We Tried Writing Poems in 1 Hour

Nandini Dasari, Tina Luo, and Keaton Shaffer

FM Wire staffers challenged themselves to write a poem in 1 hour based on five randomly generated words: coffee, tennis, exam, cabinet, and growth. Here are the results.


Nandini Dasari


Yesterday, as I walked to school

I realized – school is for fools.


Science, math, history, and reading

All the learning makes my head start bleeding.


Even the exams, they make your brain numb

SAT prep – it’s oh so dumb.


My teachers they tell me I’m on the way to growth

But all I can feel is a consistent sense of self-loath (ing?)


My tired feet drag up the stairs.

Not even a gallon of coffee could stop me from falling into the nearest chair.


I run into a cabinet and trip over a tennis ball

“Where’s your ID?” I hear an AP drawl.


I close my eyes and let out a scream.

Ugh, I wish it was all just one big fat scary dream.


Tina Luo


Not drinking milk with my coffee,

Sleeping to dream about something,

Swore this year would be of growth,

Should’ve learned not to trust my oaths.


A constant matchup of tennis,

Only I can’t find my racket,

Deception’s my kind of weapon,

Unto myself with each second.


Double eraser to lead marks,

Each exam doomed from its start,

So I just reach for the cabinet,

Stash my ambitions abandoned. 


Keaton Shaffer


With the window open, 

sunlight flows into the cabinet.

A menagerie of trinkets and spice

Lie in this dry weathered casket.


As I bring myself to the doors

I study the tired wood facade

The branches of the tree outside 

Sway through the light

Some joke about growth

And a laugh from some god


Made melancholy by the taunt

The cabinet turns away

“What use is this?” it beckons

“Why store your coffee grounds?

When my limbs too used to sway,

Like a racket in a tennis round?”


I contemplate my time here

Why give me this exam

There are no words for the old boy

In darkness the doors slam.