Pandemic Prompts

This is also not a poem by Amy Rosenbluth

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity," wrote T.S. Eliot. For those who need an outlet for creativity during self-isolation and social distancing, Lit Cleveland is offering free writing challenges each week via our newsletter. The following piece is a response to the "This is not that kind of poem" prompt.

This is also not a poem

by Amy Rosenbluth

This is also not a poem. These words are just the dust of the day, the breakage of thought that never got air time. There is nothing vivid or impactful here; it is barely here. But. Still. Words look for a landing strip, and something is formed from this day.

Let’s look on the bright side, you know, the one where the sun is shining and you say hello to the neighbors and take a walk and try to make sense of the chalk drawings, kids’ joy and all, and you mouth words of gratitude to yourself. It helps, all of that posturing, it does. But. It does not write this poem. So, maybe dig deeper, into the phone call this morning with your mom who hasn’t left her room in two weeks.  Maybe the poem is the excitement in her voice when she shares her idea of writing notes with her “table mates”, as she calls them, the ladies she used to share mealtime with.

“Pen pals! I will send Blanche a note and a picture and she will send me one in return! We will ask the aids to help us by delivering our messages!” There is so much excitement and buzz; the girl scout leader returns in a flash of green. It doesn’t matter, that she and Blanche can call each other or maybe even send an email, if either one remembers how to get themselves online. I almost suggest that she ask for a couple of tin cans from the kitchen and a length of cord so that they might play telephone down the hallways, dust motes bouncing in the sunshine.

And later that day, my daughter and I go for a bike ride together and leave notes in chalk on people’s driveways, which is for sure, an example of concrete poetry.