Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 486

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a waste poem.

For today’s prompt, write a waste poem. Maybe the poem is about wasteful spending or toxic waste. Or maybe your poem deals with a wasted moment, which could be a bad thing…but also a good thing if you’re wasting time in the right context, right? Of course, the poem could also include waste that is recycled or re-used in a positive way too.


Poem Your Days Away!

Online poetry prompts are great! But where can you get your poem fix when you unplug? The answer is the Smash Poetry Journal, by Robert Lee Brewer.

This book collects 125 poetry prompts from the Poetic Asides blog, gives poets plenty of room to write poems, and a lot of other great poetic information. Perfectly sized to carry in a backpack or purse, you can jot down ideas for poems as you’re waiting in line for a morning coffee or take it to the park for a breezy afternoon writing session (or on a bus, at a laundromat, or about anywhere else you can imagine–except under water, unless you’re in a submarine or a giant breathable plastic bubble).

Anyway, it’s great for prompting poems, and you should order a copy today. (Maybe order an extra one as a gift for a friend.)

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Waste Poem:

“Summer Waste”

Lay waste to the days of summer to come
and let the endless beat of summer hum
like a band that plays with or without drums.

We will fall into the heart of the heart
of our souls and praise our falling as art
even if it’s only a remnant part

of a dream we dreamed in the beginning
when love was a fun game we were winning,
clasping our hands and kissing and grinning.

We fell and fell as a matter of taste
in and out with a foolish sense of haste
because time’s always better when we waste.

53 thoughts on “Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 486

  1. Avatartaylor graham


    The courtyard’s walled off from the rest
    of the continent. The birdbath swarms with
    pigeons, not doves. No dark-caped stranger
    slips under the balcony at midnight. Where
    are the love songs? A stone Venus poised
    as a mannequin stands whitewashed
    by visiting birds. Such a waste. The garden
    needs weeding. Only briefly an old lady
    wanders here at evening. You might hear her
    muttering as she passes by. I hate old
    poet men, it sounds like. But it might be
    just a grumble and a sigh.

  2. AvatarAdelineChou


    Deep sunken eyes, pale translucent skin
    Cherry red lips and raven black hair
    A thin white cigarette dangles from her mouth
    When she inhales the smoke warms her up
    Filling up the emptiness she feels inside
    And when she exhales
    The smoke follows the wind
    taking pieces of her with it.

  3. Avatarwelltravelledbag

    First time here. Here’s a short but serious one called “Bad Co”.

    Monoxide on toast,
    It taste juss like toast t’me,
    thinkk left oven onn…

  4. Avatarmayboy


    When I smell the fish,
    its plastic odor makes me sick,
    and my stomach is on the brink,
    I want to vomit all the sh**.

    When I see the raw meat,
    the antibiotics reached the limit,
    and my stomach is on the brink,
    I want to vomit al the sh**.

    When I feel the acid rain,
    the corps is not the same,
    and my stomach is on the brink,
    I want to vomit all the sh**.

    When I listen when they meet,
    their decisions have no lead,
    and my nerves are on edge,
    I want to vomit. Where is the summit?

    1. Avatarppfautsch24

      Wasted time with you having a drink of no inhibitions, and the look of addiction in my eyes the feeling intense from the liquid heat racing through my veins.
      What a lovely waste, the time and our mood in no haste, but your touch is too much, the heated moment reaches its height.
      The drink in hand is going to be wasted and make me waist deep in trouble with you as I go to bed a hot mess in tangled sheets.
      A good drink of you and I get wasted every time in the heat of the night.
      By Pamelap

  5. Avatarcoletrain919

    Each year compelled itself into the next.
    A momentum of yearning, breathing in time.
    Slow breathes. Attention to the turbinates,
    The pharynx, the diaphragm, the intercostals.
    And then, four years later, to the sudden absence of breathe.

    So we flow into and out of time. The forgetfulness of those years,
    When time lost its meaning, buried itself in blissfulness.
    Waste not but awaken to its passing. Time lost, time gained,
    If only we could travel back in time, at least for a moment,
    So I could be with you again.

  6. AvatarJuanita Lewison-Snyder

    parting gift
    juanita lewison-snyder

    being with you sometimes is a little like
    being a wolf stuck in a trap with a chewed off leg

    you can’t heal by going back to
    what broke you in the first place

    maybe the truth is
    we’re just better off apart

    here’s the trap back.
    keep the leg.

    consider it my parting gift.

    © 2019 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  7. AvatarBer

    Watch Over Me

    Left thrown out
    Isolated all alone
    No one to shelter
    His worn out bones

    Scavenging scraps
    Thirst for the next puddle
    No number on the door
    No place
    To call home

    No letters to greet him
    Only the letters of his name
    No address to deliver them to
    It seems no one is to blame

    No job no hope
    Fear on his back
    Wondering what tomorrow
    Will bring
    His mind is weak
    He is about to crack

    No one stops to ask
    What his story is
    No one seems to have time
    He watches on
    Doesn’t seem to mind

    What a waste
    As his eyes fix on
    A left over sandwich
    He is about to salvage

    Prayers they fall on deaf ears
    As day turns into night
    He slowly disappears
    No one cares

  8. AvatarJane Shlensky

    Waste among the Poor

    The very poor know where refuse
    is dumped, know how to pore
    through the decay to eat, to find
    treasures that can be pawned,
    to cobble together a home
    and furnish it. They find clothes,
    shoes, books, some things
    brand new and in their boxes
    that someone considered trash—
    a dozen day-old doughnuts,
    a new sweatshirt of the losing team,
    a case of expired canned goods,
    shoes, almost new, a crate of antique hats.
    The very poor are often homeless
    but camp near dumps to use
    what some consider useless,
    to share their finds, knowing
    what to keep and what to sell.
    They rely on the carelessness
    of others, the absolute
    wastefulness of a society that
    would shun them on the street
    as if they are rats or roaches,
    other species that deal in refuse.
    The very poor have a low
    carbon footprint and can define
    waste even though they don’t
    necessarily understand it.
    He hands me a back pack
    filled with books, paper,
    pens, and gym clothes.
    He points to his hovel
    where an expensive framed
    painting leans against the wall.
    “Why would someone throw
    this away?” he asks. “What
    happened here? Do you know?”

  9. AvatarJane Shlensky


    Hearing him spew his hateful rhetoric,
    she drew upon her Easy English class
    about the adding of suffixes
    to make adjectives.
    Wasteful, she called him.
    In what way, others asked.

    Hateful is full of hate.
    Dreadful is full of dread.
    Joyful is full of joy.
    Helpful is full of help.

    He, she carefully explained,
    is full of waste.
    OK. Got it.

  10. AvatarSheepCarrot

    Living Will to Die

    I see her lay there
    A shadow of the spark she was.
    Her mind still there
    Still aware
    …at times.
    I hold her hand
    Gently, her bones frail.

    DNR, DNI
    Her living will to die.

    Tho the stroke took her voice
    She still understands.
    We talk to her,
    But words are hard.
    “I love you, Aunt Patty.”
    I say it, over and over
    Fighting my tears.
    She tries to smile,
    Touches my hair.

    DNR, DNI
    Her living will to die.

    So hard to watch her
    Waste away.
    We sit with her
    And wait.
    And wait.
    Psychic vultures
    Waiting for death.
    I remind myself
    It’s what she wants.

    DNR, DNI
    Her living will to die.

    In Loving Memory of Aunt Patty. We Miss You.

    1. Avatarkayjay

      Wow. Very touching. Painted a picture and took me back to the place & time when I went through those moments with my grandmother. Prayers to you and your family

  11. Avatargrcran


    not frilled with nation-pride no more
    done had my fill
    what if they gave a war and not one soldier showed
    big corporations will not ration
    their own greed
    i paid my taxes like to get what i been owed

    taught public school gave up gave in
    but did not cave
    most kids will read write figure if you candy them
    and so much time is wasted on
    the standards test
    results not worth it whether you are rep or dem

    now add the waste of advertising
    package wrap
    duplicitous and bureaucratic paper chased
    unchaste campaign champagne bubbles of
    behold the most faux-noble of the mega-waste

    gpr crane

  12. AvatarWalter J Wojtanik

    BLACK BANANAS, by Walter J Wojtanik

    The fruit fly population grows.
    It knows the bananas are going bad.
    It’s sad that this source of potassium
    and carbohydrates suffers such a fate.
    The skins are slimy and necromantic,
    it is usually automatic they are trash.
    But, too much cash goes into their
    procurement. And those damn flies
    are lured to their fragrance.
    A microscopic happy dance.
    Oh boy. I think that blast of banana
    has gone to my head. I dread…
    Hey, wait a minute. That’s half-baked.
    There’s bread where those buggers breed.
    From mush to batter to bread.
    A trifle better instead! Blackened bananas
    make me grin. It’s a sin to let them waste.
    They’d be much, much better around my waist!

  13. AvatarWalter J Wojtanik

    WASTED TIME, by Walter J Wojtanik

    “If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.” ~ Ivan Turgenev

    Seconds tick.
    The tympany of lost moments
    left to linger in the anteroom of thought.
    In the expanse of eternal existance,
    we offer resistance to the passing of days,
    hoping to delay their demise; returning with
    each new rise of the sun. But, when we are done,
    will we be remembered for all we strived to be?
    Or will we be forgotten in the unmarked grave
    of obscurity? Our procrastination is telling.
    Time’s a wasting. There’s no tasting success
    until we kick up our heels and initiate.
    Tick, tick, tick,…

  14. AvatarWalter J Wojtanik

    HASTE MAKES TIME WASTED, by Walter J Wojtanik

    The past was forgotten;
    with no chance to jar a memory
    disguised as yesterday’s dreams.
    Out of sight and out of your mind,
    you’ll find yourself
    suddenly stirred to remember.
    You were in the country
    when you first saw her,
    near the willow tree,
    across a spreading field.
    You felt the urgency,
    a race to embrace her.
    But you wound up running
    through quick sand.
    What was your hurry?

  15. Avatarkayjay


    Today, I woke up before the sun timidly peeked it’s head from beyond the sky
    Eager to prepare myself for the day, excited about another opportunity to see you
    Using my face as a blank canvas, painting the various palettes of color upon my skin
    Hoping to transform into a work of art, that is pleasing to your eye
    I slide on my dress, the dress I laid out last night thinking just of you
    Grasping for the possibility, that maybe this time you will glance my way
    Silently trying to convince myself, that the longing in my heart is not being wasted on you

  16. AvatarSara McNulty

    Rumination is Wasteful

    Used to think my poor choices a waste
    of time I would never recoup.
    Then realized I’d learned from each sour taste.
    Used to think my poor choices a waste,
    now I look back and smile–regrets chased.
    Culled from each event, small pearls were scooped.
    Used to think my poor choices a waste
    of time I would never recoup.

  17. Avatartimphilippart

    In the Eyes of the Wastrel

    Let’s skirt the numinous and say
    all my time is mine.
    No one pays rent for my hours anymore,
    one person’s waste is my mad money.
    I like to describe what I do with my time
    in the pejorative voice.
    I like loafing—
    reminds me of a warm hunk of bread in both hands,
    dripping a quarter stick of butter from each.
    Loitering is good–
    just hanging around,
    probably, where I should’t be,
    together with ne’er do wells,
    poked by cops with batons
    while warning of vagrancy.
    when we tell them there is nothing to see here, move along
    they don’t laugh even though we try to be Obi-Wan.
    Waste time– call it that if you want.
    chewing the fat is disgusting fun, if it’s the right fat,
    twiddling my thumbs, which I never do except, when I say twiddle,
    I shoot the breeze,
    hang out,
    bum around and,
    kill time.
    It’s my time so,
    don’t waste yours defining it.

  18. Avatarconnielpeters

    Dear Mother-in-law

    You taught your son well, lessons
    you learned from The Great Depression.
    I’ve been married to him forty years.
    and he’s starting to not feel uptight
    when I throw away a salad dressing bottle
    without rinsing to get the last drop out,
    a serving of vegetables or moldy cheese.
    We may have saved money, over the years
    but we teetered on the edge of sanity, at times,
    spending more time, effort and energy
    than a left-over bologna sandwich was worth.

  19. AvatarDaniel Paicopulos

    Time’s a Wastin’

    There’s so much need for Good,
    for helping selflessly.
    What a waste of energy
    to leave the high road for
    the low.

    Things change,
    power passes.
    What a waste of time
    to place one’s name
    on high.

  20. Avatarheadintheclouds87

    A Message to the Clock Watchers

    We’re so quick to dismiss
    Minutes spent thoughtlessly
    By others we see around us,
    Through our judging eyes
    That can only glance quickly
    Because we’re in such a hurry
    To mindlessly glide from Point A
    To a surely just-as-riveting Point B
    (Rinse and repeat – daily,
    Weekly, monthly, yearly…)
    Living life in a straight line
    Ignorant of what lies sideways.

    Who the hell are we to decide
    What is a waste of time?
    Us drones so ruled by it,
    Becoming its unwitting slave
    Instead of shaping it to suit
    One’s own state of mind?
    Those who have are the blessed-
    Daring to fit in their own pleasure
    In a brazen and flexible schedule-
    The creators and dreamers
    In this otherwise dreary world
    Painted beige by tedious men.

    They’ve read the books
    That you’ve only pretended to
    As they lie neglected on your shelf;
    They’ve created whole worlds
    With tales of endless wonder
    While you condemn imagination
    As the refuge of the childish;
    They’ve stopped and stared
    And absorbed the present moment
    While you watch every clock
    Like some self-important hawk.

    Who are you to define
    The best use of one’s time,
    When you dash from day to day
    With nothing to show for it
    Except time solely invested
    For someone else’s benefit?
    Maybe you’re the one who wastes it
    By so hopelessly squandering it.



    What is wasted when I am

    The doctor says I’m losing
    My memory every time I black

    She said, you don’t get
    To choose which memories are

    What if it’s the times you
    And I rode in the back of my
    Dad’s truck, fooling around on
    The highway?

    Or when we went to court and
    Adopted our son?

    Or when our daughter was

    Or when I asked you to leave and
    You left?

    I want that memory too.

    But I see the former drunks
    Standing around the community
    Center, smoking, and I don’t
    Want to be them,

    Sad leathery worn faces,
    Broken by time and drinking and
    Not drinking.

    I want to enjoy my
    Now and that means

    Cheers to today, and to hell
    With remembering it!

  22. AvatarPowerUnit


    I 80
    I 90
    I 290 and 294
    The Dan Ryan
    The big arteries of the heartland
    The clogged veins
    Pumping flat-screens
    Food, God, the food
    Shipped over our highways
    Converging on the masses

    Drive these roads late at night
    4 AM blackness, bleakness
    The roar of occlusion
    Threats of collision
    Industrial waste
    Flaking off like rain
    That never washes away

  23. Avatarwritinglife16


    Making an effort
    to be courteous and kind
    is never a waste.
    Like bees pollinate flowers,
    kindness can be spread around too.

  24. Avatarglpoetry


    A network of trenches
    I let you dig
    under my skin –
    tracks of Heartache –
    an ornate web
    of unseen scars, spun
    by Memory,
    a deft spider
    dwelling in the crevices of my brain
    with plenty to feed on;
    a true maestro,
    She knows how to make the good memories hurt
    as much as the bad.

    Is there no end to this meaningless mourning,
    this flow of futile tears
    shed for something
    that amounted to Nothing?
    Swept away
    as if they never were,
    as if none of it
    ever was.

    How real is the past?
    I feel it in abscesses –
    empty pockets of pain –
    throughout my chest,
    weighing heavily, constricting breath.
    And yet I feel it in dancing remembrance,
    flow through me, breathing life.
    I see it in pictures stored away,
    letters saved in a box
    for those days I need to feel the past
    between my fingers,
    tracing its lettering, its empty promises.

    Is there no way to stop
    piling on the Waste,
    as long days become seasons, years,
    all consumed by an insatiable past?

  25. Avatarwritinglife16


    She wondered if
    she was a failure?
    Or an example
    of two gene pools
    that should not have mixed.
    A waste of life.
    Or was she being melodramatic?
    She sighed and threw
    the fallen souffle
    down the garbage disposal.

  26. Avatarkhoward

    Don’t Mess

    The captain at the helm screamed
    One wave after the other streamed
    The ship rocked as it got beamed

    The storm grew as the wind howls
    The crew clung deep in the bowls
    The ocean had the ship in its jowls

    The storm came fast then went away
    The ocean calm a rainbow does play
    Now it became a vary beautiful day

    The ship sunk it’s cargo of garbage
    The ocean tried reject that barge
    The crew yelled never again in rage

  27. AvatarAnthony94

    A Fighting Chance

    We take her to the vet again
    this tiny four pound handful
    of black and white fluff a miniature
    beside her inquisitive twenty pound relatives

    she is a throw away, a waste
    a toss out from a speeding car
    come to a place she’s found
    with kin albeit puzzling in
    their frenzied feline games
    she watches from the sidelines

    still the outlier with her
    snotty nose and wheezy chest
    she’s undoubtedly been deemed
    a waste of food and effort
    but we’ve seen her a spunky spirit

    her wide-eyed gratefulness as
    she purrs urgently, tries to please
    and so again we travel to meet up
    with the country vet for a checkup
    and shots of antibiotic hope

    to help her tiny body fight
    what threatens to overwhelm
    home again she naps in the begonias
    but we know hers is not a wasted life
    she’ll get what every animal deserves
    a friendly hand, a fighting chance.

  28. AvatarJason L. Martin

    5:45 p.m., September 3, 2005

    I know this moment, I can feel its four walls
    with my bare hands, can smell its wet paint
    illuminating the newness, aware that it is drying
    as seconds advance. There are only so many
    breaths in a moment, they say twelve to twenty
    and I can’t slow them down any more, to push
    out with just one of those breaths, to say
    I love you.

    Before the time dries, you’ve gone out the door
    and seconds build into minutes into hours
    and regret’s fingerprints sit dirty on the walls
    where I’ve tried to push to extend this time
    so that if you come back, I won’t waste it all –
    that breath I used to dry the paint, but could not
    not find the voice to tell you. This time, I’ll tell you
    “I love you.”

  29. Avatartripoet

    Big Trash Day in Prairie Village

    It’s the day cars stop by
    Day and Night, neighbors
    And not neighbors,
    to inspect one another’s trash
    left on the curb. Later,
    when it’s dark,
    you can still hear
    the buzz through the streets
    until all are satisfied
    every item- gone.
    Oh what a waste!

  30. AvatarSarahLeaSales

    Getting Their Word’s Worth

    His words were wasted on the masses,
    hers, on him.
    He ran out of breath,
    she, out of patience.
    He found true happiness
    in the woman who could not speak,
    & she,
    in a boardroom of men
    who had no choice
    but to listen.

  31. Avatartaylor graham


    In that space between dream and waking
    you see him, robed in dark at edge
    of gorge. Horizon’s smokestack filling sky
    with storm. A truckload of thunder –
    river booming, or the heavens?
    A man you searched for, no one found.
    Birthday candles extinguished
    in waste of breath. Did he become river?
    You wake in the dark room,
    and in your heart I find the owl
    who knows all names.


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