“The first example in the ‘borrowed lines’ exercise above opens ‘Leda and the Swan’ by William Butler Yeats: ‘A sudden blow, the great wings beating still.’ The poem begins in media res, in the middle of things. As in ‘Dulce et Decorum Est,’ there is tension, or trouble, immediately, a sure way to grab the reader’s attention.
“Write ten openings that begin in media res. Think about setting up trouble and expectation….Choose the three you like best and free-write on each one for five minutes without stopping.”
-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”
My 10 Openings
1. Poised, on point, the rabbit inches away
2. One final scream pierced the air.
3. Snap. Cameras flash.
4. We’ve got almost complete dilation.
5. Something bad sneaks up and I can’t run.
6. “Oh,” she cries.
7. She sobs into my chest.
8. Spit flying, nostrils flared.
9. The bass thrums down to my toes.
10. The pizza’s cold.
The writing is not really in poetry form. This is more just five minutes of pen on paper, brain-barf. The final five minute writing is proof that I have been watching too much Bones.
Spit flying, nostrils flared
He swings high
I duck to connect my nose with his knee.
It hurts but no blood. He wasn’t aiming for my nose. I stumble back, get my balance in time to see his right fist before it connects with my lower jaw. I know that knocked some teeth loose.
My nose throbs. I cannot back down. To lose is death. I sweep wildly with my arm. He easily blocks. I am tired. I cannot lose. I cannot win. Each step falters now, I can’t see clearly. He moves faster with each minute. I can only back away from the flying fists.
The bass thrums down to my toes
Laser lights make me night blind
I can barely see through smoke machine mist and cigarette smoke
I don’t know the bodies pressing into me. My friend is somewhere nearby. A guy grabs my ass and I smack his hand away. He just got a little excited.
Someone is speaking. To me? Who knows. I see his mouth moving, no sound comes out, it seems. He hollers words that no one will hear. If a dude yells in a noisy club, does he make a sound?
One Final Scream pierced the air
She falls silent
falls dead really
Did anyone hear?
Got to get out
Grab her feet
Drag the body
Where to go?
Where to go?
The cops will come
Someone heard the screams
Have to hurry
Pick up the scene
Sh–! Must have dropped them
Go back. Go back
Find the keys!
Hurry, quick, someone’s coming