For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Star (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles include: “Star-struck,” “Star Man,” “Star Wars Prequels Aren’t Star Wars Movies,” “Starter Set,” “Stark Raving Mad,” and so on. Remember: I’m totally fine with prompts that get bent a bit.

I struggled finding a poem for this prompt. I could find many star words — I am not including a list because I’m late and lazy — but none of them jumped at me. I decided I’d give my diffuse mind some swimming room, so I took a bath and read and dreamt.

I believe the creative mind needs its own time and space to work. Real creativity needs to explore the open spaces of the mind. The real relationships, themes, conflicts, struggles, and character traits I and other writers try to flesh out are generally hidden in the peripheral brain. And we can’t easily retrieve them. We can feed the process, bait the hook if you will, but it is a fishing expiation, not a hike through known paths.

I had a notebook next to the tub, and DAR — I’m reading God Is — forced me to record some thoughts. I wrote a contradictory anecdote from a recent conversation at Starbucks and I stopped. Star blank. Star bucks. Bang! I turned my anecdote into a poem.

Coffee Surfing

So how’s life going, anyways
his bald head and beady eyes focused, oval lenses
smiling doesn’t help, but we both oblige
we both remember, too much

Land ho, for you maybe
I’m still bobbing the waves, drifting through coffee shops
My morning Starbucks stares back brown, creamy
second rate coffee I don’t have to brew

Progressing, getting near the end
preparing to start the next phase, again.
It’s a long, hard process, more thinking
than most people would expect

How are the girls, I ask, changing, forgetting
the oldest died seven or eight years ago