She’s a night owl.
She can out drink this whole bar.
draft glass sweating,
too much perfume.
My throat burns from the whiskey
and I take his hand.
He feels like the way spring rain tastes.
Justin, just in Canada.
"I’ve had too much to drink," I say.
"Wanna get out of here?"
(Turn down for what?)
If he sees me naked, I’m going to puke.
Dinna ken what he sees…in me:
the awkward turtle of sensuality.
A rose of too much scent—overwhelming.
I spin him ‘round and ‘round,
and I think, “Oh, Kate.
You’ll never get this one right.”
A frigid pool would have better luck wooing swimmers.
But I love him, but he loves her and I don’t know if I can take it.
My whiskey is heartbroken
and dripping tears from its glassy-rim gaze.
PROMPT: This may remind you a bit of the “New York School” recipe, but this prompt has been around for a long time. I remember using it in a college poetry class, and loving the result. It really forces you into details, and to work on “conducting” the poem as it grows, instead of trying to force the poem to be one thing or another in particular. The prompt is called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. And here are the twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem:
1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) …”
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.