Cereal? [15 Words or Less]

Hello, and welcome! This is 15 Words or Less Poems, a low-pressure way to wake up your poetry brain (guidelines here), and I’m very glad you’re here. 

Photo: Laura P. Salas

I feel so lucky to have visited a couple of non-English-speaking countries. It really opens my perspective. One of the adventures is grocery shopping. Aisle after aisle of boxes and cans with words I don’t know. Sometimes the pictures show something fairly familiar (like the cereals in this photo I took in Cyprus), and other times they are complete mysteries. It’s an adventure for me because, though I don’t want to waste food, I know we can get more food if what we buy is a disaster. I think of people in a new land, though, who aren’t so fortunate.

This image makes me think of several things:

  1. the dizzying sensation of too many choices
  2. the duck game at carnivals where you just reach out and grab something and hope for the best
  3. the videogame ToeJam & Earl, where you open “gifts” that might be good or deadly

And here’s my first draft.

foreign language grocery poem


It’s your turn! What does the image make YOU think of? Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count.)







34 Responses

  1. Something familiar
    Something unknown
    Flavors blurring
    Discovering home

    1. Exactly–all the strangeness, and then a symbol or picture or word that doesn’t translate that makes me recognize a food from home (or similarity to a food from home)…that’s what your poem made me think of.

  2. I love how travel stretches my thinking! Food adventures are a big part of the fun–I still remember an unfortunate lamb experience in Greece.…At any rate, I hope we hear more about your travels.. Love your poem and that dizzying picture! It made me think of the nutritional information on packages. Here’s my first draft

    Sugars, Dyes, and Additives, Oh My!

    Reading food labels
    makes my head spin
    More than a toy prize
    lies hidden within

    © 2018 M. Hogan

    1. Oh, dear! I’m a former extremely picky eater, now just a mildly picky eater. But I was nervous about food during our travels. Grateful that I had all good experiences on this trip. Your poem sure resonates with me. I’m glad for food labels and more knowledge, but I hate that I love processed food–full of so much absolute crap. :>(

    2. So true M, and the list of ingredients seem to get smaller and smaller.


    Breakfast time- such a thrill
    ’cause I get my sugar fill.
    So busy-
    and dizzy.

    1. I just had half a rumchata cupcake with my Egg Beaters, so I can obviously relate to this!

    2. Likewise Cindy. I am an early riser and my breakfast, sweet included, keeps me going until a normal lunch hour, which in my case would be 7–8 hours.

  4. I love this photo! The color and the blurring of lines is so fun! Makes me feel silly 🙂 I hope you picked a treasure, Laura!

    Silly Surgeon Warning

    Side effects
    of serial
    include giddiness,
    dizziness and –
    can be quite

    1. Funny, Linda! Gotta love that “serial cerealselection” and the admonition that side effects can be quite serious! lol

    2. This is wonderful Linda. Love the title and the play on words.


    Breakfast time- what a thrill.
    Now I’ll get my sugar fill.

    Get busy-
    and dizzy!

    1. Oops! I thought this one didn’t post- must have been floating around somewhere!

    2. Why is it that Lucky Charms are SO much better than, say, bran flakes. Maybe it’s just a matter of marketing? Perhaps we need poems extolling the virtues of the less appreciated cereals:>)

  6. Good one Laura, as is your poem. I would love to have this design on fabric for outdoor cushions and have a different “cereal name” focused for each cushion, as in Tresor. Having said that I still went a little silly.

    A New Toy at the Casino

    Roulette wheel
    awhirl in pastel hues
    ahh, “tresor”
    for sure a gambling clue!

    1. I am glad you emphasized the Tresor, Martha. I did the blur the way I did specifically to focus in on that:) Treasure it’s always so enticing, whether it’s in gambling or hunting for a sweet cereal!

  7. The blur in your picture caught my eye, Laura. Every time I hear a child crying in a store, I remember how fast I used to shop before either of mine got fussy, which didn’t always work.

    Shopping fast,
    on the fly.
    Brought the kids,
    so now they cry.

    1. Ahh yes Lauren. Vividly remembering those days. Now I get a kick out of watching my grandchildren shop with their little ones.

      1. Sorry Lauren, Trigger finger. Anonymous is Martha O’Quinn

        1. what does sensrt token mean ? I keep getting whjen I try to post and cant post?

    2. Oh, your poem brought back memories. For several years, we were lucky to have our neighborhood grocery that had a free babysitting area. Can you believe it? I remember sometimes I would take my list, check the girls in, and then get a hot cocoa or a Diet Coke and steal 15 minutes for myself at the little tables by the deli before even shopping. Meanwhile, the girls were whooping and sliding down slides, climbing through tunnels, etc.

  8. poem by Jessica Bigi

    looking through
    cereal box prizes
    the room looks swirly

    1. Ah, the prizes! That takes me back to my childhood. We rarely got the cereal with prizes, but when we did…hehe!

  9. When we were kids my mom wouldn’t let us buy sugary cereals. We loved going to our cousins’ house, where they had boxes and boxes of giddy stuff like Captain Crunch. (They also had vats of ice cream in their freezer and candy everywhere. It was dizzying.)

    Grocery Shopping

    Jewelry store colors,
    shining boxes and bags,
    glittering stickers,
    shout-signs and tags.

    —Kate Coombs

    1. “shout-signs” is perfect. Don’t know if it’s a real name for them or not, but it tells you everything you need to know in two short syllables!

  10. Love the way your photo shows those dizzying choices!

    Indecision in Aisle Four

    Swirling choices in a store,
    pizza, pasta, peanuts, more,
    breakfast bounty, snacks galore.

    1. What fun, Buffy–I heard (in my head, I mean) the title being announced over a loudspeaker!

  11. Wild image Laura, hope it’s the treasure. Your image reminded me of an art spin-o-rama.


    what shall it be?
    Too many choices
    I’m going to fleeeeee …

    Michelle Kogan

    1. Yeah, we suffer from the privilege of so many choices here in the U.S. Now I’m picturing food splattering all over the floors and walls as it spins around:>)

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