Poetry for Strangers is about finding inspiration in community, in people, in the chance encounters of everyday life. PFS suggests that every person can be a “muse” of a poem. Every week of this year I will ask a stranger for a single word and then write a poem inspired by the word. I invite you to do the same.

Share your poem on this week’s word!


Every year there is a “crowdfunded microgrant dinner” called Feast Boise where creative people present their upcoming projects. Artist Troy Passey and I introduced a book we are making together, a limited edition coffee table book combining his artwork and my poetry (more on our book at fearofthedeep.com). At the event I mentioned Poetry for Strangers and said that I would like to solicit a word from somebody that evening. Once I returned to my seat, a slip of paper with the word MENDACITY got passed down the banquet table and landed on my place. I located the stranger who sent it.

The Stranger: Franklin

His Word: Mendacity

The poem I wrote:

The worst guests
are truths who arrive
early and cannot speak.
They sway at the door
like rampikes, broken
and erect and clutching shells,
calling their insides secret.
I called them here to mend a city
for the thing that broke
was our home. Knock
quietly. My finest lie
will arrive tomorrow
right on time.

The Challenge: Do you have a poem in you on this word? Write one here.