"For today's prompt, I want you to take the phrase "Partly (blank)," replace the blank with a word or phrase, make that the title of your poem, and then write the poem. For instance, your poem might be titled "Partly Cloudy," "Partly Crazy," "Partly Out of Touch," or whatever."
I've never been fond of the "replace the blank" school of poetic prompts, but I can't always get what I want, I guess. So I went with it. I think my mind went over every 'partly' phrase I've ever heard and discarded them all. Then I started thinking about the nebulous way people tend to use words, especially during confrontations, or stress, or just when they don't know anything else to say. Partly struck me as a placeholder, like 'okay', or 'sure'.
My mind took another weird leap, and the poem also leapt, partially (partly?) formed, out of the free-wheeling, free-association center of my brain. It latched on to how hard it must be to be a counselor and get an answer like 'partly', or 'okay' and try to build therapy around that. Hence the title of the poem – Partly Theraputic. (and for the record the title came after, not before like usual.) The poem took form nicely. It will need editing to better set up the idea of how vague answers like 'partly' tend to make therapists crazy. . .
Immediately on the heels of that poem came another. Title first this time – Partly Intoxicated. It has nothing to do with alcohol, and everything to do with falling in love, or the feeling of wanting to fall in love, but not being sure enough to make the leap. One poem didn't follow from the other, but it's interesting how the process of forcing the mind into a creative mode brings up ideas and images that might not have appeared otherwise.
It's also interesting how my brain wanted to get stuck on a phrase – I blame television and other medias – Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. My mind insisted it was Partly Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, and no amount of Google-Fu would convince it otherwise, despite the evidence before my eyes. I think my muse is just in love with the weirdity of the phrase and the visual image of meat globs raining down from the sky. Last time I checked out the window, it was only snowing, but the dogs sure seem excited about it, so maybe there's a stray meatball in with the flakes.
I'm thinking there's another "Partly" poem rattling around in my head. I hope it comes out soon because there is limited space available up there, and tomorrow's prompt may shove it into oblivion, or Poughkeepsie, or where ever unformed and half-baked poems go to hide.