Quiet place

A d’Verse prosery prompt

Down the block from my city apartment, the mack was pimping underage girls. The street was getting to me; all the animals; whores, hustlers, thugs, junkies, sick, venal. War had been less filthy than this hell, but I tried to keep my food down. I had been losing weight.

Only Iris sensed my despair. She sat me down to have it out, suggested some New Agey exercises to calm my mind. I smiled. Good kid, Iris. Gave me an idea, actually.

Measuring my breaths, I holstered my Ruger and turned left out from my apartment. As I walked, I visualized my quiet place, just like she’d said; I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head. I had to. The slick fuck thought I was just another customer and winked at me.

That’s when I blew his brains out.


It’s prosery time at d’Verse. The rules are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The assigned line was:

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head

-William Butler Yeats, ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ (a poem)

Unearthly

A d’Verse prosery prompt

“Yours is lighter than the breeze,” she rasped, “You couldn’t possibly understand, you blighter.”

“My what?” the lad asked fearfully, but the crone continued speaking, her eyes and mouth twitching, as the child fought against his rusty shackles.

“I’d just as well never have anything to do with you brats! Most of the time, the damned beast is content to just lumber about or nap, and she leaves me in peace; but sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy… that’s when these infernal spasms start. You think I asked for this, Boy?”

“Please…”

“Stop struggling. It’ll be over snippety snap! She feeds on weightlessness; and she’s quite ravenous. Usually, she swallows them without even chewing!”

As the hag’s voice grated, the terrified schoolboy suddenly noticed her unearthly, inky shadow looming impossibly high above her, rushing toward him of its own accord.


It’s prosery time at d’Verse. The rules are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The assigned line was:

Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy

-Mary Oliver, ‘Spring Azures’ (a poem)

Death on either side

A personal prosery prompt

The narrow bridge swayed in the rain over the chasm, just as the old Mystic had described, but Hayim was determined. He visualized the elder’s wizened face. Death on either side, the Rabbi said.

The way of life between was his only hope, but that would have to be enough. This time he would bring her back. A sweeping gust of wind drew his mind back to his predicament, as Hayim’s legs threatened to betray him. No, no, not again!

One, two. One, two. Hayim slowly and firmly put his feet down, one after the other, one after the other. He had to make it.

The skies opened with the next gust, and the storm blew him, screaming, off the beam and into the abyss along with the glistening raindrops.

Drenched in sweat, Hayim opened his eyes, clenching his soaking blanket.

God damn it…


d’Verse is taking a break for the holidays so there won’t be any prompts for a while…

So I’ll be trying out some prompts born of my mind instead!

I considered the idea of responding to prompts from other groups, but d’Verse satisfies my creative curiosity more than well enough – and I don’t want to spend all of my time responding to poetry prompts.


The rules of prosery are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The line I assigned myself was:

Death on either side, the Rabbi said, the way of life between.

Robert Hayden (1913-80), ‘The Broken Dark’ (a poem)

I came across this line as I was reading through some of Hayden’s poems in his ‘Collected Poems’. Robert Hayden was an American poet, essayist, and educator. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1976 to 1978, a role today known as US Poet Laureate; and he was the first African-American writer to hold the office.

His experience of racial difference was bittersweet. Hayden passed his earliest years in a section of Detroit (later nicknamed Paradise Valley) that remained racially diverse until an influx of Southern blacks in search of jobs, followed by reactive white flight, turned it virtually all-black. His early familiarity with Jews, Germans, Italians, and other whites, reflected in several of his poems, perhaps laid the foundation for the transracial philosophy that is a hallmark of Hayden’s art. Attending a mainly white high school, he felt both a degree of ostracism and, at the same time, a degree of acceptance and understanding support.

-Arnold Rampersad (1941-), afterword to ‘Collected Poems’

The way of life between

A personal prosery prompt

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote: “We are constantly dying alive. From the view point of temporality we are all dead except for a moment.”

It’s true, you know.

As we turn the calendar page to 2021, I think to myself: well, that was a moment.

Death on either side, the Rabbi said, the way of life between.

Actually, that’s not quite right.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov famously said: “The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the most important thing is not to be afraid.”

I am not afraid. I feel ready to face my coming moments. From my very limited perspective, they are both fleeting and countless, but counting them is a fool’s errand that I reject. It’s about making them count.

For example, the moments I spent writing this, and those you spent reading it… Those, I believe, were worth it.


d’Verse is taking a break for the holidays so there won’t be any prompts for a while…

So I’ll be trying out some prompts born of my mind instead!

I considered the idea of responding to prompts from other groups, but d’Verse satisfies my creative curiosity more than well enough – and I don’t want to spend all of my time responding to poetry prompts.


The rules of prosery are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The line I assigned myself was:

Death on either side, the Rabbi said, the way of life between.

Robert Hayden (1913-80), ‘The Broken Dark’ (a poem)

I came across this line as I was reading through some of Hayden’s poems in his ‘Collected Poems’. Robert Hayden was an American poet, essayist, and educator. He served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1976 to 1978, a role today known as US Poet Laureate; and he was the first African-American writer to hold the office.

His experience of racial difference was bittersweet. Hayden passed his earliest years in a section of Detroit (later nicknamed Paradise Valley) that remained racially diverse until an influx of Southern blacks in search of jobs, followed by reactive white flight, turned it virtually all-black. His early familiarity with Jews, Germans, Italians, and other whites, reflected in several of his poems, perhaps laid the foundation for the transracial philosophy that is a hallmark of Hayden’s art. Attending a mainly white high school, he felt both a degree of ostracism and, at the same time, a degree of acceptance and understanding support.

-Arnold Rampersad (1941-), afterword to ‘Collected Poems’

Prismatic mystery

A personal prosery prompt

I am certainly not one to stop and smell the flowers, let alone photograph them, but several weeks ago a tree beckoned at me, its leaves purple at the top, flaming in the middle, and healthy green below. How beautifully leaves grow old, how full of light and color.

‘Are their last days painless?’ wondered I.

“Purple leaves,” asked I, “are you feeling any discomfort?” But the purple leaves were too far gone to respond.

“Orange leaves,” tried I, “you too are darkening. Are you distressed?” But those bashful ones were blushing too fiercely to give heed.

Finally, turned I to the hearty green leaves. “Green leaves, look at your siblings’ fiery glow. They are burning out, just as you will. Are you… at peace?” The green leaves rustled at me, but I could not make out their hushful mouthings through the Autumn breeze.


d’Verse is taking a break for the holidays so there won’t be any prompts for a while…

So I’ll be trying out some prompts born of my mind instead!

I considered the idea of responding to prompts from other groups, but d’Verse satisfies my creative curiosity more than well enough – and I don’t want to spend all of my time responding to poetry prompts.


The rules of prosery are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The line I assigned myself was:

How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.

John Burroughs (1837 – 1921)

I came across this quote, inspired by the above photograph that I took several weeks ago at a local park in Jerusalem. As I wrote in the prosery piece, ‘I am not one to stop and smell the flowers, let alone photograph them’, but the prismatic colors of the changed and changing leaves moved me rather unexpectedly to capture those vivid traces of time.

A study in scarlet

A d’Verse prosery prompt

Watson, you don’t still maintain that the Duchess is innocent? Haven’t we been inspecting the same evidence together? Her hospitality must have been a ruse from the very start.

Come, let us examine this entry with discernment. Surely you must see it? Our culprit is clearly sinistral!

Further, what do you make of this ink, Old Chap? When were these words penned? Watson, haven’t you been reading what I have?

Just written!

I now believe… indeed, I am quite certain these lines were composed by the killer!

Yes, take another whiff… the odor is pungent, sharp, almost… painful, isn’t it? Surely a man of your profession would recognize it.

She has been toying with us, Old Chap, but we shall expose her! Miserly nobles don’t simply vanish, leaving behind their vast estates with nary a final will and testament!

Suppose he’d discovered her infidelity?


It’s prosery time at d’Verse. The rules are simple:

  1. Use an assigned line in the body of your prose. You may change the punctuation and capitalization, but you are not allowed to insert any words within the line itself. You can add words at the beginning and/or at the end of the line; but the line itself must remain intact.
  2. Your prose can be either flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction. YOU CAN NOT WRITE A POEM for this prompt. AND, your prose should be no longer than 144 words, sans title. It does not have to be exactly 144 words. But it can be no longer than 144 words.

The assigned line was:

Reading what I have just written, I now believe…