You follow my progress with the 2018 April 30/30 Challenge here:

Raging Muse Poetry


Below are the poems with their prompts for April 1-5, 2018:


Break something. Take an existing form and break it somehow – deliberately disobey the rules. Read “Broken Ghazal For Walter Scott” by Tiana Clark which breaks the formal rules of the ghazal and “Still Burning” by Gerald Stern which breaks almost all the rules of the sonnet.


Today while walking down the broken street
Between the cracks came up a flower
Surprised at the little marvelous feat
That it pushed aside the concrete with its power

The determination it takes to be
A delicate flower in a concrete sea
Offered a thought that gently rolled
Through my mind and pestering my soul

Finding a hole within my heart
Like a sprouting seed, the thought took root
Growing in time to the stride of my boots
Filling me with a sense of quiet power

Who would think that a broken street
Might give me strength to grow through the challenges I meet?


Take the lyrics to a favorite (or despised) song. Using only the words in those lyrics, in any order you like, write a poem. See also: “Pussy Monster” by Franny Choi


From Martin Gore’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” rearranged

I know we have to meet, you’re like an angel shining down for me

Every time I think of you, we walk together as we fall in love

Baby I go out of my head, all the things you do to me when I’m with you

Everything you said, you give me your love and you know you set me free

It’s just like a rainbow when it rains, and a burning love

It’s getting hotter, we slip and slide walking down the street

And It’s enough of, enough of, enough of

And I just can’t seem to get
And I just can’t seem to get
And I just can’t seem to get

enough, and I just can’t get

And I just can’t get
And I just can’t get
And I just can’t get
And I just can’t get
And I just can’t get
And I just can’t get
And I just can’t get
And I just can’t get

I just can’t seem to get
I just can’t seem to get

enough, enough

enough I just can’t get
enough I just can’t get
enough I just can’t get
enough I just can’t get

enough, enough, enough, enough

enough, enough, enough, enough


Make a list of 12 things that happened to you that were good/wonderful/amazing/beautiful. Then, list the bad things that happened immediately before those good things. Then, construct a stanza out of the list of bad things, using a repeated pattern such as “after bad thing x, after bad thing y, after bad thing z” but don’t ever say what the good thing was directly. Then, in the next stanza, list images of destruction/cleansing/transformation. Perhaps alternate between these.


After the death of a child, I explored a new country

The fruit dies to feed the seed that will grow new life

After the death of the relationship, I was ready to leave school and start working

In the heart of winter, we celebrate the promise the light will return to warm us again

After the loss of my circle of friends, I started exploring the country around me

Only when we let go can our hands reach for something new

After losing my chance to be earn a spot on the team, I became team leader

If find you jump too high to catch one branch there may be a better one above

After resigning as team leader, I joined a new team that took me more places to explore

Once the tight grip of certainty is released, you are free to discover the unknown

After driving more hours than I thought possible, I walked in the sea breeze with amazing birds

The journey is what makes the destination worthwhile

After a circle of friends around me broke again, an inspiring new person found me

Once the blinds are opened you can see what is in front of you

After losing my inspirational roommate, I gained a fluffy muppet wonder roommate

When you have been living on the edge you realize the importance of comfort

After the inspiration was gone, I finally started singing my own song

Listening to others redefines the story of our lives

After I lost the house, I found my community wanted me back

Surrounded by those who need you, there is very little that you need

After my neighbor died, my heart returned to me

From the ashes the phoenix arises

After my car broke down, I was finally able to fly


Read “The Way The Light Reflects” by Richard Siken. Think of something you do that you’ve spent a lot of time doing (try to think of something that isn’t writing) – do you cook? Bake? Bicycle? Play music? Have a conversation with that activity – include references to moments and nouns only you and it would recognize but treat them as literary allusions. Be deeply idiosyncratic.


“Music is not made by the person or the instrument, it takes both of them to make it.”

That’s what the child of the musician said to me as I sit listening

Arguing with myself about playing.


I long to feel the joy of holding my first instrument again

yet they all sit around me gathering dust

while lyrics rage through my head

unheard, unspoken, unfinished

knocking about as I try to focus

as if to share a story or thought that might be new

just out of reach, stuck in my throat.

Ukulele, why don’t you jump out of the case

into my hands and claim me?

Say you need me as I need you.

Open my throat with your strings

Letting escape the trapped bird that sings in my soul.


Appropriate corporate or institutional rhetoric. Read “Coffin For Head Of State” by Terrance Hayes. Hayes adapts a common corporate form: the PowerPoint presentation.

Find a corporate/institutional rhetoric or form that troubles you or about which you are curious and appropriate it to make a poem. Work emails? A restaurant menu? Terms of service?


Thank you for choosing us for your service,

We look forward to improving the quality of your experience,

Please take time to answer a few survey questions.

On a scale of 1 to 10 from not at all to very much:

Are you happy with your life now that you have used our service?

Will you recommend all your friends use our service to improve their lives?

Is the service knowledgeable about your needs?

Will you take our service with you when you go?

Do you sleep with our service?

Do you breathe with our service?

Are you fed by our service?

Will you die from our service?

If you would like to add a comment to your survey,

please speak now or forever hold your peace.


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