To Me, Who Thought Poetry Was Hard: It Is

The following two poems came from prompts in my creative writing class. The first prompt is extremely simple: begin or end your poem with a specific number of “things”–what those things are is up to you. The second prompt is a little more complicated (but I”m going to simplify it here): tour someone around a town; it can be a town you know or one you have made up in your head; the person you are touring knows you very well, so they will be lenient with any digressions you may make mid-tour.

Poetry is not my forte.

This is what I came up with. Please go easy on me!

Also, the spacing keeps getting messed up as I send this post to publish, so as it stands (until I can figure out why) there is no spacing within the poems. The first one is only one stanza, but the second one has multiple, so we’ll see if I can make this computer dohickey thingy-ma-bobber work for me, huh?

#1: Three Black Bears 

My grandfather—

native to the bluegrass hills

of Kentucky,

riverside of the concrete Paradise—

unearthed three black bears in the coal mines.

The beasts were hulking, sooty, and chafed with mange;

stifled with rancor and smoker’s cough.

Black Lung, he said.

Enemies of Smokey the icon and hard hats.

They were the starters of fires:

little bits of cinder and flame with

hands balled into fists.

They speared them with pick-axes

and choked them with dioxide.

The cannery froze,

toppled in its cage,

and the mine sighed,

entombing them in stone.

#2: An Informational Tour of Redrock by a Relocated Petoskey Real Estate Agent

This is Redrock.


Those fences there—


cultivated cedar,

smelling like fresh paint—

those are Petoskey.

This is Redrock.


That barber shop with

red and blue striped


is owned by a man named

George Hermer.

I met him yesterday.

The bookstore, Halfway to Narnia,

has three owners:

Brenda, Brenda’s Daughter,

and Mr. Pickles.

He’s a Boston Terrier.

He signed the deed of the store with his paw

in purple ink.

I met them yesterday too.


See that bench there?

The one next to the lake—

this lake?

It’s painted white to match

the other benches.

That is Petoskey.

This manhole here—

this is Redrock.


That little girl,



pink Barbie tutu,

standing next to City Hall,

she is Redrock.


But she lives in Petoskey.


The docks

over there

beneath the red arch—

the ones with sailboats tilting

back and forth

in the reflected sky—

those are not Petoskey.

I’m not sure what those are.


This road,

this road that you’re standing on

is new.

This road is fresh tar

and yellow lines.

Guardrails and light reflectors.

You can take it to Petoskey.

You can take it to the Rocky Mountains

and pine trees dusted with snow.

You can take it to the Painted Desert

with its parched, orange sands.

You can take it to the Land of the Free

and the Home of the Brave.

But this, here,


this is Redrock.


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