Writing Prompt #6: A Cut-Up Poem

This was my favorite exercise that the class did in my last poetry writing workshop. It’s so much fun! To create a cut-up poem, choose a few magazine articles and grab a pen or a highlighter. It worked best for me to use three very different articles. Go through each one and circle any words or phrases that catch your eye. Now, write them all out into a poem, mixing them up and adding or subtracting to them as you revise. The cut-up poem I’m sharing here has been through at least five or six revisions. It’s amazing what fresh, fantastic images can come out of this exercise! As always, if you follow the prompt and want to share your own poem, add a link in the comments so I can read yours!

Black is the Color of My True Love’s Scent

When I look back, I hear
again the perfect music,
taken from the place
of falling in love, breathtaking.

These are my earliest restorations.
Even now, the precision of the pieces
takes me, and I enter
the original music, exposed,
my skin drawn back
like velvet curtains.

In my desire,
I found myself, ashes to ashes,
an insatiable appetite.
I am forever
tarnished like the black keys.

I was filled with dreams of two.
I became entranced with the first
small voice, collecting whispers
in jeweled enamel trinket boxes.
All I wanted, I searched for,
not by leaving,
but by stripping down.


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