Monday Coffee: money? prompted contest

Have you ever seen a 100 Danish Kroner note? If not, here is your chance. We’re running a poetry contest here on In Our Books, and the winner will receive a 100 Kroner note, as well as having their poem and a short interview featured in a future In Our Books post.

Write a poem in any form, of no more than one page in length. The prompt: Write about money – is money a token of love? Or is it just the opposite? Or something altogether different. You tell us!

Please post your answer in the comments for this post* by Wednesday, September 12th, 2012, 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Savings Time [that’s only three days from now!]

We will post the winning poem and a short interview with the poet in a future post!

Thanks for joining in!

*if you prefer to enter non-publicly please use the contact form available by clicking the “contact us” link at the top of this page. Please note that if yours is the winning poem, the poem will be posted publicly here at In Our Books.


49 thoughts on “Monday Coffee: money? prompted contest

  1. Equity

    Settling into my desk chair,
    I find words frolicking on the outskirts of my brain.
    “Pick me,” one shouts,
    while another simply jumps up and down
    longing for the attention it deserves.

    Poetry or prose…
    it doesn’t matter to them.
    They just want to be written,
    to be included.

    Fingers twitching, ready to comply.

    “Blasted money!”
    I spit, looking at my agenda for the day.
    Deadlines glare at me,
    mocking the frolicking simpletons.
    “Words are tools for making money,”
    it tells me.
    “Money is the key.”

    I silence the frolickers
    (surely they’ll understand)
    and resign myself to the business of writing.
    After all, the bills are not paid
    by witty puns
    or playful word pictures.
    They simply have to wait until the calendar clears.

    Hana Haatainen Caye

  2. “this glamorous profession”
    after Patrick Sokas, M.D.

    Bill took an interest in my suit.
    “Where did you get it?”

    I looked at my feet and mumbled.

    “I have one just like it.”

    I glared. “This was my only suit, a mail-order suit.”

    “You probably saw a picture on a model.”

    “It looked good, though it was probably pinned up in back.”

    “You said, ‘I want that suit.’”

    “Actually I said, ‘I can afford that suit.’”

    Bill took away my notebook,
    and he played reporter for a while.

    • What an impressive poem. You have me going back to the good old days, my John Steinbeck age. I never experienced this feeling reading a poem.


    It causes happiness and sadness,
    inspires charity and badness.
    It can make people mean,
    jealous and green.

    It travels worldwide,
    but stays by my side.
    It makes people grin,
    and often to sin.

    We need it to live.
    It enriches us to give.
    It is dirty to touch,
    but we love it so much.

    Most labor for life,
    For its dearth causes strife.
    We must leave it behind.
    Its worth is all in the mind.

  4. Hard Currency

    It is like being back in high school, she thinks, clutches the smokes to her chest
    Crushes the skinny pack of Benson and Hedges in the damp palm of one hand

    For no reason, her eyes tear; she stares down, sees nothing
    Knows well, crying for no reason is part and parcel of why she’s here, in the loony bin
    A hard elbow in the side jostles her out of her trance; somebody steps in front of her in line

    “Hey –”

    She can barely summon the energy to protest, but she needs sanctuary
    She needs to get into that insular little room, that room reserved solely for those who smoke
    She is ready to fight for that crappy little bit of pseudo-independence, whatever the cost.

    “I’m next,” she says loudly, to the back of the but-in-ski.


    The biggest Native woman she’s ever seen swings around, stares down at her

    “I don’t think so,”

    The woman turns away from her with finality, brushes her off like lint

    “I’ll give you a smoke,”

    God, she hates how pitiful she sounds, but she knows how the system works; this costs


    Smirking now, the woman turns, crosses massive arms across her chest,


    “Two, then?”

    She’s never been much of a negotiator, but the door of the room is opening.
    Panicked, she pulls four thin cigarettes out, quickly shoves them at the woman, slides past her

    Caught off guard and stooping to catch the smokes, the woman shoots her a grudging grin through the filthy plexi-glass window of the smoking room,

    The door clicks shut behind her; she settles back, lights up, draws deep.


  5. The value of things

    Coins pressed into palms like silver stigmata
    turn hands into the heads of venomous snakes,
    their poisoned fangs penetrating the flesh
    of all that is touched or owned.

    The whiter the teeth,
    the better the slave,
    to feed and to bathe,
    to whip with the tongues
    of black ties like nooses untied,
    deciding who lives, and who dies,
    distended stomachs, and mouths
    full of flies.

    These elections are for slugs squirming
    under flags faded by light,
    pushing past bearded and dirt-caked faces
    perched above cardboard signs,
    a trail of slime ten miles wide,
    waiting for the ambrosia
    to trickle down,
    mistaking the salt for snowflakes.

    These snakes swallow houses whole,
    jawbones unhinged, mine mine mine
    whispered between meals and flickered
    fork tongues, dead eyes wishing
    that the sun was for sale.

  6. Uhm, OK – for several hours since early this morning I’ve been disputing with myself pro and con taking part here. Anyway, I have a … thing… that looks like a poem (thogh, I believe, it lacks the necessary characteristics of one), so I might as well put it down, or up, here for others to see 🙂

    That freedom is a matter of choice
    would be a long-chewed-over lie
    that all religions use
    to dull our edge
    and lull our spirit
    away from revolution.

    That revolution is a fight for freedom
    is simply an illusion,
    that leaders use
    to lead the poor to believe
    there will be


    equality and freedom

    for all.

      • Hm, Andrea, I also feel it like a speach. You, as a teacher-colleague, would understand me 😀
        I do behave like a mentor at many times.
        Thanks for the nice words.

  7. Maybe The World Runs Out of Money
    By: Meena Rose

    It may well be a good thing;
    If the world ran out of money.
    It would make my heart sing;
    It would turn my disposition sunny.

    If the world ran out of money;
    Life would set me free.
    It would turn my disposition sunny;
    It would fill my heart with glee.

    Life would set me free;
    I would pursue that which I love.
    It would fill my heart with glee.
    I would listen to inspiration from above.

    I would pursue that which I love.
    I would practice massage therapy.
    I would listen to inspiration from above.
    I would write for an eternity.

    I would practice massage therapy.
    It would make my heart sing.
    I would write for an eternity.
    It may well be a good thing.

  8. “The History of the World”

    You are the history of the world—
    folded, flapped boldly wrapped
    inside front pocket, leathered purse and pouch.

    How many thorned Nero’s must you embed,
    how many hands must you pass through while
    oceans roll over into new ages of ivy-laced gold?

    Women will dance exotic for you in the company
    of men who will lie for you—a tooth for a tooth,
    a dollar for five under the table. You delight in the
    mixing of silver and drinks passed from hand to hand.

    You delight that even diamonds will bleed for you
    as waves of Babylonians knit scarves to ward off
    the cold while feudal serf’s hands grow old from want
    of you, never once giving thought that you will
    never love them as they do you.

  9. Reverence

    Coins clinked in a bright floral purse,
    she undid the latch, pulling out the first envelope…
    tiny, copper wheat pennies fell upon the bedspread.
    As I was flipping them over in my fingers
    she pulled out the next envelope,
    wee silver dimes fell with a chalky clunk unto the bed
    “They don’t make these anymore”, she told me
    as I flipped the coins over and over,
    reading the dates of each one.

    In the palm of my hand were two coins
    about the size of our fifty cent piece;
    They both brought my imagination
    to the forefront of my thoughts…
    One was a copper penny, dated 1942,
    with a bounding kangaroo on one side
    and a king on the other;
    The other coin had a dragon on it,
    and the words ‘Kiang-Soo’, ‘Ten Cash’
    and on the flip side Chinese characters;
    How did these coins travel from their countries
    to my small mid-western town?

    My love of coins was born and the collection begun.
    Exotic animals, kings and queens, other languages –
    tiny representations of their country,
    within my fisted hand…
    provoking a wellspring of stories
    tumbling around my mind
    one clink at a time.

  10. Pingback: Wednesday Alert | in our books

  11. Priceless

    Skinned-knee hugs and chocolate pudding lip kisses
    The excited wagging of a dog’s tail when you come home
    A friend dropping by just to say hello

    Discovering a bundle of old love letters you thought were lost in the last move
    Finding out your sister’s cancer is in remission
    The sound of rain on the tin roof after days of drought

    Acknowlegment for a job well-done
    A sincere complement from a stranger
    Unforgettable memories of those who have passed on

    Uncontrollable laughter
    A bouquet of flowers for no special occasion
    and every day spent with you, my love

  12. A Poor Man’s Triolet

    If I won the super-dooper jackpot,
    I would never be lonely.
    I would have friends I now have not.
    Every distant relative, long-lost pal and crackpot
    would come running, hands out, to share a piece of the pie with me,
    if I won the super-dooper jackpot.
    I would never be lonely.

  13. The Debtor’s Triolet

    If I won a piece of the jackpot,
    I could pay off all those bills
    and would refuse to play Mr. Big Shot.
    If I won a piece of the jackpot,
    I wouldn’t squander what I got
    on unneeded belongings and regretful thrills.
    If I won a piece of the jackpot;
    I could pay off all those bills.

    If I won a piece of the jackpot,
    I could pay off all those bills
    and a piggy bank would be my mascott.
    If I won a piece of the jackpot,
    my debts would be naught,
    my credit card totals nil.
    If I won a piece of the jackpot;
    I could pay off all those bills.

  14. The Last Words he Heard

    Money. Even if you had it, it wouldn’t change a thing.
    There’s no chance in hell I’ll end up on your box spring.

    Though you’re handsome and funny and full of life
    I’m a female hitman just hired by your wife.

  15. Eight Year Old Shame

    We walked the marble museum halls
    My little skipping brother and I
    Elder trusted sister of sibling
    Proud guardian of the child and
    A five dollar bill

    For lunch to be eaten
    Alone while
    Our father
    Naked model ladies
    In an upstairs studio

    Somewhere in the
    Egyptian mummy corridor
    rushing through the
    darkness of ancient
    wrapped spectres

    Gripped fingers were opened
    and that protected bill snatched

    It must have been the spectres
    Silent in sinister perserved stealth
    Leaving only a palm emptied of all but


    Shame for failing that hungry
    small brother

    Shame for irresponsibility with
    entrusted wealth

    that rang
    through those marble museum
    halls bouncing off vaulted ceilings
    to ripple through
    echoes of all time

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