Prompts in Practice

Here I have some poems I wrote using prompts. I will post the prompts along with each poem. Enjoy!

1. Challenge Prompt/Poetic Form: Imagine yourself performing any household task/chore, then write a poem using what you’ve imagined as an extended metaphor for writing: an Ars Poetica.

Ars Poetica while Folding Laundry

A poem should be clean.
I should smell fresh and be warm
and soft to the touch.

Words should fold in and stack neatly, or be
hung in rows, sorted by color and texture, or
sometimes mixed and matched to make
new combinations.

Words should be thrown out when they are
stained or overused, when they are overstretched and
too loose, or too small, and not expansive enough
Or maybe just old and ugly.

Sometimes though, a hideous poem is a fashion
statement: so ugly it’s cool.

Whatever suits.
Whatever fits.

2. Short Form: Write a list poem.

14 Things I Miss About India

The scent of jasmine hanging heavy in front of ancient temples
The sea of beautiful brown bodies, amongst which I feel underdone
The wild exhilaration of an auto-rickshaw ride
A glorious cacophony as I open my window to the evening
The sweet fresh smell on the breath of Monsoon
The spices I taste on every inhalation and exhalation
Bathing in a bucket of precious water, grateful for each cleansing drop
Your mother: her small hands taking mine
Walking in the Theosophical society gardens, among secret dangers
Beautiful women in glorious Technicolor saris, each day a kaleidoscope
Knowing I stand at the source of every cultural stream I’ve ever stepped in
The innocence of children as they glance at me, shy and giggling
The Tamizh rolling off your tongue, and the anticipation
of your love in my mouth.

3. Epigraph: Pick a song lyric to serve as an epigraph to your poem. Then, write the poem to accompany it. The poem need not be directly related to the song.


You must know me, I’m one of your secrets/
From what I see, you’re trying  hard to keep it/

Well I belong to you, and you belong to me.

There is a secret here,
it’s open like a wound, but it’s yours.

Here it is:

You’re not sure how you can love me, but
you do, despite yourself.

It smarts.

My love for you burns so clean and hot, it’s like
antiseptic. It scours away your disease.

You hate it.
You want it.
It heals, it hurts, it makes

you weep, and that makes
me weep, too.

For me, my love, for me
and for you.

4. Hugo Poem: From Laume: apocalypse, sangria, AngKor Wat, hominid, voluminous, triangulated, wistful, baroque, evaporate, splinter, investigate, pontificate
Bonus: Poetic Form: Aubade

Aubade on the Steps of Angkor Wat 

I will steal away to the West, my love, down the front steps
Away from the breaking sun which now casts long
baroque shadows on the ancient reflecting pool.
It feels like a coming apocalypse.

Past the quincunx of towers, the monks in voluminous
saffron, with quiet faces, wistful eyes, drift in solemn lines
Time will evaporate them, my love; the ghosts of Vishnu
Can never completely be erased.

My throbbing consciousness triangulated: my love for you,
my duty, and my terror splinter my mind, my will. My heart
pontificates, yet my fear of death overcomes me, at dawn
I die, unless I leave you here.

No. Let the trees that grow here devour me as they will,
As they devour stone. Let them investigate my flesh, this
Lowly hominid, my bones. They will pierce me, my blood
become sangria. Drink deep, my love, drink deep.

5. Poetic Form Poem: Write a cinquain on a topic of your choice (1st line = 2 syllables, 2nd line = 4 syllables, 3rd line = 6 syllables, 4th line = 8 syllables, 5th (final line) = 2 syllables).


Bad is better
I’m lying in your arms
And feeding you chocolate and nuts
My love.

6. Single Word: Spring

April Fool

Spring makes fools of us all.
Rain sweeps in, washing us clean,
softening the soil: the earth succumbs
to love

Once again we are travelers,
fools, sailing off towards summer,
thinking only of lovers, of flowers, of the sun, who
these days is a stranger.

The raindrops pool in cupped leaves,
shoots rising , reaching for scarce light. We peer in
see a face of innocent wonder, curious, unafraid,
the fool

splashing gaily in puddles on his way.

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