newly rolled bales of hay

    expressionless, he is the strong
    and silent type, murmurs now
    and then over the extra time
    needed in the cucumber beds
    vines gone rangy like the
    cantaloupes but soon to fruit

    doesn’t believe in experimentation
    keeps all his seed packages from
    previous years to match variety
    and number on the backs of old
    envelopes a perfect example of
    how he still writes programs
    from his days in InfoTec

    exemplary as it all seems
    she longs for scattershot and risk
    the serendipity of jumping in
    the Chevy and heading any
    which way just because
    she’s tried to explain her spirit
    sags under the sameness
    but such soul baring exceeds
    his capacity for comprehension
    can’t be reduced to zeros and ones
    his expectations not hers

    1. ppfautsch24

      Anthony, an exemplary poem, loved it and especially the line(s): and risk the serendipity of jumping in the Chevy and heading any which way just because she tried to explain her spirit sags…
      Love how you wove the sentences; flowing from one to the next! So effective!

  25. taylor graham


    They crowned you Laureate, but only for a year.
    Umbellularia californica (bay-laurel) grows wild.
    Every poem has a life of its own.
    Look, now you’re an “ex.”
    As the Pony Express once galloped through,
    “All things must end.”
    Those refugees from civil war, where are they now?
    Silk worms. Tea plants. Gold mine toxins.
    Just count the days/weeks/poems….
    Cooper’s Hawk is the death of songbirds.
    And a big welcome to your thank-you bash!
    … wild as the wind
    Whisper the westerlies Sayonara.

  26. k weber

    No exception

    We always exercise together
    even if it’s just the ecstasy
    of two exceptional minds
    in the throes of excess
    intellect and extra sweat. I
    trace X over my heart with no
    explanation. My shy mouth
    excels at kissing instead. Let’s
    exceed all limits, wrestle limbs
    until Excedrin. Let’s wrestle
    tongues in exquisite argument
    until we are exes.

  27. Walter J Wojtanik


    Life is a wilderness, an unexplored place full of deeds and words.
    And given the chance, I doubt if we would even change
    it one iota. Until we reach our age quota, we cling; wrap
    our arms around it like a drunkard to his bottle.
    For the price we pay, it is indeed a bargain,
    so go after life loaded for bear!

    Wrestle life with your knurled hands, bare
    and aching, breaking its will with the words
    you choose. Use your whole being, seeing the bargain
    on your showroom floor (you get more for your change).
    Stuff despair’s genie back into its bottle
    and slip both into the brown paper bag wrapping.

    No matter how hard it comes rapping
    on life’s door, there’s much more living to bear.
    The elixir of youth is a myth; there is no bottle
    to give you years of vigor, living is the trigger – a forward
    step into that unexplored future to nurture change
    and reap much more in the bargain.

    No cost is too great to make your life a more fulfilling bargain.
    Our time is short, and we waste it cavorting and snorting, trapping
    our souls in a downward spiral gone viral. We need to change,
    rearrange our ways and live our days with the bare
    essentials. Faith in our purpose, hope in our future, love of the words
    we offer to heal our wounds and soothe our souls. Do not bottle

    everything inside, or hide your desires. The resulting bottle-
    neck of emotion will sap your devotion, rendering life as no bargain.
    In plain jargon, this place of deeds and words
    will devour us if we do not see its worth; get wrapped
    up in it. It lives in the depth of your soul: bare
    it. It’s never too late to change.

    Like many nickels and dimes, we line God’s pockets like loose change,
    We wait to be poured out like fine wine from dusty bottles.
    But, be aggressive in its pursuit. Bear
    down and give your all, and if you fall, get back up again.
    Be free to live unfettered, unwrapped.
    Be willing to love fully in deed and word.

    Words alone will not foster change.
    Remove the wrap of deceit; pour from the bottle of truth.
    It’s a safe bargain that living will be worth everything that you bear.

  28. connielpeters


    E nthusiastic, to say the least.
    eX tremely happy, call for a feast.
    C onfident and eager, having a ball. Absolutely not
    I ndifferent at all. Animated and
    T hrilled beyond degree.
    E nergized and
    D riven—nope, not me.

  29. Poetjo


    It’s hard
    to believe
    they once
    said the
    wore the
    clothes and
    to love

    It turns
    had a
    of 4 years,
    3 months,
    and 21

    he’s an
    she’s an
    and they’ve

    that they’ll
    or until

    So I
    the devil
    up the
    to ask
    it looks like
    is here


    It’s nice
    to know
    in this
    that we
    can all
    count on

  30. Troy DeFrates

    Protecting Her From Herself

    Protecting my wife I was misguided
    She was mentally ill I kept it hid
    Until one day she snapped and popped her lid
    That was when it ended I decided
    Protection from her I had provided
    Into a psychotic event she slid
    I cowered in bed hiding like a kid
    Her fury and wrath just was incited
    I hid like a baby she screamed at me
    Head under blanket she struck with fist
    She was not normal she was not herself
    Broken and abused I had to be free
    I did not fight back, I did not resist
    I could not protect her from her own self

    1. tripoet

      I think the only way to help people understand mental illness is to share and to write about their experiences. It starts a dialogue. It is as though this poet’s love was hijacked by his love’s mental illness. Thank you so much for writing & sharing.


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