writing prompt fun

my facebook friends enjoyed this, and i got more responses than i anticipated. (i didn’t anticipate any.)

here is the prompt: “write about your body as a house. describe the exterior and interior. what furnishings? what residents?”

my own response:

this front porch 
a dilapidated institution
of soft love and hard story
complete with creaky swing
and tiny table 
with books and quartz
to repel or call as needed, 
inside the floorboards
groan greeting
windows wide open
something’s in the oven
smelling like cinnamon 
ready to be shared
so sit. all furniture
is clean and well-worn here
ready to hold you.
share a secret or two
plenty of wooden boxes
and mason jars
on hand 
for keeping truth fresh

poem: what i’m afraid of

(sidenote: a 19-item list, hoohoo!)



that dream
where she walks into a blank room
sees me lying face down
on a bald concrete floor
says one word:

eternity in the hollow
absence of a lover’s

shadow. Swallow. Silence.

here lies mia iyanna wright.
age __. loving mother.
decent teacher. died of ‘almost.’

never being left alone.

always being left alone.

Slice open a wound,
sew it up again. Exacto
blade. Slash open
a wound, sew it
up again.
Paring knife. Saw open a wound
sew it up again.
Vegetable peeler
Pull back dark
lips of wound sew it up again.

wake up one morning
yawn at sun
surprise find mouth stuffed
full of bloody thread.

finger frozen
in the curl
of cradling a
fucking cell phone

dying & leaving my daughter
to wade in the tepid puddle
of excuses we call family

the way my mother left me



constantly looked at
but never seen

the hungry translucent fingers
of white women

that thing me they’re
always reaching for –
whatever it is

naked invertebrates
worming in
like tongues of memory
draining my blood

the cold indifference
of hospitals and black men

walking into a room
and finding me already there
staring back at myself,

sound I make

they like the sound I make
when I break.
ripe tendons
tend to tune
the snap
of limbs

this is what
I remember about lovemaking
with men:
a kind of wheezing
in the chest that rolls
over mine
throats burn
when they smell my blood

once pulled,
there is a split second
in which they look
almost human
nuzzling my hollows
soft ’til saliva
saves their mouths
from need of me

eyes click open.
they are animal again
how to leave the carcass
once it is cleaned

why 19 poems?

my favorite number is 19. that’s a random factoid, not an answer. all right.

i have a problem with dwelling on things.

one of my professors told me during my mfa days that it’s sometimes necessary to “write through” whatever your mind keeps obsessing about. can’t stop thinking about your mother? write mother poems. just write tons of mother poems until you’re sick of them and cannot bear to write another one.

i took that advice. i started using the arbitrary (though inexplicably loved) number 19 to (attempt to) cure my dwelling habit. “oh, you’re dwelling on that one sad experience from when you were five? write 19 poems about it.”

which, of course, i never can.

so 19, for me, has come to represent getting real and moving on.

that’s what i’ve decided. like, just now.