Try This: Poetry Poker

A poem starts here

in a happy crash of orange tacos
and blue knights.

I am the Queen and you are the Joker,
anointing every room with laughter.

A poem starts here, where the elbow
bends, the toenail curves.

The house is ablaze with the sound of bacon.
The boiler thrums, soup hums.

Can you smell every donut rising?
Taste the rust of happiness peeling?

Poems live in the cracks of nonsense,
in the seams of disbelief.

We’re in the funhouse, join the ride.
Stale bread discarded. Fresh words only.

Even the fish swim backward, blowing
bubbles of electric pink.

- Drew Myron
A Poetry Poker poem written with the Happy Hour writers


Have you played Poetry Poker?

It's a great way to get out of your head and into language.

The game is the invention of Dave Morice, and appears in The Adventures of Dr. Alphabet.

How to Play Poetry Poker: Type a phrase across each card in a deck. Words should be a mix of complete, incomplete and unusual phrases. Each player is dealt five cards. The object of the game is to write a poem that includes all the phrases, along with many of your own words. It's essential that you add many of your own words to make and expand connections between phrases and ideas.

Sample Phrases: to the store, old train, the roof leaked, jumped off the, magic hamburgers, zoo monster, color of sleep, orange tacos

Optional Rules: Rules are fluid. For example, if playing in a group, writers can trade cards. Or, writers can choose to discard. The rules are not hard and fast, but loose and lively.

This game sometimes yields good poems. More often it breaks routine and opens the door for the next good poem. Whether writing prompt or powerful new poem, it always feels good to exercise the writing muscle and produce new work. And, really, Poetry Poker is just fun. The idea is to loosen the mind and try new word combinations.

Try This: Send me your Poker Poems and I'll post them here. You may post your poems in the comment section below, or share your work via email to

Don't be shy — let's exercise the writing muscle, and play with language.