1. Quickly think of five or six images of things you’ve seen, either recently or in the past.
2. What have you seen someone do? Make a list of actions.
3. Make a list of similes without knowing what they’ll be compared to. In other words, make a list beginning with the stem of “like a…”
· like a warbler in an Issa poem
· like not reading a language but knowing its tone
· like one stone in a creek bed equidistant from its neighbors
4. Name something you think of as indefinable.
5. List a couple of mistakes you’ve made before.
6. What is it you hope for, or wish for, most people?
7. What do you think of your own name?
8. What kind of world do you think we live in? List its characteristics; then provide an image or illustration for one of these characteristics.
9. What would you rather do? For example: stroll, fly-fish, punt with three seconds left on the clock, fold socks, dig up sassafras roots, read a thick book, rest on a pillow, etc.
10. Make a quick list of a few locations: a cemetery, a waiting room, a tree stand, a lighthouse, a front porch, etc.
Now read Gaylord Brewer’s “A Poem by Me”
A POEM BY ME
Somehow a poem by me, its caresses
of winter light, its crow calls
and leaning barns, is different from others.
Somehow, when my poem drives into sunset,
its horizon divides the road of your life;
when my poem’s mother weeps,
the past squeezes your heart like a dish towel.
Anyone can tell the difference
in my poem’s sibling tension, the tincture
of its wounded loves, its mortgages
and great peeling frescoes, all indefinable.
You can rest easy when my poem rubs
its tired, emblematic feet or licks its ankle,
forgive in yourself its wicked pulse.
You can mimic with wet lips
my poem’s endless cycle
of human comedy, so singularly outfitted.
The farce of my poem’s mistakes
grants everyone a warming halo
of strength, its deflated snapshots
an exhalation of regret.
In my poem no one escapes,
yet, somehow, all emerge gentle and true.
When my name’s at the top you know
to expect something tasty,
that even on my poem’s stormiest day
the balloon will go up,
the guillotine fall, and spring lilies
part again in a honeyed womb of appreciation.
That’s just how it is in a poem by me,
the flaccid world made languid,
a fire burning the belly of the soul,
carved from granite with a blade
forged of poppies; the way it’s all in there.
Until at last, tired but resigned
in its crusade of earthly witness,
my poem eases the steely jaws of truth
and whispers to you, its favorite reader,
to go now, beat it till next time.
And like a troll grown iridescent wings, you do.
After reading Gaylord Brewer’s poem, write your own "poem by you," one with your own particular spin. Supply your own "earthly witness."