Under pressure

Erika’s exercise (the one where she had us construct a list, and then suggested writing poetry from it) inspired me.  Sometimes it’s really hard for me to just sit down and write a poem.   I think that this is because for some  reason I am worried that it will be really bad, and don’t want to put in the effort to create something bad, or it will be borderline good and I won’t be able to decide if I like it, or maybe I am afraid of where the poem will take me.  I honestly do not know, but I feel some sort of pressure sometimes.  I decided that I would try and combat this pressure by doing a similar thing to Erika’s exercise(< this word will never look like it’s spelled  correctly to me).  My exercise is to come up with a short list of completely random things- something funny someone said, or something that is just floating in my mind so I want to write it down, something interesting from the day, a weird word– literally anything, and challenge myself to write a poem with these items/thoughts/etc. I decided that I would write these poems incredibly fast, I also decided that another thing that takes the pressure off is allowing these poems to be completely nonsensical.  My list from the other day is as follows:

-baby chicks in blenders

-outer space- aliens being 5ft tall

-bar tabs

-“the shitzus in Pittsburgh suck”‘

-heirloom tomatoes are the sexiest tomatoes


Big colossal hands cup my ankles like

I am at the edge of a cliff, belly banging against gravel

childsposing to my death.  Do not release I repeat in robo-tongue

Don’t wish to live among the ones who exhale stardust–though

I will  greet them eye-level.


The Shitzus in Pittsburgh

suck when I visit they stumble over themselves like my

mother after she has had

half a glass of wine (she’s a lightweight).  Do not

release the golden egg you have kept

for science class: she has eyes and a nose and a mouth and

seems so personable but

everything looks the same in a blender.


The bar tab is higher than an old oak and

people are debating which tomato is the sexiest. Thumbing

through the pages of a cook book brings back memories

of thick pot roast stew: feelings of home and suede t-shirts.

Everything feels profound when there’s a lack of oxygen to the brain.


So this poem is weird as hell, and doesn’t really make sense.  I tried to connect it all together by suggesting that maybe the narrator is hallucinating because he/she is about to die.   Although this poem isn’t particularly good, it helped me come up with some ideas for a new poem like childposing to your death, robo-tongue, greeting aliens eye level since they are apparently 5 feet tall, and other ideas that surfaced.  Hopefully if I do this enough I will come up with lots of new unique images and ideas to keep me inspired.  I’m curious to see if other people feel pressured when they begin to write, and the things they do to combat this pressure, since pressure is pretty discouraging.

One Reply to “Under pressure”

  1. I know that the writing I just let go is the most fun for me to write, more than agonizing over every little word (although that, in the end is satisfying in a different way). Sometimes the words come out in these sort of “flow” situations almost despite me. This usually happens in the morning when my head is clear, or when it is buzzing so much with poem stuff that I can’t help but start writing. Almost all of the time I am not in these “just right” states, though. While what comes out of these sessions isn’t great as a finished product they have great value, to me at least, in a sort of “raw ore” sense, so I obviously don’t want to be at the mercy of being in just the right mindset to create it. Luckily, even when I’m plain old Robbie I find its easy to get into a flow if I just sit down and start writing. It’s the starting part that’s hard, that’s why having a little journal or prompts like Erika’s can be so helpful.

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