2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 21

(Quick update: Since the Poetic Asides blog did not give me
permission to post my prompt and poem earlier today–it was past midnight
here at the time–I posted the prompt and poem on my personal blog, which is usually more
reliable anyway. Hopefully, this attempt to post again to Poetic Asides after getting some
much-needed sleep will work

Well, I just returned from my 18-hour (actually, just slightly less than
18-hour) road trip to pick up my two boys in Ohio, and I’ve already discovered
that the blog decided to get all psycho and erase comments from several recent
posts. This seems to happen at least once each PAD challenge, though this one
had been so smooth that I’d forgotten about it. Oh well. I guess that’s what
happens when I leave my blog alone for a whole 18-hour stretch.

Since it’s past midnight here and I’m tired (and hoping to sleep in a little
in the morning), I’m going to go ahead and post Day 21’s prompt and poem a
little early. And I see that I don’t need anyone’s permission, because…

The prompt for today is to write a permission poem. You don’t need my (or
anyone else’s) permission to write your poem today, but it should somehow
involve the concept of giving, refusing, asking, etc. permission.

Here’s my attempt:

“The grave majority”

Eventually, we fear ourselves most.
With nothing better to do than listen
to nuts drop from these trees, we’re entertained
by the swift movements of squirrels and birds
warning them from above. A man walks by
with an empty bag and laughs to himself.
Bikers pedal past without comment. We
listen as their gears shift purposefully.
Like squirrels and birds darting from this branch
to the next, the bikers change their colors
in the sun. We wait for them to join us.
In time, we will surely collect them all.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

(Use the #poettalk hashtag on Twitter to tweet poetic throughout the week and
the #novpad hashtag to update your progress on this specific challenge.)


Time for me to get some sleep! Good morning, good night!

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129 thoughts on “2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 21

  1. Yoly

    Dos, Dents and Don’ts

    At the food pantry, asking isn’t always
    a string of words that unravel from a mouth.

    Sometimes it is set in the eyes
    like a built-in fireplace with a heap
    of cold ashes.

    Sometimes it is in the refusal of a can
    of lima beans. If you listen intimately,
    what’s being said is: “please don’t judge
    because I will not take the beans.
    Let’s pretend I have a choice.”

    Sometimes plastic bags brought in
    by the recipient handle the small talk.

  2. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Permission Denied

    I’m going home,’ he said.
    ‘You and the kids can stay longer.’

    Good heavens, I thought,
    he’s bored! How can that be?
    But I never argued with Bill
    when he was in that kind of mood.

    I didn’t, but some did.
    The trouble was, the boys
    appeared on his passport —
    too young to travel on their own.

    ‘I’ll fix it,’ he said,
    striding up to the counter.

    Through calm request,
    blustering, vague threats
    of important contacts,
    and an attempted bribe,

    the uniformed man at the counter
    continued to smile
    politely, contemptuously,
    and say, ‘I’m sorry sir.’

  3. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    by juanita lewison-snyder

    you allowed it to happen,
    gave it permission to hurt you
    curse you, bring your downfall
    this thing that now flames
    inside, slow and deep.

    you closed eyes to seductive power,
    felt it’s lips wet on your throat
    condoned, ignored, let it slide
    this thing that now flames
    inside, slow and deep.

    you acquiesced,
    eager to sign away your life
    on the dotted line
    this thing that now flames
    inside, slow and deep.

    you were the indulgent one,
    green-lighting from the start
    gave your blessing
    this thing that now flames
    inside, slow and deep.

    you asked for it,
    doused yourself in gasoline
    then tossed the careless match
    this thing that now flames
    inside, slow and deep.

    you only have yourself to blame,
    confessions, concessions
    sometimes lies is all there is
    this thing that now flames
    inside, slow and deep.

    © 2010 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  4. Susanne Barrett

    Rather late, but slowly catching up….

    I grant myself permission
    to be wrong–
    praying that I may learn
    to admit it with true humility,
    not letting it discourage me,
    not letting it slay me.

    I grant myself permission
    to be imperfect–
    to lower my defenses,
    to allow others into
    the place in which
    the "real me" dwells,
    not caring whether they
    like me (or not).

    I grant myself permission
    to truly be myself–
    others may take or leave
    this broken child of the Father:
    only gracious because of His grace,
    only merciful because of His mercy,
    only loving because of His love–
    His right, perfect Love.

  5. Lauren Dixon

    What Comes Around Goes Around Sometimes

    When was the last time I asked permission
    to do anything? I’m pretty sure it was asking
    my mother, something having to do with
    staying out longer than my curfew, which
    I always broke. I figured if she was up at
    three a.m. with her boyfriend, I could be too,
    but there wasn’t a thing she could do about
    it, no begging, no bribing, no grounding,
    no nothing. She said she wished someone
    like me upon me when I was a parent, then
    I would see how frustrating it is to try and
    handle a wayward child. I got that chance
    on the weekends, he grew up to be a loving father,
    one I am proud of as he tries to handle his own.

  6. ideurmyer

    Maiden Voyage
    Miniature toes and exquisite fingers lie curled upon my chest.
    So this is how motherhood feels.
    Our hearts beat as one
    I gaze into your azure eyes
    and give you permission to trust me

  7. Sam Nielson

    No One Yet Wants To Go Home

    A squall rides
    Bareback over the
    Eastern mountains.

    A boil of air, water,
    And clouds run off
    The top like an endless
    Bucket poured out.

    Loose needles driven
    Ahead of the wind
    Scour skin heedlessly
    Left exposed.

    Speed sharpened
    Wind knives search
    For weaker pines

    And prunes them,
    Crackling explosions
    Of wood arrows
    Shooting out.

    Watching the wind
    Carve, we stay safe
    In the dark fury.

  8. Daniel Ari


    What gives one permission is permission
    itself—the lock, the key and the keychain.
    Every yes that clinks upon a yes runs
    to a compass point, then a wagon train,
    the road, highway, driveway to the mansion.

    As yes ignites yes, no pulls no again,
    Granted and declined: two opposite tides,
    and who can turn the tide? What can refrain
    from the flow? What is your luck but one side
    of an imprinted pattern of fluxion?

    Where allowance has gone, the moon shall guide
    lost souls to a prize underneath the prize.
    Tell them their requests shall not be denied—
    they are the gifts to everyone who dies.
    There is no balance for the single grain,

    though we are worthy of it in my eyes.
    You will always be worthy in my eyes.


  9. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Okay, I thought I posted this, maybe not? If you read it twice, lucky you : )

    Please-May-Can I

    When we were young
    near three-quarter century gone
    a milkman rode down our narrow street
    ensconced on his fancy horse-drawn cart.

    We stroked his horse
    while he brought glass-bottled
    milk quarts to our back doors, cream
    shoving up against the cardboard stoppers.

    On hot summer days
    he’d give us ice chunks broken
    off the big block in the back of his cart
    with a hammer slam on his sharp ice pick.

    Our mothers insisted
    we not say “Can I have” but
    “May I please.” To be safe we’d chorus
    in one voice, “Please-may-can I have some ice?”

  10. Terri French

    May I Please Have Permission?

    When I was just a school kid
    I needed a permission slip for everything–
    to go on a school trip,
    or the doctor,
    or even to walk down the hall
    to take a pee, lest I be brought to a halt
    by the dreaded "hall monitor."

    Now, as an adult I am given freedom
    to come and go pretty much as I please
    without carrying around a slip of paper
    that says it’s ok for me to go where I’m going
    or to be where I am.

    Often I don’t have any idea where I am
    or where I’m going,
    Some days I dream of returning to
    the days of permission slips
    just so I can have the security
    of having my whereabouts sanctioned by
    someone other than me.

  11. Nancy Posey

    Just back from a conference. Now I’m salvaging my poem drafts from my notepads and scraps. I’ll be posting catch-up!


    Father—am I presumptuous to call you Father?–
    I’ve been pondering your instructions.
    Would you clarify a thing or two.?
    Lee me thank you for meaningful employment,
    knowing as I do that even in Paradise one
    purpose in life, and while I liked my gig
    naming the animals more than gardening,
    I knew all along that was a limited engagement,
    so now I’ll add botany to my animal husbandry
    Thanks, too, for anticipating my need for a companion
    even before I understood the concept, and my I say,
    Viva la difference! Make I make one tiny request?
    About that tree–You know the one I mean–
    right smack in the middle of Paradise, the one—
    the only one—off limits. I keep noticing
    how heavy it hangs with fruit. Such a waste
    to leave it there, ripe and luscious, drawing bees
    (How do you like their name?) I wanted to ask
    permission–not to presume–for just one small bite.

  12. Jeanne Rogers

    November 21, 2010


    I call myself a writer,
    yet days pass
    without pencil to paper,
    fingers to keyboard.
    duties demand attention—
    small business paperwork, school activities,
    driver for doctor appointments,
    keeper of family schedule, mentoring a niece—
    and my writer self awaits
    to be urgent and important, too.

  13. Justine Hemmestad

    I’ve given you my permission,
    Though you did not ask it.
    I’ve raised the curtain,
    Though you do not see it.
    You’ve been given my permission
    From the moment we met.
    My heart is an open book for you,
    My mind reaches out and calls you forth.
    You are loved passionately and
    You are desired beyond reason.
    Rain streams off your flat roof,
    And I look up,
    My will is yours.

  14. Pam Winters

    Showing up is what counts, right?


    They’re in the pocket where I used to keep
    my coke. They’re folded down the middle and
    again, as neatly as could be. Should there
    be trouble, as there was that time in Bristol,
    when the coppers nicked us for some weed
    and public indecency, we’re covered
    this time. I’ve learned something in twenty-seven
    years and several career changes.
    Musicians draw in trouble like flamingos
    suck up water through their curving beaks.
    So do sixth-graders at the Rock and Roll
    Hall of Fame. Thus, these permission slips.

  15. Bruce Niedt

    A day behind at this point and hoping to catch up:

    Letter to the Inner Editor

    “The despair of the blank page: It is so full.” – James Richardson

    Dear Editor:
    This poem does not need your permission to exist.
    I brought it into this world, despite your objections
    to destroy it in utero, and now it squirms and cries
    through its first stanza.

    Now it’s learning to talk – see how it plays
    with language’s brightly-colored balls.
    And now it’s walking – watch how it’s learned
    to turn around at the line breaks
    and toddle the other way.

    Soon it will learn similes and metaphors
    and how to sing to the beat – iambic and such.
    But it will need my guidance and discipline,
    as yes, not a little love.

    So, editor, stop whispering self-doubts in my ear –
    I can be a good parent, I know how to raise a poem,
    teach it to be confident and self-sufficient, and then
    send it out into the world.

  16. Daniel Paicopulos

    Taylor, may I think of you as a friend,
    even though it’s never really been?
    You give me what a friend would give,
    a song to sing, some words to live
    by, even when the subject’s bleak.
    Your word paintings, seldom weak,
    express it best without the I,
    he can’t understand, he does not know why
    it turns out that way, but it does,
    perhaps due to his personal muse,
    his preferences, or his envious eye.
    He likes third person best, and so do I.

  17. Mariya Koleva

    sooooo late for this one! weekends are not good for me, obviously!
    well, this is my offering:
    Is it possible that we ask for permission
    Yet, never plan to do as they say?
    Just asking for sanctioned admission
    Into the godliness in our own way.
    Shall we? Do we? And are we?
    All questions, we have them much answered.
    May we? Can we? And will we?
    Just cover the path of our self-harassment.

  18. AC Leming

    er, did attempt to post twice last night, but they seem to have been lost in cyberspace. wonder if the cybermen got them? (catching up on dr who specials…)

    Permafrost belies the warmth of my face.
    Erratic pulse fuels embarrassment, rage. Hated
    relationships I wish I could deny end in failure and
    mis-steps.  A hand offered in friendship, scorned.
    Ignorance of history, of a culture inverted —
    solitude, subsistence hunting, nomadic people, stilled.
    Snow blinds eyes, buries hearts of an 
    indigenous people hellbent on punishing the children
    of oppressors.  Diluted with alcohol, their target
    naïveté, a weakness exploited again and again. 

  19. Nancy J

    Rachel – Mud and Gravestones is wonderful, so vivid.
    Elizabeth – I hope there will be a Chicken book. I’m enjoying these poems.
    MiskMask – P is terrific. An alphabet book would be a lot of work, but so charming.
    Sara Gwen – your NO is perfect.
    Karen – I like your flight poem. Are you a birdwatcher too?
    Sara McNulty – your Soap Heart is touching. I remember carving soap as a kid.
    Ina – Momster is poignant.

  20. Nancy J

    Papers Please

    The yellow warbler arriving from South
    America carries no passport. He gets by
    on his beauty alone.

    Across the lake, a flock of snow geese without
    a tourist visa drops in to visit cousins. They
    do not expect to be questioned on the matter.

    The dark-eyed junco, just in from Canada,
    does not ask permission to spend the winter
    in my yard.

    Even the sparrows do not call ahead for
    reservations – party of twelve – party of
    ten – party of sixteen. They simply arrive
    at my feeders and begin gorging themselves.

    Theirs is not a world of ID and birth certificates.
    They do not recognize borders or property.
    The avian community speaks as one – “The
    world is ours and we will go where we please.”

  21. vivienne blake

    A Permission poem

    “Permission to speak, sir?”
    Corporal Jones of Dad’s Army fame
    always asked first.

    I sometimes feel like that
    when husband’s in a snit.
    Whatever I say is bound to be wrong,
    so I’d rather say nothing
    and wait for the cloud to pass.

    Sorry, not much of a poem today – 3 yesterday and I’m poemed out. The PAD prompt for 21.11 is to write a permission poem, and obedient as ever, I have complied. This is a re-post, as the original was lost in the kerfuffle. Hardly worth resurrecting, but just to keep my November record up to date.


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