Poetry Prompt

1. Open your laptop
2. Drop in Billy Collins’ mouse and watch it
3. delete everything you wrote last week then
4. recreate words from its footprints
5. Accuse the words of lying
6. Fan them with a bellows until they blow off the screen and
7. land behind your eyes
8. When the words form tears
9. remember they are only mouse droppings
10. lying beneath the lines of your poem

~bw 22
The Napo prompt for Day Four suggested a poem in the form of a poetry prompt.

my scrawl

Open the fold where my scrawl falls
beneath its shadowed caul
uncontrolled and unopposed.
It covets chaos
stirring currents through my sternum.

It wants to feel your heat.

Brenda Warren 2020



How to Write a Poem

Imagine teaching your dream writing class
filled with adolescent poets
waiting to be sparked.

Tracing our hands,
we generate topics—
one feeling for each finger.

Teacher Lady gives the first one.
Elation: word of the week.
Everyone writes it on a digit.
What else you got?



City Girl says poverty isn’t a feeling. Giving rise to replies.

You ever been poor?

Stuff it, City Girl.

Isn’t poverty like being hungry all the time? –that’s a feeling.

What about poverty of spirit?

City Girl says good point and
so . . .
elation, sorrow, poverty, and greed!
There’s another one—greed!

Teacher Lady interjects—
Yes City girl,
like a poet’s greed for words
her hunger, aching to be fed
that absent muse
that’s what hurts.

Hey Teacher Lady
Why you call a poet her?
seems – (his fingers air-quote this part)—
“non – in – clu – sive”
Poverty Boy pronounces every syllable in singsong
nodding his head back and forth.

Good point, Poverty Boy
nothing feels equal.
Maybe you should write about it.
Express your angst.
Express your elation.
Your words open cracks
that need your light.

Open your journals.

Some Other Kid retorts
Look at our hand chart.
We only have four feelings.
What about our thumb?

Teacher Lady replies
Add angst.
a feeling of deep anxiety or dread
something that needs light
later we’ll revisit and make today’s word shine

Here are your words:

elation, sorrow, poverty, greed, and angst
Pick one or more.
Dig deep.
You know the drill.

20 minutes on the timer and…..

The entire class yells,

Heads down,
relentless pencils scratch and explore.


Notes: This piece follows today’s NaPo prompt to write a How To poem. It lost the formatting when I uploaded, and wish I knew how to upload audio from my phone. This is best served out loud. Day 2. Check!

Caw! Caw! Caw!

Like a crow without wings,
I fall toward syllables
exploring the dark
searching for light
recording caws climbing up from cracks in my soul.

Brenda Warren 2016

The first line of this poem is adapted from a line in Linda Hogan’s poem “Skin.” Her line is “like crows without wings.” For our final poem of April, Elizabeth suggested that we write a piece to anchor our work this month.

A big thank you to Elizabeth, whose suggestions have driven and inspired a large number of my poems this month. She created the badge below to honor our achievement… 30 poems in 30 days! Caw! Caw! Caw!




Words disappear like toads in underbrush,
croaking and invisible,
protected from above by their thorny destination,
while the soft fertile comfort of ground moss below
caresses their rumbling underbelly of vowels.
Forgetting to form syllables
consonants recline,
forsaking words,
sitting sweet in the deep.

Brenda Warren 2016


iPhone Toad  ~  bwarren

Thanks for your gentle suggestions this month, Elizabeth. You are helping me persevere!

Spiderword Triversen

Spider webs hang their silk like cobs
from splintered stalks of sentences
that wonder where words went wrong.

Trapped in thick thread they struggle
to capture the cadence of chaotic rain
that drenches dreams in drowning.

Silver scissors shear through shrouds,
releasing clear sprays of syllables,
luminescing like the feathers on a grackle’s neck.

Purple then black then blue they shine
swirling pieces of soul pushed like silk
through a spider’s deep duct spinneret.

Brenda Warren 2016

Notes: A poem didn’t magically appear today. It was a struggle, so I turned to a poetic form. A triversen is written in tercets, or three line stanzas. Each tercet is a sentence. The first line should be an observation or fact, while the following two lines are used to set the tone, imply an associated idea, or carry a metaphor for the original statement. A triversen should also carry the rhythm of human speech having 1 to 4 stresses per line. Use alliteration.

Elizabeth provided six words for today, along with a prompt. The words are also posted at The Sunday Whirl. This piece is not written to prompt, but it was fun to try a triversen again.


Visit The Sunday Whirl


A basin of acid-fluxed ink, her stomach plunges & rises with peppery repression. Months of unwritten words scorch stymied syllables in her throat.

Subjugating silence with sound, she thrums and caws, spinning thought until words break free to proclaim their place in April’s pages.

One word, one poem, one day at a time, she begins to feel writing’s relief.

Brenda Warren 2016


Notes: The prompt for this piece is breaking the silence. Each day in April Elizabeth Crawford Katch will offer a prompt at 1sojournal. Pay her site a visit to see the prompt in its entirety, and to find other poets’ responses. It’s all about poeming this month.

Villanelle’s Ache

A hidden ache enunciates her sway
as broken bridges sink beneath her gaze.
She gathers words within a public bray,

some purloined bones to read another day.
She mends them into limbs amid the lace.
An open ache enunciates her sway,

it sings out sounds with all she does not say.
She strives to hide the phonemes she’s displaced.
Her stitches filter out the public bray

as mending meaning takes her ache away.
She waltzes secret stories under lace
like water whirling rhythm through her sway.

Embroidering the words her heart betrays,
she craves release from graphemes’ sharp embrace,
and hides again beneath the public bray.

Sometimes her needle stitches up the day,
arranging messy words she can’t displace.
A hidden ache enunciates her sway
and keeps her secrets from the public bray.

Brenda Warren 2014


Visit The Sunday Whirl


honeyed hives

before instinct gallops away
chase that whim through honeyed fields.
Resist logic.
Listen to buzzing undercurrents and
fluttering hearts .
Pollinate twisted papyrus hives
into colorful enzymatic etchings
where hibernating thoughts
cosset dreams and percolate
a viscous amber river
thrust into the world
through honeybees’ bellies
into this bumbling sticky poem.

Admittedly an odd piece, it is where the words took me. Being on the start of a family vacation, I played with it a bit in the car yesterday, and do not know where else to go with it. I read something about hornets recently. They make their papery hives by ingesting bark from area trees and puking it up. In areas with multicolored trees, they surpass magnificence. Honey also runs through a bee’s digestive system. They add enzymes to it to make it more viscous….apparently it starts out watery. Interesting stuff…I wanted to work it into this piece, and this piece resulted.

Please visit The Sunday Whirl for more pieces that incorporate the twelve words in the following wordle.