No Newbs Please, We’re SF

You can’t say sci-fi
If you want us to take you

Don’t use time travel
Post-modern SF holds it

Any fool can write,
But science fiction is a
Highly refined art

Prompt: Genre poetry
Form: Linked haikus




Compliments hang, speared
On subtly barbed comments,
Disguising deadly intent.

Weave between the lines,
Better to be a cold fish
Than a terrible warning

Prompt: Fishing
Form: Sedoka


Fall asleep.
Good morning.

Begin the day.
Good evening.

A child is born.

Chase after hours.
Memories are fading.

Go back to reclaim them.
Catch the soft moonlight.

My children’s children.
Grown and leaving.

Fight the darkness.
Fall asleep.


Prompt: Incorporate three of five suggested phrases.
Form: Invented. I’ll think of a name for it tomorrow.


In such a narrow margin, close confined,
Between the crushing depths and empty space.
This thin, sustaining band where life can grow.
How perilous existence is for fish.

PROMPT: Set underwater.
FORM: Unrhymed blank verse.

Warm Up Stretches

Last month, I attended a poetry workshop. After most of the others there had shared their work, and had constructive feedback, I shared mine. I got told that I demonstrated “good use of language”, but that my offering was “not poetry”. The instructor didn’t explain what I was doing wrong, just that I was, definitively, wrong.

That hurt, far more than it should. Some people are jerks, and I know that. But it really hurt to have my work shot down with no explanation. When I saw this challenge, I knew that I had the perfect way to put that hurt behind me, and get back to writing.

So here is my warm-up piece, a kidney punch to the ogre of insecurity. Warning: naked sarcasm ahead.


The English is good, and the grammar correct,
But this is not poem.
The rhythm is fine, and the stresses line up,
But this is not a poem.
The metaphor struggles on atrophied limbs,
The rhyming is weak, and the words just don’t sing,
And it’s not the way I would have written the thing;
No, this is not a poem.

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