Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 202

Author:
Publish date:

For this week's prompt, I was inspired by the recent Heather Bell interview: Take a true event (whether in your life or another's) and fictionalize it. You can determine how far to take the fictionalization, but try to push the envelope a little and make people question how much is real and how is fake--and hopefully, have trouble leaving your poem even when they're not reading it.

Here's my attempt at a fictionalized true event poem:

"At the Laundromat"

As the machines internalize their rotations, some guy
decides to break the hum-thump-hum. He says, "These
dryers are better. Just saying for when you move yours,
because you never know when they come in and service
these," and he gives the machine a kick. "You never know,
know what I'm saying?" I smile and nod, think about how
I have trouble telling people I don't know what to say, but
he continues, "I've been here a long time, and I've only
ever seen them service anything once. By the way,
rats get in through the bathroom window. Not good."

I use his pause to pick up my book, but then, he asks,
"Ever meet those folks across the street?" "Nope."
"Well, they're pretty nice folks, but they'll follow you
wherever you go. Like sometimes they'll follow me
right out of the building and keep talking to me, and
I'm like, 'Dude, I went outside to get a smoke and be
alone in my space.'" I kind of laugh and look at my book.
The words are there, but I can't seem to grasp them.

He says, "You remind me of an old friend. He used
to smile all the time, and we called him Smiley."
"I get that a lot," I say. "Nothing wrong with smiling,"
he says, "my older brother never smiled. He was
built mean and would dunk my head under water
over and over so that I only ever had a split second
to catch my breath." And that's when I start to rotate
with the machines. My smile, my thoughtful eyes--

the poet in me notices the insects caught on bug
tape hanging over the washing machines. It's almost
midnight and they fly in for the fluorescent lights.
A moth lands next to my foot, and I can't help
but step on it without feeling a guilty about what
I've done that I'd probably never do again. I wonder
what my life might be like if I had been built mean.

*****

Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

*****

Build Your Copywriting Career Today!

Learn how to break into copywriting and make a career freelancing with the bundle Freelance Writing: Build a Copywriting Career. This bundle includes three books, a subscription to WritersMarket.com, an OnDemand webinar, and more.

Click to learn more.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 28

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write a story using only dialogue.

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Nicole Galland: On Returning to Familiar Characters

Bestselling author Nicole Galland explains what it was like to dive into writing a series and how speculative fiction allows her to explore her interests.

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

6 Tools for Writing Nonfiction That Breathes

Nonfiction author Liz Heinecke gives her top 6 tips for crafting a nonfiction book that will really capture your subject.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 27

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write something that makes you laugh.

Poetic Forms

Ars Poetica: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at ars poetica and the art of writing poems about poems.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 26

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about an article of clothing.

Authors Share Tips on Writing Mystery and Thriller Novels That Readers Love

23 Authors Share Tips on Writing Mystery and Thriller Novels That Readers Love

23 authors share tips on writing mystery and thriller novels that readers love, covering topics related to building suspense, inserting humor, crafting incredible villains, and figuring out the time of death.

Jaclyn Goldis: From Personal History to Historical Fiction

Jaclyn Goldis: From Personal History to Historical Fiction

Debut author Jaclyn Goldis explains how her novel When We Were Young was inspired by her real-life grandmothers and how many times she rewrote her first chapter.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Forced Decision

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Forced Decision

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, force a character to make a decision.