We are all struggling poets/writers with aspirations for success. Sometimes, that target seems to be ever illusive. So this week we’re making it personal. Write a poem from your future successful self giving advice to your present day self, and convince yourself to stay the course. Have fun with it, because if we don’t, it will turn into a bigger struggle … a job! Give yourself credit for what you’ve already accomplished, and give yourself permission to aim even higher.



“Unrealistic,” you told yourself.
“I’m content, after all, with a chapbook or two,
And a blog with you.”

Contentment is SO “you.”
For once in your life, don’t aim for contentment.
Aim for this moment you’re in:

Little legs before me, “Indian style” on floor mats
Smiley-eyed, sunny faces –
Some mouthing the words as I read out loud
The picture book bearing my name.

Don’t shoot for “participant”…
Shoot for “pinch me.”

© 2012 Marie Elena Good



Your award speech was well written,
and the academy was quite smitten,
they were purring like a kitten
as you stroked their fluffy fur.

Your bane is now your boon
for your dialog made them swoon,
they all sing a different tune
since your words hold their allure.

So don’t give up the ship,
keep shooting from the hip
on their radar make your blip,
and your success will be assured.

Indeed, the play’s the thing,
Will’s words have a winning ring,
and your efforts make you king,
the finest script they’ve ever heard!

© 2012  Walter Wojtanik

232 thoughts on “BACK TO THE FUTURE – PROMPT #46

  1. I had fun, but probably this is the last thing you required for this prompt!

    Poetic ambition? Not for me.
    I’m happy in the status quo:
    readers far more numerous
    for the blog than there would be
    for any published verse.

    Forbye and besides,
    what will my heirs do
    with all the bumf, that
    snowstorm of paper
    and two computers full of files?
    No, content yourself
    with doing your utmost
    to write the best you can
    every day in every way –
    and leave it at that.


    While your heart was aching,
    pounding, voice struggling
    for worth, for words resounding,
    I was busy with bigger plans.
    In those times when you spun
    words for the absolute fun of it
    I was naming homes, silently
    whispering them in your ear,
    planting them in mystery.
    I had in mind the girl who so
    emotionally tattered, torn
    had been the victim of a bully.
    She felt so very alone, needed
    your voice, your heart reaching
    through a collision with time
    “coincidence,” she read you,
    your words reached her.
    In the times of sadness
    When your verb-filled well
    spilled discouragement,
    my soul was sensing an
    adult-child of a tragic
    alcoholic home, silenced,
    who’d spoken, opened
    fragile faults, spirit falling,
    only to wish them retracted.
    She read your story, she
    knew then she wasn’t alone.
    there was room for growth, hope.
    When you were winding through
    a day willed of words and “play,”
    displaying in vivid words, beauty
    in all its array, nature’s power
    miracle of it all, breathless wonder.
    I was in that moment,
    finding evidence
    soul’s needing to know,
    reason behind all of the magic.
    Making real for them a tangible
    Maker and Creator of all that is.
    When your heart felt wordless,
    doubtful, spiteful, tired and failing,
    I touched you tenderly with a word
    to inspire you, prod you along,
    move you toward the very future
    I had planned, with a myriad of
    meaningful, connections to be made,
    with a purpose and a bigger plan.

    written for p.b./h.g. 2012

  3. This could certainly use some grammatical tweaking and some word refining but finding myself with one less hour to play with words this morning I had to relent and release it as is.

    Thank you, for such a wonderful prompt!

    I can just see the crowd now, you entertain, provoke emotion, create a scene that speaks to the heart of many. Very well done!

    Marie, your poem gave me goosebumps. You captured it so very well. I can see it, too and they are going to LOVE your story!

    Viv and Andrea! So nice to see your poetic voices here this morning! Always enjoyed.

    Happy Sunday smiles to you ALL, my poem, pondering friends! 🙂

  4. Oh, Marie and Walt…suddenly I am not content to be content! Both of you stir the passion to reach. Thank-you. I must ponder a while…Viv, Andrea, Hannah, Good for you!

      • I just tried the link I sent you. Scroll up to see the map and my place. I live on the narrow island with no name. You can click on it and then it says “Sejerø” – that’s where I am.

        • Thank-you Andrea, I have not found the island yet, but I’m trying to figure it out! that map is very cool! I am approx. the # 30 in Canada. I live 2 hrs. north of Toronto Ontario. Your life sounds magical. So does Viv’s. Words like island and France are very surreal to a gal who has lived always at rural route…Ontario:) I’m from dirt back-roads and country landscapes. Many pics shared on my blog at I have enjoyed all of these poems and been mulling a few ideas around in my head…the house is very quiet, like after a storm quiet, just being emptied of a bunch of giggling 10 and 11 yr. girls who helped celebrate my daughters 11 th B-day. I will return hopefully tonight, with an attempt of my own.


    Each moment, each day
    I sent heartfelt words their way
    Some written, some not.

  6. Meg, yours was sweetness; Walt, good ambitions; both expressing what matters to each of you in life. 🙂 Hen

  7. Shooting Past the Stars

    You took the path unbeaten.
    Not much fruit you’ve eaten.
    But you weren’t a cretin,
    you loved along the way.

    You worked in little bits.
    You didn’t call it quits.
    In spite of all your fits,
    you took the time to pray.

    And now you’ve made a name.
    You’re basking in your fame,
    but your goal’s still the same;
    it’s to hear Him say,

    “Good and faithful one
    You obeyed my Son,
    so I say well done.”
    That’s your hope today.

  8. Tough Love from True to Tried

    Why be so shy with sharing
    what you write?
    Why aren’t you caring
    for the sights
    inside your heart, inside your head?

    You should be tapping those instead
    of making long excuses
    for elaborate abuses
    of your time and deep desires—
    reams of work just stoking fires?

    Put yourself to noble work:
    explore your truth; don’t try to shirk
    your soul’s connection with your words—
    it heals your hollows, wings like birds
    up to your God, down to your toes.

    I tell you now, write what you know,
    write what you love;
    you will succeed and be glad of
    what you could teach,
    what you could share,

    who you could reach, what you could bear.
    Perhaps I’m being too aggressive
    while you’re being so depressive
    but success (and my existence)
    counts upon your own persistence.

    Stop that old defeatist whine.
    Feel, think, write, tweak, repeat, send!
    Don’t pretend to be a writer—
    Be one! The future is yours (and mine).

  9. Marie and Walt, loved your poems.
    Marie, the very touching scene you’ve painted in yours sounds like my dream come true, too.
    Well, one of the ‘requirements’ was to have fun with the prompt, so I did! As I often profess, I write for the love of it, but if I could actually get paid for doing something I love – oh, wouldn’t it be nice?! So here’s my take:

    ~ At the Poolside ~

    The breeze is cool,
    Down by the pool
    I sip my gin with ice.
    There is no day
    Without pay –
    Oh, how very nice!

    My older self,
    Reach for that shelf
    You keep your future on!
    Do what is right:
    Get down and write,
    Before the urge’s all gone!

    Be strong, be brave:
    You’ll have to slave,
    You will turn thin and pale;
    But fate is kind,
    And when you find
    That paycheck in the mail –

    The very first
    One – what a burst
    Of joy! You’ll grin and grin!
    Then there’ll be more –
    Paycheck galore!
    And oceans of gin!

    So, please my self,
    Dust off that shelf,
    Turn on that light within,
    Your talent use!
    You snooze – I lose:
    No pay, no pool, no gin!

    Get off life’s hook,
    And write that book,
    Unleash your voice divine!
    I know, you can,
    For I’m your fan,
    The older self of mine!

  10. Paula, Viv, Hen, and Andrea inspired me to try a short form, shadorma.


    I want to
    make a difference
    with words that
    are so true
    that every living heart will
    smile and love them too.

  11. Aren’t you Glad?

    Aren’t you glad
    When they reached out their hands
    Beckoning to you
    Come, come
    And you closed your eyes
    And let them pull you
    Too frightened to
    Walk, so
    They carried you
    Yes, yes
    They said
    And would not let you retreat
    To the comfort of
    But they lifted you
    Legs dangling
    Heart trailing behind
    All trembling
    Until suddenly you knew
    They knew
    Exactly how you feel
    For somewhere hands reached for them
    And now you stand
    Glad to be
    A part
    Of a circle


  12. Thank You for Writing

    Remember when you wrote
    just because it emptied your
    mind of worries,
    and the click clack
    of the keys embraced you
    like a symphony
    spine-tingling and relaxing
    at the very same time.
    Well, it still does that for you
    but now other people get to
    benefit from your words,
    heart-felt, gut-wrenched words
    that fill the page with your
    the voice that only those who read
    your writing really know
    the voice you were too scared to share
    but tapped out on the white space
    as if it begged for your words.

    I’m glad you needed to write
    for now others need you to write

  13. Pingback: See…??? « echoes from the silence

  14. If I Knew Then, What I Know Now – Prompt 46

    Well, young lady
    If I knew then, what I know now

    You need to know that there is an end
    Of a rainbow that you can listen to

    There are no silver linings in the clouds
    Only the golden sunset to drink in now

    The journey is un-mistakenly eventful
    Cherish all the burses, and pick the scabs clean

    Cry the thousand tears of joy for being alive
    And wear each scare as testament of your survival

    Never doubt the paths you have chosen
    You are where you are suppose to be

    Have the guts to always be true to yourself
    By not allowing others to judge your work harshly

    The words of others that can be trusted
    Are a special breed, you will know whom

    With every unsure step or stumble
    You will make strides with the lessons it will teach

    Write the words that blossom from your heart
    You will always have beautiful bouquets that surround you.

    Ellenelizabeth Cernek ©

  15. Journey Toward the Light

    Wake up every day and pray
    and you will find the way.
    You’re traveling on the right course
    now just stay.
    Keep believing that the good and right
    will regain some control.
    Yes, you are large. You are in charge
    and you are whole.

    Keep searching for that needle in a haystack.
    Make wishes when you see a shooting star.
    Follow your true heart
    that’s beating every single day.
    Stay confident in knowing who you are.

    Simply do your very very best.
    Hold faith in God that He will do the rest.
    When times are tough be strong enough
    to burn the candle bright.
    Stay focused on your journey toward the light.

    By Michael Grove

  16. Future Perfect

    Never really a conscious choice,
    how nice it was to find a voice,
    rough edges rounded, made more smooth
    by words which heal, thoughts that sooth.
    “This – or better” was my creed,
    simple tools all I’d need,
    writing of grief and love and joy,
    like a child with a toy.
    Who could know what lay before,
    beyond the walls, the open door.
    First one chapbook, then some others,
    enjoyed by poets, sisters, brothers.
    A blog which gained more fans, more eyes,
    some laurels too, to my surprise.
    What fun it was to turn each page,
    as decades brought me to this age.
    My heart against all pain defends,
    grateful for poetic friends.


    I was eleven, ‘some years’ ago,
    And I can remember youth.
    I’ll turn the clock back and try to tell
    A tale with a ring of truth.
    Back, back I go to an earlier age,
    And relive the doubts and fears,
    Imagining things that have come to pass
    As years have piled up on years.
    I cannot write of a future,
    At least, not a personal one;
    So I write back from my vantage point
    To a life that’s just begun.
    ‘Dear Brenda’
    I’ll say ‘It wont be as good
    As once you hoped it would be.
    You’ll never achieve fame and fortune
    And climb to the top of the tree.
    You’ll lead a ho-hum existence
    As millions of people do;
    (Whatever gave you the great idea
    That wonders would happen to you!)
    But I know you often feel on your own,
    Rather depressed and sad,
    Feeling that life will be awful,
    And you will go to the bad.
    Seeing yourself as ugly,
    Unwanted and not admired,
    Without the starlet qualities
    That clearly are required.
    Well, I’m here to send the message
    That life won’t all be stressful;
    You’ll marry and have a family
    And, in that way, be successful.
    Life wont be as good as your best hopes,
    And it wont be as bad as your fears,
    And you will grow less moody
    With the passing of the years.
    I write back from the future,
    Back to a life begun,
    And I know what I’m talking about
    For I am eighty-one!

    • WOW! Love it…esp. this,Life wont be as good as your best hopes,
      And it wont be as bad as your fears,

      Thank-you for sharing.

      My life would be unbearably ordinary if God didn’t tuck glorious unexpected extra’s in front of the word ordinary, each and every day. So in the end my life will be extra-ordinary, not because of me but because of Him!

      Thank-you for being one of those ‘extra’s’ today:)

  18. Kind of off on a tangent here, thinking back on some hairy moments on the road…

    Playing out

    Don’t bring anything precious to an outdoor gig
    Especially a gig at a moto-cross rally.
    Bug spray and sun screen are sometimes
    More helpful than an hour of warm-ups.
    And stay in shape in case you have to
    Chase people trying to steal your PA.

    Try to avoid skunks when driving on back roads
    Even if it means risking a broken axle.
    Be careful when a drunk guy comes up at the break
    And asks to borrow your guitar so he can sing “Freebird.”
    If it looks like a tornado is coming,
    Play your last song faster.

    Bring your own microphone. You don’t know
    What the previous guy had been kissing.
    Smile. And have a good time. Every time.
    Whatever cover the audience paid, they deserve
    A fantastic night out. Their life is hard, too,
    and they don’t even get to play in a band.

  19. Walt and Marie, stopping by this morning, late as usual. Just enough time to read your poems. Love, LOVE both. But Marie, yours has brought real tears. The scene you’ve described, especially those tiny lips mouthing the words, is exactly what my heart of hearts wants, too. And I can just see you sitting there, cross-legged among them, reading yours. Beautiful. Just beautiful. I can’t wait to say I knew you when…

    And Walt, when you open on Broadway, can I have tickets?

  20. Very thought provoking prompt yet again! Wish I could say I had a lot of fun with the writing process on this one, but that twisted little muse of mine led me to a more serious place. I also found it much easier to refer to myself in the third person, not something I normally do but it seemed to work a little better. 🙂

    The Long Pause

    She spent years trapped in limbo,
    Trouble wrapped around her
    Like a thousand writhing tentacles,
    Squeezing, choking, suffocating.
    She cannot blame some accident of fate
    Or some menacing faceless stranger
    For a plight caused by her own hand.
    That bad decision mars her existence,
    Keeping her trapped in her personal hell,
    Not allowing her to step forward
    And claim the life she was born to live.
    She’s paid a hefty toll on this journey,
    Confused emotions forced her to settle
    For extended misery instead of happiness.

    Overwhelming as it seems,
    I know she still has plenty of resources,
    An untapped strength to spur her on,
    To handle the hard choices that face her,
    To escape the sadness permeating her life.
    Tears are not a permanent tattoo,
    Only temporary tracks to be wiped
    Away from a hopeful spirit,
    One recharged with a new focus after a long pause.
    Once again she will drink of joy’s libation
    And realize life at its best is poetry;
    That’s all she could ever ask for.

  21. Pingback: Remember When (Poetic Bloomings) « Sharp Little Pencil

  22. Also at my blog, Thanks, y’all! Amy

    Remember When

    There you are again
    curled up, pretzel-thin

    Still wondering why
    he won’t say goodbye

    Daily you’re a doubt
    Half laughter, half pout

    Therapist listens
    Talent glistens,

    but for whom?
    Since the womb

    you’ve been easing
    into people pleasing

    Why not relax?
    Reconsider Xanax?

    You think it’s almost over?
    Baby, run for cover.

    Hate to burst your bubble,
    but you’ll be causing trouble

    long after you’ve gone grey,
    long after this dark day.

    Looking at your through
    this mirror of new,

    I see you back then,
    knowing you’ll remember when.

    © 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

    For Poetic Bloomings: Let your future self advise you in the NOW.

    • Daily you’re a doubt
      Half laughter, half pout…
      this line stole my breath! Wonderful, raw honesty! I’ve felt pieces of this poem, for sure! thank-you for sharing your talent.

    • Yesssss … lots of credit and more … remember “melisma”? And I’m sure there’s others … let’s go Amy – we need to kick some serious poetic butt … I’m just sayin’ …

  23. Dear De,

    Okay, you.
    Enough with the pessimism, and the procras
    and the self flagellation sessions and the hesi
    Keep writing.
    And every once in a teeny, tiny while, send something.
    Somewhere. Doesn’t even matter where, at first. Just
    press send, and then
    Keep writing.
    Ignore the voices in your head that say you aren’t any
    good (consider this: they might lie). Ignore the choices
    in your day that push writing aside (consider this: so
    much just doesn’t matter).
    Keep writing.
    In indigo and turquoise and periwinkle and violet. In
    sickness and in health and in the deepest darkest pits
    of never ever wanting to press another word onto the page.
    Keep writing.
    Because guess what?
    It pays off.
    Okay, I perhaps use the term “pays” loosely. But you’ve never
    been all that concerned with fame or riches anyway, right? Just
    good words, good work, good people. And oh, it pays off in all of
    those, and more.
    Those poems from your heart?
    Someday they will heal the hearts of others.
    Those characters you love?
    Someday they will be beloved by some amazing little people.
    Keep writing.
    Because the world need good words, and you’ve got some to give.
    Because it’s what you are
    wired up
    to do.
    Because it makes your own heart so.very.happy.
    And that’s success, baby.

    And because I said so, and I am 30 years smarter than you.
    Keep writing.

    Plus also: quit worrying. It causes wrinkles. Trust me.

  24. I haven’t the time yet to comment on each poem offered here today. I’ll get to it tomorrow, hopefully. You’ve all met a wonderful challenge with great effort and no little talent.

    Meg and Walt, as always you throw out poems like tiddly-winks, waiting for others to see it they can hit the mark as easily. I have little time to make any kind of hit tonight, but here’s a raw attempt on the fly.

    You Wrote Too Much

    Until you turned gray,
    You played at putting thoughts
    Onto paper for the sole purpose
    Of trying to write something great.

    Yet here you are, finally getting serious,
    Knowing that excuses no longer suffice,
    No longer sound plausible, even to you.
    Now, you’ve become a WRITER!

    Now, you have projects waiting each day
    For flowing words to morph story into play,
    For recipes to merge with intent to make
    Serious eaters drool and stroke their brows.

    You’ve gathered projects until weight bears you down,
    So many projects need your touch, your finesse,
    Your attention that agitation ensues, creating
    Another path to excuse your water treading action.

    No more. No more projects until you finish your journey..
    The Moon has waited long enough to shine for others.
    Feeding those hungry for better health is easy with three.
    Stand firm now and gather your forces. I’ll wait for you

    Here is sunny Italy, where poetry flows in daily language,
    Carrying us toward adventure among exotic climes.

    • I know the feeling of having too much going on, too many projects to tackle…I just wish those were writing projects! Some day maybe, and then – off to Italy!
      What a great life, Claudsy!

      • Thanks. I keep putting that image in my mind, thinking “One of these days, that’s where I’ll be.” So far, it’s kept me motivated.

    • Claudsy – I love this! And not just because you end up with sunny Italy as the end motivator (where I just found out we’re off to again this July …) but because you’re promising to be the writer you’ve always wanted to be and it sounds like you are THERE!

      • Thank you so much. Getting there, perhaps. I’d like to think I’ve learned something after all this time. How much sticks is another question all together.

        I’d love to be traveling to Italy anytime of the year. It’ll have to wait for a while, though. Have a marvelous time on your own adventure.


    • No more. No more projects until you finish your journey..
      The Moon has waited long enough to shine for others.

      I love the poetic flavor of these. Really done well, this poem, Clauds. 🙂

  25. THERE

    Your tyranny paralyzes me
    Sometimes I think it will
    Do more, tear at my breath
    Rip out my lungs, my heart
    Suffocate any hope of mine
    To invade your space
    Decode the meaning hidden

    Still, each time I spot your spine
    Newly stiffened and colourful
    Backing out of my mailbox
    Or in the infrequent instance,
    off a bookstore shelf-
    you so rarely deign to appear

    I cannot resist grabbing you
    Holding you up by your covers
    As if grasping a recalcitrant child
    I shake you, wishing the answers
    To mysteries held within your pages
    Might flutter forth, falling out just

    Oh esoteric literary magazine, you
    of the small press publishing house
    and the ivory towers – why must you
    Tease the emerging poet with such tales
    of unattainability but insist that you
    Possess the map, the truth, the way to get

    Never mind, I am made of strong stuff,
    and I know how may renowned poets
    you rejected, long before I came along
    They tell me it’s a rite of passage,
    as they pat me on the head, saying, “there

    So – gird yourselves – I intend to continue
    Writing my poems, submitting them to you
    And submitting, and submitting, to you, and you,
    And everyone of you that in truth, I fear
    But do respect, and expect will publish me—
    Once my poetry is worthy of you, right? So …


  26. LET ME IN

    Hello there.
    It’s me again.
    That buzz in your ear,
    that you think is tinnitus.
    That déjà vu that you ignore
    because you don’t believe in stuff
    like that. And there’s the nub, the crux, my dear,
    you don’t believe in me, and worse still
    you don’t believe in you. So listen up, my girl,
    and start listening to that buzz in your ear
    because I’m ringing your door bell
    and pounding at your front door.
    Let me in.

  27. Pingback: Let Me In « MiskMask


    When they said try and try again,
    that didn’t mean fail and fail again
    when you try and try and try.

    So if you try and try again
    and every time you fail, then
    it’s time to give up trying
    and assess it from a different angle.

  29. Competing with the Muse

    I’ve tried to whisper in your dreams,
    showing you glimpses—
    your name on a page,
    your words typeset,
    your smiling airbrushed headshot
    gracing the back cover.

    Your muse elbows me aside,
    feeding metaphors
    and vague allusions
    in your ear.
    Consider all my hints
    assurance you don’t write
    for you alone.

    Don’t hoard your poems in binders,
    carefully arranged
    then rearranged,
    pencil marks—
    additions, strike-throughs—
    soon you will have readers,
    marking favorite lines, dog-earing pages.

    Soon you’ll share your words
    with others, soon they won’t be
    yours alone.

  30. The Order of Things

    Never taking the time you thought necessary
    to be successful in broadcast or print
    you wrote and recorded, did some work on the side
    and along with your life you went.

    Until all four were set and well on their way,
    you kept your children priority one.
    Only then were you free for some self-promotion,
    to go out on a limb, get ‘er done.

    So, don’t be surprised when the book deal is signed
    and the radio show is in syndication.
    You’ll be amazed at the impact you make
    and you’ll certainly love the remuneration!

    © 2012 Kelly Donadio
    DawnAudio Productions

  31. I’m loving all the impressive work here in general, and this week specifically. Although I don’t comment as much as Marie, I am no less appreciative of your commitment and effort to make this the most fantastic poetic garden in this blogosphere. I find myself using the same superlatives in critiquing these expressive and heartfelt (and filled) pieces of poetic wonder. I am here and am reading throughout the week. Thank you all for making this the great community it has become. ~Walt

  32. Pingback: Prompts Post: Friday Freeforall « Margo Roby: Wordgathering

  33. Reminder

    days when you were
    new teacher and you
    longed to be better: master, mentor,
    in your skills and talents?
    Poetry writing
    is the same.
    The success is in
    you. Find it. Claim it. Keep writing.

    Richard Walker

    This is a pi poem, the syllables in each line based on the digits in pi.

    • I am wowed and awed every day here, Daniel. All of you freely share your talent and your support of others with no reserve. Walt and I have a hard time knowing how to express how grateful we are.

      Marie Elena

  34. Pingback: ~BIGGER PLANS~ « Metaphors and Smiles

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