For today’s prompt, write an exercise poem. The poem could be about a specific exercise, or it could just incorporate exercising into the poem. Or it could be dedicated to a piece of exercise equipment–so an ode to an elliptical machine or those hand grippers or something. Of course, not every exercise is physical; there are military exercises, mental exercises, and so on.

I think it’s important for us to work through our writing. Inspiration is rather easy to find. Read some news, read some blogs, take a walk through town, strike up a conversation, or just sit and watch and listen t people. If you can’t find inspiration, you’re not living. But turning these multitudinous triggers into poetry, prose, a blog, an essay, an article, or a comment on a news site is the hard part. It takes work, even when it’s easy.

Knowledge also helps. I won’t claim to be there yet, but I am working on it. Today I started on a little treasure I found at Value Village. In Rhyme and Reason, John Metcalf and Gordon Callaghan begin discussing connotation. They give seemingly endless exercises and only a few pages in I am seeing the worthiness of re-examining how words affect our writing.

If you were underweight, which word would you most like to be called? What does each word suggest?

  1. Skinny
  2. Scrawny
  3. Slim

Simple exercises with far-reaching impacts.

My first poem came after a mid-morning nap. I’ll admit it: I was drinking last night. Our 4-men book club discussed Thucydides (because we still haven’t all read the beast) and Us Conductors, and it was my turn to provide drinks. I brought some Forty Creek Barrel Select bp_imaging_drink_photography-forty_creek_premium_whiskey_group_shotCanadian whiskey and made Manhattans. I had also made my own bitters with Vodka, so we had the Manhattan and Russian angles of Us Conductors covered. Round two was the same but with Angostura Bitters for comparison. Both were good, but the traditional won 4 to 0.

Three ounces of alcohol a drink on a Sunday night with a chaser of straight whiskey because it’s so damned good, makes one drowsy on Monday mornings. I was up at 5:15am, made some coffee, and was back in bed by 9am, but with exercise triggers to ponder.


So here’s the first. It’s rather divided, but I think it has content to work with. I suspect an end result, if there ever is one, will look vastly different.


Choices are thinning with the hair
There will be no more offspring for this old horse
no more free reigning, in greener fields
where the fillies hop and skip, and prepare
for their runs through the gates

The alarm with the disappearing slider wakes me
2:30 is early enough to eat, read, and catch the five o’clock news
Second sleeps might be luxuries, to the rodent racers
Those high-flying traders of options
But I exercise mine in my own good old time

The second came later, after dinner, after reading some Alice Munro and Metcalf, and after feeling primed to sit and write. So I sat, penned a poem, then edited it as I typed it in. It changed quite a bit as I typed. I think this one has more substance, but I am not happy with it. Pillars of Society. Some odd, disparate metaphor. Still, it has some potential imagery. I like Nixon square and the outreach line.

Pillars of Society

Sturdy, as the piles that hold the pier
the container ships dock and bump
Nixon square, offering basket holey
my eyes search for hope in my lone workout room
not hide in full halls, were the outreach works my pockets
the power-poles guard by wracked body, my racked mind
the only four pillars I trust, with weight on my chest
I wish the pillars of society were as reliable, were as strong
I wish I could revive them with simple protein drinks
and a designed exercise program
but I’m afraid he’s too lazy to care, anymore