For this prompt we looked at 2 poems about wanting. "Rent" by Jane Cooper is from Scaffolding: Selected Poems, published by Tilbury House. Cooper looks at how what we want and don't want often occupy the same space.

"What Women Want" by Kim Addonizio is from Tell Me / BOA Editions, Ltd. It is a sexy, tough woman's paean to putting on an appearance of someone who would ...want to walk like I'm the only / woman on earth and I can have my pick. Still, I read it and can't help but hear what she does not want just as clearly. When she tells us: I want that red dress bad./I want it to confirm /your worst fears about me, /to show you how little I care about you /or anything except what /I want - do we know what she doesn't want, or what she already has?

What do you want? What do women want? What do men want? What does he or she want? What don't you want?
Take your choice of questions, and provide the poetic answer.


A walk.
Maybe in
the new snow.
A Zen kind of walk,
with meditation and
pear trees bending to kiss
you with soft, melting drops.
And you will come home to a
blue mug of  tea, which waits in
your son's hand, and as you inhale
its pale, green steam he asks you,
"How do you feel?" Your answer: "Fine."
And somehow you both know that this time
it's true.

Svea Barrett-Tarleton


The silent aroma
of seeds bursting.
The sun at mezzanine,
Redoing everything
in new veneers.
Trees in blossom, too.
Students hanging out, making out,
talking volumes of everything
but what we assign them.

Steady hum of life.
And why confine ?
It's a small enough room
we live in. What else to do,
but talk, sleep, love, hate.
And what is it I really want?
My dreams spelled out in poetry?
All my little acts in verse and rhyme?
My exhausted past
recorded, reworded,
filed away in a drawer
for posterity to defile?

And why analyze such madness?
Why not just wear one's passions
in grand style,
disturb the landscape
with gargantuan gestures,
and dance all the way
in party shoes?
Better to meet the night
with an insistent flesh
than to trust indelible answers
that would send life to the cleaner's.

Gaetana Cannavo

The Male Myth

He wants the poems to come unbidden.
He wants a cool breeze
across his sweaty face
and the wind to still
on a winter day.
He wants things to come easily
or, at least, to come easier.

He doesn't want to leave her
for me but he wants me
and he wants my poems
and his house overlooking the Pacific
and he wants the days to stretch
as far as that ocean.
He wants us to sail together
towards a horizon we can never reach.

Lianna Wright



I don't want
To be left standing in the dark
In the middle of the park
While my mommy goes
To kiss another man
She takes very long
Doing it,
It's almost as if
He wants her love
As much as


I don't want
To hear the woman
Next door
As she bears the onslaught
Of another night
To produce the son denied
Till now
Seven daughters in a row
If God is there
She don't know


I don't want
To get up in the morning
To go to work
Today is my birthday
Yet no one cares
My nest is empty
The children flown
Lives of their own.
I gift myself
A wan smile
And lock my life behind


I don't want
To write depressing poems
When the world
Is full of goodness
And beauty
People doing their duty
I don't want to tear my soul
To show the truth
They hide from

Abha Iyengar  


I want to have a farm he said
I want to make things grow
Sun wind soil seed
the soft brown earth
the laugh-blue sky ---

Backache was all I could answer,
Wheels against the barn
rimmed with rust
the fallen gutterspouts
and all the grey and ancient boards
made echoes of agreement in the air.

Ron Lavalette


Because once on a pebbled beach, someone I believed told me I could make
myself a poet.

Because others can write better than I, and some don't write as well, and
some don't write at all.

Because when I don't, the blackness in me growls like it could eat up all the
whiteness of every page I'll never touch.

Because I've lost my faith, my love, my god-every bit of spirit except the
one I find in words.

Because somewhere there are words almost as clear as the speechless things
that live inside my head.

Because once or twice I accidentally stepped into the stream of the eternal
and I've seen the path that leads back down to that water.

Because poems are luminous and I want to shine.
Because words are incandescent and I want to burn.

R.G. Evans


The last rain of autumn
streaks my window pane.

I hear water running
and you blowing your nose.

We are crying together.
You in the bathroom upstairs.

I at my computer,
trying to compose,

as we will compose ourselves
when you kiss me goodbye.

I try to analyze why
we cannot speak of our pain,

why you can only be
my support, my rock,

when it is a pillow
I want.

Ruth Zimmerman


There isn't enough sweat
I will with you
return to the briny whence we came
to coat ourselves in dank
to dry and roll in the day's heat
to belly yowl at the white thing
in the sky
To slip home

I want to lash you with Tourrette's tongue
until your guts are turned to mud
the dark mud where I roll and loll
and swallow and spew
on pretty white frocks
and summer suits of linen
There isn't enough filth

I want my mouth on everyone's mouth
except for three
and they are lepers
I want to lap every human juice
stain my beard
mat my whiskers with jelled effluvia
and scream till the veins
in my neck burst
Look at your reflection on the surface
of my blood
and drown
in your own
There aren't enough victims



That song came on the radio this morning
and I thought "That when things were so good."
I want to hear that song over and over.
And yet, I dare not buy the music
and listen to it whenever I want.
I'm afraid that I will tire of it
left with nothing,
not even the words
which run my day
like a coiled spring
in my clockwork.

Charles Michaels


Right off I'm having trouble
separating want, need and desire.

Someone in the group suggests
that want is desire but need
is something necessary or required.

A woman asks, "What if you
really require what you desire/"
Which gets a laugh from a man
who says, "I can identify with that!"

which really annoys her.
"I'm serious. Some things I want
are essential to my life. Not food
or water - but what about Love?"

which gets everyone quiet
and in that contemplative moment
the leader suggests that we begin to write.

Pamela Milne


I want to give breath to the embers.
I want to stir the ashes and see flame.

I don't want the mercy of patient light
that slants across the floor at my feet,

smoke rising from a distant chimney,
sacrifices for sins on a brazen altar.

I want to know what your margin notes mean.
Whose footprints are outside my window.

How to make love to the moment that is now.

Ken Ronkowitz


I want my meat - frozen first -
then thawed.  I have an affinity
for news briefs, bottled beer
and five-minute biographies.
But always - the problem of architecture
which I strive to understand and to
appreciate because so much of
what makes a man goes into it
serving for centuries, declaring
what we stood for.  I walk
into a Cistercian abbey constructed
on the musical proportions
of the octave.  I experience
the chorus of the inner workings
of my own body.  I move
an arm - knowing that within this
model of the universe mass
creates a vacuum, percussion.  I hammer
the air - gone - a third of the angels
from Heaven.  A monk
who whispered a word outside these graceful arches burns
with the desire to stay
to sing
to himself
to listen
to stars fall. 

L. M. Wolf


I wanna wander
into the local Saloon
with my perfumed "posse".
I wanna take a seat
on a bar stool
amid the regulars.
I wanna order
a drink with a scandalous
Sex name, such as,
Screaming Orgasm or
Tie Me to the Bed Post.
I wanna let loose.
I wanna stay out late
and act silly.
I wanna dance
to La Bamba
and not give a hoot
who knows
who I am.
I wanna sing along
to Neil Young songs
and feel daring for
having danced
with a tourist--a stranger.
I wanna toss my hair
and laugh
until I snort
and really really
have to pee.
I wanna be free.
For tonight,
I wanna forget
that I am a
school teacher.
Oh, and tomorrow,
when I walk
down the street
to get my mail,
I bet I'll be the one
they're whispering about
down at the local
Ice Cream Parlor.

Francisca Scrivano


outside my bedroom window
to send subliminal rhyme while I sleep,
wash my woes in a single stroll on her shore,
embrace my nakedness like a breeze from the south,
offer no apology for her brine that stings my wounds.

I want to spread myself wide and deep like she lives,
roll over and over me like a strong tumbling tide
and a gentle wave that’s out of steam before it’s caused damage,
I want to keep going wherever it is oceans go and never stop,
not once, not even when filled with things that float to the surface
under their own power because someone discarded them on me,
things I didn’t ask for, like tangled brush, foamy from turbulence,
bubbling in disgraceful moldy browns.
I want my blues to be blue and my greens true to seaweed,
my sand as though it’s been shaken out like salt,
white and tight with flecks of coral and starfish fossil,
I want my ocean for life and my sand for warmth,
my days for wet and my nights
for dreams of rhyme and possibilities.

Susan Stewart