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National Poetry Month Writing Prompt 21/30

National Poetry Month Writing Prompt 21/30


Hello YCA Fam,

April is National Poetry Month, and many poets choose to write one poem each day during April to celebrate the occasion. This year, we are going to be posting a writing prompt every day during April to help you with this writing challenge. Many of these prompts were developed by the YCA Artistic team for our weekly writing workshop, Check The Method. If you write poems to these prompts, share them on social media and tag us (@youngchiauthors on Twitter & @youngchicagoauthors on Instagram).

Here is prompt number 20, which uses poems by John Murillo, Kevin Coval, & Sekou Sundiata:


Jobs or “side-hustles” you’ve had
“Side-hustles” you appreciate
Working people in your life that you admire/appreciate (i.e. bus driver, elote man, etc.)
Things you are the creator/inventor of (words, trends, fashions, etc.)
Tools you use to create those things listed above
Things people around you have invented or created (recipes, gadgets, etc.)
Things people have created in this day & age that didn’t exist before
Things about your neighborhood, outsiders are unaware about, but you love?
Specific things and places you would show visitors to your neighborhood/city
Elements of your culture that you are proud of
The “hardest” people you know
Some tangible objects that you relate to the people listed above


Ode to the Crossfader by John Murillo (The Breakbeat Poets)
Got this mixboard itch
This bassline lifted
from my father’s dusty
wax Forty crates stacked
in the back of the attic
This static in the head-
Phones Hum in the blood
This deep-bass buckshot
Thump in the chest Got
Reasons and seasons
Pressed to both palms
Two coins from each
Realm This memory
Memory crossfaded and
Cued These knuckles’
Nicks and nightsweat
Rites This frantic
Abacus of scratch Got
Blood in the crates
In the chest In the dust
Field hollers to break-
Beats My father’s dusty
Wax My father’s dust
Got reasons Got night-
Sweats and hollers
Pressed to both palms
Breakbeats and hollers
Pressed to both palms
Static in the attic Stacked
Crates of memory Dust
Blood and memory Cross-
Faded and Bass Cross-
Faded and Cued Crossfaded
And Static Stacked hollers
Got reasons in the dust
In the chest Got seasons
In the blood In the head-
Phones’ hum This deep-
Bass buckshot blood
Pressed to both palms
My father’s dust Pressed
To both palms Got
Reasons and reasons
And reasons

The Tamale Man by Kevin Coval

hundreds of tamales in an igloo
cooler. they are
hot & light & dense
they are filled with queso
& peppers or pork & corn
they are delicious & delivered
to dingy bars littered
across Chicago’s last late night
by THE TAMALE MAN, a hero
of sorts. unknown, unmasked
& cloaked in dimly lit dives, weaving
thru packed houses & some sad
scatterings of last calls, in a flack
jacket flannel dodging mixed
drink condensation & failing
inebriated elbows…

seemingly appears
from thin air, the bust
& bustle of Western Ave.

feeds the masses:
hipsters & punks
artists & waitresses
after midnight denizens
who need a break
& a stiff drink
& something
to soak it all up
for a couple
of bucks. something warm
in a corn husk, something
rolled by brown hands

must have a family
some army who helps him
on the road, to wake
& resuscitate for this 2nd hustle

by night, might carry
mail by day or punch
punch, punch buttons
& a clock in a factory
might live in Pilsen
and wander near the south
branch of the river near Ashland
on the weekend & watch fishermen
lure smelt
lures barflies with his warm
loves them in the moment
they need the most
love, another
pour, the poor
for a couple bucks
feeds the drunk
the hungry
the poor after all
the pours he is there
in the lonely of night
is there

“Shout Out” by Sekou Sundiata
Writing prompt:
Write a working class ode celebrating one person or thing from your list.