Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #403: Useful Item


The Usefulness of Things

Mary Kay Downtown Brown lip shade
for whiter teeth;
Wet n’ Wild lip gloss
for wet, Foxy News lips.
Hair crimper,
for when you have
fine & frizzy
white girl hair.
Pink diary,
for when you need a friend
who’ll just listen
(& maybe an alibi).
White board,
for working quadratics,
& reworking quadratics—
a representation of my memory,
which is continuously being erased,
& recorded over
with solvable problems
I don’t quite understand.


Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #402: Form Poem (Pantoum)


Mr. Reed and Miss Wright

He loved the truth, so
he wrote hard news;
she loved the analysis of truth, so
she wrote features.

He wrote hard news
because he was a reporter;
she wrote features
because she was a writer.

Because he was a reporter,
he was hated for his facts;
because she was a writer,
she was loved for her stories.



Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #401: Repair



For what is broken
can be mended,
but what is shattered,
would be like trying to gather
all the tar balls from Pensacola Bay;
with cracks,
a pitcher can hold,
with stitches,
a garment can hold together,
but with pieces missing,
too much is revealed,
for the water sloshes,
spilling out what was left
that was still good.


Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #400: Event

Years ago, I remember watching the music video of Martina McBride’s “Independence Day.” It’s a great song (even though Sean Hannity uses it for his radio show/talking points monologue).

As a girl, I thought the song was simply about the Fourth of July, just as I thought “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver was about a high school.

Ah, the innocence of children.


Independence Day

She leaned on him,
but when he fell,
she found that she was
still standing—
sure of herself in every way
except her decision
to pick the right one
a second time.




Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #399: Betrayal


How I Knew My Mother

(based on the novel, Because of Mindy Wiley)

When she told me my father wasn’t dead,
but alive,
then told me he wasn’t my father
after all,
I realized the only people I could ever know
for sure—
that they were who they said they were—
were my children.

Yet, the first would leave me for the faith I had left behind,
the last, for the faith of the mother I had simply left,
so that I lost them both to God—
that same God who had labored for me,
rescuing me from the rubble and ruin
my mother had made of my life,
and all because of one lie.



Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #398: Bug


Mom’s Day Off

When Mom had a 24-hour bug,
the dishes did not do themselves,
and neither did the laundry get a bath.
There were sticky fingers & toes,
& a crusty little nose.
Paper was strewn about,
& Daddy had completely
checked out,
for he’d fallen asleep in the recliner
like Rip Van Suburban Dad,
& suffocated under all the toys
Hannah Banana Boo had ever had.


Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #397: Land of (Blank)

If a New York minute is thirty seconds, then a Southern minute is ninety.
–from “Poplar Bluff: A Memoir”


The Land of Dixie

Selling their messages on street corners are
Bible-bashers, cardboard-carrying hobos,
and dancing people wearing sandwich signs,
while cars plastered with Bible quotes
or slapped with a COEXIST bumper sticker,
coexist on the streets,
passing the temples of capitalism,
the cross-bearing churches that
capitalize on the guilty man’s soul,
seeking deep, silver-lined pockets.

The rapture’s coming soon for some
in this land of Deep South Protestantism,
where hearts are blest,
where everyone’s either saved or going to hell,
or just plain don’t know what the hell’s going on.

Pensacola Beach is the jewel,
set in fool’s gold turning green,
with its sand like ground pearls,
water vacillating between
emeralds and sapphires,
and homes the color of Jordan almonds.
The flip-flap-flopping of their footwear is their answer
to Australia’s slip-slap-slopping,
beating a rapid tattoo on the boardwalk.

Such paradise is everyone’s playground,
home to the earthly blest,
where few transplants are rejected,
their organs pumping the lifeblood
into the economy,
for which the tourists are both
donors and recipients.

I look around at my side of town,
at the heat waves shimmering off the asphalt,
the mud-filled potholes,
the never-ending road work;
I still see conflict and war,
deconstruction alongside reconstruction—
a rebirth of conservative nationalism.

I am home.

Note: Slip-slap-slop is a real thing: http://www.sunsmart.com.au/tools/videos/past-tv-campaigns/slip-slop-slap-original-sunsmart-campaign.html


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