For today’s prompt, take on one (or both) of the following prompts:

  • Write a cool poem. Or…
  • Write a uncool poem.

Yesterday was a tough day. I wallowed in thought. Useless some might say, but my mind needs days like that, days to explore the emptiness. I did read, I did write, and I did test drive a couple of vehicles. And at the end of the day I tested my new bitters with a Manhattan. Oh, yeah, it’s a nice mixture; thank you Virginia for the suggestion of Lime.

Anyway, cool and uncool. Images came easily, maybe too easily. My icon II think WordPress’s too, is of Joe Cool. I suppose not everybody knows Snoopy, but he is the coolest dog ever. I believe it was in the 1970’s that Shultz added the Joe Cool images and the name became synonymous with satire of this state of coolness. Cool McCool also benefited from this cultural idea of coolness; which I believe began in the 1950’s with the Beat generation.

Thoughts came easily, too easily. I think poets are sometimes in danger of succumbing to image and writing the first things that come to mind. At least this untrained poet finds that true.

I began writing two simple lines:

  • Everybody wants fame
    /-UU-/-U – U – – /
  • Who doesn’t want fortune?
    /-UU-/-U – U – – / – U

I then wrote

  • Unintended exposure
  • Unintentional shame
  • Anticipated fortune
  • Anticipated fame

Those lines came very quickly, and I toyed with the idea of continuing with this pattern, and I went to Thesaurus.com and searched for synonyms of intention and related words. I wrote a half page, looked at it, then turned it over and walked away.

The image forming was of an old man regretting he never made anything of himself, of reviewing his life while dying alone in a bed. Full of regrets and loneliness. Sometime later I sat and wrote four paragraphs.

You bragged when you stole that shopping cart. Did you know at fifteen you’d be living in one? Did you have a hunch?

When you stole that leather jacket, did you know Mr. Bentley owned the town? Not everybody wears their emotions in their tattoos. Most money hides behind the truly cool.

Conception was something you bragged about to the row of empty beer glasses. Did you tell them how you fainted, when you saw her eyes closed, her purple head, dripping? Your whole Joe Cool life regurgitated?

You lived job to job. You didn’t learn to take your foot off the throttle. And now look at you. You can’t see your own feet.

Your room is empty and your bed is full.

With fountain pen and a mid-sized notebook, this was over a page of crap.


I walked away from it and wondered what I wanted to say. Should I really take a reader through a person’s whole life? Examine every bad decision? It felt like too big a task, too heavy. Is there a way to trim this end-of life movie down to its essentials, to its root? A shift in perspective hit me. Instead of playing through the movie, have someone else make a comment on it. A wife? A child? A priest? I wrote

I hope you see more
at the end of your movie
than your boots making waffles
on a wall