Prompt #28: In the Company of Strangers…
Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides Blog #200
“Take the phrase ‘In the Company of [blank],’ and replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then write your poem. Possible titles might include: “In the Company of Strangers,” “In the Company of Poets,” and “In the Company of Abraham Lincoln.”
#29As April draws to a close, I find this nearly-last prompt bittersweet. While I am enthused to begin revising my new body of work, I have enjoyed simply responding to the prompts with no direction other than inspiration. I think we are often too busy writing ‘productively,’ that we forget to write for the joy of it.
Prompt #29: Paying Homage
Do you have a favorite poem? Something that speaks to your heart, always giving you a little zing every time you read it?
For me, just about anything by Khalil Gibran moves me. I realize that his poetry may have fallen out of ‘fashion,’ or worse, that modern poets find him sentimental. That doesn’t change the way his work moves me.
Consider your own favorite poem [I realize you may have to narrow your search down arbitrarily].
Then choose a line. Use it as the first line of your new poem.
#30Even as I typed out this last prompt, I found it a little anticlimactic. Is that it? All the prompts? I’m done then? I don’t really want to be done. No worries. While the prompts won’t continue in the same daily fashion, I look forward to sharing the many great poems that have been shared with me, either in the comment section or via my email at email@example.com . I also will share with you more information about materials that have inspired my own writing journey. So despite the fact that National Poetry Month is drawing to a close, we will Write On.
Prompt #30: The End… or Telling a story in Reverse
Our brains are uniquely wired to follow narratives. We love stories.
But sometimes stories don’t unfold naturally, with a beginning, middle, and end.
Try to tell a story in reverse, with the last thing first. For added depth, consider one of the poetry forms we explored earlier in the month.
Here’s one example I’ve been experimenting with:
Two Fathers and a Birthday
His reaction was instant,
the flush sweeping up his face—
I image the tiny capillaries bursting from the force.
His hands balled fists,
the nails digging dried and dead cells from the centers of his palms.
Causal Relationship I
A kick, lashing out, not even from the hip, just the knee,
as if tapped by a reflex hammer,
sweeping the feet out from under the tiny body
that slammed into the floor,
the air compressed from lungs
so that the ragged cry was delayed.
Causal Relationship II
At four he should’ve known better,
but daddy pointed and smiled
and it seemed so funny just to hall back and hit that guy in the balls,
the guy who was teasing him,
and daddy didn’t like him anyway,
so that’s just what he did,
just hauled back like a pitcher on the mound,
let his fist go like a rock flying from a sling shot.
Causal Relationship III
Her chubby fists clutched at his ears, a tree-monkey,
and he had both hands full of her knees so that she wouldn’t go
tilting backwards. She felt safe,
which was all that really mattered.
He teased the four-year-old who had picked
on his daughter, calling him four-year-old names like
pooper-scooper, and dookie-head.
He didn’t see the fist coming.
Causal Relationship IV
The sling-shot fist landed with precision,
was rewarded with a high-five,
while daddy with a tree-monkey struggled NOT to buckle,
his face a Dali.
I sat on the couch, considering another piece of cake,
mildly concerned that the 55 gallon fish tank
might be the real ‘victim’ in all of this if it didn’t survive,
and I couldn’t wait for the whole slew to get the
hell out of my house.