Numbers, Countries, and Oddball Phrases: A Writing Exercise
Interested in infusing more whimsicality in my poetry-writing attempts, the idea for this writing exercise came to mind earlier this week. In it I will select from a list of numbers, names of countries, and oddball phrases in order to help write my poems. There are, as always, parameters I must follow: All numbers, names of countries, and oddball phrases must be used at least once; I can repeat a number, name of country, and oddball phrase only once in a poem; I cannot use any of the numbers more than five times; all poems must be less than twenty lines long; the poem titles cannot include any of the numbers, country names, or oddball phrases.
The oddball phrases:
A litter of confused philosophers
A frothy late afternoon
Without enough money to purchase a time machine
The singing underpants
I am not Batman. Are you?
Denied entrance into La La Land
Superheroes (Or Something Like That)
Jessica and five of her friends were discussing
what young children sometimes do: what superpowers
they’d like to have. Daniel, with his wispy
brown hair and sixteen freckles on his upturned nose, made
this declaration: “I am not Batman. Are you?” As so often
was the case, he looked earnest, almost desperate—almost
as if he were a wanted criminal repeatedly denied refuge in Bali or
Japan. Brushing her blonde curls out of the way, Jessica
surveyed the group and silently concluded that they
resembled a litter of confused philosophers. Oh, well.
They were her tribe, and, from her current vantage
point, she couldn’t imagine deserting them.
All I Want For Christmas Is…
…752 pairs of the singing underpants from Bali.
Wait a minute. If I am again denied entrance into
La La Land—it doesn’t matter if England has anything
to do with it—I only want five furry grapes to give
to my three canines and single (and unapologetically
grumpy) cat. The blemish sunflowers—why, pray tell,
are these only available in Peru?—I can easily do without.
Maybe this year I will practice being content and
finally desire less. Self-improvement, I’m
tempted to believe,
is right around the corner.
A Traveling Fool
Without enough money to purchase a time machine,
Ted fantasizes about all the places he will
never visit. Bali, with its beaches and tropical
foodstuff sounds lovely—especially to this Canadian
during the midst of another cold, dark, and otherwise
inhospitable winter. Of course, there is always
Mongolia. Apparently there you can buy
eighty furry grapes for less than a dollar. He is, incidentally,
unconvinced these would be delicious. Yet, and
yet they may be exactly that—especially if consumed
one by one on a frothy late afternoon in
a country where no one else knows his name
or speaks his native English.