As threatened, here’s a poem from start to finish. The only thing I was given was a prompt, the following word:

palter

You can follow the link for the definition yourself. Whatever I write next is the result of thinking–just thinking–about the word and its definitions. I may think for ten seconds, or ten minutes (actual thinking time varies. see your poetry owner’s manual for more details.)


We’re a buildup, a seven-year wax coating. Seventy-seven years of dust turned to mud. Seven thousand years of targeted history. Seven million years of evolution, mere survival.

I’m fishing with old bait. It’s Tuesday, and I’m taking a morning off, at Winton Lake, casting but not catching. For an hour, the cork has orbited a one foot square area, as if it skirted a black hole, or guarded the perimeter of some undersea nation. My interruptions are birds, cars, mothers and runners. The reel is left-handed…a habit from my dad who saw no point is switching hands from cast to crank.

Sometimes I hear mothers or fathers. They tell their kids to behave. They threaten them with starvation, with bruises. And they tell them how things are, but their facts are all wrong, aren’t facts at all. Parents can’t be wrong–that’s what parents think–so they lie hundreds of times a year. They lie by omission. Carelessness.

I’m lying now. My bait hangs like an siren calling the bass and catfish.


Whew. That really sucks. This is one of those poems that doesn’t come out easily. Nothing might be salvaged from the above. We’ll see tomorrow. I have to finish this by Tuesday night.