Editors Blog

April PAD Challenge: Day 14

Even before some of the comments left yesterday, I’ve noticed there is a community forming with this April PAD Challenge. Many of you have thanked me, but you should really be thanking yourselves.

A community is only as strong as those who are a part of it. Many of you have posted every single day and left encouraging words and praise for your fellow poets. I’m not doing that; you are; and I’m very proud of you all.

Personally, I think it would be a wasted opportunity–for all of us–to assign writing poetry regularly to one month out of the year. So I’m going to check into a few different options to keep our group together beyond April. There are already some great ideas in yesterday’s comments–plus, I’ve had a few rolling around in my head. So together, I’m sure we’ll come up with something amazing. More on this soon, but I know you’re all ready to get Monday started off right with today’s prompt.

*****

So, today’s prompt is actually inspired by a song I love by Feist. The song is called “How My Heart Behaves,” and the prompt for today is to write a poem with the title “How (fill in the blank) behaves”–with the poem inspired by whatever you put in that blank. For instance, you could have a poem titled “How Mr. T’s mohawk behaves” or “How the homeless man on 9th Street behaves.” Have fun with this one (I know you will).

Here’s my poem for the day:

“How the playground of my mind behaves”

The girls are full of worry
beside the teeter
                        totter
afraid that Billy won’t be stopping by.

And the boys are playing football
as the teachers fret and fuss:
Are there going to be any broken bones today?

Behind them, the bully
does his daily milk money shake down
and punches his sidekick in the arm.

There’s a co-ed game of 4-square,
some girls with their jumping rope,
and boys wanting to hang from the monkey bars.

Beneath the hot metal slide
no one rides in summer,
Billy sits kissing his favorite girl
until the bell sounds for them all to go inside.

 

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180 thoughts on “April PAD Challenge: Day 14

  1. Andrew Schuch

    Thoughts About Love

    Love is like the scorching Sun
    It has the power to yield warmth
    The power to burn with passion or malice
    And the power to disappear

    Love is as mysterious as the Moon
    Illuminating the darkest parts of loneliness
    And shadowing who one truly is
    Always changing yet always constant

    To love and to be loved
    Is to be both the Sun and the Moon

    4/14/09
    A.J. Schuch

  2. S.E. Ingraham

    How my Lame Duct Eye Behaves

    One of my eyes is shy a tear-duct
    That’s right, the top lid of my left eye, no duct
    Otherwise? It’s darn near perfect…
    Who knew that eyes even had two ducts
    Certainly not I – no pun intended –
    But after consulting an eye-guy
    I learned the bitter truth
    Bereft am I, of one tear duct
    Sadly, lacking just the one teeny fissure
    Often results in a somewhat humiliating consequence
    The slightest thing, emotion-wise, that is
    And the left side of my face appears as if a skinny old snail
    Slid right on down my cheek, from eye to chin and plopped off
    Apparently both ducts – upper and lower – are necessary
    To drain even the ordinary welling of tears
    The ones that most folks can blink away rapidly before anyone notices something might be amiss
    But my traitorous eye will start spilling from the start of a single tear
    It cannot handle the initial sheen without sluicing the saltwater over the bottom lid
    And once started – well, there’s no stopping them, is there?
    They end up dripping off my chin
    And, as if in some ridiculous competition, my betrayer eye has been known to shed tears for almost five minutes before my right eye even starts
    Sometimes the right eye never even gets in on the action, if I’m lucky and can bring the recalcitrant one under control
    If at all possible, I go to some lengths to keep the left side of my face averted at these times
    In movie houses, or when driving; in church, or at a funeral
    Hoping to maintain a facade of cool, calm, detachedness
    It is frustrating to be seen as the weepy one, the overly sentimental sap
    When really I’m anything but and could maintain my poise except for –
    My lame duct eye
    In the overall scheme of things, a betrayer eye may seem like small potatoes (and let’s face it, potatoes know a thing or two about eyes)
    But – it is what it is
    A betrayal

    S.E.Ingraham

  3. Laurie Kolp

    How It Behaves

    It
    is not nice,
    It
    is not kind.
    It
    always go first,
    It
    speaks it’s mind.
    It
    talks back,
    It
    swears, too.
    It
    acts as if,
    It
    does not care.
    It
    cuts in line,
    It
    leaves others behind.
    It
    can’t be avoided,
    It
    appears from the blue.
    It
    is a rude person,
    and
    It
    is not you.

  4. Sarah

    How my dog behaves…
    I give him a bath
    he rolls in the dirt
    my grandson comes to visit
    he bares his teeth and acts real gruff
    but he’s silly and sweet
    and loves to play catch
    and walk in the river
    my son named him ‘wardog’
    my husband calls him ‘goober’
    ‘cus that’s what he is
    but we love him anyway.

  5. Bonnie

    HOW GRIEF BEHAVES

    At first grief is overpowering
    It hits you with the force of a tidal wave,
    knocking you to your knees,
    taking away your desire to live,
    your desire to eat, to sleep and especially to love.
    As time goes by, grief begins to ease up a bit
    Loosening its grip around your throat
    The tears that were always just below the surface
    become less frequent
    You even find yourself smiling occassionally.
    But just when you think you are doing better
    You hear a song to spark your memory
    Or someone asks you about your loss
    And grief returns with a vengence
    Succeeding to topple your world once more.
    So you put up your guard.
    You try to steel yourself against a new attack.
    Will there come a day
    when you won’t have to feel the pain of grief again?
    Yes, but only when you are gone
    And then grief will begin a new attack
    on those you leave behind.

  6. LindaTK

    How My Mind Behaves

    My mind is ever-present
    Working overtime
    All the time
    It gets me there
    Wherever that might be
    Present, Past, Future
    Multifaceted
    Convoluted
    Decidedly difficult to control
    Can’t put it in chains
    Can’t put it behind bars
    Can’t keep it grounded
    I need to learn how
    to make it work for me
    more of the time
    rather than against me
    It wanders
    without warning
    It understands
    some things
    better than others
    It tries really hard
    most of the time
    It never rests
    Never
    It’s the only one
    that I am unable
    to get away from.

  7. Karen Masteller

    How My Students Behave

    Near school year’s end
    My fifth graders still stive so much to please.
    Quieting respectfully
    Putting forth best effort
    Smothering me with offers to help
    Smiling and hugging me at the classroom door.

    Near school year’s end
    My eighth graders tolerate me at my scheduled time.
    Quietly zoning out
    Conserving all energy
    Smothering me with requests to use the restroom
    Sidling and nudging past me as they jostle out the door.

    To the fifth graders, I am invincible.
    To the eighth graders, I am invisible.

  8. priya

    How Laughter Behaves

    Sometimes it bubbles up and
    Bursts out like a water fountain
    Sometimes it’s surprised,
    Short and sharp,
    Or more like a nerdy snort
    Than anything else
    However it behaves,
    It adds warmth to the world.

  9. Kate

    How Curiosity Behaves

    A fawn and a bunny are playing on my neighbor’s lawn,
    the fawn’s neck stretched out as it sniffs the rabbit,
    the rabbit just a hair’s breath away, leading the fawn in a
    circle as it casually munches the new green grass,
    flicks its ears toward the deer, then hops on.

    A Stellar’s Jay and three Douglas squirrels are causing a ruckus in the big Cedars outside my window, a blur of chattering red squirrels race back and forth along the highway of boughs, chased by the jay, who could fly away at any time, yet keeps coming back to jeer and tease, hopping from tree to tree, just out of reach.

  10. Sue Bench

    How Mother Nature Behaves

    Mother Nature is fickle!
    April with 75 degree days!
    In Michigan!
    I love that I can get outside;
    I don’t want to go back indoors,
    to eat, for chores, or even to sleep.

    Everyone’s effected;
    all in cheerful moods.
    Walkers on the bikepath
    smile and comment,
    Great day! Lovely weather!

    I love the sunshine,
    and basking in my courtyard.
    I take each gorgeous day as it comes,
    For who knows how long this will last?

    Next week, they say, it’ll cool down.
    Maybe even snow!
    The flowers will take it in stride, though.
    Those bold yellow daffodils
    And early tulips that are peeping open.
    They’ll just close up again,
    and wait.

    Wait for Mother Nature to get
    this nonsense out of her system.
    Soon, we’ll be on track again.
    Ready for whatever she decides to dish out!

  11. Hope Greene

    How the Painter’s Mind Behaves

    There are two wine bottles on the table between us,
    Leaving a double line of green shadow veined with some white
    Crossed by a crease in the cloth, some grapes in a pile
    But none have been touched, nor has the pewter plate
    Or the cold globe cup next to the glassy eyed fish. The chipped
    Clay dish looks well-used, as does the pointed corkscrew.

  12. samantha altman

    How My Dog Behaves

    He wakes up in the morning, with excitement in his eyes,
    Licking my face to wake me.
    When I get up, it’s no big surprise
    Where his wagging tail will take me.

    “Outside, outside” his endless bark cries,
    He runs to the door very quickly.
    But once outside, I see the lies,
    When he plays in the mud and gets sticky.

    He gets his way most of the time;
    He’s very spoiled rotten.
    It makes me so mad I start to rhyme,
    Especially when he eats our cotton.

    I love him though, yes this I’ll say,
    Until the very end.
    But it’d be swell, if just one day,
    His chewing would not begin.

  13. Lin Neiswender

    How New Kitty Behaves

    Zoom he’s in the bedroom
    Under the mattress slashing the dust cover
    Carving a hidey hole
    Crash in the kitchen,
    Upsetting a bowl of cat kibble like ninja stars
    Splash he discovers the virtue of cleanliness
    In his waterbowl, what next- the toilet?
    Damn! He climbs my back like it’s a cat tree
    Little stinker
    Then saves his neck with a snuggle
    And long purr in my arms

  14. Lynn

    How the Weather behaves

    First it’s hot, then it’s cold…
    Here’s the rain that turns to snow!
    From the EAST??? the winds will blow…
    Confusing all within its fold.

    Spring has sprung, I’m glad to say…
    Things are normal for a change!
    But Wait! Don’t you find it strange?
    Day is Night and Night is Day!

    The oak tree in my backyard
    still holds the leaves from last fall!
    Raking leaves in Spring? That’s hard!
    Should I give Al Gore a call?

  15. Gail Sandonato

    How the Robin Behaves

    Sitting in the dust,
    A robin with broken wing,
    It’s hurt, I say,
    Oh, stop the car.

    My hand upon the doorhandle,
    He struggles in his bed
    To pull in the wing
    and my heart responds.

    He sees me now
    And rises on steady feet
    To stride across the yard
    A pompous popinjay.

    I watch him fly away
    Foolishly conned by his ruse
    I climb back in the car
    My husband smiles.

  16. Crystal Cameron

    "How Your Mouth Behaves"

    The Petals felt the twitch of early bloom
    as they spread themselves like a miss-shaped mouth
    and expelled the faint scent of stale beer
    and cigarette smoke.

    They fell soft and full,
    eating pieces of sun and smiling
    at their own cleverness of living,
    turning up their corners
    in disdain for all other things still sleeping.

    Beneath their round tan head, stems
    and vines writhed and stretched,
    combing the dirt in incomplete patterns,
    pressing themselves into the moist flesh of decay.

    They delighted in the death,
    they ate that too, when the sun became too much,
    and their plant flesh burned.

    The death that was spread out
    for them to look at,
    made them feel cool and made them long
    for night, when they could close themselves and hide
    the sadness that they felt

    when they had withered and died before,
    when they will whither and die again
    in the unforgiving heat of summer.

  17. jane

    How the duct-tape-shoe lady behaves…

    She’s just a tiny thing
    with silver-gray
    shoulder length hair
    that never seems
    to get any longer.

    Homeless,
    she wanders all over
    northern delaware
    carrying white trash bags
    that appear to be full
    but not heavy.

    Every day of
    every season
    she wears
    slip-on shoes
    made of duct tape –
    even in the rain
    even in the snow.

    Yesterday
    she wore khaki pants
    and a coral colored
    button-down collar shirt
    with the collar buttons
    buttoned.

    Once
    I tried to give her
    money for lunch.
    Still walking,
    she answered
    flatly
    "No thank you."

    So I bought
    her a sandwich
    and found her again.
    "Please have some lunch."
    I urged.

    Without hesitation
    still walking,
    she answered
    flatly
    "No thank you."

    All I could do
    was watch her
    shuffle out of sight
    in white socks
    and her duct-tape shoes.

    * * * * * * * *

  18. Rose Morand

    DAY 14

    HOW GRACE BEHAVES

    My sisters used to speculate that she was an old soul
    Rarely participating in the mindless goofiness of
    Other children
    But more often observing them
    In wonder

    As a three year old, she would take the cordless
    Into her room and shut the door
    Just to talk to Grandmary

    Now she walks among the others
    In one of those teenage herds
    Laughing out loud, receiving a hug from a friend
    But ultimately her arms cross front of her
    I see it plainly
    And wonder if they can

    She often speaks her mind in a way
    I’ve never heard anyone speak before
    Her perspective challenges me to think
    In new ways myself

    She inhabits a body wholly unfamiliar to me
    Those sumptuous, rolling curls
    The hazel eyes, sometimes tea brown, sometimes frog green
    The athletic ease with which she does everything

    I watch her face as she eats cereal
    She glances quickly in my direction
    “What?” she asks
    “Nothing,” I say
    How can I convey the intensity of this ordinary moment?
    To mark it, I speak anyway
    “I love you, baby”

    Sometimes I tiptoe around her
    Afraid I’ll disturb the natural, inevitable beauty
    Of her growing and expanding
    And sometimes I’m afraid she’ll leave me behind
    And, inevitably, she will
    But for this moment I steep myself in her presence
    In the brief resting of those tea-colored eyes on me
    I store the mental snapshot in my mind’s safety deposit box
    Grace in adolescence
    Me in awe

  19. M Schied

    How a Greyhound Behaves

    SQUIRREL!
    run, ruN, rUN, RUN, RUNNING
    RABBIT!
    run, ruN, rUN, RUN, RUNNING
    CAT!
    run, ruN, rUN, RUN, RUNNING
    OTHER CANINE!
    sniff, snifF, sniFF, snIFF, sNIFF, SNIFFING
    DINNER!
    gulp, gulP, guLP, gULP, GULP, GULPING
    FLOP!
    long day
    sleeeeeeep

  20. Joannie Stangeland

    I seem to be playing catchup–probably not adept enough at typing in the codes–so here is Monday’s poem:

    How the Mother Behaves
     
    How hard it is to be good
    and not the little girl with her curl,
    not the pot near boiling,
    the volcano simmering under snow
    but a pond of calm, with cattails
    and just a little scum around the edge.
    The moon would teach her patience
    but she is too tired to learn.
     
    When she is bad, she is more
    like the old gray mare
    in a field of thistle, head lowered
    for what little grass she finds,
    tail switching at summer flies,
    wishing just for this afternoon
    in the sun, a few hours of peace
    and grazing. She hears her children
    whicker, whinny, whine,
    tries to quiet her hooves,
    listen for wind in the poplar leaves,
    reach for a little more clover.

  21. Delaney

    "How Mrs.Crouswell Behaves"

    She teaches in long, boring lectures.
    With her horrible homework and terrible classwork.
    Sometimes I wish she would stop giving us all these projects.

    Right when she gives us the work for home,
    She goes into talking again.
    I think,"When will she ever stop?"
    Maybe it is because she wants her students to learn.

    Even though she might be a little tiresome and dull
    I think,

    "Maybe she is just doing her job."

  22. Barbara Malcolm

    How the Words Behave

    They’re tricky, words.
    They lay there all innocent
    quiet on the page,
    like they went there willingly,
    like I didn’t have to snatch
    them as they whizzed by,
    that I didn’t have to wrestle
    them into submission,
    pin them to the page like
    an old-time wrestler
    pins the night’s designated
    loser.
    Even when I get them to lie
    still between the lines
    they jeer and wriggle and jab
    their fingers at me,
    taunting me,
    daring me
    to make them
    behave.

  23. lyn

    How a gray Manx named Misty behaves
    When a squirrel runs across the roof
    Her head cocks to the right and then left
    While she traces the sound of running steps
    Before chasing from one story down
    Over the chairs, riding the recliner backs down
    Creating an avalanche of newspapers, books and pens
    Then landing on my desk – THUMP
    Typing kitty swear words on her way across the keyboard
    Slips through the previously shredded curtain
    And presses her nose against the screen to sniff
    She innocently returns to head-butt my face
    “Mwaaah” Attention please
    And praise and a treat would be great

  24. Amanda Caldwell

    How TurboTax behaves

    The name belies the speed
    of entering a file cabinet drawer’s worth of data,
    some of it stacked in columns,
    some of it entered in software,
    some spread out on tables, in plastic bags, in boxes, or
    — hopefully not — forgotten in some book
    that went back to the library months ago
    to spark someone else’s curious glance
    or thrown in the recycling
    when it was bundled away like so much
    white paper trash.

    Each screen digs into the tedium
    of a receipt for printer toner here,
    a deduction of a parking fee there,
    then manages to make the birth of a baby,
    the move to a new city,
    the start of a new business,
    seem just as mundane as the rest of it.
    *Just the facts, ma’am.
    We’re just the tax man.*

  25. Mike Barzacchini

    How my little dog behaves

    Pulls at her leash
    Barks at the neighbors
    Chases the squirrels

    The colder the
    Morning the
    Slower her walk

    Won’t eat
    Unless fed
    By hand

    Wakes me up
    With wet ear kisses
    At 5 a.m.

    Pretends not
    To hear
    When I call

    How my
    Little dog behaves?
    She doesn’t!

  26. Justin M. Howe

    How My Fingers Behave

    I stare at the blank screen before me
    When all at once
    a twitching
    an itching
    fingers begin to move
    seemingly of their own accord
    if they’re writing well, I cannot guess
    let others decide
    if there’s talent in

    How My Fingers Behave

    -Justin M Howe

  27. Carol A Stephen

    How My Poet Behaves

    (well, I posted this days ago, but it disappeared!)

    He calls himself Poet Emeritus
    Alpha Poet of the Household,

    wears an invisible crown,
    laurel leaves touch lightly on his brow.

    He weaves a web of fine literary lines,
    puts my peoples’ poetry in its place,

    admits, though, that I draw the larger crowd
    of those who seldom read a poet’s thoughts.

    he frowns, petulant.
    I stick my tongue out, insouciant.

    Two poets, one household.
    A consummate battle of words.

  28. AlaskanRC

    How my child behaves

    Always on the go…
    always on the run.
    Into my papers,
    scribbles decorate
    the latest essay,
    books spead about the floor.
    There is juice flowing
    across table top
    and pooling on the carpet.
    Grape juice it would have to be.
    When I’m in the most productive
    frame of mind along she comes
    and sweetly grabs my hand.
    To the couch we go for it’s
    mommy time.
    I get things done in sprints…
    surely once nap times comes
    I can get more done.
    Finally she settled down
    to quitely play.
    I look about and realize
    a tornado has hit the house.
    Cleaning is done once done I
    discover she’s been sleeping like angle
    as silenct as dream.
    Time to get to work I think to myself-
    no just 5 minutes I’m pooped.
    I sit down upon the coutch
    and close my eyes.
    "Momma," I softly hear as a little palm
    graspes my hand.
    This is how my child behaves.

    ~Still working on catching up.~

  29. Diane

    How My Car Behaves

    My car is a changeling.

    It stalls at green lights
    then surges through red.

    I coax it with extra gas as it idles
    and gear down for a stop.

    It still makes me run red lights
    and stalls in rush hour traffic.

    Like a dead mule, it refuses to move again
    until someone else turns the key.

    She coos sweetly for the mechanic
    and goes into seizures when he is gone.

    She has wooed five of them with her coy smile
    giving me a contemptuous sneer when they aren’t looking.

    For the latest she sings a ballad.
    He looks at me sadly, convinced I can’t drive.

    When he has left
    I hear the engine’s evil squall.

    If I junk this car and get another
    will the same imp come to haunt it?

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