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Friday, April 8, 2011


Posted to Big Tent Poetry

This week’s prompt(s)

We are into April, National Poetry Month,
and some of you are madly writing-a-poem-a-day.
And some of you are saying, “Um, no.”
To keep all our circus-goers happy and well-fed
on cotton candy (inspiration) and peanuts (prompts),
here is a list of seven prompts:

1. Write about a broken window.
2. Write about something that no longer exists.
3. Write a poem with lungs in it.
4. Write a poem as though you are a fish.
5. Write a letter poem to someone in a war zone or a revolution.
6. Write a poem that starts, “I am sorry about _____.”
7. Write a poem that starts, “Legend says ______.”

Also posted to Writers Island


Just like me he used to smoke
Hand rolled reefers; cigarettes
That’s what they tell me at least

So I set about my task
Tobacco at the ready
Tissue-thin rolling paper
Sprinkle, roll, lick, seal and light

Fill both lungs full of toxins3
Exhale to his memory
Friend of a friend of a friend

The death of a chain-smoker
Who survived Afghanistan5
Only to fall to Cancer
At the age of twenty nine

Legend says he’s a hero7
History thinks otherwise
Local history at least

Our man – let’s call him John Doe
Is a year passed-on today
Played his part for his country
In a scene from Hell On Earth

Back to civilisation
Where the Peace On Earth Brigade
Play a war-game of their own

Hiding behind their morals
Those without, sin; cast their stones
Music to rabble’s ears, who
Love the sound of window pain1

…Stones and glasshouse residents

Hero saves another day
Takes his wife into his arms

She’s beside herself, poor soul
And flapping about the house
Like a fish out of water4

Justice – what’s all that about?
Whatever became of it?
The justice heroes deserve…?

Alas it no longer exists2
…If it ever did at all

I am sorry about that6


  1. Stan, This is brilliant! Daft me, it took me more than half way through to get that the footnotes referred to the prompts. Very impressive! I'm tempted to try it myself before the end of the month. I'm sorry for the passing of John Doe. War kills, its in its nature, and democracy propagates it as much as anything else. Don't get me started.

    I appreciate your insight and story.

  2. Very good poem and clever use of all those prompts.

  3. Thanks to:
    Brenda; Get you started...? Provoke a reaction...? That's what its all about... isn't it...? :)
    Mad Kane; Had to at least pay them lip-service.

  4. This also links so cleverly with your broken window senryu, So many strands to this poem have set me thinking that it's hard to pick one, but I'll try: `Legend says he’s a hero7
    History thinks otherwise`
    sent me wondering about history teaching in school being so much about wars and heroes that it's no wonder war continues to despoil our lives - it's the done thing.

  5. Thanks Viv; School History is very confusing - it starts with hero worship and war and leads to political debate - or is it the other way round?

  6. It's a good day for poeming today! This is your best so far, I think.

    Love that comma in 'those without, sin.'


  7. Thanks I'mnotaverse; I was hoping that would be noticed.

  8. Yeah, we are (I am) quick to judge sometimes. Life/death just are. No favorites.

    This was wonderfully written.

  9. Thanks to:
    Thingy; You said it...
    Gautami; Much appreciated!

  10. Stan - it's so cool! such a clever use of the prompts! and "that justice"... I think it never existed, though it's a shame. But then, what isn't a shame nowadays? Or, any days, for all we know...
    I really love this piece.

  11. I majored in social history. Once read an incredibly long history of a nation based in religion. In over 800 pages, there were three women named and all in the same sentence. Afterward, I went outside to weed the garden, and did war on the tomato plants. I don't particularly like tomatoes, but it felt so damned good. Then went back in the house and tossed the book in the garbage. So much for social history.

    Your poem is excellent, wise, and wonderful in so many ways. Thank you, Stan.


  12. Thanks to:
    Mariya; I guess in life, nothings ever fair.
    Elizabeth; Total fiction, but I guess not far from someone's truth.

  13. Stan, how clever to use all the prompts and arrive at a cohesive piece. Reading the comments I see it is fiction, but you are correct it could someone's truth. Excellent poem.


  14. Hey Stan have missed you - how is ya???

    Glad to see you are doing the poetry month thing. Have fun!!!

  15. All seven and no jolts. I'm impressed. Even more, since the poem makes a good story.
    I'm suddenly reminded of the WWII era cigarette roller I found in my father's closet in the 70s. It was more trouble than it was worth for recreational rolling.

  16. Thanks to:
    Pamela; Wasn't sure how it would go, but quite pleased with the result.
    Uma; Sometimes it just clicks.
    Moondustwriter; Hey Moondust - all good.
    Barbara; I knew a guy with one arm who could roll the perfect 'recreational' smoke.

  17. fish out of water is desperate.

    well done entry.

  18. Thanks Jingle; I know... and it's not even me... Loosly based is the way to go.

  19. Glad to read in the comments that this is fiction. Fantastic job of using the prompts, and sadly there are many for whom this is too close to the truth.

  20. Thanks Gloria; Some can survive the war, then find it difficult to survive the peace...

  21. Thought this was quite insightful...everyone claims the moral high ground, but justice is evasive. A lot of raw emotion...very good. Vb

  22. Well done, writing to so many prompts! Thanks for the prompt you gave me too!!

  23. It's cool that you used all the prompts but what's cooler is that you wrote a tribute to a real person. I love poetry that makes a statement whether it's personal or a reaction to what's going on in the world. Pretty poetry is a dime a dozen but real words like this really mean something. Great work.

  24. Oh, I just read in comment that it's fiction. You are indeed damn good. :)

  25. I will add my "impressive" to the sea of accolades for a job well done! A list of prompts that do not seem to go together...you managed to fit quite nicely. And told a good story, to boot!

  26. Truth and fiction are bedfellows...this is a superb piece. Provocative and purposeful, it's old and timely, too.

  27. Thanks to:
    Versebender; Sometimes you can't do right for doing wrong.
    Andy; And the prompt for today is: re-arrange 'noi rips topside'.
    Zouxzoux;For all we know this could be a real person...
    Whenwordsescape; Encouraging words - appreciated.
    Tumblewords; The world is always at war one way or another.

  28. What Tumblewords said. Stories & poems are our truth.