Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 118

I don’t know what you make of photorealism. I like it without knowing why. I like the painting rendition of a photograph. It’s like a semblance of a semblance of something. A mirror of a mirror, so imagine you’re standing in a room of mirrors. It’s a non-ironic way of representation in a world that’s full of irony. That’s where I was trying to go with this poem. You can see the whole lot of David Ligare’s paintings here. Whatever it is, interpret the image via Magpie Tales or whatever else you see in your own unique way.

David Ligare still-life-with-grape-juice-and-sandwiches-xenia-1994

David Ligare, Still Life With Grape Juice And Sandwiches via Magpie Tales


Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 117

As someone who reads fiction, I often borrow stories. This one’s based on the novel by Marilynne Robinson, Lila. It’s actually possible to take a slice out of a book and then weave the story into a poem. Try it. And of course, in doing so, you’re taking on another self. The book deals with “life without comfort, without love, and that is the real life”, in the words of a reviewer from The New Yorker. It’s a slow book, for sure, and there isn’t much romance in it. Duh. Just tenderness. Well, your prompt would be to take on another self from a book.

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 116

chess-players union square damien derouene

photo by Damien Derouene via Magpie Tales

Magpie Tales provided the jump-off for this poem. It led me to a certain conclusion about the self. See where it leads you. The subject is, of course, the self. What is self, if I may ask. Does it reside in the mind and manifest as personality or intelligence? Does it exceed the mind or does the mind contain it? The kind of philosophy you espouse, is it important as an expression of the self you possess?

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 115

Hi there, been a while. I’ve slumbered, I admit. It’s kind of, you know,
having to keep silence. Well, not to worry, we poets would swing to action soon enough. April means NaPoWriMo–the 30 poems in 30 days annual ritual. I guess I would be writing feverishly if I don’t fall into another slumber. Red Wolf Journal will be announcing the theme for the Spring/Summer 2016 issue very soon, in fact, in time for April’s poeming. The prompt for today? It’s to write a poem which references the word “song”. That’s a big clue to the new theme, by the way. My lips are sealed for now.

Except to say my poem is inspired by this quote: “…the song of me rising from our bed and meeting/the sun.” Who said this, do you know?

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 114

Prompt 114:

Well, the prompt would be: what’s your truth? With a little help from Magpie Tales? With or without. You get to decide. You get to decide what’s your truth in your poem. You. Not anyone else but you. Your truth. Sorry this is all you get. Truth can be rather skimpy. Theme of the new Spring/Summer 2016 issue? Clue this!


All the true vows
are secret vows
the ones we speak out loud
are the ones we break.

There is only one life
you can call your own
and a thousand others
you can call by any name you want.

Hold to the truth you make
every day with your own body,
don’t turn your face away.

Hold to your own truth
at the center of the image
you were born with.

Those who do not understand
their destiny will never understand
the friends they have made
nor the work they have chosen

nor the one life that waits
beyond all the others.

By the lake in the wood
in the shadows
you can
whisper that truth
to the quiet reflection
you see in the water.

Whatever you hear from
the water, remember,

it wants to carry
the sound of its truth on your lips.

in this place
no one can hear you

and out of the silence
you can make a promise
it will kill you to break,

that way you’ll find
what is real and what is not.

I know what I am saying.
Time almost forsook me
and I looked again.

Seeing my reflection
I broke a promise
and spoke
for the first time
after all these years

in my own voice,

before it was too late
to turn my face again.

~ David Whyte ~

atonement letter


Photo via Magpie Tales

Prompts for Red Wolf Journal, Prompt 113

Hey guys, a new moon’s coming. I suppose Spring isn’t officially here yet but it’s definitely round the corner. I guess there’s no harm in starting my prompting for the new issue of Red Wolf Journal. What is the theme, you ask… and well, I’ll answer like this: when in doubt, write about writing! Alright, Clue: think of Spring/Summer. Yep it’s gonna be Spring/Summer 2016 issue running from March to September 2016. Mind you, I haven’t set a word down on the editorial so I’m not singing about it, but you know, just singing.

Prompt 113: What did Yeats say?
“The desire that is satisfied is not a great desire.”