April 25, 2018: Poetry Writing Prompt – Cecilia Woloch

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Cecilia Woloch:

Look up the etymology of one of your favorite words and consider its complex and surprising history. The word clue, for instance, developed from the word clew, a ball of thread used to guide a person out of a labyrinth (literally or figuratively). Write a poem in which you interweave the history of that favorite word with some aspect of your personal history, as in M, Ayodele Heath’s poem, “Etymology of Ain’t:”

Etymology of Ain’t by M. Ayodele Heath

Ain’t
used to be an’t
which comes from
am not as in                               I ain’t you
but also is not as in                 He ain’t me
& also have not as in              I ain’t been
and don’t wanna be

Ain’t is a state of that which is not
Ain’t is a state in the American South
Ain’t country, ain’t hip-hop
Ain’t nappy, ain’t cornrows, ain’t dreadlocks
Ain’t ignores dress codes       no shoes, no socks
Ain’t wears no drawers           don’t own any

Ain’t ain’t never apologized for being
Ain’t never been apologetic
Some say ain’t no future in ain’t
& ain’t ain’t what it used to be
but where ain’t is, is ain’t
Ain’t ain’t metaphysical?

Is you is or is you ain’t? I ain’t         no haint
Ain’t never been three-fifths            of nothing
Ain’t trying to be no more than       I am
I is whole
Before I was born                                  I was all

They placed ain’t’s tombstone        between ‘tis and ‘twas
But ain’t stands defiantly                   as don’t and won’t
Tar & feather me                                    burn me down
I ain’t supposed to be here

But I is

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

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