Here is a 60 second poem. Wait. I will go set the timer.
Mind empty of life, no cluttered with life
plants and cats and babies running around and demanding
full of me
making babies making life
to who I am.
There. I did it. One poem. Top of my head in one minute. I went back and gave it a title after the timer went off.
I make no apologies for my poem. I refuse to call it names, the way I want to, because the goal was to create, and I did. And I am not perfect, and neither are you.
If ever you get stuck in a dry spell, this is a good excercise. No time to plan, no time to pick the ‘perfect’ word or agonize over meter or meaning. No time to let the I-SUCKS take over. And because it’s just a tossed off little minute poem, the stakes are really really low, so you can just get on with the business of laying one word down after the next. I used to do this on the way to work between stops on the subway train. I also did this with my students—not just with poetry, but also with drawing. For some reason, setting a timer and saying “Go!” “Stop!” makes things more fun. And they often came up with poems or sketches that were so much more lively than the ones they labor over.