P&W Prompt: Why Is the World So Messy?

Happy Spring, y’all!  This week’s Poets & Writers’ prompt is inspired by a truly inspiring short film project (if you have a moment, it’s worth the time to watch):

Can girls be robots? How do you make water? What does extinct mean? Children have a curiosity for the world that can often inspire them to ask difficult questions like these from filmmaker Kelly O’Brien’s five-year-old daughter Willow. In the spirit of childish inquisitiveness, write a poem entirely of questions. How might you use a child’s persona to explore your own concerns and wonder for the world?

O’Brien’s short film really inspired me to try to find a way to create an atmosphere with words and form in a poem.  I’ve been playing around a bit lately with trying to create soft sounds and intonation on the page by using all lowercase letters in places, making use of the slash and an unordered/chaotic-seeming form.  I’m not entirely certain it’s as effective as I want it to be, but I think what’s happening in this draft is getting somewhere in the vicinity of the experience I want the reader to have:



how many / how many were there?

(could i have been someone different?)

where are you? / are you coming back?

/ do i want you back?

how many were there?

am i not



/ is this why everyone leaves? 

is it you?  (oh god is it me?)

is it her / her fault?

is her skin my skin? is she part of me/you now?

is she part of us now?  is she us?

how many women are inside of me?  do you feel me

when you touch her? how many were there?

did you pull me




into them?  in this unanchored night do i slide against /inside


I like the way this first draft has come out.  It’s not nearly finished, and there are some lines that feel like clunkers to me (where are you? / are you coming back?) – though, the question, “do i even want you back?” is important and may need that clunker (or it may not…..we’ll see what a little time and space have to say about that).  Still, I think the circling, slow pull into a kind of madness is alluded to here, and the text and form are beginning to do their job.  More work to be done, though!  There always is…. 😉  Until next week, keep writing!

One thought on “P&W Prompt: Why Is the World So Messy?

  1. Pingback: P&W Prompt: The Poetry of Science | J. Gabriel Scala

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