Tonic Town

i wanted to surrender
to love of grace
but she made it so hard

she would thin her gin
her evening meal
every day except sunday
she didn’t eat at all
on sundays
which is how
she stayed so thin

god, she was beautiful

empty calories
for an empty heart
that i wanted to fill

my better self wanted
to fill it with love
my baser self just wanted
to fill it
with a need for me

and she smelled so fine
that i was rarely thin
when i was near her
i would say her scent
was intoxicating
but that would give
the wrong impression

i joked that she had
surrendered to grace
the baser grace
that was a mirror of me
but it wasn’t funny

a jigger of this
a jigger of that
then the jitters set in

i wanted to surrender
to grace
but i didn’t

she had already
surrendered herself
to something greater
than me

i’m sorry, grace
that i couldn’t save you
from your surrender

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to the Take the driver’s seat! prompt at We Write Poems:

First consider what prompt would be an interesting and challenging prompt for you, including then what you think would be good for the group. Then 1) write a brief paragraph describing the poem prompt itself, and 2) go ahead and write your own poem to that prompt.

For my poem, I used surrender as the theme from Sunday Scribblings, and grace, thin, and jitter from Three Word Wednesday.

So, here’s my prompt:

One, select a prompt from a site like Poetic Asides, Writer’s Island, Sunday Scribblings, or One Single Impression. This will be the topic or theme of your poem. Two, select some words from a site like Three Word Wednesday or a wordling whirl of Sundays. Now, consider your theme/topic and your words. See if those words will help you explore or expand on your theme, or see if your topic opens up, leading down unexpected avenues, as you play with those words. Trust your poetic intuition and imagination. You could choose prompts that you haven’t previously responded to, or revisit ones you’ve already done, or find a prompt that previously stumped you, and see if this take on it will help you get a poem written.

19 thoughts on “Tonic Town

  1. An interesting way to make use of those prompt sites. I like the idea of using the words from one to expand on the theme from another. Single word prompts don’t work for me, but this makes an interesting way to use them. Thank you. And I like the poem.


    • Margo, thank you. I have the same problem with single word prompts; they are often the hardest for me. I need more to work with, which is why I have combined prompts from time to time. Glad you like the poem too.



  2. I like the prompt idea…and I adore the poem which resulted. The repetition and expansion on a theme in this poem resulted in some gritty, honest statements and imagery. I also love your last stanza: “i’m sorry, grace/that i couldn’t save you/from your surrender”…it’s always painful to love someone and yet watch them destroy themselves.

    Very well done.



    • Nicole, thank you. I hope We Write Poems will choose this idea to use. I think of the speaker of this poem as a not very nice sort of guy, not a bad guy, but seriously flawed himself. And so his apology at the end, I think, adds some poignancy to his dilemma.



  3. Richard~
    On sooo many levels I loved this poem!! First…I, too, like to combine prompts. I did that today, too. I combined Three Word Wednesday with Poetic Asides. And yesterday I combined the Wordle with Sunday Scribblings. I like how you arrived at yours! And second…the poem itself. Wow. It pulled me in from the first stanza. The ache it produced in my heart was palpable. Well done! ~ Paula


  4. Paula, thank you so much for the kind words. I will have to check out your recent poems. I do apologize; I’m in the last few days of the school year, so I’m swamped with work. I promise that I’ll get caught up with reading and commenting. Glad you thought the poem was effective.



    • No apologies necessary! I do enjoy your visits, but also understand the ebb and flow of life outside poetry! I’ve also been a bit inundated with distraction these past 2-3 weeks (and this last week, I was hardly online due to a mini-vacation). Have a great end of the school year, Mr. Walker!! 🙂


  5. What fantastic challenge! You take memes to whole new level. I’ll have to think hard about whether I’m up for that challenge.


  6. Rest assured Richard, WWP will use this prompt! Interesting on several levels, not the least of which is the inter-connectiveness of using these multiple community resources (I like that a lot). Generally said, I like an open framework structure as suggested here (among the many I’ve now read) which creates both a common pathway yet leaves so much up to the individual to define and realize. Kind of just exactly the way people are in real life! 🙂

    Thanks for both prompt and poem! (Happy end of the school year too.)


    • Neil, thank you so much. Glad to hear it will be used at We Write Poems. I hope that I’m up to the challenge of taking on this prompt again. I was worried that it was too simple. Your analysis of it makes it seem much more sophisticated than I thought it was.



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  8. Pingback: Homeward « Raven's Wing Poetry

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