Thursday, March 31, 2011

Write about a Car that Holds Memories

Do you Want to Take the the Volvo of the Miata?

When you
asked me
the question
I thought for
a minute about
which was
the safer
car for a man
in his fifties
who had
great responsibility.
and mortgage
waiting for him
to pay each month.

The choice
was clear
as I reached
for the Miata keys

the safer path
is the one which
leads to yearning.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Write about I time you encountered your Higher Self

Listen to the song by Jay Banta and Barry Lane

Higher Self

I was standing

by the school door

Waiting for the bell,

When Roger pushed me over

So hard that I fell.

I wanted to just punch him

And make him feel my hurt

but something deep inside me

sounded the alert.

1st Chorus

Know your Higher self

Take it off the shelf

Give it room to play

Every single day

Forget about the fight

Reach for what is right

You can Teach yourself to fly

When you want to Cry.

One day in the lunchroom

Some friends were laughing loud

about the newest student

and they formed a crowd

I started laughing with them

Then saw how sad he looked.

I turned to him and said hello,

Then picked up all his books

2nd Chorus

Know your Higher self

Take it off the shelf

Give it room to play

Every single day

Forget about the fight

Reach for what is right

Teach yourself to fly

When you want to Cry


Sometimes I don’t behave

The best way that I can

Sometimes I am afraid

To lend a helping hand

But then then a little

voice comes

From somewhere deep inside

And tells me that the best in me

Doesn’t have to hide


Know your Higher self

Take it off the shelf

Give it room to play

Every single day

Forget about the fight

Reach for what is right

Teach yourself to fly

When you want to Cry

One day I hope the World

Will listen to this song

And all the leaders think about

What's right and wrong,

They’ll sit down at a table

and talk about their fears

Without endless battles

rumbling on for years.


Know your Higher self

Take it off the shelf

Give it room to play

Every single day

Forget about the fight

Reach for what is what is right

You can Teach yourself to fly

When you want to Cry.

You can Teach yourself to fly

when you want to cry.

copyright Barry Lane

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

41 Write a Chant Poem about History

When Will You Know Slavery?

You’ll won’t know slavery

till you sit in the hold of ship chained

to the floor with your hands chained

to the collar round your neck.

You won’t know slavery

till you feel the ship heave

as babies cry for the mother

who tries to keep them close.

You won’t slavery till

you taste the cold sea water as it slams over

the deck and into the place where you lay

and you cannot escape even if you could swim a thousand miles back to


You won’t know slavery

till you feel the master’s whip and

watch the welts rise on your father’s back.

You won’t know slavery

till you stare into the children’s eyes

and see no future.

You won’t know slavery

till you see a sign above a

drinking fountain that says


You won’t know slavery

till you see the bitterness

in the eyes of the man behind

the counter who won’t serve you.

You won’t know slavery

till you watch the man apply for a job

and know he will never get that job.

You won’t know slavery

till you hear 10 thousand marching

for the simple right to be human.

You won’t know slavery

Till you stand

On the mountaintop

And gaze into the the

Promised land,

You won’t know slavery

Till you stare

Into the eyes of

A black child and glimpse

a spark of hope.

You won’t know


till you

Have a dream that

You will one day be judged

Not by the color of your skin

But by the content

of your character.

You won’t know Slavery

till you taste

The tears of years

welling up inside

like the saddest song

you have ever heard.

You wont know slavery

Till you leave the

Chains dangling

In the wind

And rise up to

A New dream.

You wont known slavery

Till you feel

The new dream

Pounding like a drum

In your heart.

You wont know slavery

Till you





like a georgia Peach

down your cheeks.

Barry Lane

Monday, February 28, 2011

Write a Top ____ Reasons Poem

Top 8 Reasons Why I Want to Be a Grizzly Bear

8 I could stand 10 feet tall

7 I could weigh over 1000 pounds

6 I could smell a rotting carcass 2 miles away

5 I could kill a cow with each blow

4 I could run 40 miles per hour

3 I could outrun a

2 I could out swim an olympian

And the number one reason why I want to be a Grizzly bear is...


Barry Lane (from 51 Wacky We-search Reports)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Write about Race

Double Take

If I were you

and you were me

Oh how strange

this world would be

You’d like pizza

I’d like steak

you’d like puddles

I’d like lakes

I’d like movies

you’d read books

friends would give us

funny looks

Cause I’d be black

and you’d be white

and we would Know

we ARE alike.

For I am you

And you

Are me

Can’t you see!

Can’t you see!

barry lane

Friday, February 11, 2011

Write about a New Day

New Day

1 The New Day (Words and music by Barry and Jessie Lane) by Barrylane55

No more worries no more fears

Something new between the ears

If someone hits you turn your cheek

You own the world when you are meek

For Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Don’t judge me by my skin

Take the time to look within

The train of Truth is on the track

When no one talks behind your back,

For Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Men and Woman are two wings

The bird it flies , the bird it sings

Much more love and much less Hate

Watch the world cooperate

For Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

We are the mixed Fruit of one tree

Live in peace and unity

Forget the Old , embrace the new

Less Me me me More YOU YOU YOU

For Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

People hungry

people scared

they don’t know

how much we care

Face the sun

Soak up its rays

Its time to find

A Better Way

For Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day

Now is the new day.

A Song by Barry and Jessie Lane

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Write about playing a Musical Instrument

Violins in the Schools

There is a
cat in my room
after supper
to be free.

A young boy
holds her,
coaxes her
to make
sweet melodies,
but she
back at him
cornered by
his will.

Help me Mozart !
Civilization is crumbling
in my callow fingers.

And The Little Star
high up in the sky
is wondering
who I am.

Barry Lane

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

23 Write about an Ancestor


When the
steamship tickets arrived
in the mail
you said no.

You would rather
stay here
with the
hatred you know
then go
to the dark
of a new world
no better than
this one.

And when I look
at your passport photo,
I cant help
but think of all
the journey's you
never took.

How fear holds
us all in place,
glues us
to the miserable moment,
traps light
in its black prism.

Alone in our
tiny village,
for the
to take us
to a
we don't
dare to imagine.

Barry Lane For my Great Aunt Rifka who died in Poland circa 1943

Monday, February 7, 2011

Write about a Time you Could Not See Yourself


When you
look at me
do you see

or are
your eyes
on your

in the ice of
I'm Cool..

And when
your cool

will you
see me

Will your
a Window?

Barry Lane

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Write about Where Winter Came From

The Orgin of Winter

One day
the North Wind
and a fine
white powder
blew out of his
nostrils and engulfed
half the world.

If he had only
covered his mouth
there would
be no snow
on my lawn
and I would
not need these
big mittens

But how sad
the world would be
with no
big white eraser
to rub out the driveway
each December.

Winter is a
time to forget
all the
sweet sweaty things
that seemed
so important
in summer.

They now
under the

Barry Lane

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Write about a Brush with Fame

Obama Moment

I am proud to be
an American,
not just because of
the men who died
for me
but for those who
live each day
waiting for
a new rebirth
of wonder.

Standing in a rope line
watching a young
mother thrust her
baby at you
as the flashes
explode around you
like bombs
in air

Waiting for my
chance to say
one thing
that will change
the course of

The one thing,
that a year
from now you will
near the end
your State of
the Union

'There was
this guy I met
in a rope line
in Dover
New Hampshire
who said
something ...

And then
you turn to me,
your white shirt
the sleeves rolled
up in such
a perfect way
that the cuffs
seem starched
and flattened
against your
dark fore arm,

And you reach
for my hand

and I say
the only
history changing
I can
think of.

" I Love you, man."

Friday, February 4, 2011

18 Ode to Little Brothers and Sisters

The world was perfect
for a few years.

Then you showed up
and perfection took
on another meaning.

holding you,
bouncing you
around the living room,
How many different ways
can you play peek a boo?

And you, so wide eyed
at the moment of

You squawk
like a
plucked chicken
and I can't
help but laugh

and know
that I am now the
sun and
you a bouncing
baby planet
round me

Barry Lane

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

17 Write a Wacky Test for Something You are Studying

Is Your Grandmother a Sea Turtle?

This just in. World Wildlife experts today again denied they have been involved in a species re-location program. Jane Wilder speaking on behalf of the group said that rumors that endangered species have been surgically altered to look like human beings and then taught to impersonate family members, is pure nonsense.

(Cut to picture of courtroom and Harold)

This did not stop Harold Hodgskins from claiming in court that his grandmother of eighty years is really a sea turtle from the Galapagos Islands. We at channel 5 news have consulted with experts to devise a simple test for you at home to take so that you can tell for sure whether your grandmother is who she says she is.

Is Your Grandmother a Sea Turtle? A special report.

(screen of the title)

1) Does your grandmother spend part of the year in a hot place like Florida?

(Sea turtles are cold blooded and cannot survive harsh winters.)

2) When at the pool have you ever seen her hold her breath under water for a long time?

(sea turtles can hold their breath for 8 hours)

3) When you look at her from the side can you see the lump

( signs of shell reduction surgery)

4) When at the beach does she sometimes dissapear behind the sand dunes for hours at a time. ( Mother Sea turtles lay their eggs behind the dunes and there babies hatch out and walk to the sea)

5) When you are playing on the beach does she seem to be overly protective when seagulls sour overhead?

( 90% of all sea turtle hatchlings are eaten by predators, No wonder she is worried about you.)

6) Does she frequent sea food restaurants with other suspected sea turtles her age

(Sea turtles have a varied diet some eat fish others sea grasses and plants)

7) Have you ever suspected that her teeth were not human,

(Sea turtles don’t have real teeth but more serrated jaws for eating fish or plants)

8) Does she walk slowly, one step at a time and stop often to sniff for predators.

(Sea turtles have sense of smell except when they are in the water. This leaves them more vunerable to attack outside the water)

9) Has she ever given you sardines or seaweed for your birthday?

( sea turtles eat a wide variety of things based on their species)

10) Have you ever found she has a hard time hearing you.

(Like all reptiles, sea turtles have one bone in their head that helps them to hear. Sea turtles seem to respond only to low frequencies.)

If you answered yes to at least five of these questions there’s a good chance your grandmother could be an a sea turtle. Experts recommend you treat her with respect and kindness because endangered species, like grandmas thrive when we show our love to them.

And for all of us here a World Wildlife News Good night.

Cut to studio

All the technicians are endangered species and the news announce pulls his head through a hole in a fake set. He is a sea turtle or some other endangered specie.

Barry Lane from 51 Wacky We-Search Reports

16 Write about a Moment of Wonder from Your Childhood

Late Night Talk Show

on summer nights
when we lie in bed
too hot to sleep
My brother and I
would do
a late night talk shows
where we talked about
we wondered

If the earth
is a planet and the
sun is just a star,
does that mean
there are millions
of earths
millions of suns
and millions
of summer
in millions
of summer beds
thinking millions
of thoughts
that we
are thinking
right now?

In the background
an old fan whirred
and blew steamy
summer air
in our direction.

Why am I me
and not my friend
Johnny Manning?

How did I get in this
body with these parents
in this town?

Why do I have
these thoughts
on hot summer nights?

He would fall
and I would listen
to his steady

my mind
buzzing with
the electricity
of wonder
till sleep
pulled me
back into
the boat.

Barry Lane

Monday, January 31, 2011

15 Write about a Moment of When You Felt Freedom

The Grand Tetons

The night
I slept under the stars
in that big Wyoming Sky
and awoke to see
the brown mountains
rise like warm bread
in an orange sky
was the first time
I felt it,

That flutter,
that twinge.
that spinning,
swirl in at the
root of my gut.

I am alone
in a universe
strewn with
billions of galaxies
sprayed like
like glowing
frogs eggs across
a black abyss.

Here I am
the tadpole
who made it
through the
black pond.

at the sunrise.

Here I am.

Barry Lane

Sunday, January 30, 2011

14 Write a How To Poem

How to Be a Shark

Get born with a full set of

self-replicating razor-sharp teeth

Swim in the oceans for 400 million years,

175 million years before the dinosaurs,

(but who’s counting)

Devour fish, or squid, or seals

And don’t worry

if you break a tooth

on a bone

Because you’ll grow 30,000

new ones in a lifetime

Lift up your nose and smell

prey two miles away,

Roll back your eagle eyes

take a bite

But don’t eat humans


They taste bad,

even with ketchup.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Write about a Time You Were Down and Out


It was the summer
of my nineteenth year
and I lay in the ditch
by the side of
Interstate 90
as semis
whoooshed by above me.

I opened
my last can of
cream style corn
with a jackknife.
and wondered
whether sleep
would come
even here
so far
from my
childhood bed.

About that time
I fell asleep
and dream racoons showed up,
to pick at my
dusty backpack
and comb their
nubby black fingers through
my uncombed hair.
Taunting me
for their enjoyment,

When I awoke
the sun was a
a blazing ball of fire
rising over a field
of melons.

And as I collected
my things and
climbed out of the
ditch and up to
the highway
I felt a quiet
sense of triumph.

The Newest days
are always preceded
by the darkest nights.

Barry Lane

Friday, January 28, 2011

12 Write About a Memory about a Stranger You Met on a Trip


You left the Ukraine in 1980
with nothing but the shoes
on your feet and a few rubles
and now you are
a millionaire again.

And when you returned
to see your family you found
they had named streets
after murderers and turned
the electricity on once a day
for 3 hours.

You live on a wealthy island now
but once you made 1000
pairs of shoes for the Soviet Economy
and 99,000 pair for your customers.
The lines stretched around the block
of your Kiev shop and when the last shoe
was sold your family had a pile of illegal cash,
So the party began.

And when I asked you
if today you invested
in the stock market
you looked at me quizzically
and said,
"What is stock market?
Stock is the shoes in my warehouse.'

And when you said that,
I thought about
how a happy life is
an investment of sorts,
and self knowledge
the main asset.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

11 Write About a Time You Could Not Stop Laughing

7th Grade Truth

I never laughed harder

than I did in seventh grade

that time my best friend

Stuart Dunn and I

made fun of

our reading teacher

Mrs Dolson.

To this day,

I don't remember the joke

or why we laughed,

though it could have had

something to do with the corny stories

we read out of boring thick books,

or the reading machine

that made us track

sentences across the wall

without moving our lips

or turning our heads.

Laughter was release

from our 7th grade reading hell,

and our wild ,heaving, sobs

were the legs which fled

the dead questions

at the end of the chapter.

And decades later,

when I met Miss Dolson,

now a sweet old lady,

in the bank,

and told her I now was an English teacher,

she smiled blankly

and I felt a surprising shame creep

up my spine.

My life was a lie.

I should have been a comedian.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Write a Fashion Show Monologue for Something You are Studying

    • And now direct from northern Italy and central Vermont we have marble.
    • Sporting a calcite and dolomite crystal ensemble designed by Metamorphosis, the famous Greek designer, this marble carries a sleek limestone finish. Its sylish snow white color can fool you at first, because if you look closely, across the shoulders, you’ll glimpse tints of red, yellow, pink, and green caused by impurities in the stone but adding to its sheik beauty.. . Marble is often used to create statues and the columns of classical buildings. so don’t expect her to hang out in your neighborhood unless your friends with the Greek Gods
Barry Lane from his book 51 Wacky We-search Reports

Write an Ode(or poem of praise) to Music

Ode to Music

There is no road
to Tipperary
better than the song
about the road,

and no stairway to heaven
or more divine,
than that insane bridge
in the song by Zepplin

and if you really drove
your Chevy to the Levy
you would find
it was not dry at all,

Music flows there
through the boulders
of your childhood,
coating memory
with melody
which you
still sip

in your seat
behind the wheel,
born to be wild,
ticket to ride
the long and winding road
to the last
you will ever hear
on earth.

Barry Lane

Monday, January 24, 2011

Write a Letter to a Family Cat

Bill Bob

It has come to our attention
you are a cat
who things he is a dog,

We know this
by the way you follow us
butt us
with your big gray head,
paw at us
and beg
to sit in our lap,
even when we
are sitting on the toilet.

We love you very
much but are concerned
this behavior will
alienate you from
your cat friends.

Also please also note
you have grown 3 sizes
since the winter day
we found you starving
under the barn.Your
appetite is even larger
than your big round
20 pound belly.

With warm affection,

The Lap Folk

Barry Lane

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Write About a Favorite Bible Story

Write About Your Take on a Bible Story


He was headed for Vegas,

But God had other plans.

and when they kicked

him off the Greyhound ,

he stopped at the beach

and took a dip.

Then the large fish came

and the rest was history.

Have you ever made the wrong choice

and found yourself waiting for

a fish to come and swallow you?

Have you ever waited,

in the belly of a fish for years

only to get spit up

on a familiar beach.

Is your free will really free?

or is it devoured by the sea?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Write About What Dogs Dream About

Doggy Nightmare

He throws the ball

and I chase it down

the long winding road


I clamp it in

my jaws

and run

back to He,

but He

is not my He,

but another He,

with another He smell,

and another He hat.


but no sound comes out,

and the ball melts into

the driveway like


to the bottom of

water dish.


at the blank sky

and black biscuits

rain down

on me.

I try to

chew on one,

but they

are made of stone.

Fluffy puppies surround me,

waiting for me to play with


waiting for me

to tell them a reason

why this world

is so full

of pain.

I let them sniff me.

I let them know

it will be ok

if we wag our tails


Barry Lane

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Write About a Time You Pretended to Be Someone Else

The Right to Try on Voices

Barry Lane

I have a confession to make. Twenty five years ago I was a woman. No, I didn’t dress like a woman and I didn’t talk like a woman. I wrote like a woman. A local woman’s newspaper had a weekly of column called First Person that encouraged readers to write in and tell of their story. Just as a joke I submitted a piece called the Orgasm Index under the name of Renee Newmarch. In the piece I discussed a recent news report that quoted a study saying married women had more orgasms than single women. In the piece I discussed this report with my husband and we had a silly tiff about it and then my Renee imagined the Orgasm index. where news commentator Peter Jennings says” the Orgasm index is down 5 points today down today, due to moderate to heavy husband swapping.” I didn’t think it was a very good piece of writing. It certainly didn’t have much of a point, but it did have that elusive quality that makes a piece of writing want to be read, It had a voice. A week later there was a gift certificate in the mail and a letter of congratulations. My career as a woman writer had begun.

In the weeks that followed I published at least a dozen articles under the name Renee Newarch. I explored my first attempts at mother hood, a painful abortion in my past, a mice problem, my harrowing experiences hitchhiking, and even my startling discovery that my great grandmother was a prostitute in Victorian England. No subject was too monumental or too trivial for Renee’s pen. She spun philosophical discussions from doing laundry, and wove global issues into a daily trip to the supermarket. and no matter how confusing or mean or crazy life got, she found time to tell the world about it . I loved writing in her voice. It awoke a passion in me for the life I wanted to be living. I was a 27 year old single, lonely man living in a 7x42 foot trailer and Renee was this daredevil young mother in her early 30s. who had just bought her first house and had her first child. I hid from life; Renee embraced it.

The masquerade ended one day with a letter from the editor-in-chief of the magazine. She loved my writing and wanted me to meet with her to discuss writing larger pieces. I toyed with the idea of dressing as a woman or sending a woman friend as a stand in but both ideas seemed equally immoral and ludicrous and I quickly abandoned them. I decided to try a radical new approach I stopped writing in Renee’s voice and wrote three pieces in my own voice. After all, the paper published many columns by men. I had a lot to say about the world and I had “real” experiences to write about, unlike certain other columnists I knew. All three pieces were rejected. I looked at the growing pile of polite rejection letters and decided I needed the truth so I called the newspaper and asked for the editor,

“You’re a good writer,” she said. ”Your clever, but the pieces aren’t quite right in tone for the paper.”

“What tone are you looking for” I asked.

“Funny,” she replied

“Ok,”I said. “I can try funny,” I didn’t let on that I had tried funny in the last 3 pieces.

“By the way,” I said casually, trying to save face, “I’m friends with Renee Newmarch.”

“YOU KNOW RENEE NEWMARCH! WHERE IS SHE! “ The woman could barely contain her enthusiam.

“ I don’t quite know. Last I heard she went to Egypt. I’ll let her know you asked about her when she gets back.”

“Please, please do. We love her writing. Tell her to call me anytime.”

As I hung up the phone I felt a pang of jealously for, Renee Newmarch, the woman I had created. I also came to the sad realization that I could write with more honesty, more humor and more sense of reality in the voice of a fictitious woman than my own man’s voice. What did this say about my sad pathetic lonely existence?

A year later I was married. A month after that I left my trailer. moved to Vermont , bought a house, and started raising my own family. In short, I started living the life of Renee Newmarch had written about. Looking back, I realize that my playful columns were a type of rehearsal for this richer life I had finally begun living.

Putting on masks frees a writer from the fetters of his own existence and can lead to deeper understandings and self realization. Though I wouldn’t encourage my students to deceive editors or readers , I would coax them to explore voices beyond their own. This playful practice can help them to hear the one true voice that lies waiting to be discovered inside them.

( This piece originally appeared in the 9 Rights of Every Writer by Vicki Spandel, Heinemann 2005)