We sat on the front porch
and waited for the cars to drive by
From the left were hers
From the right were mine
a poor children’s game

She got the first
a banana yellow sports car
always she got the flash

The second was mine
a battered up Ford
always I got the trucks

But while she yammered on
about the engine strength
and sleek lines

I thought of the man
in the truck
How he had on a…

“Porche!” she screamed.
“Jackpot!”
pumping her fist up and down.

And my mind wandered back
to the man in the truck
and how in my imagination
he felt more
like home.

[Prompt 12: First line or last line of a book taken from a shelf at random. You’ve Got Something Coming by Jonathan Starke. First line: Trucks waited outside the children’s home. He had on a…”]

This weekend I had time to…
I found this on Pinterest and just had to try…
During quarantine I made all these…
I stayed up all night just to finish reading…

And typed into Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat:

“I’m so bored.”

I have never been to any such place
that could offer me such luxuries.

Please

Stop sending me your postcards.

[Prompt 11: Write a poem about or set in a place you have never been to.]

Moonshadow

To accompany Cat Stevens’ opening lines
the church bells rang in
tambourine and centuries old bronze

To if I ever lose my eyes
the golden sun ripples through
green-leafed trees

To if I ever lose my legs
two children pass by
peddling with laughter

To if I ever lose my mouth
my dog barks back
to my neighbor’s hello

It didn’t take long to find
the faithful light

And what else would I do
but stay the night

[Prompt 10: Please listen to Moonshadow by Cat Stevens and then write a poem as soon as the song ends.]

City Cottage

sweltering summer heat
we sink into midday lethargy
that strange sensation
wanting to move
yet completely unable
puddling into a fleshy porridge
mask our efforts
under the paltry breeze
of folded newspapers
fanning fanning fanning
until the first firefly rises
promising a show
for our front row seats

[Prompt 9: Write a poem using five of ten words provided.]

The Convo

🙄 Face With Rolling Eyes Emoji
“Have you lost anyone?” my student asks. “Has anyone you loved died – like your parents or your grandparents? Family close to you?”
I respond honestly, “No.”
“Huh,” she huffs, then turns first her eyes then her head then her body away from me.
We were done talking.
And now I understand why.
Having lost more than I can count on two hands.
Having lost track of the losing, lost track of exactly who was third or fourth, fifth or sixth.
If I could see her now, repeat that conversation, I know she would turn herself to me and lean in and nod, “Uh-huh.”

 

[Prompt 8: emoji poetry – adapted from the prompt]

Season of Apocalypse

In Greek the word means
unveiling or unfolding
to reveal something
we had not seen before
perhaps cannot even
begin to recognize
because we have
no frame of reference
for it to find a home
in our thought
So it’s true
we will need an apocalypse
to find our way
to anything new
A massive storm
of incomprehensible change
A complete freeze
of our past
and a blinding
sunrise of warmth
to thaw new pathways
we have never
walked before

[Prompt 7: Write a poem titled Season of the (fill in the blank).]

End of a Perfect Day

Five o’clock
beer time
on the side porch
crisp, piney, hazy IPA
first cold sip passes my lips
I exhale “I love you.”
“I love you too,”
my husband responds.

[Prompt 6: Write about your ideal day using only imagery and sensory details. It is fine if it is fragmentary.]

Take a Moment

hit pause
look upward
feet grounded on earth
sky sifted through leaves
down to my eyes
fractals finding a home
in my mind
I inhale
I exhale
I lose balance
and smile

[Prompt 5: photo of sky through trees]

Dad

The final song at your funeral was, “How Can I Keep From Singing?” And I choked on my own tears and could not give those words flight to meet you. “You should sing at the top of your lungs at least once a day,” you advised your children, singing as you washed dishes, mowed the lawn, stood beside us in the pews on Sundays, as you tucked us in at night. I want you to know not a day went by that I didn’t sing out loud, usually in the shower, both loudly and badly. I sang parody lyrics to match events in the world around me, usually from cheesy 80s songs. When Covid struck, I could not sing for weeks. I felt too heavy to lift the words from my lungs, too fearful in uncertainties to belt out loud sound. This past week, I began to sing again, loudly and badly. I can hear your funeral song in my head, and I now have two answers to the question, “How Can I Keep From Singing?”

[Prompt 4: Write an epistolary poem that is a letter from you to someone who has passed and/or someone you have not seen in a long time.]

What Difference

They begin days ahead
of the holiday
snap crackling pops and booms
One rattles the windows
“How is that legal?” we ask
but no one is arrested

The difference, an FBI sound expert says, is gunshots are all the same volume,
but firecrackers get louder and then softer and then louder again.

Our dog shivers behind the sofa
won’t even go out to pee
RayRay stays locked in his room
earbuds in all night and day
Both have been
on the receiving end
of the guns men held
in their hands

The difference, an FBI sound expert says, is gunshots are all the same volume,
but firecrackers get louder and then softer and then louder again.

“Fire in the hole!” the neighbor yells
before the sonic boom
I shove another pill in cheese
to feed the dog
throw out another bag
filled with RayRay’s empties

The difference, an FBI sound expert says, is gunshots are all the same volume,
but firecrackers get louder and then softer and then louder again.

[Prompt 3: Bop poem]

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