swell

This week’s word prompt is: swell.

Please post your 200 words (no more!) by clicking the comments link at the bottom of this post, keeping in mind The Rules.  Next Sunday evening 6/2/13, last week’s winner John Dutterer will read the entries and select a winner.

Once again, please invite anyone you know who enjoys writing.  It’s fascinating to see what different people do with the same word!

[Click the comments link below to read entries and discussion.]

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18 thoughts on “swell

  1. Swell

    Every time I speak to you
    Something grows
    Inside me.
    Something heavy,
    Something I need to release.

    You tease me with your
    Silences,
    Hoisting me in
    Like a
    Curious animal.
    That feeling gets bigger,
    Swells inside of me –
    Hungry for the answers
    To the questions I’m
    Too afraid
    To ask.

    Why don’t you speak to me
    The way I think
    You should?
    Why are you so scattered
    In your approach?
    If only you were here right now,
    So I could grab you
    By the mind
    And shake the answers
    Out of you.
    Release the gravid anchor
    In my stomach
    And let our thoughts
    Entwine together
    As they float towards a
    Celestial harmony.

    Instead I sit here,
    Dormant,
    Waiting for an answer that
    You’re yet to give me.
    An answer that might escape me
    Forever.

    1. Great lines: “So I could grab you by the mind and shake the answers out of you.” Thank you for the word gravid, I had to look that one up. 🙂 The sense of tension and waiting/despairing is carried well throughout, nicely done.

  2. “Gosh, that was swell.”

    I rolled to face his lying form. He was on his back, hands clasped behind his head. There was a small smile playing on his lips peeking through the dark of the night as he repeated the word swell to himself again.

    “Do you think we’ll together for a long time?” I asked, head buried in the dip of his shoulder.

    “Yea, I reckon we’ll be together for a mighty long time.”

    By the time the sun rose, he was gone the same way he came leaving behind the faint musk of sweat and a dull ache radiating through my body. I could hear Ma and Pa bustling about downstairs unaware of what had transpired the night before.

    A week later, he was off chasing Sue Ellen down the street.

    Hot breaths traveled up my body to my lips as rough hands ran along my sides. My hands were buried in his curly hair, blonde instead of that handsome chestnut brown.

    Not quite a replacement, but a replacement all the same.

    He clung to me in ecstasy. I clung to him in desperation.

    Swell. That’s all it was, just swell.


  3. Once swollen, few things actually render goodness. Swell–and forget about dignity, comfort. No sir. It that swells is a billboard announcing inadequacy. In fact, the swell is grossly undignified. Swelling, by nature, reveals weakness, an inability to withstand some obstacle. It is a visible manifestation of inherent frailty–a tangible confession of defeat. A tell-tale statement declaring, “I was incapable of not swelling.” The shiner decorating your eye will swell up in no time after that bully guard spoiled your layup. He was faster, stealthier. And now you look foolish. Your feet swell when you’re: overworked, over-salted, or are just plain ag(ed/ing). Let us not forget the shameful discomfort wrought when infection seeps in, settles, spoils the fun with puss, throbbing, and yes, swelling. Sprained ankles. Busted lips. Arthritic hands. Weak. And swollen. Be careful of the metaphysical swell, as well. Swell with pride and you are a plagued with hubris.

    Then again, for 40 weeks I swelled, anticipating the beautiful unknown. My heart became swollen with gratitude when I heard her first cry. And as much as it hurts, perhaps to be swollen is to heal, to grow, to evolve. Perhaps that is the only kind of dignity.

    1. The writer makes a keen move by inserting “actually” in the first line. “Once swollen, few things render goodness” would sound smoother, more direct, more literary, setting up the rest for an elevated tone (akin to Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”). But that’s not this writer’s intent — instead it’s to establish a contrast between the one case of dignified swelling (second paragraph), and the utterly undignified swelling everywhere else (first paragraph). So the writer deliberately stutters the first line with the word “actually,” following that up with the conversational “No sir” and awkward “It that swells …”, preparing us for swelling’s customary lack of dignity. Well executed.

      Besides, It That Swells would be a great name for a rock band.

  4. Trevor Swells

    Sometimes Trevor swells. Rhetta Lou tapes a note on the front door (swollen), seizes his cell, and vacates with the kids to the mall, Costco, the park with fountains. Meanwhile Trevor tugs on his swollen pants and bakes himself a DiGiorno’s (she keeps the freezer stocked).

    Work’s out of the question – he can’t get out the door, much less squeeze into the truck, and swollen fingers don’t telecommute. So he watches cable, works a puzzle, grooms the collie, naps. It could be hours, it could be a day or more (they keep toothbrushes at her mother’s). Eventually he texts Rhetta Lou to bring everyone back, for a reunion of touches and apologies and it’s-alrights.

    The swelling predates her; he convinced her he would improve. The specialist expects a breakthrough any time, but you know how it is. At least it’s not painful, much, to him.

    Last Monday Rhetta Lou’s hair wouldn’t cooperate, a pimple bulls-eyed her forehead, nothing she did was ever done, and she wasn’t about to go to work, no way. But Trevor knew what to do. He left her in the house with pretzels and her cell, and drove the kids to the park with fountains.

  5. The morning air has a chill
    The type that lends itself well
    to the anticipation
    of my favorite
    “rite of passage”

    “All packed?,” dad yells.
    Hardly able to contain myself
    I thunder down the steps
    barely clearing the dog
    as I make the roundabout.

    “Love you, Roxy!”
    I offer up as a poor consolation,
    but it’s not needed.
    She understands.
    This year, I am the perfect age
    to celebrate the New Year in style
    with the classiest folks in Carlisle.

    Hershey Park comes to life at night
    Gazing upward
    it becomes hard
    to separate the tilt-a-whirl lights
    from the stars
    there’s no need to
    in a world this full of wonder.

    New Years Eve
    Our Sunday best
    Papa in his tux
    Grandma in her dress
    After filling our bellies,
    We decide
    it’s only fair to feed our souls.
    Music is our natural remedy.

    Papa’s original
    “My Baby Says She’s Mine”
    the notes float through the air like snowflakes
    landing lightly on my ears
    melting into my heart
    meshing with the blood that runs through all of our veins

    Papa gazes over at her
    Eyes soft
    “Ain’t life grand?”
    Grandma’s feet skip a beat
    as she smiles and replies,
    “Just swell!”

    1. “barely clearing the dog” – funny.
      Nice blending of tilt-a-whirl lights with stars.
      Interesting flow of music from air to the blood that joins your family.
      The sense of nostalgia is powerful throughout, upholding the sincere use of a dated “swell” at the end. Who would use swell in this cheesy way, and mean it? Yes, a grandparent – endearingly!

  6. I.
    i want to walk out
    into the ocean’s gentle swells,
    and feel God’s palm
    cupped around me.

    II.
    i want to step,
    over the smooth, fluted stones,
    and the whorled shells
    of bright abalone,
    to sink down
    onto sundrenched
    sea-ground
    and close my eyes,
    to see my blood-red sun-lit lids
    flicker and flash, as
    shuddering net-designs
    dance, threaded and lacy;
    as they curl,
    tangling across me.

    III.
    i want to slide my fingers
    through the slithering white sand–
    the grains carved into
    ivory ripples by the
    currents’ deft hands.

    IV.
    oh,
    i want to lie
    and close my eyes
    and feel the soft lurch of each wave
    jerking overhead, its
    strong tug like a kite,
    watch the shining fish
    scything past above,
    and let each dancing point of light
    reflected
    from their scales
    scar my pale face.

    V.
    i want to see
    the quivering moon rise,
    swelling through
    deep-water blackness;
    listen to the dolphins’
    ghostly shrieks and clacks,
    and the whales’ deep, grieved noises.
    i want to forget
    the sound of human voices.

    i long to close my eyes,
    sink,
    and never rise.

    VI.
    salt water,
    salt tears,
    ask Him if He hears
    you gasping.

    1. Thank you for writing one of my new favorite poems. I have a deep affinity for the ocean and a constant yearning for the time and space to just be, so these verses really resonate for me. You’ve captured the ocean’s allure in both its playful delights and haunting depths. Wonderful.

      1. What a gorgeous call for sinking. Y(our) pang for resting into quieter forms of existence is reflected gracefully in your images and careful details–line spacing, capitalization, punctuation. You paced me just right so I was longing right along with you. Thank you for this.
        PS–ever heard Florence Welch’s “Never Let Me Go” ?

        1. whoaaaahh… I just went and googled the lyrics. I’ve listened to that song plenty of times without taking the time to pick out any words besides the chorus. I had no idea that is what the song was about! wow! There are some really similar aspects. I wonder if I’ve been subconsciously affected 🙂

    1. Amazing punch in just 10 words (1/20th the limit!). This poem visualizes swelling’s inevitable climax through a thistle’s “promised exclamation.” Very evocative of WCW’s The Red Wheelbarrow, especially in the way it plants a question in the reader’s mind (“What depends on the wheelbarrow?” “Even a thistle what?”)

      Reminds us that poetry can be found even in a flower brought in from the backyard by a child.

      [Side note: Really, Wikipedia? When I looked up the link to WCW’s poem, the second paragraph read, “Williams lifts a brazier to an artistic level, exemplifying the importance of the ordinary …”]

  7. Two Hundred Years of Duggar Math

    2013: After eleven seasons, the world decides the Duggars are right, and every person of child-bearing capacity begins putting the “pro” in procreate. Within twenty years the world’s population swells from seven to twenty-five billion. Lane changes on the highway become impossible.

    Forty years and two hundred seventy billion babies later, amusement parks no longer consist of rides, only lines. Rabbits are the top pet. Nobody gets that trendy gift at Christmas.

    2113: Seventy thousand people crowd every square mile. By 2133 that rises to two hundred fifty thousand, half a Woodstock. Choirs are plentiful; farmers are not – despite the bumper crop of natural fertilizer, they give up and move to Antarctica.

    Forty years and one hundred fifty trillion babies later, one homo sapiens occupies every square yard of land. “Flash mob” is removed from the dictionary. Groceries are delivered via bucket brigade. The only remaining sports are jumping jacks and yoga.

    2213: Two quadrillion heads cover Earth’s continents, a mat of hair as tight as sixty in one elevator. Humanity’s extinction-level threat is no longer nuclear, it’s electrocution. Everyone sleeps vertical. Without room to maneuver, procreation becomes impossible, prompting the Duggar show to be canceled.

  8. This week’s winner is “hmr”, whose piece delves deeply into the concept of “swollen.” I appreciate the philosophical approach she took, and the last paragraph provides an uplifting twist.

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