Sunday November 30th, 2008

The exercise:

November ends with day number 175 and the prompt: checkmate.


Pawns fell by the wayside,
None listened as they cried;
Bishops prayed for their queen
While watching ghastly scenes

Brave knights waged hellish war
While soulless soldiers tore
And clawed at giant rooks
With blood crazed frenzied looks

Lives were blindly traded;
The king watched and waited.
He hoped his strategy
Would set his people free

Too late he saw the flaw,
Too late to seize a draw;
Before the clock struck nine
He was forced to resign

Hmm, technically not a checkmate... but! He resigned because he saw it coming! Yes, quite so.

Saturday November 29th, 2008

The exercise:

This week the four line poem starter is: subversive.


You cannot stop us,
Don't even try to;
The pretty lies are
More ugly than truth

Friday November 28th, 2008

The exercise:

From a brand new laptop, Def Poetry Jam Friday brings you something long overdue: the host himself, the mighty Mos Def.


The laptop took a while to get all setup so this is going to be quick.

Mos Def has become one of my favorite artists in the last few years; he is a representation of what hip hop should be. His lyrics are intelligent, imaginative and moving.

I wish more people would give his music a chance. If you're interested, I've got a few suggestions for you. As always :)

Thursday November 27th, 2008

The exercise:

Managed to not buy a laptop yesterday. Probably won't tonight. The weekend is another story though.

But today let us write some haiku about: baking.


Golden brown you rise
First filling the stoneware pan
And then my tummy

Chocolate and nuts,
The aroma of cookies,
Haunt me in my sleep

The days grow colder
But my spirits are lifted
By pumpkin muffins

Wednesday November 26th, 2008

The exercise:

The starter for today: impulse purchase. I'm writing mine at noon but scheduling it to get posted at six tonight because... well, no good reason, really. But I am and you can't stop me!


I'm sitting here at work, on my lunch break, thinking about buying a laptop. Today.

There are several problems with this idea.

One: I know very, very little about laptops. I don't know what brands are good, I don't know how fast it needs to be to not drive me crazy, I don't know how big a screen I need not to go cross-eyed... all that good stuff. Not a clue.

Two: I don't have the money to buy a top-end model, which is fine. But I have no idea how low the price can go before I get into the 'will break in one month' range.

Three: This really seems like a purchase I should research. But I don't want to wait.

This won't end well.

Tuesday November 25th, 2008

The exercise:

I'm under the impression that the CPU on my home desktop computer died last night, so that's why this is late.

I'll be updating from work for the next few days, hopefully it will be taken care of by the weekend.

Anyway, the exercise is: write an acrostic. I wrote mine last night - I bet you would never have guessed.


There it goes again.
Every time it
Crashes I wonder
How much it will cost,
Never expecting
Or hoping for a
Lightning fast repair;
Only wishing this
Garbage would happen
Yearly, not monthly.

Monday November 24th, 2008

The exercise:

Inspired by my morning, today's writing prompt is: icy arrival.


I tip-toed down the front steps in the dark, early morning cold. Each step down brought me closer to earth, closer to safety.

Would the grip of my shoes fail me? Would the slightest slip lead to a bruised hip, a twisted knee, a crack of the head? Such comfortless thoughts were my only companions on that perilous descent.

It was a slippery slope I traversed as my nervous breath fought the cold off with steaming clouds that obscured my vision. Gentle, exploring steps prodded ice-covered wood; nothing could be trusted.

A final fragile step brought me to the bottom but my journey had just begun. Gleaming sidewalks and streets told me that ice's arrival was not restricted to my front porch.

Sunday November 23rd, 2008

The exercise:

The Sunday starter this week is: lost in the mist.


Going for this walk was a bad choice. I can hear someone calling from beyond this wall of gray but I can't find the voice. I should have stayed home tonight, I should have listened to Joyce.

Every direction I look it's all the same: gray picture in a gray frame. In my heart terror is fighting with shame. I think I might die out here but I know that I will shoulder all the blame. Leave me to this please, this is all my fault; I wish they would stop calling my name.

My footsteps are so heavy and slow. I stand still because I don't know which way to go. I look up to the sky to pray but instead see the first flake of snow. I am captivated by this final falling show.

Saturday November 22nd, 2008

The exercise:

A good friend of Kat's had a baby boy last Friday and we paid them a visit tonight. It was a pretty quick visit, but I got to hold a week old baby in my arms and that was pretty cool.

So the four line poem starter this week is: newborn.


When you sleep, do you dream?
Do you speak, do you scheme?
When you wake, your blue eyes
Look at me, seem so wise

Friday November 21st, 2008

The exercise:

Def Poetry Jam Friday would like to share with you Mr. Wyclef Jean's Immigrant.


Knowing that Wyclef Jean was picked on in school is oddly comforting to me. I suppose it's a reminder that no matter what sort of crap you deal with in your youth, the adult world is a whole new deal and anything is possible.

Also, you have to respect a man that can incorporate a handspring back flip into a spoken word performance.

The situation in Haiti, however, is another story. How have we managed to not make things right there yet? And why won't those damn storms leave the poor place alone?

I'll leave you with my favorite Wyclef song.

Thursday November 20th, 2008

The exercise:

Today's prompt is: betrayal.


The light is growing less luminous,
My eyes are getting more mutinous;
This mountain becomes harder to climb,
My legs have lost their battle with time.

Music doesn't sound as fine these days,
Between notes and ears there lies a maze;
Food no longer seems bitter or sweet,
With lifeless tongue there are no more treats.

The truth of years is hard to evade
When by your body you are betrayed.

Wednesday November 19th, 2008

The exercise:

Scroll through your iPod, turn on the radio or pick up a CD. Find a song title that sparks your imagination and use that as your starter.


Keep Fishin' - Weezer

The fish don't seem to be biting today,
Not here in my secret spot anyway;
But Autumn's mural is on full display,
So I am in no rush to get away.

Standing knee-deep in this clear glacial stream
My lure sails through the still air like a dream,
Meets rushing water with a gentle scream,
And floats downstream, quite happily it seems.

The peace of this place seeps into my bones,
Far from busy people and ringing phones;
At one with the divine and great unknown,
I am content to keep fishing alone.

Tuesday November 18th, 2008

The exercise:

I cover reception for fifteen to twenty minutes a day and it's usually very quiet, maybe one or two phone calls. Today was no different, except that the one phone call sparked my curiosity. It went something like this:

"Good morning, Place of Work."

"Hi, I'm calling from A Building. We had a sign put up this morning."


"There's a really *big* typo, we need to have it taken down."

What was the typo? No idea. I couldn't think of a way to ask without sounding like an immature dolt... but let me assure you, I spent the rest of the day wondering what it was. So today's exercise is to think of various signs you see on a regular basis that would look very different with just one letter changed.


Road Work Ahead - Road Worm Ahead (eek!)
Be Prepared To Stop - We Prepared To Stop (... and then what?)
Loose Gravel - Goose Gravel (I don't even want to know)
Slow Children Playing - Slow Children Praying (this could take a while...)
Buy One, Get One Free - Buy One, Set One Free (buy a dog, set one free to roam the city!)

Monday November 17th, 2008

The exercise:

Before I get to the starter for today, I need to share this with you:

So welcome to my blog, I have between one and two billion readers!

Anyway, the exercise today is: twist the ending. Whatever you write, end it with a twist.


"Bobby, what did you do on your Summer vacation?"

"I built a tree fort!"

"That's wonderful! How about you Lisa?"

"I went to Disneyland!"

"Oh, that sounds fantastic! Doug, what did you do?"

"I sold my parents on eBay."

Sunday November 16th, 2008

The exercise:

Swing by Google News and pick one or two words that jump out at you from the headlines to use as your starter.


My words: Space Station

Alarm ringing off the walls
Soldiers running down the halls
Knowing nothing they can do
Wishing someone will pull through

But the radar screen won't lie
The rocks continue to fly
The collision will come soon
On the dark side of the moon

At the observation deck
They await the coming wreck
And in that final red glow
I pray that peace they will know

Saturday November 15th, 2008

The exercise:

It's Saturday, which can only mean one thing: I slept in this morning. Oh, two things I guess: it's four line poem day here at Daily Writing Practice.

I have been struck by inspiration - let's use sleep as the topic for the poems this week! Zee genius, it is overwhelming for me sometimes.


Head resting on pillow
Eyes watching smoke billow
Legs running through water
Arms stopping the slaughter

Friday November 14th, 2008

The exercise:

Have company tonight so this will have to be quick. In fact, this is quite possibly the shortest Def Poetry Jam performance to be found: Epiphany by Kent Foreman.


A good haiku is
A beautiful, profound thing;
Just like this one is.

Alright, gotta run. See you tomorrow!

Thursday November 13th, 2008

The exercise:

Today's writing exercise: pick a James Bond movie title and use that as the title and subject of your poem. The title, not the movie itself.


The Spy Who Loved Me

My sweet savvy Sarah was never lame...
If, you know, that was in fact her real name.
Sarah was no regular girl, you see:
She was, truth be told, the spy who loved me.

We met on a rainy night in New York;
She showed me how to kill rats with a fork.
While her hair around a finger she twirled
She spoke to me in the tongues of the world.

I swear her legs went on for miles and miles,
Though I did tire of all her new hairstyles.
Oh how I loved hearing her pant and moan...
But I hated the way she tapped my phone.

Our love story began to unravel
Due to her excessive 'business' travel.
I did not get jealous, nor whine and groan,
But love can't grow when you're always alone.

So one day I went out for cigarettes
And never came back - I've got no regrets;
I left a goodbye letter next to the sink,
Using her favorite invisible ink.

Wednesday November 12th, 2008

The exercise:

Today's starter is's word of the day: soiree.


I have prepared all year for this one night. The guest list is impeccable, the food beyond compare, the wine pairings are as perfect as my wife's red gown.

The violinist is hitting every note, the pianist's fingers are a study in melodic harmony. They are two of the most beautiful musicians money can buy.

The candles cast artful shadows while revealing the subtle beauty of the marble statues placed discreetly around the dining hall. Servants flow in and around and out the room like black and white ghosts.

The polished oak of the dance floor stands ready for the after dinner festivities of waltzes and tangos. We have practiced our steps for months, Grace and I; we are ready to be the talk of the town. The moonlight shall be our spotlight at exactly 9:05 pm.

Everything is going exactly to plan; not a hair out of place, not an empty glass, not a spot of dirt to be found. Everything is perfect.

So why is no one talking?

Tuesday November 11th, 2008

The exercise:

In honor of Remembrance Day, today's starter is: I remember.


I remember the water;
The sons, brothers and fathers
Pressed together so tightly,
Their eyes shining so brightly.

I remember the gunfire
And grenades of hell's dark choir;
The ricochets gave us fits
Inside that tiny damn ship.

I don't remember the beach,
The bunker I'm told we reached;
The men who died all around
Just to capture precious ground.

I remember the silence
Of woods where birds made me wince;
Days without seeing a soul,
Digging and living in holes.

I don't remember the night
They found us without light;
I remember dawn breaking -
My hands were still shaking.

I remember the last day:
I fell on my knees to pray:
For pardon for what I'd done,
And for thanks that we had won.

Monday November 10th, 2008

The exercise:

Today's starter: complete and utter nonsense. Have fun!


Why do the pigs fly,
Way up there so high?
What's wrong with the mud,
Are they too blue blood?

The cows have come home
From their nightly roam:
Downtown in the pubs,
Cheering on the Cubs

Poor old Farmer John
And his little spawn
Must clean up the mess
Of hens playing chess

Sunday November 9th, 2008

The exercise:

The starter for today is: protest.


I was in the Bay downtown this afternoon with Kat spending my roulette winnings on a new watch. Which I'm very happy with, but I shall refrain from getting into that. For today.

While I was paying for my nifty new timepiece (sorry) there was a bit of a commotion at the nearest entrance, maybe thirty or forty feet from where we were standing. It took a few moments but we eventually determined there was some sort of anti-fur protest going on.

It wasn't immediately obvious what was happening because their shouts were almost indecipherable. After consulting with the sales lady we decided the last bit of their repeated chant was "Don't buy fur!" Lord only knows what else they were saying.

Here's the thing: I fully support their cause; besides being cruel to their original owners, I think most clothing that incorporates fur is just plain old ugly. But you know what? This is not the way to go about spreading the word. The only thing these people accomplished today (other than possibly ending up in jail) was annoying everyone in the store. They didn't gain any support screeching out some unintelligible slogan - hell, I was tempted to ask for my watch in the fur-trimmed version.

You know you're doing it wrong when you're protesting for a good cause but everyone who sees you considers you an annoying lunatic.

Saturday November 8th, 2008

The exercise:

The topic of today's four line poem is: surprise!


I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that -
What did you just say about Matt?
No, that simply cannot be right -
He'd never change his name to Sprite.

Friday November 7th, 2008

The exercise:

Def Poetry Jam Friday would like to introduce you to Gemineye, beginning with Poetic Bloodline.


This man is like an oncoming train of penetrating, pervasive punchlines. I couldn't get out of the way if I wanted to. Which I don't.

If there exists a better tribute to the hall of fame poets that have gone before, and those that still walk and work with us, I am unaware of it. There have been many moments, staring at a blank page or computer screen, that I could have used an injection like that. What an incredible scene he paints for us.

And if you liked that, then let me assure you: you will love this.

Thursday November 6th, 2008

The exercise:

Not having the best day ever, so the prompt is: bad day blues.


Bad day blues
Blindly drinking booze

Dark bitter days
Disjointed blurry daze

Answers give away
Anger gone astray

Gritty acrid glow
Gloom always grows

Sad footsteps slow
Secret feelings show

Falling snow flakes
Facade so fake

Wednesday November 5th, 2008

The exercise:

First off, to celebrate my 150th consecutive day of daily writing practice I've added a couple of new links over on the right there. The first is to my favorite Def Poet Rives' personal website - like his spoken word performances, I find his site mesmerizing.

The second is a page I discovered through yesterday's Blogger Blog of Note - for those of you who 'just can't find time to write', can you manage to squeeze in one minute a day? I should think so.

Today's starter is: pumpkin patch. No, it's not a little late for that. There are still plenty of pumpkins to be found, thank you very much.


Orange bowling balls
With curved green handles;
Scarecrows making calls
For more red candles.

Children pulling pranks,
Full up on candy,
Feasting without thanks,
While mom drinks brandy.

Sugar coated souls
Lost in this fable;
Eating empty bowls
Filled with odd labels.

Tuesday November 4th, 2008

The exercise:

You'll have to pardon me for being too obvious, but today's starter is: change.


Thank you America.

You had me worried there - Obama may have been the clear favorite going into today's voting but I still had my doubts.

After all, you did elect Bush to a second term. Although to be fair, I'm not sure I would have voted for Kerry either. Nader for president?

Either way America, you took a leap forward today. I'm looking forward to seeing what Obama can accomplish in the next four (hopefully eight) years.

Congratulations on electing your first black president and, more importantly, the better man in this contest.

Monday November 3rd, 2008

The exercise:

Set a scene. You can continue it if the mood strikes you, but the idea is to create a setting where a story is about to unfold.


It is a wet, gloomy night and the street is poorly lit. The weary street lights conceal secrets within the shadows they cast while struggling to find the effort to illuminate the leaf-dotted sidewalk.

Fall has settled in on the city and his cool breath can be felt in the breeze. Falling leaves slice through the air, flashing brightly in their brief time in the light before landing in darkness. Cars line the street, somber and brooding as they await the turn of a key. They guard their homes with jealous eyes and imposing strength.

A lone porch light reveals a red door adorned with an antique black handle. The house number above the doorbell is aligned diagonally and read '327'.

The door is opened from within...

Sunday November 2nd, 2008

The exercise:

Scroll through your Ipod playlist, scan through radio stations, or grab a CD at random and just listen to the songs until you hear a first line that catches your imagination. Use it as your first line and then go wherever it inspires you to go.


Audioslave - Like a Stone

On a cobweb afternoon
The air is more still than death;
An old woman crafts her moon
With silver thread and held breath.

There is no other movement,
No shifty squirrel scaling trees,
No wild words borrowed or lent,
No memory of a breeze.

The white windmill gathers dust
Like a bucket collects rain:
Without desire or lust,
Without joy, sorrow or pain.

The sun shifts lazily west;
The woman completes her art
And lies down to take her rest,
Knowing she has done her part.

Saturday November 1st, 2008

The exercise:

Welcome to November... today's topic for the four line poem is: gambling.


I walked onto the casino floor
With sixty dollars and nothing more
Three hours later I hit the door
With one hundred and forty-five more

I should revisit this topic the next time I visit a casino and lose all the money I bring with me - I suspect it would produce a very different poem.

Also: I love roulette.