3 thoughts on “Writing prompt 6: exhibit”

  1. The Roar of the Big Bird

    Water on Mars is cool
    And light flows from chandeliers
    Rabbits look for meaning
    And the cat is queen.

    There is a lone saucer which carries them in –
    Guests from earth
    Vanished overnight upon landing.
    Should we look for them or let them find us?

    The beaked among us has a nose for things.
    There is certainty basking in gorilla breath
    As for me, I am not one to go prancing for useless things.
    If they need us, they will come to us

    There is enough to do.
    Just now, I have an assignment from red soil
    To look for traces of beauty
    Which can feed the rabbits like food.

    A type of vitamin, if you may.
    There is much trouble in this. Let Mars be, I say
    But they don’t listen.
    They want to be known as voyagers, discoverers

    Of newer Vulcan spheres.
    I remind them, see what happened to the earthlings
    But thirst is in us all.
    The secret service will next tell us we are being photographed

    And this is for a poetry prompt faraway.
    We should let sleeping dogs lie, and use our resources for better ends.
    How to grow the soil green, and what, if anything,
    Those missing earthlings have to say.

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


    Most are wearing masks now,
    even though no banks to rob
    and queueing for the P.O. is so slow.

    How does it feel, as soggy spittle soaks
    your scarf or semi-industrial gauze pad
    you bought online?

    I get the bandit vibe, a highwayman
    or woman – all dangerous – sexy eyes slit
    as you chat without introducing yourself.

    For how do I know who you are? You hide behind
    the red-spotted handkerchief cowboys used to wear
    as they hustled cattle from the rear, plagued by dust.

    We stalk about like harlequins
    at joyless leper carnival,
    baffled at our sin.

    Is this what it feels like to be religious
    – ugliness concealing impossible beauty
    that would inflame me if revealed?

    My mask is interestingly conceived
    to look like an amusing animal,
    whose face requires yet another mask.

    Come, let us pace awhile in our portable cages,
    trusting that two metres and such muzzles as we contrive
    are prophylactic for the mad dog vampires we may meet.

    Clive Donovan

  3. Exhibits

    A robin jumps out
    in its bloody apron.

    Dress it up as much as you like,
    but I can’t hide what I am.

    The sight of myself in daylight
    frightens me.

    A monster dressed as a woman.
    Pig in lipstick.

    Always shocking someone
    with the feral ways I can’t shake.

    Heavens above!
    say the posh women,

    I can’t believe you haven’t read
    this book/that poem.

    Look at your hair! My God,
    those feet are like trotters!

    Once upon a time,
    I would’ve bitten

    their heads off
    without batting an eyelid,

    laughed at the limp body
    dangling in my hand.

    Now I imagine them as children –
    fragile, fine bone china,

    their parents at the bedside,
    reading them to sleep.

    Their childhood story is the story
    of my childhood: listening

    for footsteps overhead, the creaking
    boards, the flush of water.

    Trip, trap, trip, trap
    into an explosion of anger.

    And after, my father –
    away into the mist like a deer,

    returning to breathe
    brick dust into us, feed us

    concrete, tarmac,
    horror stories

    of the dark carriage waiting
    at the end of the street.

    The gull-headed man who’d come
    for us in his white van.

    The human zoo we’d be taken to
    if anyone knew the truth.

    Joanne Key

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