Archive for the ‘Timed Challenge’ Category

Another 30 minute writing challenge

March 12, 2011

Once again, with help from a friend I engaged in a 30 minute writing challenge. There was no real goal or application in mind, just 30 minutes of uninterrupted writing on an otherwise busy Saturday filled with baking bread, grading papers, working out….all the usual detritus that I DON’T want to do on Saturday because I’d rather be distracting myself from writing by drinking or reading or playing videogames or some other useless thing.


At any rate, I decided for no particularly good reason, after I was about 5 minutes into it, that I ought to write in syllabics. So I did. Then I decided I should get to 10 stanzas, so I did. Note that I cheated by repeating the first line and first word of second line in every single stanza. Here it is.


A Room, Surrounded.

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by switches and flips them
in patterns only his eye

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by spools of finest thread,
and weaves a net to scrape the floor

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by empty bottles and,
bowls of water with floating

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by the angry voices
of the betrayed and confused

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by picture-hung white walls
with thicknesses of paint too

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by cherry blossom scent;
a hint of decay in the

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by the ugly, leering
gaping faces of his friends,

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by books, pencils, pens
jars of dry ink and dry paint,

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by cracked and creased papers,
scrawl covered sheets, recipes,

He is sitting in a room surrounded
by eggs and stones, sticks and
butter, broken bowls, rotting


30 Minute Writing Challenge

June 28, 2010

My friend and generally intimidating genius over here threw me a challenge tonight; we both write for thirty minutes then critique.

Then the weak punk got too drunk to stay awake long enough to read what I’d written, and to be perfectly honest, I was three minutes late, tops.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote.

Fear and Danger and Loathing and Other Unpleasantness

The danger is in the approach
of the day that evades revision

The light is bad – no
the light is going
and that is not the same.
If the light is bad
it is the wine
that suffers, and
the hand that pours.
Without the light
to show its color
what is the wine
but water
or rotten juice
or the hand but
invisible actor
lost, forgotten
in the cloistering dark

On Love Poetry

I never wrote a poem worth a damn
for a girl. Stuck behind old joys
I would wearily crank
the engine of cliche and phrase.
Oh, I got what I was after,
a fumbling in the doorway
of a bar on a warm May night
But I have never written to or for
or any other preposition
without feeling a little sick,
like winning a rigged game.

In my memory your skin is unfreckled
and veined in its translucence.
But every day was war, an excuse
to force me to prove devotion
or servitude. But no matter
how beautiful your breasts
or how sweet your mouth,
a war of the smallest things,
a dish, a stray word, a phone call,
is not worth fighting. In a dream,
the last I dreamed of you,
I snapped and broke your jaw
with a jab, jab, hook,
that I felt to my toes,
better than any punches
I’ve thrown awake.
Despite all my conditioning
I glowed in triumph and woke
to clenched fists
and my frightened wife.

Note: Please understand I in no way advocate violence against women. I think most people reading this would know that but it seems worth a gloss.
Anyway, is there anything salvageable here?