Prompt #26 (for January 9th, 2020) ~ Less than a day after writing yesterday’s prompt, I watched a CBS Sunday Morning segment on David Byrne, the principal songwriter, singer, and guitarist for Talking Heads. In it, he discussed one of his current projects: an online magazine called Reasons to Be Cheerful. Write a poem with that title— “How to Be Cheerful” — in an authentic voice — or an ironic one. Here are some other options:
- Write a Part II/conclusion/continuation to the poem you wrote from yesterday’s prompt;
- Write a poem entitled “How to Be _____________,” a “recipe” or pedagogical poem with you — or your narrator persona—as the experienced expert. Maybe your poem is “How to Be a Middle Child,” “How to Be On the Right Side of History,” or “How to Be Quasi-Apathetic.”
- Write a poem about a time when someone told you to “just cheer up,” or “walk it off,” or “turn that frown upside down.”
- For extra credit, write your poem to music that seems to “harmonize” with the tone of your poem—or whose melody, rhythm, or genre is entirely antithetical to the flow of your poem. So whether it’s The Piano Guys or Arnold Schönberg, Beatles or Bebop, “meditation music” or Metallica: play and write on…
Ready, Steady, You Know the Rest…
How to be Less Annoyed (Because Cheerful Is Asking A Lot)
(with apologies to Wendell Berry)
Make a place of acceptance.
Accept. Leave space
For any unexpected silence, for
Trailing doubts, seeping resentment.
Accept them. Abandon regret.
Close the judgmental electronic eye.
Eschew social media; the “Likes,”
And “Shares” and “Friend”ing;
Shift your gears to neutral.
In lieu of speaking, coast.
Let the road unspool before you.
And discover its own uncharted track.
Be buoyed by the winds of a new doctrine
And let it blow all through you –
Open your hands and let go.