Featured Prompts from Mark Klett

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 From the series Stereo Files, "Saguaro," and "Day at Point Imperial"                                                                                                see more

Responses:

Lara Candland I Five Poems 

this picture of me. grand canyon. 1975. i am eight. i am browner than a squirrel with a nut in her cheek & my hair is snot green from the chlorine in the pools & my mouth is full of too big, clambering teeth, full of high pine needles & binoculars & stars and the high dark society of night...
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Tonja Robins

Saguaro Woman Sings Love Songs to Herself
 
In the moon when my older sisters’ fruit ripens
I drink trays of rain, swell my pleated middle.
By the moon when fat falls from animals,
my hairy toes gripping sand long for a dew-sip
but clouds too lose their fat.
My crown rises toward tinny stars.

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Prompt 6 from Francesca Abbate



Fata Morgana

 

Montaigne begins his essay “On Liars” with a critique of his own memory: “I can hardly,” he claims, “find a trace of it in myself.” On today’s late afternoon walk by the river, Not Baby watches as, in the just lifting fog of another mild winter day, the antenna-masted paperboard factory turns into an antique vessel and sets sail.
§
Because of the warmth and lack of snow, biologists have counted fewer bald eagles this year at the confluence just west, though there have been some sightings on smaller tributaries as they scavenge carcasses in farm fields.
§
Rarely does Not Baby call up her ghosts; so many may, after all, still be breathing, like the young man who camped near the radiator next to her apartment door twenty years ago, either because the shelter down the street was full, or because he preferred the solitude of the 2nd floor foyer in that half-tenanted building where, for a week, he didn’t—as many others had, and would—snore, piss himself, or go for her ankle when she stepped over him at 3am after closing up the bar.

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Responses

Elizabeth Munger

Elizabeth Munger

Emily Jalinsky

Emily Jalinsky

John Engelbrecht

John Engelbrecht

Franky Frances Cannon

Franky Frances Cannon

Jason Reno

Jason Reno

Taylor Yocom

Taylor Yocom

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Prompt 5 from Holly Roberts


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Responses

Kassia Lisinski, "In Bed With Cutface"

I am a teeth wand big nose eyes my my small hands my claw my small hands my claw my small arrow body my eyes in the wood in the woods in the ears and lashes lash black & white

Joe Artz, "The Grove of Dictionaries"

She was born with her eyeballs upside down. Other people saw birds, trees, the rising moon. She saw tree roots, curbs, sleeping dogs. This did not disturb here. She preferred sure-footedness, and besides, not everything beautiful was forward or above.

Sam Collier, "It's Not the Darkness, but the Looking Back"

On the second day, we sewed our eyes shut with needles thin as splinters. We were pointing our longing at something like transcendence. Our eyelids flamed, then wept, then swelled and crusted as our other senses bloomed.

Jeff Pearson, "Red is Strong, Blue is True"

A portrait like love; like silhouettes of a crush at 13 nourishing a pillow of sweat, nervous systems expose themselves.

David Duer, "Grey Men"

They have such small arms those men in their gray herringbone suits



Prompt 4 from Melanie Rae Thon

The Good Samaritan Speaks:

Why do you call me good? Everything is good: me, you, the boy
waving the gun: I hear him now, crying in the arroyo: I saw the
car rolled and tried to help, but the boy with the gun was afraid
and fired: the rattlesnake is good, the saguaro, the rabbit: the
blood of strangers sings in my veins: they know not what they do: I
hear the voices of multitudes: lava, gneiss, quartz, granite: sand
that becomes stone that becomes sand: all that is through time: a
song vibrating in bone long after notes vanish: vertebrae, fibula,
clavicle, sacrum: black holes humming in space, fourteen billion
years of sound, a universe of song, all that is, before and after: the
gray fox climbs trees, the bighorn sheep sees two miles: who
among us is not good: what being not holy: scorpion, wasp,
catclaw, cholla: the vulture finds the dead and purifies the world:
poppy, lupine, iris, lily: who do you not love: what being is
unworthy? The problem bear is good: she walks with me across
the desert: the agave fruits once and dies, its seed exploding in the
world: heart, hand, eye, pelvis: which part do you not need:
thunder, rain, river, lightning: who here is not perfect: at dusk,
white-winged doves circle, looking for water, a reflection of sky on
earth: blue is good, so good: God, a fallen cloud: we have never
been this thirsty.

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Responses

Angie Zielinski

Angie Zielinski

Theresa Ganz

Theresa Ganz

Andrew Burgess

Andrew Burgess

Kirsten Simonsen

Kirsten Simonsen

Wendy Thon

Wendy Thon

Holly Roberts

Holly Roberts

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Prompt 3 from James Gouldthorpe 

Responses

Joe Artz, "When the Sun Melted the Shadows"

The heat that summer was so extreme it melted the shadows from the sides of houses. Black and gray rivulets of lightlessness ran across dead lawns. Shade rained down from trees and collected in pools beneath the leafy canopies. Sheep changed color, heat burning the wool black one day, sun-bleaching it white the next.

Kim Chinquee, "Supper"

The postcard is a picture of my father and his family: my grandpa at the head of the table, my grandma in her apron. My dad looks maybe five or six, my aunt is probably four. The picture’s black and white. They sit around the table. Their plates are empty.

Marc Rahe, "To First World Problem Solve"

Mechanical production of the re-. Given the problem of X, solve for the solution is more. To solve for potential, cock the hammer. Double the number of finger bones of a child's hand --

Karen Carcia, "A Series of Improvements"

He wanted to chalk the line of a more perfect idea—and yet, notwithstanding that, he could not bridge the horizontal distances nor other matters of use to living.

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens, "Farm to Table"

The hog pen is a womb. Laden with sweet grass before the great emptying of 1944. Caress the runt like a yarn doll, remove feces, freshen vegetable feed, firm finger strokes and chat her up. The meat tastes poor inside stressed beasts.

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Prompt 2 from Michael Martone

 

S  T  l  L  L

 

In 1915, on the eve of his departure from San Francisco to Japan for his first tour there, the news broke that Aimee Cour, the wife of Art Smith, the Bird Boy of Fort Wayne, had left California, returning home via train to her parents in Indiana.  His three-year marriage in shambles, Art took to the air in pursuit of his retreating wife, tracing the railroad right-of-way until he overtook the consist near Truckee as her train approached the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada. There, in the thin mountain air, Smith composed a message in the hope his estranged wife would catch a glimpse of the missive out of her parlor car window.

 

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Responses

Laura Shipley

Laura Shipley

Christopher Colville

Christopher Colville

Marie Navarre

Marie Navarre

Klea McKenna

Klea McKenna

Bucky Miller

Bucky Miller

 

 Prompt 1 from Wendy Kawabata

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"Pot Hunters," handmade pin perforations in paper

"The Thicket," handmade pin perforations in paper

by Wendy Kawabata

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Responses

"its strange and swollen borders," a poem by Bethany Schultz Hurst

in better days when they first came i rattled gently the windows hid teacups and made shapes like rabbits rise from sheets

"After Kawabata's Thicket," a poem by Susan Goslee

A bramble. A big mess. A maze. Follow the insides of the branches to get out of the basement back conference-portion of a casino. But the birds want to get in to the berries, bright cherries you pull for. The wild rose bush in my neighbor’s yard drapes over the fence.

Border, a poem by Mike White

Black out heat delirium in a crawlspace in the back of a delivery truck,

"music of the empty chamber," a story by David Rossman

...i loved...all this...so i always lived...in the negative...space...i knew...the perforations...but i didn't...get...what paper was...because i lived...in the wounds...in the woods...i wandered...but i wondered...what it was...to be unwounded...only i...understood...the hole...where the bullet...had gone...through...the whole time...i was...the emptiness inside...the barrel...of the gun...

"Regarding the First Conquest," a story by Vincent Standley

Sergeant Legos served in the Imperial guard, though he'd never been to the palace. Captain Sord, in charge of the seven outposts that composed the First Front of the Imperial Hinterland, was the highest ranking official he had ever met. Part of Legos' job required work with wood but he had never seen a tree. He had a wooden leg but usually opted for the crutch. Excluding the villagers of the seven outposts, this region had few occupants, mainly those with official sanction to pursue extended acts of self-deprivation and the roving surveyors who mapped the unclaimed land ahead of the avant garde.

 

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