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Ed. Note: This post marks the beginning of a new irregular feature in Vox Populi. Every now and then, a new writing prompt will appear. I hope readers of Vox Populi, many of whom are writers, will find the prompt helpful in stimulating their creativity. You are welcome to post poems or flash fiction in the comment section below.
Many poets have made use of a rhetorical strategy I call “The Quotidian Poem” which consists of a series of mundane chores or errands in a normal day, and then WHAM! Something happens that shocks or enlightens the poet. Frank O’Hara uses the strategy a number of times, most famously in his poem The Day Lady Died about the death of Billie Holiday. The strategy is also employed by Marie Howe in What the Living Do, an elegy for her brother.
Here’s my own attempt:
Driving Home I’ve had a bad cough so I went To the East End Co-op and talked With Jackson who helped me find White mulberry bark dong qui root Skullcap and stinging nettle And stopped by the produce aisle To pick up broccoli sprouts And Midnight Express and Carried my environmentally Correct burlap bag with vegan Hippie stuff to the checkout Where I praised Jackson To Melissa his boss and went Outside got in my hybrid And drove down Penn Avenue To Dallas Avenue and cut past The universities and across The Liberty Bridge and up the Long hill glancing at the river And the blue city turned Right then left pulled Into the driveway and looked up At the window where Eva is Writing this morning after a long Talk over coffee about whether She is good enough to write her Book about poverty and trauma And violence and gave a small prayer Of thanks and wow and sorry To be so lucky so full of joy In these last days before The whole thing collapses.
Prompt: Write a quotidian poem of your own, keeping in mind these guidelines:
Copyright 2020 Michael Simms