Writing prompt 2: maps

For the second prompt I have put below a photograph of a map dress which I bought a while ago at an exhibition and was created by J Carus. Post your poems below. In May selected poems from these prompts will be published on The Poetry Shed… happy writing…

Map dress

4 thoughts on “Writing prompt 2: maps”

  1. Conversations about Geography with Zenzi


    And that, Zenzi, is Maskat.
    That, Abyssinia. Belgian Congo. French Equatorial Africa.
    Places that exist only on a map.
    Singapore 1928 Nairobi 1937. And that closer home, Bombay.

    Where do I find this world for you?
    To make you feel this, I need to tell you a story, about history.
    Even as this is a map
    It is a very old one.

    When the world looked different.
    Let’s say there was no grandmother then, or grandfather.
    There was just the earth.
    (No, this isn’t working).

    Let’s begin from what is.
    This is a nice dress, Zenzi.
    It reminds us of what the world used to be
    Before we were around.

    Did people eat on time then?
    Were children naughty?
    Did they go to school?
    Were we home then?

    The oceans still swirled, those days.
    I won’t tell you about the wars.
    But a lot of things changed
    And even Bombay is called Mumbai now.

    But what is a map really but a way to tell a story
    How we travelled, then to now.
    Yes, I like the dress, but not what’s in it.
    For me, it reminds me of something else,

    That I cannot explain, that you are too young to know.
    Let’s just say, this is an old map and a new dress.
    And Khartoum is still in Sudan.
    And the Arabian Sea brings news from far away, like a monsoon breeze.


    Yes, papa, one day using this map,
    We will go to the moon.
    Then we will go to North America and Australia
    And meet my cousin there.

    It is a map, papa.
    But very ‘cardboardy’, and its very ‘papery’.
    And if we break this cardboard, I’ve seen they break very easily
    When you fold them like paper to make a card.

    (Zenzi’s riposte)

    Short Bios:

    Tara Sanyal Goswami a.k.a. Zenzi is five. She loves dancing Kathak and has many (imaginary) children to teach.

    Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poetry has been published around the world, including his recent collection, River Wedding (Poetrywala) which has been widely reviewed.

    This is their first poetry collaboration.

  2. In a western town

    above montana
    in the foothills
    of the rockies
    with their charcoal peaks

    a little girl in diapers
    getting potty trained
    with the nickname Keeks
    in a highchair

    slapping her big spoon
    into no-name weiners
    and macaroni
    cuz i didn’t have the rent

    for her mother, my sister
    a no show for work
    hanging out
    in bars and libraries

    the night she drove me out
    to a house
    to buy a used typewriter
    with a traveling case

    and how she’d spend
    the last hours
    of each day
    with a vodka cooler

    and a romance novel
    picking up
    where she’d left off
    at the overturned page

    (Ken Smith)

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