Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Life Force------Totally Optional Prompts/The Last Piaster

This week's prompt is a quote: "When you were called upon to speak, you were supposed to say why you think you're alive, why you were born, and why you're still around: What are your reasons? Everyone needs to come up with his or her own personal answer." From a novel called Diary of a Heretic, by Kathleen Maher. For an extra twist... try responding to this prompt without using the word "I" (me, my, mine).

Piaster 003 Vision Burn Brain Drain from The Last Piaster

Integrate each of these 11 phrases unchanged and in the order listed throughout your poem. There are no other restrictions. This exercise should cause a few of those synapses to fire.

the moon, broken off like
a red flower brilliant as

her fingers delicate as

the island stretches off the coast like

your backbone rigid like

the bicycle careening down the hill like

soft as

crazy bird its song like

she spun of like

his monotonous voice like

days pass like

I experimented, combining both.

She stood watching the moving sliding clouds. Slipped out
the moon, broken off like
a biscuit dipped in tea.
She smiled, concentrating on the sky,

Mars showed up like
a red flower brilliant as a ruby
her fingers delicate as
a cooked plate of noodles she had eaten a while back.

Her vision reached far, thinking
the island stretches off the coast like
a shapeless amoeba in her school biology book so long ago.

Sighing, she asked the polar star
"why is
your backbone rigid like ramrod?"
A noise broke into her reverie, looking towards the road,
she saw her husband
the bicycle careening down the hill like a serpent slipping on glass.
For a miniscule moment, scaring her out of wits,

her thoughts revolving like falcons preying.

Drops of rain fell on her
soft as melted butter
That lonely helicopter acted like a crazy bird, its song like
a screeching tyres of a skidded car.

At the sound of deep dark silence, she spun of like a top.
With mixed feeling, she watched her husband walking down to her

and heard his monotonous voice like pebbles hitting water,
ripples of her heart going round and round.

Why had she blanketed out her mind, shrouded it with boredom
with him,
letting her days pass like snail trying to cross a road, costing all his lifetime.

What was it that kept her alive; pages of her days should have ended.

A tiny whimpering sound tugged at her heart.

Picking up her infant from the carrycot, she hugged her daughter.

Reflexively baring her nipple for her baby to feed on.

Nurturing a life created by her is reason enough to live, to be born.


deathsweep said...

I watched it unfold, I saw it.

Gilson said...

This is a VERY good poem, all sentences blended in smoothly, and there's a lot of feeling in it. Thanks for sharing!

susan said...

Overall, the story was cohesive and in most instances I enjoyed how you incorporated the required phrases.

“moving sliding clouds.”

Is there another word for sliding? In my mind, sliding doesn’t create the connotation I associate moving clouds. Additionally, two gerunds strung together often comes off clumsy.

the moon, broken off like a biscuit dipped in tea

delicious image.

“a cooked plate of noodles”

like how you followed with another food image. The consistency works.

“Drops of rain fell on her soft as melted butter”

Again the verb and image don’t connect here for me. Soft as melted butter is predictable and makes sense but associated with rain creates a messy image and I doubt that was you intention.

Thanks for the read.

Anonymous said...

Thanks deathsweep and gilson.

Susan too.

Sliding does go well for clouds. I see clouds as moving, and sliding into each other. If you observe clouds, you can actually see that happening. Move and slide over each other.

I find melted butter delicious, tasty and of course, soft. It is not messy for me. As for as image go, rain and melted butter do go together, slipping over.

Maybe, I should have written it as:

"Drops of rain fell on her soft, as soft as melted butter"

Predictable may be, discordant? No.

Consider it me..

Anonymous said...

What a cool exercise and a great poem. The thoughts all running together in a fraction of time. The place and the view are like an iris out of focus and dreaming until her baby's cry jolts us back into the frame. *bravo*

Tumblewords: said...

Nice job of 'sliding' clouds and two prompts into one delightful work.

susan said...


I shared how I read it. I respect that you either find something useful in what I said or you don't. This isn't a debate to be won or lost.

gautami tripathy said...

Susan, I do not recall saying I want to win. I only compete against myself. Never against another human being.

My posts are always open for critiquing. MOst of my regular visitors know that. I do take suggestions if I find those valid. I then, rewrite my pieces.

What you said here, it truly did not gel with me. Nothing personal to you.

Romeo Morningwood said...

You are so inventive.
I seem to be losing most of the mystical, metaphorical, and metaphysical applications regarding my existence...
a little more each year.

I love your splendid view because it is way more soothing than the stark reality of my cosmology.

Thanks for blowing my little Eyeore cloud away.

Dale said...


paisley said...

and what then i am forced to wonder for those who choose not to procreate????

wonderful implementation of the phrases from last piaster,, i had a really difficult time with that... and i am not sure what lesson was to come out of all of it.. that is the sad part....

UL said...

the last two lines, brilliant...every single line is perfect and it builds toward those last two lines...! procreation and nurture is indeed the life force of all that we are, thank you.

Anonymous said...

This has many strong images, Gautami........

Andy Sewina said...

Hi, it's an interesting experiment and quite a brave thing to post. I like the way you too, chose to use 'She'. 'She stood watching the moving sliding clouds.' a lovely image!

Linda Jacobs said...

I agree with UL that the last two lines tie it all toghether and make the poem!

This was a difficult thing to do and you pulled it off!

Anonymous said...


I think I went the route you did, by using the lines as a kind of remembering.

I like these lines best:
With mixed feeling, she watched her husband walking down to her
and heard his monotonous voice like pebbles hitting water,
ripples of her heart going round and round.

How did you find this process, having to integrate so many specific lines? I tried to make it fit a certain summer I remember well, but I'm not so sure I pulled it off. It's fun, but challenging.

poefusion said...

Your images as always are beautiful, Guatami. I love the way you tied it all together in the end. You've done both these exercises well. Have a nice weekend.

Rambler said...

I liked the ending line

Nurturing a life created by her is reason enough to live, to be born

I think I wrote very close to this, but not just life created by her but life in general..

polona said...

you did a fantastic job with these prompts.

Sherri B. said...

Wow, what a challenge and you managed it beautifully! This was so visual to me, so creative. I just loved it. It's been awhile since I've had time to write; it's great to visit your blog again. :~)