Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 450

For today’s prompt, write a something goes wrong poem. What goes wrong? That’s up to you. Could be something minor (like burning popcorn or locking yourself out of your house) or something more significant (like being robbed or forgetting how to write poetry or something).


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Here’s my attempt at a Something Goes Wrong Poem:

“maybe it was my fault”

maybe it was my fault
or maybe the weather
but someone spilled the salt
& i can’t tell whether
to absorb all the blame
or shift to another
like that potato game
i played with my brothers
when i always did much
but i never did wrong
at least that i’d admit
when in the heat of it
as if singing a song
that i know but can’t touch


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 tends to err on the side of taking the blame as opposed to shifting it.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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54 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 450

  1. Jane Shlensky


    Perhaps dark clouds moved in at night
    obscuring moon’s bright face and stars,
    the trunks of trees stand shadowed, cold,
    night birds sound mournful seeking mates.
    Perhaps some hardship, private shame,
    some sorrow shrouded you too long,
    some sad acceptance broke you down–
    some angry tense futility.
    I calculate what could go wrong
    to change you so, to steal your joy.
    “Was it me?” I want to ask–
    cliché or not, I’d like to know.
    No supposition serves me now
    with nothing to direct excuse.
    I only know light left your eyes
    and this disguise will not suffice.
    Something’s gone wrong, something’s amiss,
    something I might have helped you through
    had you confided any clue,
    but now without a hint of hope
    that we have shared something worthwhile,
    that years of loving offer peace,
    something’s gone wrong, something’s amiss,
    and I don’t want to live like this.

  2. lsteadly

    What Kind of Fool

    I can’t help but think,
    Dad, that you made a mistake
    asking Mom, you know,
    your ex-wife, your love- hate
    woman, your red devil in
    tattered lace, the one
    who cheats to move back
    in with you, Dad
    cuz we, my bros and I
    are not down with that
    not even
    fifty percent, even though that’s likely enough
    to keep the both of you
    rusted and crazy
    ‘til the end

  3. grcran


    They took down that stoplight at last
    God took it on down made it fast
    The hurricane gave it a blast
    They took that darn stoplight on down

    They will not be putting it back
    Location was all out of whack
    No school there no choo choo train track
    Father time turned that stoplight around

    That corner had many a wreck
    (well one should you bother to check)
    Can’t stop the cars speeding breakneck
    That stoplight caused brow-furrowed frown

    And so Harvey had the last word
    Wind blowing so hard it was blurred:
    “Accelerate!”? Large motors whirred
    No go, stoplight. Get out of town

    gpr crane

  4. Eileen Sateriale

    The Breaking Point

    Through the years you have wanted to be
    independent of your father and me.
    When you were a child,
    Your father and I offered you many opportunities.
    We worked hard to give you a good childhood
    because we wanted you to be a successful adult.
    We did many fun things together.

    We understood that you have different opinions on things.
    But the last time we saw each other, you went over the line in insulting us.
    You made fun of our family traditions.
    You mocked me by calling me by my first name
    and not showing me respect.
    Your behavior was extremely rude.
    The incident of calling your father a sick old cancer patient
    and picking up a chair to assault him while destroying the china cabinet
    was a breaking point.
    We must tell you that we cannot and will not
    tolerate such behavior.
    We deserve a peaceful home.

    You are grown woman now.
    You possess many fine credentials.
    You can make your own decisions;
    however, you are not allowed to disrespect or assault us.
    If you want nothing to do with us,
    we will respect your wishes and let you go on your way.

  5. Troy DeFrates

    Loving Too Deeply

    I cannot let go
    You are in my constant thoughts
    I live through your breath
    How many ways can I show
    Happiness your love has brought

    Your love is too deep
    I cannot live up that high
    Suffocating me
    I don’t want to make you weep
    In love with another man

    A Somonka Style Poem

  6. headintheclouds87


    Goin’ nowhere
    After leaping
    Without thinking
    On the first train
    My bleary eyes saw
    That fateful day.

    Destination was unknown
    I was not shown
    A map from innocence
    To turning fully grown.

    I muddled through instead
    Making my own mark
    Wherever made sense
    At that precise time
    Stepping off at the stations
    That appealed at first glance
    Before shuffling to the next
    Tail between my legs.

    Faces came and went
    Plans and dreams slipped
    Into the shadowy tracks
    Or simply became warped
    By the harsh rust of time.

    Things went wrong
    Lives became derailed
    Ultimately hitting the dead end
    Of unrequited love
    Only to then roll out again
    A passenger drawn to the pain.

    After years of aimless yearn
    And bridges carelessly burned
    I come to the final stop
    The fabled end of the line;
    Settling in a comfortable life
    Might seem tedious to some
    But a relief to the feet and mind
    Of a soul weary of wandering
    From restless point to point.

  7. De Jackson

    Bad Blood Blues

    Hey won’t you play another somebody done somebody wrong song?
                                                                                     – B.J. Thomas


    I have grown weary of heart
    -ache and heartbreak
    and the un
    -quiet mistakes that unravel
    us, whole
    the strains
    that stain our souls and pluck
    the chords loose from our rib

    Somebody do some
    -thing right, for a change –
    arrange this hum
    into some harmony
    of clouds and sky and sea
    see if we can fly.

    We’re all done
    wrong, thronged
    in our own dark spill.
    We’re all thrilled
    by storm. It’s all a
    scribble-scrum of silence,
    with us
    as eye.


  8. PressOn


    Oh, a chocolate binge can get rough,
    for, in truth, I cannot get enough;
    I must say, it’s a craving
    that segues to raving
    when faced with the lack of the stuff.

  9. Walter J Wojtanik


    He was a poet and hated the approximate.
    Rainer Maria Rilke
    from “The Journal of My Other Self”

    This Walt, quite precise to a fault,
    drifted away from his passion with words.
    His darkness preceded him and he conceded
    that his craft to him, felt combative.

    Drifted away from his passion with words,
    he found what he said had been said before.
    That his craft to him, felt combative
    is a testament to the utility of his poetic futility.

    He found what he said had been said before,
    he felt like a repetitive bore and what’s more,
    his testament to the utility of his poetic futility
    was an admission to his failing at maintaining his pace.

    He felt like a repetitive bore and what’s more,
    writing the glut of emotions he had felt and feels
    was an admission to his failing at maintaining his pace.
    Prolific was terrific for a while, but it wears on one’s soul.

    Writing the glut of emotions he has felt and feels
    dealt with his life of love and anger and despair and loss.
    Prolific was terrific for a while, but it wears on one’s soul,
    and losing control of your muse was like verbal abuse!

    Having dealt with his life of love and anger and despair and loss,
    exposed the truth about his other self; made words seem wrong!
    And losing control of your muse was like verbal abuse!
    Lately he tended to struggle with the words he’d use!

    Exposed, the truth about his other self made words seem wrong!
    His darkness preceded him and he conceded
    that he tended to struggle with the words he’d use!
    This Walt is quite precise to a fault!

  10. SarahLeaSales

    Gone Girls

    When she was 16
    & saw all the pretty young girls
    on TV who disappeared,
    she thought of herself.
    When she was 36
    & saw the same still happening—
    their once lovely flesh as cold as ice,
    or brittle as ash,
    their lovely bones sometimes
    never found—
    she thought of her daughter,
    knowing there would come a day
    when she would have to let her go
    to find her own way,
    praying that no one would be
    waiting for her
    or happen upon her
    to stop her.

  11. grcran

    and it mends somehow

    communication breaks and when it does
    it was it is as if it never could
    have been unbroken flabbergasting thing
    goes round in circles doubles back retreats
    attacks won’t compromise speaks louder can’t
    hear anything at all in swirling noise
    at last wave white flag somehow mending it
    unmeaning vitriolic bad display
    communication picks up after and

    (and yes, the poem is over, right after the second “and”… or was it the first one)
    gpr crane

  12. Sara McNulty

    No Cake Today

    for some
    cake baking
    ingredients. Bag
    was heavy to hold as she walked
    to her car. Keys were at bottom of her shoulder bag.
    Shifted sack to fish for her keys. Paper bag ripped. In parking lot lay one dozen smashed eggs.

  13. tripoet

    Don’t Take Your Cellphone on a Sailboat

    I learned that no matter
    how hard you try,
    You can’t teach
    a cell phone to swim.
    And while my photos
    weren’t drenched, they drowned
    and are now somewhere
    unattainable, like a cloud.

  14. connielpeters

    Little Sister

    In June, cellulitis took over my right arm
    and it took two rounds of antibiotics
    to convince the painful itching that
    it didn’t belong there, but before
    the pink faded, pain in my right shoulder
    showed up with a vengeance. Chiropractor
    and team busily set about manipulating
    my bones until the pain reluctantly softened,
    but a nerve got pinched and took it out
    on my right hand which alternately
    tingles, feels like it’s gripping gravel,
    or on fire, scalded or stuck with needles.

    Rubbing it helps and I do it so much
    that Hubby says it looks like I’m petting
    a dog. So I named my right hand Little Sister
    and patiently wait until the docs figure out
    what to do with my pet hand. Meanwhile
    Big Sister is getting impatient from doing
    all the work. Did you ever type a poem
    using only your left hand? I did.
    So after three months, I’m sleeping little,
    petting and naming my right hand
    like it’s a dog and hoping something
    will go right with Little Sister soon.

    1. Sara McNulty

      Yes, I know exactly how you feel. During the last year I went from torn rotator cuff, to broken wrist, to removal of a lump – all on my right. I wrote, typed, and did crosswords with my left hand. Healing takes a long time. Stay well, Connie.

  15. PowerUnit

    Life is a pain in the a22
    That doesn’t mean you can lay
    Your butt on clean green grass
    But I’d take boredom over panic anyday

    Of course Murphy had it right
    Knew the facts of the matter
    Whenever one tries to spit
    It always ends up in a splatter

    You can’t grasp a mad wasp
    Take a break and walk away
    It’s hard to see the good in a crash
    Save your anger for a rainy day

    Go ask Sally, go ask Pete
    Find some friendly cheer
    Cuz your mind is full of sheet
    Go drink a cold stein of beer

  16. sincerescribe

    When you face mishap, hold your composure.
    With God’s peace, you will obtain exposure.
    His grace avails while facing your bleakness.
    His strength girds you in the midst of weakness.

    Learn on God’s everlasting arms for poise.
    For you, He will quiet the background noise.
    Steady yourself in fellowship with Him.
    He makes your situation look less dim.

  17. taylor graham


    a Golden Shovel poem on lines from Tess Taylor’s “Big Granny”

    I almost missed, on a creek bend, in
    that wild stretch of canyon, those
    boards weathered gray as winter woods,
    slap-dash leaning structure on stilts – a
    child’s playhouse? shadowy
    mystery left in place without foundation

    above dry creekbed. Then the rains; they
    tear at rocky banks, an oak that took
    nails in its trunk, bark split apart
    to hold the tiny cabin up. Her
    secret place – if a girl’s play-house –
    so far from any home to call her back to
    supper, chores. A place to save
    for herself. Nothing left now except the
    gray-as-winter boards.

  18. Anthony94

    Maybe it’s Me

    The mockingbird wheeling like
    a gray and white striped whirligig
    screams at invisible cats, her three
    nightmares clustered around my feet
    where I pull weeds in this garden
    where everything’s wrong

    weeds burgeoning in this crazy drought
    water grass cattail wild asters
    where I don’t want them although
    I save wildflowers for bird and
    butterfly today I hate the dead
    ironweed still towering where
    they sprang with once bright
    purple heads punctuating the heat
    like some lover’s bouquet
    Johnson grass spiking in the middle
    of the daylilies already going
    dormant and the brown furzed
    heads of coneflowers shouting

    summer is over and I don’t want to
    think about icy roads and frozen pipes
    when there’s still so much to make right
    like cutting out the ash seedlings before
    they grow more rings in the middle of iris
    beds and having to slice off yucca since
    it grows best only in the wrong place

    I watch hummingbirds begin to bulk up
    for the long migration to Central America
    males gone already, females and fledglings
    from now until frost, wonder how they
    convince themselves to beat
    tiny wings and soar for more
    than five hundred miles when in the
    space from phlox to black-eyed Susans
    I’m exhausted by unkempt rock
    borders where faded sedums cling
    to roots of dried Queen Anne’s Lace
    growing piles behind me to be
    hauled to the burn pile where they
    will sit until the first snowfall

    blame it on the clouds blocking the
    light even as I revel in the lack of sun
    with its burning eye that sees all
    it’s just that today has been all scold
    and chase trying to find a bluebird
    with its elusive happiness the stuff
    of a greeting card but not reality.
    I’ll blame the mockingbird still
    flying from hedge tree to rooftop
    the cats flopped under the bushes
    not the cause of her frustration so
    maybe, just maybe, I’m what’s wrong.

  19. Darlene Franklin

    Fall has arrived
    Only a twig
    Holds me to the dying tree
    Left too long without care
    Color fading, my skin dry and cracked
    Wind-blown, disease replaces health
    I’m withering away
    It’s time for a transplant

  20. Darlene Franklin

    I wrote this a couple of days ago . . . it seems appropriate. I’ll try for something new today.

    Fall has arrived
    Only a twig
    Holds me to the dying tree
    Left too long without care
    Color fading, my skin dry and cracked
    Wind-blown, disease replaces health
    I’m withering away
    It’s time for a transplant

  21. Poetjo

    The C Word

    or maybe
    it was
    two or
    in her

    filled her
    a sharp


    and all
    of us


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