The Weekday Prison: Writing Prompt

I subscribe to the Authors Publish Magazine, and each week they send an email with info on places to get published, writing tips, and a weekly writing prompt. The prompt that caused me to write The Weekday Prison was this:

When you write you often discover that you favor certain words. Maybe you really like the word red, or metronome, or poem, and those words crop up frequently. You might not notice it when writing fiction, but in poems where the language is more sparse it becomes obvious.

This exercise is to write a poem, so the words will stand out more.  If you are a fiction writer it can be fun to stretch your poetry muscles.

If you know the words you use most often, write them down. Those are the words you can’t use in the poem. If you are not sure which words you use most frequently, just skip that step.

Write down the following words on the top of your sheet of paper: Cowboy, desk, figs, light, runaway. Now you have to use at least 3, if not all 5 of the words in your poem.  Hopefully the words I have listed are not the same ones you use often, hopefully they are ones you would usually not use at all.

Here is my result: The Weekday Prison

Sitting, always sitting,
Invisible shackles holding you down
Mountains that you wish were ravines
A screen that you wish was a window
To a better world
Buzzing light that you wish was the sun
Warming your face
Tanning your pale skin
A faded poster on the wall
Mocks you with the promise
Of excitement
Of danger
Of cowboys and outlaws
Of a runaway bride and a prince to chase her
To catch her and take her to his palace
To shower her with jewels
To provide her with every luxury
To feed her figs and dates
To be adored by her
You think of your apartment
Cold and empty
Except for the grey tabby
Whose fickle affection
Is mingled with scorn
“I know you need me,” its yellow eyes say
“More than I need you
You need me to feel worthwhile
You need me to feel loved
You need something to come home to at night
Something other than reheated dinners
And reruns of The Simpsons
I don’t need you
But you need me.”
You stare at the yellow eyes on the screen
Your true love, your friend
You look away before he does
To the mountains around you
Jagged peaks that hide the ugly laminate from view
That one there, that Everest
You should really get on to that
But then you see the digital display
It is 5:01pm
Suddenly the Everest is merely a sand dune
The yellow eyed tabby is gazing at you with love
And the shackles miraculously fall away
No more sitting, you now stand
And turn away from the desk
Your weekday prison.
“See you on Monday.”


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