Article Series: Southern Tier Life Magazine, Evolution of the Poem Through Prompt Writing

My second article at Southern Tier Life Magazine, Evolution of the Poem Through Prompt Writing, is now available for viewing. There are lots of other good articles about local happenings on the website. They are really trying to build an interest in poetry and literature in my area, so please show your support and have a look around the website.

Read. Write. Support small press. Be kind to each other.


Poem (PAD 2020): Sound the Alarm (5:32 am)

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

So this month’s poetry prompts have come to me late at night. Normally I collect lines throughout the day and see what I can string together when my friend finally pushes the prompt into the light. He was still writing his poem very late and I was tired, but he gave me a hint: a mule that lost its shoe.

What? No really, what? He wanted me to write about a donkey?

As it happened that day, I had not written any lines because I was at work and tending to things after so I had to go into it cold, not that anything I would have gathered could have prepared me for the prompt. I went to sleep and my body woke at the same time it does for work, but without the alarm. Half asleep, the poem came to me. I can’t guarantee it is worth much, but I wrote a poem with a donkey. I did it. That bastard!

Sound the Alarm (5:32 am)

The journey we are on is long
and ensconced in the pages of books, 
their history just dreams that seed 
fantasies we are unable 
to cleanly separate in time. 

I am the Sanchez to your Quixote, 
following your moves across the landscape 
on a donkey named Dapple. 
Adding light to the path as well as laughter. 

At times my steed disappears, 
much like my meaning in this world 
and reappears without a shoe 

as we limp along together 
in our lameness, unashamed.

Poem (PAD 2020): You are Norse Mythology in My Ear

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

We talked about poetry and nature
like teenagers standing awkwardly
with hands in our pockets
and inspecting the dirt beneath our shoes.

I turned out the light, huddled beneath
a winter’s pile of blankets, too warm,
and listened to the half-moon
whisper secrets from under the curtains.

The morning shrouded around my shoulders,
my mind folding in on itself, scattered,
standing by the window staring
at the tender frost on the grass.

Dawn regaled its song of creation
behind black mountains, the clouds
thin and stretched like thoughts,
my hand reached out for just one more.

April Poem-A-Day 2020

As was previously mentioned on this website, I love a good poetry prompt for all the different aspects of my life it can show me. It brings once hidden things about the environment to light. The brain is a powerful machine that will work tirelessly to pull details from the past and present for the task of poems.

I have always loved April for several reasons: new buds on the trees, Starlings in the yard, birdsong, and my mother. When she passed away, poetry month became a dark time for me. Her birthday was April 1st and so for the last six years my poems have been funeral dirges, if I’m honest.

This year I made the distinct decision that I wasn’t going to right another death poem. This year I opened up my palm and let her fly away because I am tired of missing all the things I love about spring. Soon the lilacs will be in bloom and I will be in a fragrant heaven.

Last year, I witnessed a fellow writer’s journey through poetry month. Though I had read and published Jason Huskey’s work before, I didn’t get the full appreciation for his style and the distinct beauty nestled among his lines until poetry month the year before. This year, I am following his prompts for the month to see what is revealed to me in poems. I may share one here from time to time.

Photo by Aleathia Drehmer

I Can’t Stop the Ringing in My Ears

The alley is blanketed in night mist
so heavy it clings to the tiny hairs
on my face, reconstituting
all the tears I’ve ever shed.

Lines blur with groundlessness, a parallel
universe plays out in the haloed street lamps
of past drunken Friday nights when we
stumbled home in fits of laughter.

Secretly our love was dying,
kept alive by the pulsing
of false dreams and manipulation.

Back inside the warmth of a home
we built together, my fingers soberly
stitch flowers in Frida Khalo’s hair
and I dream of what it means to be in love.

Aleathia Drehmer 2020
4/3 sobriety

Poem Prompts: My on again, off again love affair

After my mother passed away in 2014, I was left in a writing desert. There was very little that inspired me. In the darkest time of my life I couldn’t do the one thing that had lifted my head above water for all of my days. The April following her death, I made a challenge to myself to complete the poem-a-day prompts. I needed to release some of that pain even if I couldn’t seem to pull the ideas up from my own core.

What I learned about prompt writing was that it didn’t feel as generic as I had imagined it would. It gave me an opportunity to look at my own life and feelings from a different perspective, one that I wouldn’t have bothered to give any attention to. I had also started a blog called The Forked Road: A Journey of Friends. The intention was to get myself to write everyday and to drag my fellow writers along with me. It worked for awhile. It helped me get my life back on track.

Yesterday, I made a random post on Facebook about getting my prompt list completed. I didn’t share the prompts because so many places have their own. My writer friend David contacted me this morning to ask if I was going to post it. I suppose I hadn’t considered it. This list is different than others you may have seen. I make a list of 26 prompts that are good for two months. If there are any left that aren’t used, they get rolled over into the next group.

Here are the prompts for March and April 2020. Have fun. Look at your life from different angles, curl up the edges, and look in the dark places. Reach back to the spots that barely get touched.

  1. a plague 2. a piece of chalk 3. viridian 4. quote to live by 5. bicycle 6. epiphany 7. jangling 8. three generations 9. deja vu so strong you fall over 10. 100th birthday party 11. doorbell 12. seven sins 13. discordant 14. peripheral 15. hijack 16. conquer 17. assuage 18. tilt 19. requisite 20. gnash 21. equivocal 22. defenseless 23. crevasse 24. clay 25. apostate (renegade) 26. stringent