LEADERS - not followers

Wednesday, July 21, 2010



Surrealist automatic writing works like this:
“Sit at a table with pen and paper; put yourself in a ‘receptive’ frame of mind, and start writing. Continue writing without thinking of what is appearing beneath your pen. Write as fast as you can. If, for some reason, the flow stops, leave a space and immediately begin again by writing down the first letter of the next sentence. Choose this letter at random before you begin, for instance, a ‘t’, and always begin this new sentence with a ‘t’. Although in the purest version of automatism nothing is ‘corrected’ or re-written the unexpected material produced by this method can be used as the basis for further composition. What is crucial is the unpremeditated free association that creates the basic text.” (from
Surrealist Games by Alastair Brotchie)
So for this week’s prompt, do just that. Choose a letter of the alphabet at random, then sit down (either with a pen and paper, or with a blank page of your word processing software), clear your mind of any preconceived thoughts/notions/images, and just start writing or typing. If you get stuck, then stop and jump down to the next line: begin writing the next sentence with your randomly chosen letter. Write for about ten minutes.
Now, you have your written material. You have the choice of either a) posting your unedited poem, b) turning the raw material into a poem by only modifying minor elements such as punctuation and line breaks, or c) using the raw material and modifying it as much as you need for a new poem. If you like, you can post your unedited writing session along with your finished poem if you do either b) or c).


My mind trickles
Undeveloped thoughts
It’s a dripping tap
Keeping me awake

I don’t want to waste
A single drop
So I won’t try
To pull the plug
On the dripping tap
Keeping me awake

But the trouble
That always comes
With a dripping tap
Keeping me awake

Is this:

As the drops begin
To accumulate
The noise that comes
From the dripping tap
Keeping me awake
Strengthens to a thud



Serves only to prolong my insomnia



I hear

Each one


The sounds

They make


On touchdown

My concentration
Is diluted
As distraction
Becomes annoyance
At that dripping tap
Keeping me awake

A paradox
At distraction
Triggered by
Dripping tap
Keeping me

I’m still no closer
To the solution
To the dripping tap
Keeping me awake


  1. i love it. I will try it SAW. for my desk tomorrow. great poem!

  2. Thanks Dianne; When 'T' was suggested, it stuck... and I started with 'Tonight' and thought along the lines of insomnia.

  3. but on and on it drips into incredibleness (a combination word bringing together incredible and edibleness) and it gives birth to your wonderful poem, no longer hungry but stuffed with deliciousness and exhaustion... loved it! ;)

    Image & Verse

  4. Thanks Rob; And it either stops of its own accord... or the floodgates open.

  5. chuckle. been there.
    Until we got it fixed, I put a watering can under the drip, which was just irregular enough to be distracting. the tone changes with the amount of water in the can.

    I do like that drippy little section leading to "shatter"

  6. Thanks Barbara; This is the final version. What preceded it was just a mess of words.

  7. This is great Stan! Last night for me it was a barking dog. You've hit a universal here. Brilliant piece, I love it.

  8. Thanks Brenda; Dripping taps,. barking dogs; we have to blame something.

  9. Stan insomnia is a horrible thing it seems as if every little sound is magnified 10 times. I love this stream of thoughts!

  10. Well composed. These little distractions arise at our hour of peace- sleep, editing and so on. Strong write.

  11. Been there, done that with dripping water, Stan. Drives me crazy. Now I hear very little though, as I fall asleep listening to CNN!

  12. Thanks to:
    Pamela; Often the cause is those thoughts that drip from our minds, refusing to develop.
    CRStone; The more we dwell on the distractions, the more they irritate us.
    Mary; Tonight... CNN... Jay Leno... zzz ;)

  13. LOL. This reminded me of my son, upon hearing a radio program today said, "This is a sound effect of water"... but he couldn't leave it at that, "when the drop splashes...." so specific, just like your delightfully engaging (albeit to you, perhaps plain annoying!) poem!

    My attempt at this week's prompt.

  14. Oh, what a big drip. LOL -- seriously, Stan, this is amazing. I love what you did with the line breaks, and -- although the surreal is evident -- the reality is that you've transmitted many waking/sleeping thoughts that are familiar to many people. Bravo.

  15. Thanks to:
    Julie; Lying awake at night, thoughts drip like water, but oftren theyr'e only clear as mud.
    Linda; 'Sleep on it' - much easier said than done...

  16. Welcome to Thursday Poets Rally week 25, which run July 22-July 28,, you are represented as fresh poets:

    Sign in here as New participant:

    Leave your poem link here and comment for 18 poets from participants list New 2 you:

    Hope that you enjoy the fun!
    Happy Thursday!

    ignore if you want to stay out.

  17. Thanks Jingle; Let's give it a go!