Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #493: Rumor

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Jane

She kept a fake diary,
posted fictitious status updates,
& started outrageous rumors about herself–
all so no one would ever be able to answer the question:
Who was Jane Gault?

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 493

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Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #492: Marriage

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The home is the child’s first school,
the parent is the child’s first teacher,
and reading is the child’s first subject.
–Barbara Bush

Margaret Susan Got Married

When Miss Margaret Susan got married
& became Mrs. Peggy Sue,
she, who had been a cosmopolitan traveler,
became a domestic goddess,
defined & deified as such by her husband,
her conversation sparkling like the windows,
her cooking nourishing like the rain.
When she gave birth to Suzy & Margie,
she taught them all she had learned
from the days she had backpacked her way
through the lands of her lineage.
She read to them about all the places she’d been,
told them about all the places they’d go,
& what wasn’t in the books,
she could fill in.
She taught them that there was a time to travel,
a time to stay home,
& a time to bring home with her;
now was that time.
And when her husband saw her
under the Tuscan sun & the Parisian moon,
he saw her in a different light.
He saw that he had fallen in love with a woman
who wasn’t all she was because of him
but of all that had come before him.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 492

 

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #491: Anecdote

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Surely, He Jests

Josh Kidd,
having come from a long line
of laughingstocks,
spouted a one-liner every 10 seconds,
which induced gag reflexes
in his uninitiated audiences,
putting them in a bad humor.
The only antidote to his anecdotes
was to dull his monkeyshines
by giving him a shiner–
right in the kisser–
which not only made everything swell
but gave new meaning to the word
punchline.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 491

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #490: Comics Character

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Comic strips are the most conservative medium–virtually unchanged from the 1920’s— Scott Dikkers, founder of The Onion, January 24, 2019

Children of the Corny

There were Saturday morning Looney Tunes
& Sunday color comic strips–
where you could be blown up in one scene
& put back together the next,
where Blondie never aged,
Beetle never wised up,
& Dolly, Billy, Jeffy, & P.J. remained children forever.
She traveled from The Twilight Zone
to The Far Side,
living in an alternate reality
where the spaciest (both outer & inner) scenarios
made perfect sense.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 490

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #488: Walking

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John and Mary

Her lunchtime walks in Newbury Park
did not go unnoticed by the collegiate-clad young man
who watched her from his studio apartment,
sipping a chai latte on his balcony,
typing his thesis on his cell.
Every day, he saw the woman of his dreams
meeting the man of any woman’s dreams,
sharing a sandwich (never submarine)
but the diagonal kind made of shelf-stable bread and always served cold–
the stuff brown-bagged lunches were made of.
The man’s coffee was always hot,
hers, iced,
no matter the season,
their wedding bands shining–
butter yellow in the spring,
starburst yellow in the summer,
pallid yellow in the fall.
Were they birds or bears,
going further south
or hibernating for the winter?
But then,
one frosty night that turned his cheeks cherub,
he saw the man and woman
reading side by side on a bench
in the public library–
she, fiction
he, nonfiction.
He would learn that they had nowhere else to go,
for they could be there and not have to buy anything.
Then came the day that he no longer saw them
where kids used outside voices and books were free for a limited time,
where squirrels frolicked,
making arcs on the sidewalk,
where tables were set up with jigsaw puzzles
for the dodgy old men whose wives were dead or troublesome,
where the magenta buds of the crepe myrtles
hovered like feathers in the heat shimmer,
and where educated young mothers corralled their toddlers during storytime.
When he returned to college that last semester,
he saw the man and woman not as students
but as teachers–
teaching about the ideas and ideals
that had gotten them through
those long months of joblessness
that sometimes begat hopelessness
in a society that undervalued those
who wanted to do nothing more than teach.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #484: Summer

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Summer is Longer Here

She is the interlude who dances between the equinoxes,
her breath hot,
humid,
floral.
She is the intermission between grades–
not an interruption of education
but a continuance of all that is learned
beyond the glossy walls covered with old tape and dirty fingerprints,
of thin carpet pebbled with dried glue and freckled with chalkboard dust–
all of which make up the little factories that teach every child
like he or she was the same child.
She is the time for sleeping till not sleepy,
of standing in the rain without catching a cold,
and making messes outside that don’t have to be cleaned up.
She is the time for playing in the sun and sitting in the shade,
of lemon icebox pie on little saucers
and raspberry mint lemonade in tall glasses,
with more ice cubes than ade.
Then it is time to grow up,
and life is no longer measured in spring breaks
or summer vacations,
passing grades
or failing semesters.
Times such as summers gone by no longer come in huge swaths
but in moments strung together.
These former children find themselves wishing
they had enjoyed those summers even more,
but they did not know what they could not see
and now,
those moments stolen from themselves are spent
making their children’s summers everything they will remember
and one day long for.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 485