UPDATED WITH WINNER: LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: April (and POETRY) Edition

Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity.

Flash poetry: A style of poetry we are making up for the purpose of turning our fiction contest into a poetry contest in honor of Poetry Month!

Welcome to LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown, a monthly bout of writing prowess. For this edition, we are going to alter the rules in honor of Poetry Month!

How It Works

We give you inspiration in the form of a poem and a prompt with a specific set of parameters. You write a short poem using the inspiration and prompt we gave you. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked and awarded a prize.

The Rules

  • 28 words is the limit. (You can write less, but you can't write more.)
  • It has to be a poem.
  • Give it a title (not included in the word count, but keep it under 10 words).
  • We're not exactly shy, but let's stay away from senseless racism or violence.
  • One entry per person.
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted.
  • We'll pick a winner on the last day of the month.
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate.
  • All poems submitted on or before April 29 will be considered. We'll run the winner on April 30.

This Month's Prize

A copy of Monica Drake's new novel, The Stud Book. If you aren't familiar with this amazing author (you should be—she's great!), she's a member of Chuck Palahniuk's amazing writing group in Portland along with Cheryl Strayed, Chelsea Cain, and LitReactor Instructor Suzy Vitello. Here's what Monica has to say about herself:

I have an MFA from the University of Arizona and teach at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. My debut Novel, Clown Girl, is published by the amazing indie press, Hawthorne Books, and has won an Eric Hoffer Award as well as an IPPY. It’s been translated into Italian, and recently optioned for film by the brilliant Kristen Wiig (SNL, Bridesmaids).

Her new book comes out this month! Here's a synopsis from Amazon.com:

In the hip haven of Portland, Oregon, a pack of unsteady but loyal friends asks what it means to bring babies into an already crowded world.

Sarah studies animal behavior at the zoo. She’s well versed in the mating habits of captive animals, and at the same time she’s desperate to mate, to create sweet little offspring of her own. Georgie is busy with a newborn, while her husband, Humble, finds solace in bourbon and televised violence. Dulcet makes a living stripping down in high school gyms to sell the beauty of sex-ed. Nyla is out to save the world while having trouble saving her own teen daughter, who has discovered the world of drugs and the occult. As these friends and others navigate a space between freedom and intimacy, they realize the families they forge through shared experience are as important as those inherited through birth.

A smart, edgy and poignantly funny exploration of the complexities of what parenthood means today, Monica Drake's second novel demonstrates that when it comes to babies, we can learn a lot by considering our place in the animal kingdom.

Your Inspiration

This is a classic poem by Doctor/Poet William Carlos Williams.

"This Is Just To Say"

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

- William Carlos Williams

Your Prompt

Using William Carlos William's poem as a prompt, write a poem of 28 words (like his) that apologizes for something you are (or the speaker of the poem is) not actually sorry about.

Now get writing!


And the winner is...artistic addict

While there were fewer entries than usual this month, the quality of the entries was very high. I had a very hard time picking just one.

That said, I enjoyed artistic addict's dark riff on the original poem, and loved that he even preserved the formatting and capitalization. Plus, it made me laugh. Well done!

There're Two Ways To Serve Man, My Dear Cheating Wife

I have eaten
your chum
that was in
our icebox

and whom
you were probably
serving
for breakfast

Forgive me
he was delicious
so sweet
you would know

Taylor Houston

Column by Taylor Houston

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer and volunteers on the marketing committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College and attended Penn State's MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught writing at all levels from middle school to college to adult, and she is the creator of Writer’s Cramp, a class for adults who just want to write!

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Comments

artistic addict's picture
artistic addict from Living in Fear and Loathing U.S.A. is reading 1984 April 3, 2013 - 9:46pm

There're Two Ways To Serve Man, My Dear Cheating Wife
I have eaten
your chum
that was in
our icebox

and whom
you were probably
serving
for breakfast

Forgive me
he was delicious
so sweet
you would know

leah_beth's picture
leah_beth from New Jersey - now in Charleston, SC is reading five different books at once. April 2, 2013 - 3:32am

Tickle Fight

I tickled you until you peed
my love.

Now we’re damp
and smell like moldy cheese.

I should apologize,
but I’m not sorry.

I live for your laugh.

Luis Oliveira's picture
Luis Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is reading Iliad by Homer April 2, 2013 - 6:23am

Killer Arrest

Fell back
Without crack
In my morality

Mean city
Oriented me:
'A killer,
You can be'

Now I see
Handcuffs, merciless cops,
My middle fingers to the tops

Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things April 20, 2013 - 3:40pm

I'm Sorry for This Poem

I'm not good
at poetry

I don't get the beat,
or rhythm,
and for my next feat,
I can't rhyme
anything
with rhythm

But you still read it.

Mike Meijer's picture
Mike Meijer from Holland is reading How To Stop Reading How To Books April 3, 2013 - 4:48am

Cheeky

I pointed
you turned
I leaned

My lips
meet
your cheek

trickery
and stolen kisses

I'll miss
these days
of innocent youth

Let me kiss you
an apology

Mike Meijer's picture
Mike Meijer from Holland is reading How To Stop Reading How To Books April 2, 2013 - 11:57pm

I couldn't figure out how to bloody erase the double of my entry, so I resigned to just editing it instead. Sorry for the clutter folks. 

Michael.Eric.Snyder's picture
Michael.Eric.Snyder April 3, 2013 - 2:30am

Bulbophyllum nocturnum

In your shoulders,

hunched 


against the brunt 

of revelation,

your hopes
reduct to fear:

but mother,

an orchid

night-blooming still blooms

and love will live, uncovered.

 

 

 

chrisdeal's picture
chrisdeal from NC is reading The Maid's Version April 3, 2013 - 8:47am

untitled

The words came out
as they are want to
without thought
holding truth
like those of youth
immaculate.

The atonement
that came next
held not the
same standard.

pen to paper's picture
pen to paper from Sunny old England is reading Mr Nice by Howard Marks April 5, 2013 - 5:35pm

The Death

The body fell back off the knife
Slowly slumping, draining life

I went to leave but got pulled back
By the blood slowly turning black

Nada Adel Sobhi's picture
Nada Adel Sobhi April 7, 2013 - 2:57pm

"Forgive Me"

Forgive me
For the words
You inspired in me

I drank them
From the fountain
Of your lips

I stole them
From the feelings
You bestowed upon me

Irene Inatty's picture
Irene Inatty from Miami is reading How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy April 11, 2013 - 5:55am

I’m delighted

you’ve finished screaming
at your wife
just as
my cold coffee-ashtray
is brimming.

This three-legged table
is notoriously shaky.
Your cream-colored pants,
exquisite.
“I am so sorry.”

Jacob Good's picture
Jacob Good from Idaho is reading Asimov on Chemistry April 8, 2013 - 9:42pm

on the road to damascus

 

Eli! Lama sabachthani?

I scream at passersby

Ignoring my plea

For silver.

 

This gathers attention

Some of them

Even feel pity

 

They refuse to pay

From spite

 

Pharisees!

TravHornsby's picture
TravHornsby from South Africa is reading Battle Royale April 20, 2013 - 4:46am

The Dim Wife

 

The liberty
Of dimming the
Gaslight has been
Taken care of

Ignore the smell…

It is merely
A product of
Psycho-Torture
Of finding ants
In my sugar

Sarah Metts's picture
Sarah Metts from Rock Hill, SC is reading A Game of Thrones April 19, 2013 - 11:05pm

Dinner Bell

Hurry, we’re going to Red Lobster
Mom said

Bathroom door open
Tub near flooded

Ass under faucet
Pink tinted skin

Sorry mom, coming soon
and then I did

James Matterhorn's picture
James Matterhorn April 21, 2013 - 12:46pm
Missing

In this house
Now silent,
Your spirit lingers;
Loud, drunken rage.

Apologies, I too
Remain quiet
As the man
With the badge inquires,

"Ma'am, where is your husband?"

Martin Gillespie's picture
Martin Gillespie from Glasgow, Scotland is reading House of Leaves April 24, 2013 - 5:38pm

If someone doesn't shut up in the woods...

Contrition is not
my default setting
so excuse any
belated message.

I'm deeply sorry that
the coffee's cold;
but anything else
would merely be noise.

Vapid.
Frothy.
Noise.

Rose's picture
Rose April 28, 2013 - 7:56am

I am sorry
for taking
from you
What wasn’t mine

to take
I was
out of place
But you

shouldn’t have
dressed
That way

artistic addict's picture
artistic addict from Living in Fear and Loathing U.S.A. is reading 1984 April 30, 2013 - 2:47pm

Awesome! I took a risk and was hoping parodying the poem like that would come off more clever than lazy. I'm very happy to have finally won one of these, and against such talented competition no less. Thanks a ton!

artistic addict's picture
artistic addict from Living in Fear and Loathing U.S.A. is reading 1984 April 30, 2013 - 2:47pm

Awesome! I took a risk and was hoping parodying the poem like that would come off more clever than lazy. I'm very happy to have finally won one of these, and against such talented competition no less. Thanks a ton!

Dena Marie's picture
Dena Marie October 30, 2013 - 10:43am

 Therapist said it would take me out of this world...

                        Strong hands, hovering breath, moist lips, and two tiny daggers resting near my jaw...a quick stab and sweet nectar oozes down my neck...

nstarkman's picture
nstarkman October 31, 2013 - 4:35am

I arrive at home to my bachelor pad — just me. But I’m already at home, facing me opening the door; I’m holding a knife.