2011 April PAD Challenge: Day 6

Today, I’m traveling to Austin, Texas. I’m going to be a featured poet at the Austin International Poetry Festival. Also, I just released my first ever chapbook. Click here to learn more about that.


For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Don’t (blank), (blank),” replace each of the blanks with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Some possible titles might be: “Don’t walk, run,” “Don’t delay, act now,” “Don’t look, it’s right behind you,” or whatever other creative interpretation you can whip up.

Here’s my attempt:

“Don’t write, poem”

Take the most familiar moment–
perhaps a holding (or folding) of hands–
and bend the light around to reveal
something that was always there
yet had somehow gone unnoticed.
Maybe one hand is slightly larger
than the other or the other hand has
a conspicuous tan line on the ring finger
or this entire time she’s been talking
he just now realizes there’s another
person hiding inside her who’s ready
to jump out and say something like,


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62 thoughts on “2011 April PAD Challenge: Day 6

  1. Taylor Graham


    That old heirloom in the attic
    (branded as outdated by a younger
    generation – hip attitude, genetic
    glitch, inevitable launch-pad
    for evolution of the race),
    the harpsichord was pride of the
    grave old ancestors (all now
    in their graves) who bore their
    tedious tunes from the windswept
    steppes and coal-smoke
    tenements of outworn
    fatherlands, which a new
    generation is sure
    was no wonderland.

  2. Sally Jadlow

    Don’t Fear, Pray


    When days grow dark
    and grim,
    don’t fear, pray.

    When life throws you
    a curve ball,
    don’t fear, pray.

    When the diagnosis is bad
    and you feel alone,
    don’t fear, pray.

    For Jesus, the Light of the World
    hears, never leaves,
    and attends to the heart-cries
    of His children.

  3. Dheepikaa

    Don’t eat, gym

    A strict regimen from my dietician
    about almost no rice, only roti, dhal and veggies.
    Dosa is okay for minimal consumption,
    non-veg rare, no alcohol, no cheese, no bhajjis.

    Popcorn, puffed rice were good but only a handful
    for snack, two small biscuits or rusks to be had with milk.
    Anytime after gym, bananas were sinful;
    gulp lots of apples and melons, papayas, pomes, the ilk.

    I rewinded two decades to summer at home
    while I was running in the treadmill and elliptical.
    Behind every child who was two to five, she’d roam
    with a plate, rice and rasam clutched beneath her knuckle.

    How we all shook our heads and spit on her sari,
    yet she’d persist we ate a full bowl of that ragi soup.
    That mother, today, smiles quietly at my story
    of torture to no food, no joy, merely no whoop.

    "Eat my child", she used to tell, "eat more. How you think
    that is enough?", when I was young, not on my own.
    "Burn more calories, exercise your core, please drink
    water before lunch", says now, her alterego made of bone.

    (Hadn’t posted it earlier considering how long it is. Thanks for reading.)

  4. Terri Stewart (Cloaked Monk)

    don’t pray, commune

    when you are
    upon your knees
    beseeching or
    sitting still as a
    in the sanctuary

    don’t pray.

    enter into community
    with the ground of all
    in that liminal spot
    where you experience
    ancient words
    of hidden power
    drawing on the
    of witnesses.


  5. Joseph Beckman

    2011 April PAD Challenge: Day 6

    For today’s prompt, take the phrase "Don’t (blank), (blank);" replace the blanks with a word or phrase; use the new phrase as the title of your poem; and then, write your poem. Some possible titles might include: "Don’t walk, run," "Don’t fight, dance," "Don’t turn around, they’re right behind you," or whatever else you can think to create.
    Don’t grow up; stick around a bit.
    Don’t grow up; stick around awhile.
    There’s more mud to be pied and piled,
    On shoes and hair and pavers galore.
    Don’t fret; give me a chuckle,
    The road seems high, challenges too,
    But your heart is strong, and brave and true.
    Don’t do that; Listen to me,
    Perhaps one hurt, mistake will never be,
    If you listen to me, if you listen to me.
    Don’t worry; I’m close,
    When you think I am far, so far from you,
    My road always brings me back to you.
    Don’t grow up; stick around a bit.
    A day or a century more, who knows,
    But my heart will always be so close.

    © April 6, 2011 by Joseph Beckman

  6. Linda Simoni-Wastila

    Don’t stand there and smile

    Don’t stand there and smile as if you understand, don’t give me that empathetic nod and gentle throat-clearing ahem before you reason me from my roost

    with words and logic that flow too fast for me; I reason slow. You a philosophy major accustomed to debate, what with your large den of brothers

    and sisters to practice your fights, me with a younger who preferred fists to insults, who trained in multiple-choice tests and k questions, but you ramble

    on and on, scattering sureties like buckshot, and I scan our future and see two options, mebbe more if only you would breathe and listen.

    Peace, Linda

  7. Chimnese

    Don’t, Just Don’t

    Don’t pretend you care,
    Because we both know its not
    You asked me every time do I care
    Yet when we say our last goodbye.
    You say don’t, just don’t.
    Don’t what I keep thinking?
    Do you even know what it is?
    Yet in the back of my mind,
    I know what it is,
    It’s the fact I can’t say it,
    Don’t, Just don’t lie.

  8. PKP aka Pearl Ketover Prilik

    Barbara….how bouncy it would be to " float through life without weights". On to your your last in your series Catch- Up". Terrific!

  9. G. Smith

    (c) 2011 – G. Smith (BMI)
    Daddy lit up a Camel,
    Looked me in the eye,
    And said, "Son this is a nasty habit,
    Don’t even give it a try.
    You might think it makes you look cool,
    And the girls will think you’re tough,
    But you’re just burning your life away,"
    And he took another puff…

    It’s the kind of thing you run into,
    Nearly every day;
    Folks will smile and tell you:
    "Don’t do as I do, just do as I say…
    Don’t do as I do, just do as I say…"

    A State Trooper pulled up behind me;
    I was doin’ sixty-five,
    He had me dead-to-rights but,
    He just blew on by.
    He didn’t have his blue lights on,
    But he gave me a look as he passed;
    And I know what he’d’ve told me,
    If I’d had the nerve to ask…

    It’s the kind of thing you run into,
    Nearly every day;
    Folks will smile and tell you:
    "Don’t do as I do, just do as I say…
    Don’t do as I do, just do as I say…"

    I stayed in last Friday,
    Trin’ to avoid a fight;
    My baby went out with her girlfriends;
    It was ladies’ night.
    She came draggin’ in at two a.m.,
    It makes her mad when I’m that late;
    She was in no shape for conversation-
    Any talkin’ to would have to wait…

    It’s the kind of thing you run into,
    Nearly every day;
    Folks will smile and tell you:
    "Don’t do as I do, just do as I say…
    Don’t do as I do, just do as I say…"

  10. mallora

    (a mom’s ottava rima…of sorts)

    ask tattle mess move whine run dawdle walk
    tease tousle tighten throw taunt fight fright lie
    cut smash whack-back kick push squeal giggle talk
    leave stay write draw mess fart gobble starve sigh
    sleep stare laugh take keep squish smoosh poke prod gawk
    yell shriek whisper scream squirm mock insult cry
    slouch twist tousle fidget question sneak flop
    stop go stop slow go-slow stop go stop stop.

  11. Barbara Ehrentreu

    This is very late, but I wrote it and forgot to post it. So here it is:

    Don’t worry, coast

    Banish worry and coast through
    Days like a skateboarder on a slick surface
    Keep worry at bay
    Open the gates for your favorites to attend
    Float through your days without weights


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