Poem in a Minute

One of my occasional gigs is taking my Montgomery Ward typewriter to a festival or conference and setting up to write poems in a minute. You give me three words, and I will make a poem for you with them in it.  Today, I am snowed in and could use some practice. If you put your name (or a fake name) in the comments box along with three words, I will write you a custom poem and post it on this page. You can see samples of the poems I’ve written in the past. It’s what I do.


Kelly: tintinnabulation, mahogany, ludicrous (7:50 a.m.)

How could it be that the desk
Appeared at her front door,
Polished mahogany against concrete,
Twining vines and the ludicrous grapes
Carved down the legs, the smell
Of the centuries in the top drawer,
A tintinnabulation of memory
She would restore with time.

Teri: myth, mindfulness, magic (9:45 a.m.)

Pink petal browned at the edges,
A fly dying in the window, the story
You tell to surpass the mood,
The myth that jumps the mountain,
Day slipping its mindfulness into
night, night into death, death into magic.

Amy: paint, snow, cacophony (9:50 a.m.)

Her grandmother told her about the cardinals,
Red on white, blood on snow,
Winter bird in the joy of spring,
Winter bird in the calligraphy of branches
Swaying in the cacophony of wind
Her soul would paint on your life.

Jen: melody, sparkle, dazzle (10:02)

She had red sneakers and wanted glitter
In her shoestrings and love the color
Of grape juice to rain in the hallways,
A melody to dazzle the 6th grade teachers
Into a parade of chalk, maps, and sparkle
That would promenade them into the sunshine
Where the lonely merry-go-round waited.

Donna: puppies, snowfall, anniversary (10:14 a.m.)

They were the ones nobody wanted,
Their bodies unaware of indifference,
Like a letter is unaware its recipient
Would prefer to ignore it. The letters she
Dropped in the driveway,
Forming a strata of words sealed
By snowfall. The puppies celebrated
by tracking the lines into her house
on her anniversary.

Johnny: cassettes, living room, loud (10:28 a.m.)

In some dream there was a prima donna
With nails the color of earthworms
And hair like the film from 100 cassettes
Snaking through his living room,
Her thunder the thunder of moonlight
That sneaks up on you because it is not
Loud but constantly in the background.

Jeannie: mountains, laundry, coffee (2:06 p.m.)

It was not always like this:
The sun resting on her shoulder,
The mountains like a lover promising
At the peak, the end of a day blooming
Like madness at the bottom of her coffee cup,
But she wished it were so, and that as always
Evening would wait for her like laundry.

Lea: dogs, cake, Bible (6:52 a.m., 2-14)

Often they stood together at the door,
Watching the May rain puddle in the dirt road,
The snow dot the uncaring dogs.
Often, the day went like this:
You would eat yellow cake for breakfast
And talk about the headlines,
Sometimes saving a letter to the editor or
a Bizarro cartoon for a Bible bookmark.

Elizabeth: breath, awareness, expansion (8:25 p.m., 2-20)

Not two but one; not here but there, beneath
the willow where wind pinions the leaves,
the breath of winter spiking an awareness
of this world, that world, not two but one,
my life, your life, the expansion touching cold
soil fingerprinted by not one, but two.

Arden: shrub, ordinary, art (8:30 p.m., 2-20)

Much was made of the shade of purple
she discovered to represent the shrub
in its first light, its birthlight, the patterns
of her brush firm against ordinary time.
She unleashed the canvas from its frame
and wore the purple, spoke its piece,
Art though not ready for this? For Me?

Sue: circumambulate, fresh, firefly (6:44 a.m., 2-21)

The known world tasted of rust
and of fresh melon, the kind bright and alert
as a firefly whose circuit could not
individually be followed.  She held
her course, though it be unnamed,
and lit the melted crayon of the night
with the trail no other could circumambulate.


9 thoughts on “Poem in a Minute”

  1. melody

    These were my three favorite words in 6th grade, and I still love how they make me feel when I read, say or write them.

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