“The prompt is called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. And here are the twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem:
1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.”
I’m way behind on finishing NaPoWriMo, but I liked this prompt. I didn’t quite use all 20 “projects”. Maybe you can tell which ones?
Katie, life will be a carnival.
In Somewhere, America,
as if in a Ray Bradbury novel,
you will be greeted at its gates by dark and light.
Step right up, they’ll say.
Scent of summer, hint of fall.
Humid touch on your skin followed by the cool breeze.
Every fantastical thing before your eyes, man-made, against the backdrop of tree and sky.
Salt and sugar both lingering on your tongue.
The wild music blending with the sound of birds.
You’ll forget your troubles among the happy crowd.
You’ll buy a trucker hat with your name airbrushed on it, and a shiny caramel apple, that will smile at you brilliantly when you bite through its shell to reveal bright green skin and white flesh.
A fortune teller will read your fate from the lines upon your hand.
A weight-guesser will guess your weight, accurately.
You will win absolutely nothing.
The funhouse will have no power to frighten you.
You’ve learned by now that every distortion of reality makes it more clear.
In fact, everything in this place presents a choice.
Will you be afraid, or will you embrace life with gusto, and take a chance?
A carnival ride, that’s what life will really be.
You know the one. Some tilt-a-whirl bit of madness, the hilarious precariousness of a machine meant to fling you through the air, de- and re-constructed in different places, for adventure-seekers to take chances of their own.
It will say to you, let it go.
Climb on, throw caution to the wind, stop planning every second, and breathe the colors of this existence. Embrace the joie de vivre that is hidden under layers of good behavior.
A fortune teller will tell you your future, and she will be absolutely wrong.
You are the author of your fate, and no one may pre-make your choices.
Board the ride of your life. Throw your arms up, and fly. You’ve always been able to.