New to using prompts? Take a look at these notes on how to use writing prompts. Otherwise, jump right in!
GO GET SOME INSPIRATION –>
For this poetry prompt on foreplay, start by reading “When We’re in Bed and You Take Out Your Mouth Guard, I Know It’s On” by Melissa Crowe and give some thought to what you like/admire.
As an awkward, clumsy person, my delight in this poem starts with the title. I have great affection for its nerdiness (the mouth guard) and its smoothness (the slang “it’s on”). But mostly, it’s hilarious. And frankly, so is sex. Wonderful, yes, but so strange, especially if you’re doing it right LOL
I also think the title is extra endearing because of what Crowe does with it: The removal of mouth guard as foreplay isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the poem. It would be tempting to make the poem “about” that ritual or use it as a starting point for a narrative play-by-play of what happened next, but Crowe’s poem leaves it alone entirely and surprises us by jump back in time (instead of gunning straight for whatever happens after the lover takes out the mouth guard).
What the body of the poem offers is spectacular, as well. As told through a string of scenes and memories, Crowe’s narrator shares past habits she and her partner had developed ahead of being intimate. The snapshots give us a fascinating history of the romantic and sexual relationship. And although it starts in such a goofy place, the poem builds in significant ways, including pacing, eroticism/heat and meaning. In fact, the poem ends up taking sex quite seriously, elevating it to the sacred: “your worshipful mouth, my whole body lit / from within and without.”
It’s also worth noting that Crowe makes the poem sensual without being raunchy or explicit: “my lap, where you’d sweat and sweat until I cried out.”
NOW START WRITING –>
This poetry prompt on foreplay has three quick steps:
- List approaches you’ve used to let lovers know you want them. Feel free to get weird. That isn’t sex advice (though I do recommend it). For the sake of this prompt, feel free to get weird in the poem by including things that maybe aren’t sexy at all. In other words: don’t take yourself so seriously, Romeo.
- Review your list and choose a few of the strongest memories and let your writing surprise you with what these habits/rituals may have to tell you about how you connect with your partners.
- Challenge yourself to include sensual detail without being explicit. It’s not that kind of a poem.
For an extra challenge, offer information in the title that isn’t referenced at all in the poem.
IMPORTANT NOTE –>
Do not copy the poem that inspired this writing prompt. It’s a good idea when you harvest material from these exercises to either credit their inspiration (i.e. make a note at the top of your poem, like after “When We’re in Bed and You Take Out Your Mouth Guard, I Know It’s On” by Melissa Crowe) or remove the scaffolding provided by the example and keep only the material you crafted. In other words: make it your own.
Be sure to let me know if you write a poem or other piece in response to this poetry prompt on foreplay. I’m going to attempt to share at least two new poetry prompts with you each month in 2021. You can find past poetry prompts here, including writing prompts from prior years.