This poetry writing prompt submitted by Lenny DellaRocca.
Start off with What if, and add the rest of the line with what first comes to mind- then answer that question in the next line- so-
What if my dreams were the diaries of dead people
playing out in my mind as I sleep?
I could ask the man tuning my aunt’s piano
in the supermarket about how she died
that night before I was born
her house up in flames….
And go where it leads. Next, re-write it taking out what doesn’t seem to work and add new lines and phrases to see what does work.
Keep editing as you tap into the background of the subject of the poem- in this case- the narrator’s aunt. Ask other questions that might trigger other memories that could be woven into the poem.
Use free association in those places where you might get stuck, in this case-dreams and the dead-use bizarre images and scenarios to evoke a mysterious and poetic landscape.
If the piece goes nowhere, try another What if
something from history- What if JFK had lived, What if John Lennon never met Paul McCartney? etc.
or try something from today’s news, What if all the honey bees on Earth died… etc And research that possibility to add narrative and an authoritative voice.
Once finished – tweak and trim as you would with any poem.
If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/poetrysuperhighway