The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

The Daily Prompt

We’re starting a new daily posting to go along with our Question of the Day. This one is The Daily Prompt. We know that the majority of our readers are writers, or at least dabble in the craft on occasion. We would love to see what you can do with the prompt each day.

Rules:

  1. Use the prompt in the way it’s intended (starting a sentence, the title of the piece, theme, etc)
  2. You may write in any format you see fit (fiction, non-fiction, poem, song, script, etc.)
  3. Post your piece of writing in the comments section of the website to be considered for the prizes given
  4. The winner of each daily prompt will be published on the site in “Best of The Daily Prompt” section

The Daily Prompt:

Start your piece with the line, “It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to…”

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

17 comments on “The Daily Prompt

  1. Carole Chase
    May 7, 2013

    It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to forget him.

    Not very long at all, really, certainly not as long as lifetime of regrets would last, with each second piling on top of the one that came before it, a wobbly deck of “I wonder what would have happened if’s.” Not even as long as a day at the office.

    I stripped him off like a business suit, the way you sometimes do at the end of a long work day when you can’t stand fabric touching you for even a moment more, an act somewhere between lazy and brazen… unbuttoning your collar with one hand while you fumble for your keys with the other, kicking off your shoes while you close the door behind you. You shed the clothes while you walk, leaving a trail down the hallway, your shoulders suddenly bare and free, your skirt sliding down your hips to your ankles, stepping out of each item and leaving them behind like an old skin while you keep walking. In the 27 seconds my striptease took I had forgotten how he used to criticize me for being so messy, and in the next 11 minutes I spent in the shower, letting the soapy washcloth linger over me, I thought of the way he used to touch me until that memory, too, swirled down the drain.

    The clock ticked for six hours while I slept, the second hand sweeping like an eraser. When I woke up in the morning and stepped over the clothes in the hall, I could remember how they’d gotten there, but it seemed like something I’d do. I’m so messy.

  2. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Blogging 101 Lecture – Write it down | vicariously in love with you

  3. Christopher Margolin
    May 7, 2013

    Thank you, John, for your reply! It’s very much appreciated.

  4. John Fugman
    May 7, 2013

    It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to carve the statue of David. Not really, but that’s about how long it took to craft my masterpiece. Susan insisted that I attend this Pottery Barn class with her. She was afraid to go by herself because who knows when one of the old women in here will sprout a ferocious beak and saber claws. And no one wants to be sitting alone at a wheel, covered in clay, face deep in a shitty pot when a human-pterodactyl hybrid emerges because you bumped elbows with the old woman next to you.

    She always makes me come with her to these types of events. Every weekend it’s a pottery class, a craft fair, a spin class, yoga. I thinks she’s subconsciously trying to make me grow a vagina to make up for her lack of friends. It’s either that or she really enjoys my company. I don’t know why that would be. The only thing I’m bringing to this pottery class is the ability to fight off the human-pterodactyl hybrid while simultaneously molding the worst pot ever made. Is it a confidence booster for her, to see my shitty pot and know that this is one thing she can beat me at? Maybe. She keeps rattling off comments about how bad my pot is. I tell her that my pot is art and not built for function and the quality of art is judged solely by the person observing it. She tells me to shut up. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a master pot maker. I’ll never do a bike race or brag about how flexible I am. But every time I get to see her I know, that she knows, that when the human-pterodactyl finally emerges, I’m her man.

    • John Fugman
      May 7, 2013

      10 monkey’s could do it faster. Well, I guess it would depend on the type of monkey. Planet of the Apes monkey, yes. Poop flinging wild monkey- 9 hours minimum.

  5. J. Gabriel Allan
    May 7, 2013

    It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to get ten monkeys to type this.

    • Cameron
      May 7, 2013

      Margolin really strikes me as more orangutang than common monkey.

  6. It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to dig her out, but that was 16 seconds too long. When the bombs dropped for the first time, we knew from experience that the jet would likely make a second passover. The first one landed on the other side of town, near the east side mosque and marketplace. I couldn’t imagine the screaming and death going on over there right now because my family was scared half to death; I had to reassure them, the odds of us getting hit are low, but we need to take cover and stay calm. Seconds later our third story apartment was on the ground, sharing the same space as the first, second, and upper story apartments. By some miracle I was thrown on top of the rubble with my wife and one of my kids, but my other child was buried alive five feet under in a concrete rebar prison, all of which moments later was the structure to our home. My head leaked out from a laceration and I was blinded in one eye by my river of blood but I did not waste a second of time digging her out. My hands were torn apart. I was dizzy and lightheaded. I worked harder. I heard her weakly cry in pain almost the entire time I worked, the whole 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds. She kept crying out, ever so lightly “air,” “air,” “no air,”. I heard her cry out all but the last 16 seconds, which is when I finally broke through to her. She is now just another small body, silenced in Syria. If only I had worked 17 seconds harder.

  7. Peter Arvidson
    May 7, 2013

    It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to finally send a polar bear through the trans dimensional time gate vortex. The apparatus took far longer to construct; it was a labor of madness, brilliance, and love. Why did I choose a Polar bear to be the first living thing to send back in time? Well, with the permanent guilt of possibly sending a human to his most likely death, I just had to go another route. With the flip of a coin, one side labeled ‘house cat’ and one side labeled ‘polar bear’, I let fate decide.

    Now, breaking into the San Diego Zoo is no walk in the park. You have to have skills, you have to have really, really, sneaky ninja or Tom Cruise skills. I had none of these attributes, so I enlisted the help of my friend, Sir Patrick Stewart, to britishly charm the zoo keepers away from the polar bear pen. Now, Susan was not a well mannered bear, as I quickly discovered. She was ready to fight me to the death for the prize of her sweet loyalty. I made my peace with god, and accepted the unspoken terms of our brawl.

    Now, fighting a bear is no easy feat, and with me being an unarmed, short and stout balding scientist man, this would be no cupcake bake off. The first time I heard Susan speak, my heart nearly jettisoned into outerspace. “I don’t want to kill you, but I’m hungry, nobody feeds me, prepare to die”..I could hear her say, but bears can’t speak English! No, I was hearing this in my head. I was telepathically speaking to Susan. That’s the moment I knew I was no ordinary mad scientist, I was The Bear Whisperer.

    I sent my thoughts to the creature: “Susan, come with me and be the greatest bear who ever lived, I have lots of food, lots of delicious bear food, for which to conquer your cravings in my laboratory. Do you accept?”

    Two words sealed the deal, “I Do.”

    As I prepared the T.D.T.G.V. for this mission of impossible, I fed Susan to her bear heart’s content. What a lovely creature. Now soothed by my bribes of sustenance and friendship, I have lulled the bear into being history’s first time traveler! I can’t imagine what wonders her eyes will see in London, England in the year 1775 AD.

    Now, this is not just any time travel mission you see. Yes, that’s right, you guessed it. I am sending a Polar bear back in time to fight in the Revolutionary war and beat George Washington to the punch to be the first non human President of the United States of America. Run on sentences aside, I think this will be my greatest accomplishment ever. With the trans dimensional time vortex brain wave transmitter accessory strapped to Susan’s head, she will hear my telepathic commands across time and space!

    *BEEP BOOP BOOP ZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE* The machine is ready.

    Susan steps onto the platform and prepares herself for her journey. I pet and nuzzle her soft bear head and let her know it will be OK. I don’t really know if she will be, but I cross my fingers for a death free travel experience.

    I press “The Button” and with a loud crash, a brilliant flash of light, and a giant electromagnetic pulse, Susan is gone. God speed Susan, god speed…

  8. kennydnorris
    May 7, 2013

    The Fight

    It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, 16 seconds to get out of bed. Ok, I don’t know if 16 seconds is accurate but is anyone really keeping score? The unmentionables I dabbled in last night had caused this room to smell of summer sweat and hot breath; on top of that, I was having a hell of a time figuring out where I had left my shoes.

    I kicked a couple of piles of clothes with no success. Late afternoon mornings like this were becoming routine even though I was trying to fight them. I guess that I just don’t have much fight left. Much like a housewife who has given up on cleaning up after her family, I had given up on sleep and the possibility of a normal schedule.

    After checking my phone I decided to do something out of the ordinary. This night, this very night, I was going to stay in and relax, clear my mind, and maybe see about my soul. I cracked a beer, walked to the porch, and swallowed in a cool breath of twilight. “This is going to be a good night,” I thought to myself.

    7 hours, 48 minutes and 17 seconds later it was closing time. The whiskey and conversation had flown like the mighty Deschutes with no signs of stopping. There’s just not that much fight left.

  9. kiwiskan
    May 7, 2013

    It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to
    plan my next move
    It’s exact because
    I needed to prove
    I could do it

    without your help this time
    I gathered up my words
    and placed them on the line
    like literary birds

    the 7 hours were used
    before I made a mark
    on my pristine sheet of paper
    waiting for the muse’s spark

    48 minutes I spent
    perusing all this verse
    and thinking ‘utter rubbish’
    it couldn’t get much worse

    …so I’ll stop here!
    (and that’s the extra 16 seconds)

  10. Trevor Ebert
    June 3, 2013

    It took 7 hours, 48 minutes, and 16 seconds to commit my gentle crime. For tugging away, everything I wanted from the hands of the dead was an unpleasant task. People would inform me still later that the local authorities knew I did it. None the less there was formalities to go through. Avoid being animalistic for it really does not put you in pretty places. People like being risky and I did to. However, it takes more work then that to get you in to the “worst stuff.” And considering…

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