3 Poems

Bill Yarrow


Write a poem beginning with the word “bed” in which the word “horse” or “alpine” appears in the seventh line.
Write a poem in which fraternal twins each marry accountants.
Write a poem in which the last letter of the third word in every line spells out your home state.
Write a poem in which your father is a dog and you are his leash.
Write a poem constructed from four-syllable words in your favorite recipes.
Write a poem of 1000 lines in which prime numbers figure prominently.
Write a poem whose first word is also its last word, whose second word is also its eleventh word, whose forty-fifth word is also its sixth, seventeenth, and thirty-ninth word, and whose one-hundredth word is a foreign word.
Write a poem in which Christian missionaries become dry cleaners.
Write a poem whose refrain is any three consecutive lines from “Lycidas.”
Write a poem in which Cinderella is imprisoned for tax fraud.
Write a poem whose total syllables number 613.
Write a poem in which the narrator is the weather.
Write a poem in which the spirit of your dead cat tells you what to write your poem about.
Write a poem that does not contain the color red.


It was quiet in the hall. Marilyn was trying to comb the cat.
There are certain tricks one must not play at night.
I dropped Penny’s keychain off the bluff into the ladies’ lot.
I still had a pocketful of bones and my party hat. Gregorio
howled when I punched him in the arm for fooling around
with the new electricity in the basement. Beware the wan
ghosts. It was a trial to try to figure who was going to pay
for what. I felt like I had been up since the breech birth of Infinity.
In the museum next door, velvet mules hung from giant hooks.
I would give Hanna a trough of jewels, I decided. That was
the only way. If the rain would just hold off! In the desolation,
I could make out the fiddler, the fish truck, blackened Louise,
and doe-eyed Joe making a play for the jelly skeleton babe.


I felt my muscles darken.
I feared the melanoma in my soul.
Tormented by gnats of conscience,
I didn’t know where to turn. I took
out a dirty map of Vigo Beach.

I thought you loved me. You said so
once. But your eyes. Did they say
so too? I grabbed a half gallon
of vinegar and some nylon twine
and headed down to Vigo Beach.

I watched the waves rehearse
the agony of crashing. I smelled
the crushed shells of the horseshoe
crabs. I waited for you at the bistro
on the boardwalk in Vigo Beach.

You need a beach and perhaps
the sea’s release. I need the tide.
Stay with me! Together, we’ll live
a placid, saline life. My love is more than
water! My heart’s not filled with sand!


Bill Yarrow is the author of Blasphemer (Lit Fest Press 2015), Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX 2012) and four chapbooks. His poems have appeared in many print and online magazines including RHINO, FRiGG, THRUSH, Gargoyle and PANK. A multiple-time Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, he is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College where he teaches creative writing, Shakespeare, and film.

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