Poetry Prompt # 137

XYZ: Xamine Your ZZZipppppper!

Two Part Question: 1. Did you wear a coat or pants today? 2. How did you clasp the front closed?

If your answer to the second part was “I zipped it up!” Then put on your party hat and let’s here it for Elias Howe!* It’s National Zipper Day!

Elias Howe’s first zipper wasn’t called a zipper. When Howe filed his patent in 1851, it was for an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.” But …Howe never tried to market or sell his invention, so it wasn’t until 42 years later when Whitcomb Judson patented a fastener similar to but not exactly the same called the “Clasp Locker.” Judson debuted his clasp locker at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. But… people were too zipped up at that time to fathom doing away with button hooks and laces, so nothing came of it. Finally, in 1917, a fella who worked at the company Judson founded, Gideon Sundback invented the “Separable Fastener.” Folks liked it, but…no one knew quite what to do with it. Apparently, the trouble was all in the name. It wasn’t until 1923 when B. F. Goodrich tried the danged zipper as a boot fastener and coined the name that stuck. Which brings us to our prompt.

Back in my school yard days, whenever a friend forgot to zip his or her pants, we’d call out with a helpful XYZ! Let’s begin by doing exactly that. By design a zipper is “two facing-rows of teeth that pull into a single piece by the slider.” In honor of National Zipper Day let’s choose two different sets of words and link them together—zip them—into a poem.

Let’s begin with two words. But, just as zipping a snug pair of jeans isn’t easy, let’s not make this poem come together too easily. Choose two words that do not seem at all connected. For instance: Tire & Popcorn; Carnival & Pencil; Snow & Tabasco. You get the idea.

Write each word on one side of a paper. Now, take a moment to list at least 5 words that relate to each of those words.

Weave, link, fasten—zip these words together into one poem. Extra points for physically arranging the poem into a zipper shape on the page. Ready! Set! X.Y.Z.

*That zipper isn’t the only thing about those clothes for which we have good ole Elias to thank. He also invented the sewing machine. Without him, instead of closets & drawers full of clothes to choose from, we might be scrounging around in hand-sewn sacks tied with string—zip it, Pontificator, stick to the subject!

National Zipper Day: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-zipper-day-april-29/

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.