out of the details

written for the poetry tow truck

Seeing Dr Green in 314

sitting in the waiting room
looking at my hands
split wood basket full of magazines
sofa wide-striped brown on cream

there’s a plastic shoebox inset in the ceiling
play acting a winter sky
where I know the fourth floor
is tapping
an impatient foot, waiting,
for what?
for whom? some job hunter who won’t be getting hired for certain now?
for a salesman with a rolling bag of tricks?
or maybe mr. founder is supposed to be
climbing, beckoned, out of his yellow frame down in the lobby.
Why he doesn’t show:

+++He was a round bodied little man with short legs,
+++and it took him quite some time
+++to get that gaitered foot up over the bar.
+++When he did, when he stood up straight in the lobby,
+++next to the thin-leafed ficus with its thin-leafed shadow,
+++he brushed his trousers, primped his frown-shaped mustache,
+++and headed straight out the middle glass door into the world.


Choose a program and watch for at least five minutes. (Or go nuts. Watch the whole thing. ) Try to take your focus away from the people, and therefore away from their clothing, accessories, etc. that dominate a scene. Look into the background and write down what you see there, as many details as you can.


list: details from an NCIS Christmas episode

seasons greetings letter garland
brick fireplace frames fire on widescreen TV
wall streaming word “support” red letters
recessed skylight rectangle in blank beige room
red satin blossom bow on white door
keypad entry gray on white
sofa wide striped brown on cream
painting:  man with frown-shaped moustache
flared plastic water glass 3/4 full and ice
round wooden coffee table unmatched grains
white file cube silver corners empty rectangle for ——–label
gray speckled firebox like a shoebox
split wood woven basket wood wrapped handle
brown crumbled brick wall
patch of plaster shaped like Idaho or letter b
matte black table brushed metal legs
drape of yellow do not cross tape
thin leafed ficus like green lace shadow
blue square tile wall clean and glassy
three rail white fence against grass expanse
parsley like a bouquet
on TV soldiers carry flag draped coffin
outside the window snow on broad green leaves
white wide earthenware bowls stacked in alternating ——–angles
brick walls surround a row of arch topped tall windows
halfway up a row of windows ankles and calves pass
stuffed animal draped on computer monitor
brown leather sofa
branches woven into deer
wide-mouthed laughing smile on snowman
melt of snow runs down car window



  1. You should try it. A great way to get material to springboard off of.

    Stop by Donna’s site sometime. She has some excellent exercises.

    • there’s a plastic shoebox inset in the ceiling
      play acting a winter sky…

      Oh, my, how I love those lines! And thanks for the plug…I am enjoying the responses to the prompts almost as much as writing them!

      • I liked the image. No idea where it came from.

        I like your exercises. They’re the sort that can work along with other ideas.

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