Here are some 60 second poems from one word. No edit, no erasing, just 60 seconds of writing. I’ll start with this one:
The word was Modest:
at its best
in the corner
with some paper
trying hard to think
of the next thing
what will come out
and so you falter
in to the carpet
stroking the linen
trying to remember
what you forgot
and how to be
The word was: stink (This one took a little longer than 60 seconds, but once I started I found that I had to keep going)
A putrid odor wafted through the windows, a smell of unparalleled demise; of rancid cats and days without showers. I clenched my nose and jaw tight and did my best not to say anything. Where in the world was it coming from? I looked out the window at the passing cars and tried to decipher the direction of the smell. Nothing. I couldn’t find it.
“Hon? Do you smell that?” I called to my husband in the other room.
“No. I don’t smell anything.”
“Hmm…” I turned around and continued folding the laundry, carefully placing each item in its correct location. Socks in the top drawer, dress shirt for work in the closet, right side.
Car horns blared outside and people started their daily cursing.
“Move your fucking car!”
“Damn it! I’m going to be late!”
I sighed and continued my methodic folding. My husband walked in the room and snapped the window shut.
“I can’t stand this time of day. Do they really need to use that language?”
I laughed. “You’ll get used to it.”
“Right,” he mumbled. He went and sat on the bed.
“Honey, you didn’t put anything in the oven did you?” The smell was still there, stronger now that the window was shut.
“That smell is still there.”
“I don’t smell anything.”
I looked down at the socks in my hands, trying hard to concentrate on what I was doing, yet the smell started to overtake me. The socks in my hands started to tilt sideways and I felt vomit rising in the back of my throat. I grabbed the dresser to steady myself.
“Hey,” I felt my husband’s hands on my shoulders. “What’s wrong? Are you ok? Can you make it to the bed?”
I dropped the socks and let him guide me to the bed. He gently pushed me down and I shut my eyes.
“Rest for a minute. I’ll finish folding the laundry.”
I didn’t argue, but laid there, silent and patient. The reek odor engulfed me entirely. I could feel its cold, sweaty hands pressing down on my throat and skin, making me feel sticky and in desperate need of a shower. Wails permeated its hot breath, shrieking in to the rest I was attempting to have.
“Whose socks are these?” I heard my husband’s voice from a distance of what seemed miles away.
My eyes opened and I sat up. I knew where the smell was coming from.
I slid out of bed and walked slowly through the apartment, not looking at anything, following the trail the scent had left for me. I vaguely heard my husband calling me as I walked.
“Sweetie? Where are you going?” He was so far away and yet I knew he was right behind me.
I went to the kitchen and opened the sleek white oven. She was right where I left her, pressed against the back wall and between the two grills of the oven. Her skin was sufficiently black and purple and the bottom of the oven was filled with her body juices.
Somewhere in the distance, someone screamed.