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NaPoWriMo Poetry Prompt 7: What an Ugly Chair

Sarah and Jeff Boyle

Difficulty Level: 1/5

You’re probably sitting in a room. It could be a library, your bedroom, a basement, a kitchen. There are plenty of things around you. Pick one and turn it into a poem. Write its history. Describe what it looks like. Tell us where it came from, who brought it there, what makes it interesting, who it reminds you of. Explain why you love it and/or why you hate. Bring it to life, as Erin Belieu does in "The Hideous Chair."

The Hideous Chair
by Erin Belieu    

This hideous,
upholstered in gift-wrap fabric, chromed
in places, design possibility

for the future canned ham.
Its genius
wonderful, circa 1993.

I've assumed a great many things:
the perversity of choices, affairs
I did or did not have.

But let the record show
that I was happy.
O let the hideous chair

stand! For the Chinese apothecary
with his roots and fluids;
for Raoul at the bank;

for the young woman in Bailey's Drug,
expert on henna; and Warren Beatty,
tough, sleek stray. For Fluff and Flo,

drunk at noon, and the Am Vets lady
reading her Vogue, the cholos
on the corner where the 57 bus comes by,

for their gratifying, cool appraisal
and courtly manner when I pass.
Let the seat be comfortable

but let the chair be hideous
and stand against the correct,
hygienic, completely proper

subdued in taxidermied elegance.
Let me have in any future
some hideous thing to love,

Here Boston, MA, 8 Farrington Ave.        

(poem reproduced with the permission of the author)


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