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April PAD Challenge: Day 19

Categories: Personal Updates, Poetry Challenge 2008, Poetry Prompts.

Good morning!

Today’s prompt will require that you use a little memory, but not your own; because for today’s prompt you need to write a poem about a moment (or moments) you can’t remember yourself that are about yourself. I think everyone has these stories about when you were a child, or when you were drunk, or when you were talking in your sleep, or when you were in a coma (hopefully not too many fall into this category actually).

If you need to jog your memory of things you can’t personally remember, call up a friend or relative. I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to recount those embarrassing moments for you.

For instance, we have a family reunion every year on Labor Day weekend up in northwest Indiana for my mom’s side of the family. There are usually more than 100 family members in attendance, and they ALL know the “tree story” about when I was three years old. You see, I was at one of my aunt’s houses and had to use the restroom, but they were all full. So my grandparents told me to go outside and relieve myself behind the tree. So my three-year-old self marched out there and rounded the tree one full circle and shouted back at the house, “Where’s the ‘behind’ of this tree?”

Ah, sweet memories. I don’t remember it personally, but every year on Labor Day weekend, 100+ people are ready to remind me. 

And with that, here’s my poem for the day:

“Blood”

My brother hung upside down
screaming his head off while my
face was covered in blood,
gushing from my eyebrow. But
I didn’t cry–just kept touching
my face. Maybe in shock of
the closeness of pain. Maybe
why I wasn’t afraid to hug
strangers at King’s Island as
a child. After hugging people
in Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone
suits, it probably only made
sense to hug others I’d never
met. With a big smile on my
face. Something people always
notice even when I don’t know
I’m doing it. One night, I scared
my wife by calling out in my sleep
that Saddam Hussein was hiding
in our trashcan. Who knows
what I was dreaming? But then,
maybe it made complete sense
like the time I tried going pee
behind the tree at my aunt’s
only to ask, “Where’s the behind
to this tree?” Something my
family won’t let me forget.
Like this scar on my eyebrow
reminding me the memory of
our blood.

 

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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

181 Responses to April PAD Challenge: Day 19

  1. Is there a stranger here or is this me?I have felt some awful pain in my knee I am running and from what I can’t say. My heart hurts so I stop and pray. There is soon fog and I can’t see I yell and scream and yet I hear no sound. Have I been lost or am I found? I am unable to remember..what was that sound? I turn and run yet again to find there is only a dead end. I am stuck, locked in, alone. There is a shadow I see. Only what could it be? I turn and hide my face in my hands, only to find the shadow was me.

  2. Vista Bay says:

    Of Things I Can No Longer Remember
    The house I grew up at was unfortunately torn down by the new owners at the drop of a hat
    I spent the best days of my life there, at least the days I can no longer remember
    I had been torn from my house one warm day in September
    Why oh why can I no longer remember my former life
    The moment I moved I was left with a feeling of strife
    My new town, my new life was not what I wanted to be
    My parents had much difficulty with this, they couldn’t see
    Why oh why I was so angry about moving
    Now I can remember my second home although I wish I could not
    Why oh why was this the house my parents bought.

  3. Tyger Valverde says:

    Not Afraid

    They still tease me
    about how I afraid I was
    of the trees, felled
    across the earthen path
    Robbers! they laugh
    Your cousin told you
    there were robbers
    in the woods
    They claim my face
    resembled the color
    of fresh snow
    But
    I know they are lying
    because
    I was never afraid!

  4. Laurie Kolp says:

    Unaware

    Once asleep
    unaware
    of your touch,
    luscious lips
    sweeping my body,
    loving, tender, sweet,
    showing you care.
    But, I am
    unaware.

  5. M. Schied says:

    A question of royalty

    I am a princess,
    my mother, a queen;
    she says that’s not true,
    but what does she mean?

    "No castle for us"
    she says with a sigh.
    But I know in my heart
    I live in the sky.

    "We can’t possibly be"
    but I’m not convinced
    I’m planning a future
    awaiting a prince.

    She scolds, "Don’t do that"
    as I nod to her regally
    I’m too little to know
    that there’s no chance, legally

    for a title for me,
    though I wish with much fervor
    for a present even Santa Claus
    could never deliver.

    I am a princess,
    my mother, a queen
    in a fantasy world
    where little girls dream.

  6. Laurie Kolp says:

    Wrong Car

    Once when I was a child
    my parents took me to get candy.
    They waited for me,
    as I entered the store,
    their eyes transfixed
    to the door.
    But when I came out
    of the candy store,
    my eyes were looking at the floor.
    And when I got in
    the car next to theirs,
    my parents could laugh no more.

  7. LindaTK says:

    Day 19

    A Bit About Me

    I don’t remember a phrase that I used
    to call my dad to dinner.
    My mom used to tell me from time to time
    as a smile spread across her face.
    After she had prepared dinner
    for all of us to eat
    she would ask me to call
    to my dad that it was time
    to “Come for Supper.”
    She would listen as I called into the next room,
    “Numma Puppa. Dad!”

  8. Night Monopoly

    One night, on the campgrounds,
    I started shouting in my sleep,
    "YOU LANDED ON MY PROPERTY!
    YOU OWE ME $250! GIMME MY $250!"
    The next day
    My mom said,
    "You were playing Monopoly in
    Your sleep. I could hear you shouting."

    Ben said, "I could hear you from my tent."
    I found it quite funny
    Mr. Magic Ben coulda cast a SPELL
    To keep my monotones OUT!

  9. Kate says:

    Nine Lives

    We were visiting my great grandfather
    in his hotel in Chicago. I know we visited
    again when I was older because I remember
    he showed me his wooden leg, and told me
    stories about Finny and Goldy, the goldfish
    that swam in the pool down in the lobby.
    I don’t remember this visit as I was just
    an infant but I’ve heard this tale so often,
    how my mother laid me on the bed in his room
    and turned her back for just for a moment
    while she looked for my bottle, or my diaper,
    or my stuffed bear, and when she turned back
    I was teetering on the sill of the open window,
    five stories up, waving my arms and laughing.

  10. Memories That I Don’t Remember

    I don’t remember being called
    ‘Buddha’ due to my baby belly
    flopping over my baby legs

    I don’t remember standing
    in my crib, calling my
    grandpa ‘Ah-ho!’

    I don’t know if I truly
    remember being terrified
    of ET in the theater
    but the squeamish-ness
    at the sight of that
    long-headed alien remains…

    -Justin M. Howe

  11. Judy Roney says:

    I’d ask Grandpa to tell me the
    story every time I saw him
    and he’d laugh till his eyes
    glistened with tears.

    Brother and I were ten months
    apart. Everyone thought we were twins.
    We were always together, like peas
    in a pod he’d say.

    Brother threw stones at the mower
    as Grandpa mowed the grass one day.
    Grandpa threatened him with a paddling
    and brother kept throwing.

    Grandpa stopped the mower and brother
    got his backside spanked. Brother
    didn’t cry but I screamed from the
    pain of it all. I stammered in my
    high pitched squeal, "I’m gonna tell
    he Momma on you!"

    I loved watching Grandpa as he told
    the story, he’d go back to a time
    he cherished and I got to see him
    laugh till he cried.

  12. S.E. Ingraham says:

    Birthmother

    I can’t remember it, of course
    But I can picture it
    When I can bear to
    “I relinquish all rights to this child”
    As she hands me over.
    She was sobbing, she tells me
    I believe her.
    I was screaming my six week old head off
    She tells me
    I believe her.

    S. E. Ingraham

  13. Tad Richards says:

    When I was in
    a coma
    after that attack
    at the winter solstice
    on headquarters

    they gave me
    round the clock nurses
    often they were naked
    or so I’m told
    sometimes they

    would lie next to me
    apply stimulation
    to my private
    (not to them)
    protuberances

    this was not on the charts
    understandably
    they’d cover up
    but circumstances
    call for unorthodox

    measures and I
    might not have
    made it through the night
    without mouth to mouth
    respiration

  14. Raven says:

    Bumblebee

    dear little bumblebee
    sitting on the fence
    so fat and round
    so soft as I pet
    everyone else was so sweet
    there on the farm
    why did you bite me
    you made me cry
    and now I have to sleep

    TK Kietero

  15. Toilet Humor

    All my childhood memories
    from before I had memories
    are about pee.
    Or poop.
    Or something equally embarrassing.
    There’s no story
    about how I saved a boy from a burning house
    or composed a sonata at age 3
    (both not true, but try!)
    or even an echoing of my own memories
    of watching caterpillars shimmy hairily up a tree
    and wishing I could ride the couch the movers carried out
    and noting a young man with a hairy chest wearing a necklace
    and thinking, I didn’t know men could wear jewelry.
    There’s only the tawdry recitation:
    you peed on purple carpet in the furniture store,
    through layers of clothing, diaper, and stroller,
    and we hightailed it out from under the gaze
    of the unamused saleswoman
    when our attempts to block her view didn’t work.
    You wanted to pee in the woods
    like your brother and cousins
    and kept whining,
    Where’s the girl tree? Where’s the girl tree?
    You humiliated your uncle Karl
    when he bravely at age 19
    took you to see Bambi,
    and you called out from the stall in the men’s room,
    Karl, wipe my bottom,
    and he had to decide whether he heard your tiny girl voice.
    Of course, my brother’s poo story trumps mine,
    a baby grunting in a pancake house,
    and before they could pay the check,
    it boiled up, cascading over the neck of the onesie,
    oozing out the cuffs at the sleeves and the feet,
    covering the booth in brown.
    And my parents ran,
    baby held out before them like toxic waste
    or a bomb about to explode,
    until they got to the parking lot –
    and then laughed and laughed and laughed.
    Those are the stories of my family,
    poo and pee,
    embarrassment and laughter.

  16. LBC says:

    Deja vu

    My grandmother pushed me
    in my stroller
    along the bank of the mighty Niagara River
    where the rushing water cascades
    over the Bridal Veil.
    My mother and father
    strolled behind,
    holding hands,
    sharing a laugh.
    I don’t remember
    if I laughed too.
    I don’t remember if I was awed
    by the beauty of the great Niagara Falls.
    But my mother reminisces,
    and in my mind’s eye
    I see the picture.
    I don’t remember sharing that moment
    with my grandmother,
    But, years later
    when I pushed my graddaughter
    in her stroller
    along the bank of the mighty Niagara River
    where the rushing water cascades
    over the Bridal Veil,
    there was that feeling of already seen;
    Deja vu.

  17. Sarah says:

    Hiding Space
    Newspaper in hand
    unable to read it
    but having the desire to
    long before I was three
    so I found a quiet space
    in the corner by the ‘fridge
    that offered me the solitude
    to pretend that I could.

  18. Kimberlee Thompson says:

    Little Choice

    When I grew up,
    I got brave enough
    to ask Dad, why always,
    “Because I said so?”

    Now eloquent,
    I argued that given
    a real reason, I might
    have complied

    instead of feeling
    pushed around.

    When I grew up,
    Dad thought I might
    Be old enough
    to understand.

    “Once, I gave you
    a choice: if you hit
    your brother, you must
    go to your room

    immediately, Young Lady,
    and stay there.

    You hit your brother,
    went directly to your room
    and ‘Because I said so,’
    became the norm.”

  19. Yoli says:

    I am blown away by everyone here. Some funny, some very sad, all incredibly amazing.

    Yoli

  20. Yoli says:

    This isn’t exactly what was asked for, but this is what came out. It took me a few days to write, this was so hard for me, (I was horrified when I saw this prompt!) but what I came up with surprised me.

    A good part of my childhood (if you can call it that) was spent in and out of hospital waiting rooms. At each hospital you had to be 16 years old to go to the floor where my mother was, so I didn’t see a lot of her. Before I was 12, I’d been to every major hospital on the eastern seaboard, including some in Central America.
    Certain they were being comforting or helpful, all the adults around me (except my father, thank goodness) always tried to tell me how I felt or what I thought instead of actually listening. This poem is about that first day when she had to go to the hospital and what I would have liked to say to all of them…

    I Remember

    “You don’t remember that,”
    some say to me.
    “You were too young. There’s no way you could remember.”

    But I do.
    Clear as day.
    The dark room.

    “It’s not possible,”
    some say to me.
    “Okay, what time was it? What day?”

    I don’t know
    but I remember
    clear as day
    the curtains drawn.

    “You were so young,”
    some say to me.
    “Are you sure it’s a memory or just what you’ve been told?”

    I am sure
    and I remember
    clear as day
    the upright pillows
    and large bed.

    “You weren’t old enough,”
    some say to me.
    “You weren’t there, in the hospital to see. There’s no way you would know.”

    But I remember
    clear as day
    before the hospitals
    my Dad standing
    looking so sad.

    “Well, where was I?”
    Some say to me,
    “How come I don’t remember? I’m older than you.”

    I don’t know.
    But I remember
    clear as day
    the garbage can
    by the bed
    where Mom laid
    with curtains drawn
    and Dad stood
    in the darkness
    to see if
    she’d get sick.
    And I sat
    on the floor
    in the hallway
    of our house.
    She saw me
    watching very close
    and very scared.
    She looked worried
    and so sad.
    I was six
    and I remember
    that first day
    of the end
    and my Mom
    did not know
    to say goodbye.

    It does not matter what
    some say to me.

    Clear as day
    I remember
    her.

  21. k weber says:

    Tiny Tots With Their Mouths All Aglow

    Sometime after
    I hand-picked
    cigarette butts
    from the family
    ashtray
    and waddled
    small
    with other
    tiny neighborhood
    friends
    right into an open
    apartment
    and threw
    all the tenants
    moved-in
    kitchen accessories
    into a steep pine
    tree –
    but before
    I cut my six-
    year-old lower
    lip with scissors
    somehow while clipping
    out valentines — I
    watched a lot
    of television
    commercials and I
    went to church

    and during
    the children’s
    sermon
    one quiet
    and god-fearing
    Sunday, I looked
    to the very back
    for my grand-
    mother and yelled
    before the holy
    ghost and every
    Methodist
    in Medway, Ohio:
    "OB Tampons, Grandma!"

  22. Jay Sizemore says:

    Better late than never I guess. I am trying to catch up!

    Scars without memory

    There are some that I still carry,
    white lakes or slivers festooned
    in the pink flesh of my skin
    like tattoos of consequence,
    the souvenirs of lessons learned
    or never learned,

    such as the one underneath
    my right eye,
    the postcard from myself
    at the age of ten months
    visiting the sharp corner
    of a polished top coffee table,
    head first.

    That me loved
    trying out his new legs,
    that me had never seen
    the color of his own blood
    dribbling down
    his chin and spackling
    the white carpet
    like impressionist art,
    becoming so numb to the pain
    that he slapped the wound
    again and again
    for the sheer joy
    of hearing his mother scream.

    Others go deeper,
    beneath the surface
    of what the world
    is allowed to see,
    and etched into the sediment
    and limestone rock
    of my heart
    and foundation
    like ancient cave drawings.

    Bring the torchlight closer
    and you can see the image
    of a boy,
    wrapped in the elation
    of the promise
    of seeing his father,
    eyes glossy with delight,
    bright blue and wild
    as he packs his suitcase,
    the light slowly fading
    from the sky
    and from his eyes
    as he sits waiting,
    legs hanging from the porch,
    head propped in his hands,
    listening to the locusts wings
    whirring their welcome of the night
    and the slow death of naivety.

    That boy was nearly lost
    before he was lost
    to the truth of breaking,
    when he was only two
    and he disappeared
    through a crowd of legs
    and strangers’ shoes
    at some party in the city.
    He wasn’t in the house,
    he wasn’t hiding
    in or under any of the cars,
    he was three houses down
    in one of the neighbors’ yards,
    talking to some old man
    beside a swimming pool.
    His mother collapsed crying,
    cradling him in her arms,
    thanking whatever form of god
    that she found him
    only 25 minutes gone
    and not 30,
    because she knew
    how much that boy
    loved the water.

  23. Gardener Snake and my 4 year old self

    I don’t remember all of this
    the glass jar
    or the little stick
    leaning up tight to the top

    I don’t remember him, mostly
    and what I do I think is
    just imagination of a memory
    she told me

    He was green
    red eyed and small
    traveled in on the muff
    of my dog
    a gardener
    snake she said
    and a baby at that
    mother might be missing
    him
    but I wasn’t sure about that.

    I could keep him
    or let him go
    it was my choice
    as I stared at that glass
    my little gardner
    snake
    mine.

    but he had a mom
    maybe a sister or two
    and sure as I am
    writing to you
    I walked out to the pile of wood
    little 4 year old hands
    released him
    as I was sure that I should

    every day for a week
    I stared out into the yard
    to see if I could see
    wondering if
    he was staring back
    and missing me.

  24. Carol A Stephen says:

    Bed Rest

    That winter I was three
    I woke in hospital
    an empty room
    except for me,
    no pillow
    can’t breathe,
    strange food, like
    green grapes in milk.
    Mother was not there,
    she wouldn’t just leave me there,
    Would she? Would she?
    Weeks and weeks
    of bed-rest and soldiers
    marching on my counterpane
    I did not remember
    what I might have done
    to send me to my room
    for so long.
    Christmas eve,
    Santa and Mrs. Claus
    came to visit me.
    I was not surprised.
    Something good had to come of it.

    Carol A. Stephen

  25. Lynn says:

    True or Not?

    They say one day I used a pen
    to stab my dad, but oh! Why then
    do I have no recollection?
    There’s no real explanation.

    My brother made it up, I think.
    He says I was on the brink
    of ‘crazy mass destruction!’
    that I could barely function.

    To confirm, there’s no one left.
    We are all alone, bereft.
    And so I hold my ground and say
    there is no conceivable way!

  26. Mike Padg says:

    Crackers, sandwhiches,
    a water bottle parade,
    It seems on this day
    everyone is my slave.
    All eyes are on me,
    Watching carefully,
    Catering my every whim.
    Dogs bark loudly
    into my now angry face,
    So I curse them
    with every single
    word that I can think of
    that would bring them
    disgrace.
    I sit by myself on the back
    porch, until I need them,
    I am to be left alone.
    I close my heavy eyes
    for a second or more,
    and when I open them
    I look around,
    I’m not sure where I am.

  27. Laural says:

    What You Said About My Tricycle

    I gave it to Will
    You say I gave it to Bill
    I didn’t.

    I wanted him to have it
    You said no, there we agree.
    You said we had to go get it back.

    At four, I felt
    What it means to be
    Mortified.
    We walked uphill
    Heard the whip-poor-wills
    In the dry leaves beside the road
    I knew they were
    Singing my song.

    We got there and you say
    You asked his mother
    For the tricycle back.
    No, you made me ask Will
    To give it back. Not Bill.
    Not you.

    I know that pain is
    Not all in my imagination.
    For you, an inconvenience
    A need to have
    Your investment
    Saved for your
    Own relative, not
    Some boy you
    Didn’t really know.

    We moved away
    For years, I suffered
    Thinking how Will
    Felt, how I felt
    How our connection
    Was broken
    For financial reasons
    No reason at all.

  28. Rebecca says:

    A New Sister

    When the small bundle
    arrived in my mother’s
    arms I was not concerned.
    When she cried and wailed
    and my mother gave her breast
    there was nothing to fear.
    When she was laid in the
    bassinet to sleep
    I watched in fascination.
    But
    When they told me she was
    staying, I said,
    NO
    She can go home now….
    Take her back to the hospital.

  29. lynn rose says:

    "a night of lost memories"
    A day of fun in the sun and to much to drink. I was lying on the sand feeling a little sic, just trying to sober up. My friends were comfronting me and trying to make me come around. They dunked me in the water and was playing around. I wanted to be left alone and said my ass and they did it. Where did all this sand came from and how did it get there,was that a beer sign I saw, everyone knows but me.

  30. KP says:

    My First Interview from my Boss’ Perspective

    She says she’ll be reliable and hard working every day
    We think she’ll be the lighthouse in our bay
    She says she’ll work 100 percent
    And enjoys being a team player
    We think she’ll be the sour cream in our 7-layer
    She says she lives to write and even loves to edit
    For that, we’ll have to give her lots of credit
    We think she’ll be the seatbelt on our roller coaster
    We think she’ll be our bagel in the toaster
    She’ll be the morning cup of coffee
    The happy hour beer
    The creative umph we need around here
    She’ll be the donut when our copy is flat
    If we’re her baseball, she’ll be our bat
    She’ll be the backspace key when we’re going in the wrong direction
    She’ll be in the first row, first seat in our cheering section
    We must be crazy if we don’t hire her soon
    When every day feels like Monday she’ll be our Friday afternoon

  31. ck says:

    (Day 19 post)

    Boo

    I loved it so much the first time
    that I kept doing it, they say.
    I’d wait around a corner,
    wait for some soul to come my way.
    Then jump out,
    cry, Boo!
    and scare the person to death.
    I scared my siblings,
    to my delight;
    I startled my parents,
    I giggled and laughed,
    even scared myself once or twice, they say.
    Dad nicknamed me Boo.
    I was six years old.

    For years “boo” echoed through the house.
    Boo, get this for me.
    I didn’t do it; Boo did.
    Hey, Boo, where are you?
    Boo, have you cleaned up your room yet?
    Damn it, Boo, what did you do?!
    Boo, phone. Get the phone, Boo.

    That was my name
    until I was almost twenty.
    I remember:
    then my father,
    thinking Boo would no longer do
    for a lovely young woman,
    stopped using my nickname.
    Consciously stopped.
    I no longer waited around the corner,
    I no longer scared my siblings,
    I no longer frightened my parents,
    I was no longer a little girl.
    He never again called me Boo.
    I wish he hadn’t stopped.

  32. Monica Martin says:

    "Boy Crazy"

    They say I was boy crazy
    At an early age.
    When I was three,
    I locked myself in
    Ethel’s bathroom. I
    Wouldn’t come out
    For her, my grandma,
    Or my own mother.
    Then Ethel’s son Mike
    Knocked on the door
    And said, "It’s Mike.
    Come on out because
    I want to hold you."
    I opened the door
    And flew into his arms.
    I have been boy crazy
    Ever since.

    P.S. Ethel is a friend of my grandma’s.

  33. Christa R. Shelton says:

    COUSIN BOBBY

    He was always into something that he shouldn’t have been
    He was always scheming and coaxing us to do things
    that were sure to get us in trouble
    He was slick enough to detail the plan
    and leave us with the dirty work so our hands
    would be caught in the midst of trouble
    as he hid in the corner and laughed
    I guess one day he went to far
    I had enough of his conniving and annoying ways
    He had pushed me to my limit!
    Tap danced on my last nerve!
    So, I stormed in the kitchen to get my weapon
    of choice to teach him a lesson once and for all!
    The loaf of bread I decided to use as a bat over his back
    busted and all pieces flew out across the living room floor
    While I got a hand to the backside
    He picked up the pieces ever so sweetly, red with laughter
    While I was red with anger and rage
    vowing secretly that I would still get him back one day!

  34. Lisa McMahan says:

    Truck Meets House

    Crunch!
    “What was that?”
    Looking in my rearview mirror I can see
    just exactly what the crunch was.
    There in all its splintered splendor
    hung the support post for the carport.
    Dangling, swaying like
    a weeping willow branch in the wind.
    Tears form, anxiety generates, fear resonates
    until laughter builds. That all consuming,
    belly jiggling, gut-wrenching, tear flowing laughter.
    “Oh my God! I am in so much trouble!”
    Embarrassed, fear-filled conversation took
    place in my head as I plan on what to tell
    my fiance’. More laughter erupts as
    friends hear of my dilemma. No sympathy
    displayed for my predicament.
    The phone rings waiting for him to pick
    up the line. An eternity passes as I wait.
    Finally, “How much do you love me?”
    A long silent pause fills the air.
    “Why? What did you do?”
    Tears flowing, laughter threatening to erupt,
    fear encompassing my throat threatening
    to keep the words from spilling forth.
    “I knocked down the carport with my truck.”
    Another long silent pause.
    Waiting, silence, waiting some more.
    Speak, say something, anything.
    Then it came, like a locomotive racing
    down the train tracks. Power building until
    finally giving it a voice.
    Bursting forth in a loud rumble that
    had to be heard around the world………
    he laughed……….and laughed………..
    and laughed…..until……”I’ll have to call you back.”
    He had to hang up he was laughing so hard.

    Now……I’m not allowed to back into the driveway.

  35. Phyllis Elswick says:

    The Hurt in My Brother’s eyes

    My brother kept pestering me as brothers do,
    Making me madder and madder.

    I kept telling him to stop but he wouldn’t..
    So, I picked it up off the bed and hit him over the
    Head with it, breaking it smack in two.

    We both stood there, motionless, staring at it in horror.
    As I saw the hurt look on his face I wanted to run and not look
    Back, my brother’s new guitar he loved more than anything
    lay broken, wires going everywhere.

    I wished I could take back the last few minutes,
    But I couldn’t, there was nothing I could do to
    Undo the damage I had done.

  36. Lin Neiswender says:

    The Power of Association

    The flames of fever were lapping at my body
    My mother was frantic and yelled at my grandma
    Come to visit at the hottest time of year

    And I have red measles and am out of my head
    Only I thought it was the juicy red watermelon
    That made me throw up all over
    Grandma’s patent leather shoes and made her mad

    My Mom didn’t give a damn and reached
    For a bottle of alcohol to sponge me off
    The fever breaks and spots are everywhere
    I feel as prickly as the red horsehair sofa
    I am lying on since all the beds are in use
    By company

    My Mom is worried about me, turning
    The sofa to face the wall so I won’t fall on the floor

    I was so traumatized, I never ate
    Watermelon again until I was in my thirties

    The power of association

  37. peggy verdi says:

    MEMORY

    Like a dog chasing her tail,
    it tries to capture a face,
    a place, a moment.
    it obsesses, whirls around,
    here, a mistake, a failure
    and worries it, gnaws on it
    conjures up forgotten names,
    dates once important,
    missed opportunities.
    disturbs your sleep with
    ‘could-a, would-a, should-a.

    And yet, it paints pictures,
    freeze-frames of the past:
    tennis championship,
    whites ringed with sweat;
    the stomach flutter after
    a lover’s first kiss;
    climbing Camel’s Hump
    with Dad that Vermont summer;
    first solo flight in a Cessna 150.

    Illuminates all that’s lost but never forgotten.

    Peggy Verdi How Memory behaves PAD 14

  38. Lyn says:

    When it feels like family members use memories
    as emotional blackmail telling the story often
    I vaguely remember being five years old
    trying to retrieve a helium balloon
    the story goes that I started with a stepstool
    then climbed a ladder leaning against a tree
    when the balloon was a speck in the atmosphere
    I asked my father to catch hold of the string
    and cried when he told me he couldn’t do the impossible
    making him admit he couldn’t always give me what I want

  39. Carol -Amherst, Mass says:

    What Bugs!!!

    I jolted upright
    Off my pillow
    Eyes wide open
    Gaping at the ceiling

    THERE ARE BUGS
    ALL OVER THE CEILING
    Oh My God, Oh My God
    Kill Them, Kill Them

    Scott bolted out of bed
    “What!!! Where!!!”
    As he brushed at his clothes
    And protectively
    Scrunched His shoulders
    To Protect his neck

    He pleaded with me
    To point out
    the infestation.
    Without a word,
    I closed my eyes
    And fell back
    Against my pillow
    Into a restful sleep

    Scott, who is now
    My Ex-husband
    Stayed awake the rest
    Of the night
    With the covers pulled up
    To his chin
    Nervously twitching
    As he watched the bare
    ceiling

  40. That darn cat
    or something a bit more blue
    that was my excuse
    or so I’ve been told
    Yelling out in anger
    at being shut out
    Lock me out of the garage
    eh Grandma?
    Take that!
    And when confronted
    That darn cat
    took the fall

  41. Jacquie Wareham says:

    Aunt’s Wedding

    My first thirst
    to drink the wine of belonging
    was caught on film.
    Amid gay roar and laughter
    in the church hall
    I toddled toward a
    metal pitcher, held low-
    it’s guardian engaged in some
    flirtatious chat-
    placed my chubby, two-year-old hands
    on the cool, water-beaded vessel
    tipped it toward my waiting throat.
    Even at two, I searched,
    I couldn’t get enough.

    April 21, 2008
    Jacquie Wareham

  42. Lorien Vidal says:

    everyone should have a daily homework assignment that they enjoy – this is it for me! (though i usually forget to go back and check further comments…)

    Catback Ride

    So it sounds cruel but she LOOKED big enough!
    To hold my weight, but wait! -
    If I don’t sit all the way and if I hold her whiskers
    She can carry little me – I’m only one,
    It seemed like fun!
    But just for me, it seemed
    She screamed and hissed!
    My mom was mad, but I think poor Nirvana was madder…

    Coincidentally, my mother also has a similar story about a cat that she doesn’t remember, but her mom’s family used to tell all the time:

    Hug Fest

    Lynn, you’re holding the cat too tightly now
    "But I love it!"
    A country yard where my mother sat and didn’t know
    She hugged a kitty so tightly, and didn’t let it go
    Immortalized on black and white film
    My mom and the cat
    She hugged the life out of

  43. anne says:

    Golf Swing Revisited

    They say I drew blood
    But all I could feel was panic
    That I had somehow killed him
    That brother who took me to a field
    To introduce me to the game
    And so I laid down the weapon
    That iron stem, lethal bulb
    Called a driver
    And ran for my mother
    Before 911
    She assured me that he would live
    That I would live
    But I have always
    Feared the game
    And clench each time
    The memory ball rests on the tee.

  44. Cheryl Wray says:

    Trying to catch up with Challenges 19 and 20 from the weekend. Here’s my "memory."

    "I Climbed"

    as a baby,
    I was apparently quite the
    climber.

    "I couldn’t take my eyes off of you for a second,"
    Grandma tells me now.

    I’d climb on the back of the couch,
    on top of kitchen counters.

    and…at that one moment that her eyes were off of me…
    I climbed on top of the television set.

    "How you got up there I still don’t know,"
    Grandma told me just last week.

    (and,
    I wonder now,
    how
    did I get this irrational fear of heights?)

  45. The Accident

    I think I remember it
    while knowing I could not.
    At least …
    Or could I …
    What if …

    It’s an old joke,
    dropped on her head
    as a baby.
    Explains a lot!
    ‘Her’ being me of course.

    My mother carrying me
    up the stony path
    to visit friends,
    hurrying a little.
    She used to live there.

    Her skirt fluttered
    round stockinged legs,
    the path was steep and narrow –
    views I never had,
    held in her arms.

    I feel as if
    I felt the thump,
    see myself looking up
    at her face white and wide-eyed
    filling the sky.

    I hear her soft cry.
    She is helpless
    and I’m on the ground.
    My head hurts
    and my back.

    © Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2008

  46. I Guess I Was A Funny Kid

    Mom tells me my baby screams
    Were so high pitched she’d have to leave
    The bathroom so her ears wouldn’t bleed
    And hope I didn’t drown, it seems
    There’s still a touch of guilt for her

    She notes as well a three year old
    Seeing Elton John (who, truth be told)
    Was a bit scary in the seventies, so
    Couldn’t be blamed when that baby, so bold
    Cracked her up by asking "Mom, who’s that crazy f**ker?"

    Rolling eyes and a quirk of a smile
    Accompany these stories she tells me
    I try to be gracious and fail while
    She goes on with more tales of history
    That induce laughter or mortification

    The blood used to make hers run cold
    But with frequency she let it go
    Except the broken bottle one, I’m told
    I packed with mud to stop the flow
    She says I had the right idea, just the wrong application

    I was curious, adventurous
    Clumsy and cantankerous
    What is that hideous smell? Toddler me had to know
    Ooh, that’s a steep hill! How fast can my tricycle go?
    I can too do a backflip without training – don’t tell me no!

    And none of this did I outgrow
    Oh, no
    There’s plenty more she doesn’t know

    Of starry skies and tops too short
    My husband tells with a leer & a snort
    Toilet nicknames & drug-weakened bladders
    Friends recall while my self image shatters

    Mom and I can play a game for more
    Where I point to each scar and she tells the story
    Broken teeth, opened veins, scars galore
    At least no visions of gates so pearly
    Poor Mom can’t stop laughing, in spite of the gore
    Now I’m now sure how I made it to thirty

  47. AlaskanRC says:

    I was always told
    that my thoughts
    where always two steps
    ahead of my mouth
    and sometimes it’s hard for
    my mouth to keep up.
    At age three I was told I
    liked to use words more then most.
    Yet my words didn’t
    always come out as I planned.
    Like that exchange
    I had with my year old
    baby sister back when I was three.
    I was just learning the fine art
    of using a open cup-no more sippy cups
    for me. Should be a moment all my own
    yet it was not to be.
    Along came my sister wanting it
    all for her own.
    I backed away as she tottered forward
    and try to raise my cup high.
    Quick enough I wasn’t
    for in dives her cubby hand.
    My mouth opends and out pops words;
    such a jumbled mess,
    "Get your juice out of my hand."

  48. Crystal Cameron says:

    Pauly’s

    After my sex on the beach
    started tasting like kool-aid,
    you took control of this memory.

    I was nasty, you say, spilled beer,
    said some not nice things. I justified
    the way you left me alone in the bar

    that smelled like piss and had sticky floors,
    when I said that you don’t care about me.
    And my clothes are wet,

    in a mound on the floor. From the midnight
    shower you say i took, fully clothed.
    Who knows. I remember you laughing.

    I remember you finding the vomit
    in my hair and on the street funny.
    That part, you say, is so not true.

    But what do I know, this is your memory.

  49. Tiffany B says:

    Throwing up.

    "Oh, you remember, don’t you?"
    My mother, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s asks.
    She has the ability to inquire about my memory
    without a trace of irony.
    But I don’t remember, I never remember,
    so she gets to tell the story again.

    The first time you threw up,
    well, the first time you threw up
    when you were old enough to notice,
    you were wearing your new yellow dress
    the one your grandmother had bought
    from Montgomery Ward, back before
    they sold all the Montgomery Wards
    and you could still find decent dresses
    for young girls in department stores.
    Oh you cried and cried and asked me
    Why momma why? Why won’t the food
    I put in my belly stay there?
    She laughs to herself.

    I smile at her memory because I don’t share it.
    And it seems to make her happy to tell.
    I don’t tell her my memories of throwing up.
    The first time I learned I could make it happen myself.

  50. Bill Kirk says:

    Times Not Forgotten
    By Bill Kirk

    It’s not that I remember everything, mind you.
    But I’m often asked to recall things
    Others have long forgotten.
    Why is that, I wonder?
    Is it a birth order thing?
    Do first born siblings just happen
    To get all the memories?
    Somehow, I doubt it.
    There have been a few things
    I don’t seem to be able to recall.
    But most of the time I’ve found
    It’s not so much my not remembering.
    Instead, it’s that I may not remember things
    From another’s perspective.
    Was the dress silk or chenille,
    Above the knee or just below,
    One bare shoulder or two?
    Such details may matter to some
    But to me it was just sexy and black
    And, boy, could that dress move!
    Alas, perhaps good memory is an afflication,
    Like knowing too much for my own good
    Or remembering things that shouldn’t be repeated—
    At least not in polite company.
    Perhaps I should conveniently “forget”
    A few more things.
    Reaching back, I suppose there are some things
    I simply can’t remember, at least not consciously.
    My mother swears I was speaking German
    As well as English at age two,
    With our German housekeeper
    As my first linguistics tutor.
    But to tell the truth, I can’t remember
    That far back in either language.
    So, I rely on others to tell the stories,
    Each time perhaps a bit differently
    Than the time before.
    And, then, those stories themselves
    Become part of the memories
    That I just can’t seem to forget.

  51. Shana says:

    Sibling Rivalry

    A newborn
    fresh home from the hospital
    Cooed over by
    an exhausted tho loving mother
    an also-exhausted and doting father
    and a brother

    Unsure about this new-baby business,
    he greets his new sister
    with a hammer tap
    to the head
    (OK, so it was a toy hammer)

    And sibling love/rivalry
    is born

  52. Sue Bench says:

    Company!
    Noisy, bedlam,
    Obnoxious boy cousins!

    Parents worry.
    Daughter’s lost!
    Searching everywhere;
    Frantic!

    One last look in the house.
    Behind the couch;
    There she is, sleeping!

    Me – quiet, shy, and
    afraid of the loud boys.
    Hid in my own living room
    and took a nap.

  53. Terri says:

    Strawberry Patch

    "Well, hello Terri Lynn"
    My great Aunt Helen greeted me affectionately
    as I plucked strawberries from her garden;
    I rose, scowling, stomping my foot angrily,
    "Get out of my strawberry patch!" I’d holler
    (Sassy young child I was with an Irish temper
    that had been handed down along with my green eyes)
    She’d stifle a smile and feign surprise
    like she did every time we went through this ritual,
    a dance of sorts, a game in which
    I was always the winner, my mouth stuffed with strawberries
    the juice dripping from my chin and
    staining my white blouse.

    Years later I was with my Aunt Helen
    as she lay dieing in a hospital bed;
    She clutched my hand and whispered something;
    "I’m sorry Aunt Helen I can’t hear you," I said;
    She took a breath and tried again as I
    placed my ear close to her lips,
    "Get out of my strawberry patch," she said,
    Her green, tired eyes sparkling slightly
    as my own filled with tears
    that ran down my cheeks and off of my chin
    onto my white blouse,

  54. Dee IKJ says:

    Memories 04-19-08

    In my sand box I would play,
    happy was I until that day.

    I heard it coming round my head,
    just don’t move my brother said.

    I stood so still bending down,
    butt in the air I looked like a clown.

    Just don’t move it will go away,
    Just don’t move it will not stay.

    Older brother should know best,
    even though at times he is a pest.

    Like a flower, I did seem, with yellow sun suit so bright
    Wouldn’t you know it that buzzing bee did alight.

    The buzzing stopped, don’t move my brother shouts
    I held real still though I had my doubts.

    Oh no the pain, the sting, the dance I did
    And here I was just a little kid.

    Don’t move, what a laugh,
    It won’t hurt you, what a laugh.

    From then on any buzzing round my head
    and I turn and run with great, great dread.

    True story!

  55. Tonya Root says:

    Years ago when the company
    was small and still quite
    family owned and oriented
    my parents worked there
    and were called to a meeting
    and told they could bring
    me along. So I went and at
    the fancy dinner on the
    first night they served up
    our first course of salad
    which I hungrily chomped
    down. The company president
    laughed aloud as he sat next
    to me and overheard as I
    leaned over to Mom and asked -
    "Is this all we get?"

  56. Corinne says:

    So small
    my arms and legs had to be
    restrained to the hospital crib
    to keep the tubs that fed life into me in place

    So sick
    only medical staff were permitted entry to my room
    my parents watching through the window
    tethered themselves

    So scared
    that when I was finally released
    I followed my mother, crawling
    from room to room
    and screamed whenever my father came near me.

    Corinne

    A day late. Was following everyone yesterday. Resisting, like many of us.

    There’s some real rawness here on this prompt.

    My heart goes out to everyone.

  57. Maureen says:

    I DON’T REMEMBER

    I don’t remember the murder
    but I do remember the little boy
    across the road.
    I remember
    visiting him after school
    his mother pleased to see me
    (relieved I would later understand).
    He would stop screaming
    and banging his head
    when he saw me.
    Those vacant eyes
    following every move I made.
    Zooming his cars
    along the floor
    singing him songs -
    and he would stare.

    I wonder what he thought of
    during those distractions.
    And were his screams
    because of pain?
    Unable to walk
    he couldn’t escape,
    until one night
    so they tell me
    his father gave him
    an escape
    in the form of a gun.

    I don’t remember
    that part.
    All I know was
    one day he was there
    and then he wasn’t.
    It was all in the newspapers.
    The father went to jail.
    But I don’t know
    about that.

    Maureen Sexton

  58. Tonya Root says:

    My Life on Drugs

    They tell me that I am mean
    when I am on drugs.
    Not the recreational kind
    but the ones that they give
    you at the hospital.
    I broke my arm and my
    friend from out of town
    had to drive me to and
    from the emergency room.
    I don’t know what they
    gave me, but I do know
    that I don’t remember
    a thing after they gave it.
    I yelled and screamed
    as I gave directions on
    how to get back to my
    place. Another time, in the
    maternity ward, I was
    having complications and
    they put me on something.
    Now, you have to understand
    that I am the ham
    of the family and so when
    my mom went to take
    a picture of me, she was
    shocked when I said,
    with an evil look, lowered
    brow and deadly determined
    voice, “Don’t take my picture!”
    I guess it’s a good thing
    I never tried the other
    kind of drugs!

  59. Callan Bignoli-Zale says:

    I have a ridiculously good memory, so I couldn’t really come up with anything to exactly go along with this prompt…

    And I didn’t post until today because I was staying over at a friend’s last night and had no computer access.

    - – - – - – - – - – - -

    [Untitled]

    My steel-trap memory -
    at times it may torture me -
    but it has its upsides.

    At some family function,
    my mother once tried
    to tell this tall tale
    of an embarassing moment
    from my formative years -

    something about how
    when I was six or seven
    I followed a male stranger
    all the way through a Southern waterpark
    because I thought he was my father -
    but she was wrong, and I knew it.

    I followed him because I overheard him
    telling his wife that he was heading
    to the Malibu Pipeline -
    the most badass slide around,
    the pitch-black fast one
    with tiny holes drilled on top
    that let little pinpoints of sunlight
    into that slippery cool vortex -
    and of course, I wanted to go too.

    I informed Mom’s audience of this,
    and she was none too thrilled
    that I killed her comedy hour,
    but she should’ve known by then
    that I’ve forgotten nothing
    that she can still "remember."

  60. jane says:

    "You WILL leave your guns
    at home" she told me
    hands on her hips.
    We lived in Chicago then.
    I guess I was 4.
    We were walking to Darla’s
    (I don’t kinow her mother’s name)
    apartment for lunch.
    Everybody walked everywhere
    in Chicago in the early 50s.

    Darla was a girly-girl.
    I was not.
    I loved Calamity Jane
    and Annie Oakley.
    I knew every cowboy on
    television and the names of
    their horses and I never went
    anywhere without my
    guns and holsters.
    Never!

    "No cowboy boots today, kiddo and
    you WILL take a doll and a doll carriage
    and you WILL wear a dress."
    The bustle of getting ready
    pale blue ruffled dress,
    white socks edged with lace,
    black mary-janes.
    Inspected and approved.
    Off to Darla’s with
    the doll carriage.

    Greetings at the door.
    Hugs and cheek kisses.
    "Oh! How pretty Jane looks!"
    My mother so proud.
    Two little princesses ready
    for a lovely afternoon.
    "Go play girls, while
    the mommies talk."

    Play?
    Sure!!
    Reaching under
    the carriage mattress
    doll thrown on the floor
    I hold up two
    six-shooter cap guns.
    "Hey Darla!
    Wanna’ play guns?"

    Long live Princess Cowgirl!

  61. Lady Pequeen’s Arrival

    Some fears are inborn
    I guess. I am told
    that the arrival
    of Peggy
    in the kitchen,
    an eight-week-old
    beagle pup,
    sent me, a two-year-old
    from the floor to
    standing on the table
    in the blink of an eye.
    Maybe I flew,
    no one knows, I don’t remember,
    but I’m still afraid of
    dogs.

  62. Teri Coyne says:

    Bath Water

    When I was a child
    I told people I remembered
    what it was like when I was newborn

    No one believed me
    but no one could tell me
    if I was wrong

    I see a small white metal basin
    in a dark kitchen
    my father’s large hands
    hold me like a football
    the newness of my skin
    leaves him breathless
    and afraid

    the water is belly warm
    and reminds me of my days
    swimming inside of her
    our heartbeats syncopating

    my eyes are closed
    my small hands open and close
    reaching for and holding on
    tiny feet kicking up air

    Mom is holding my sister
    twenty days past her first birthday
    she doesn’t know yet we will save each other
    today she is sorry her solo party with Mom and Dad
    has come to an end

    I am in the basin
    and outside floating above them
    I can see the soap lathering
    on the wash cloth
    hear my mother
    guiding my father
    urging him to be gentle

    she is fragile
    Mom says
    she is tougher than you think
    Dad answers

    he needs to believe this

    my sister laughs
    and points above her
    she knows I am there
    and that I am going to stay

  63. Hope Greene says:

    I found this poem this morning when I went to write my Sunday offering check to the church. I left it completely unedited.

    A Poem Found on Sunday Morning That I Have No Memory of Writing, but Apparently Did Write and In My Checkbook At That

    To Tim

    You drove away
    and very quickly-but-I wanted
    to say thank you for
    bringing dinner and allowing
    me to play-since my boy was
    sleeping upstairs and is my biggest responsibility
    but-I take the concert very seriously
    -I have a sitter and am ready
    I’ve memorized the Avanti-
    but back to you-you brought
    the wine (Bitch 2006) which rocked
    us, priests and all, and told me
    my sweater didn’t look Minnesota
    It seems we may be of a kind
    (by the way, you left your broccoli
    and potstickers behind) I wouldn’t
    mention it, except they look to be from the city.
    It seems a pity-in between
    carving the T-bone, & priests trying
    to find their mothers
    that in a year this is the first time
    I’ve told you the joke
    about Richard Hooker*.

    *For full details see my posthumous memoirs.

  64. Lorraine Hart says:

    Sorry…had a gig last night and was too tired to turn the pooter back on to post…here we go…

    So They Say

    My sister will tell you
    I was born tiny and old
    wrapped in stories
    wrapped in music as
    life-giving as my heartbeat
    in my father’s arms I would
    press my cheek to his and hold
    out my hand for a dance
    war always raged outside
    or in the corners
    but I was dancing a
    dream into being so
    I could live

  65. Gene McParland from Long Island says:

    Here’s my submittal for today. It’s funny I remember better years ago, but forget last week.

    My Tree Fort

    I had one in my kid years;
    well, more like “we” had one, really;
    built by a bunch of kids, variations of me.
    It was a real tree fort,
    constructed from odd scrapes
    of found and “borrowed” wood,
    complete with shaky ladder steps
    nailed into the side of the tree.
    along with a special rope tow
    for bringing up supplies.

    Before the differences between boys and girls were known,
    or cared about, really,
    we had this golden rule,
    which was strictly observed,
    “No Girls Allowed”
    a tree fort was sacred
    male ground,
    no play housing was tolerated.

    But,

    “Wo-Wo” books were allowed,
    because the mysteries of a woman’s breast
    caused wonderful stirrings in our bodies,
    although we really, I, anyway,
    had no idea what all this difference
    really meant then.

    You know, certain rites of childhood should remain unchanged.
    Secret clubs and tree forts are an absolute necessity.
    Places where secrets can be shared;
    dreams dreamt,
    pains from the world of adults
    nurtured.
    Imagination needs to be given free reign
    up in the kingdom of birds and leaves.

    Why am I thinking this now?

    I was driving passed an old lot,
    a fragment of still undeveloped land,
    and caught a glimpse
    between the leaves of an old tree
    of the remnants of an tree fort.

    And all those memories came back to me
    and I remembered; I remembered.

  66. Rose Morand says:

    DAY 19

    Mom was so proud of Rose
    Look how responsible
    She was
    At three

    Tears running down her face
    A black eye forming
    Holding the baby down
    So she couldn’t squirm off the bed

    Rose was still holding the diaper pin
    Unable to manage to get it secure
    The baby kicked
    Rose howled in pain
    But never let go

    Mom was so proud of Rose

  67. Devon Brenner says:

    Shannon, I really like the simplicity of your poem.

    Carol, I love how you wove past and present together.

  68. JL Smither says:

    Jenny and the Pine Tree

    “We always get a spruce pine
    for Christmas,” Mom repeats,
    then tells the story of when I,
    pre-school-aged and already in trouble
    at daycare for biting other bratty kids,
    stood in front of the Christmas tree
    for a picture with my even-tempered little brother.
    I took a step back, and one of those spiny branches
    reached out and pinched my neck.
    More startled than hurt, I turned around
    and bit that horrible little branch,
    then yelped and let go when it had the nerve
    to poke the roof of my mouth.
    Angry, I bit that stupid tree again.

  69. Gratia Karmes says:

    Coma

    There are moments
    But not often minutes
    When I see. It is possible to
    Be awake, but
    Only with great effort
    Or none.
    The joy of life
    Is incompatible
    With the business of being alive.

    My cherry tree is about to bloom
    It is fully awake
    Its only sound is a sigh
    Of disappointment as I walk by.

    Gratia Karmes 4/19/08

  70. A Sudden Stillness

    She told the story until
    I felt sure I remembered it
    from some space between lifetimes,
    my kicks inside her wet womb
    before storytime with her first graders.
    ‘Once upon a time’ and I lay still,
    listening to the tales unfold,
    was still again as a baby with croup,
    pain carried on the wings of ‘once upon’
    into the late rainy night.
    She was Mnemsyne, divine lover of Zeus;
    I was her child-muse, being gifted these sacred
    stories, yet to be scribed, my feet motionless,
    my heartbeat a mere breath in the wind.

  71. Ang says:

    Diane,

    LOVE General Hospital!

  72. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Rod, Look for the flying saucer!

  73. Shirley T. says:

    The viewing I remember, and the funeral;
    pieces dropped from a dream sequence,
    but memories, not a dream.
    The seldom-used front parlor of the farmhouse
    lay open at either end, with the good furniture
    pushed back, replaced by row after row of
    stiff unyielding chairs for the row after row of
    stiff unfamiliar faces.
    Opiate air encased the room, commingled odors
    of floral tributes, incense and candle smoke,
    all emanating from the waxy tableau before
    the draped west windows.
    A Boston fern forest surrounded the casket,
    two torchlike candles standing sentry, to guard
    grandmother on her anchored death barge.
    I remember, too, slipping away as they chanted
    the endless prayers of Rosary
    to play sliding games on the satin lady’s chair
    in another room, laughing, until some disembodied hand
    reached out, led me back to my mother.
    What came before is hearsay,
    Another’s tales of things that may have happened
    as she waited bed-ridden and dying.
    I was allowed to stay, when she’d ordered
    the other grandchildren away, because,
    they said, I made her laugh.
    And she was filled with plans for me,
    what she’d do when she got up again.
    I kept her occupied, though I never learned
    what all those plans were.
    The funniest thing, they said, was the day
    I came to make her better by painting her nails,
    fingers and toes, with bright polish and adding
    sticky star globs to the bed linens.
    Amazing, too, for such a proper, fussy woman
    to allow such things; such things I don’t remember.
    Now I ask why the rites of death reappear so clearly,
    while the last days of living are only stories to me.
    Perhaps because the living times, the hours and minutes even,
    swirl and change so quickly, a kaleidescope altered by a touch,
    too swift to catch hold, perpetually floating, carrying us along.
    Death, bound up in ritual and ceremony, dams the flow,
    forcing us to stop while it binds to memory. Yes,
    that must be it. Life flows.
    Death has boundaries.
    ###

    Shirley T

  74. Emily Blakely says:

    First Lesson

    It has been told: Daddy said,
    “Time to put the book back on the shelf,”
    which request his baby daughter ignored.
    Again he asked, this time calling her name,
    and for shame, she ignored it again.
    Now, there came a third request
    as the little charmer did her best
    to avert attention out the window.
    She observed, “Bi-r-r-r-d?”
    Next came snap of Daddy’s hand
    that landed on her ruffled bottom,
    and quickly the book was returned
    to the shelf where it belonged,
    so Daddy knew she understood all along.
    Grandpa thought she was too young
    for this education.

  75. Marcus Smith says:

    “No Tears”

    You didn’t cry at your grandfather’s funeral
    my father told me the other day.
    I thought you loved him, that you two were close.
    You spent more time with him than I did when I was a kid.
    I don’t remember why I said, I do remember the funeral
    and although I don’t remember much about it
    I do remember that you didn’t cry
    and I wondered why.

  76. The Dog I Never Knew

    They tell me I used to have a dog
    a black and white cocker spaniel mix
    although I don’t remember.
    What I do remember is the doghouse
    and the way it closed around me
    when I went inside, the hair on the blanket
    and the dusty smell of canine fur.
    But the dog? I neither remember
    the dog nor his disappearance
    though I’m told he was killed
    by ground glass fed to him by a burglar.

  77. I wrote this earlier, but for some reason I didn’t post it until now.

    An Unremembered Nightmare

    They say it was bloody
    Mom fainted when the
    doctor placed the stitches
    on my three year old head
    having to shave away the
    curls that grew pall mell
    uncut until that day

    Unknown to me I became
    the family klutz
    Falling off a cliff at age three
    can do that to you.
    Slipped on the mud while
    taking an outdoor shower
    Never knew how far the fall
    or why they had a shower
    close to the edge of a cliff
    We were nude, my cousins
    and I, frolicking in the spray.
    I know that from pictures.
    And they say I backed up
    too far and no one could
    stop the fall

    Pounded into my head
    each meeting with the
    relatives of the horror
    of that moment
    Teased about a moment
    My every move watched
    by the elders as a chance
    to poke more fun and
    dig the message deeper
    into my innocent brain.
    You are uncoordinated.

    The fall not remembered
    but reinstated time after
    time for family enjoyment
    and though I had no memory
    of the event the sensory
    memory remained to cripple
    my activities and keep me
    from jumping into that
    creek or going off a cliff
    on a dare.

    I still bear the scar- a slight
    line causing a break in my
    hairline, but the real scar
    will always be invisible
    A barrier caused by an
    Unremembered nightmare

  78. Sheryl Kay Oder says:

    Diana, I loved your General Hospital poem. It is good not to be the only one doing a silly poem. So many of the poems are so sad.

  79. Okay so my name is….

    I wasn’t there—to remember
    but my Albanian family was
    at my christening and
    my thirteen year old cousin
    Basil was made my Godfather.
    There was confusion over giving me
    a name. My mother who spoke no
    English wanted Alexandra
    after her father, Alexander.
    Some how I got to be Barbara
    Go figure it.

  80. Anahbird says:

    New Baby

    She was two
    When they took her
    And left her
    With her aunt and uncle
    While Mommy went to the hospital
    To have another baby
    She was confused
    She was the baby
    How could they have
    Another baby
    Everyone talked
    About the new baby
    They were all excited
    It was a boy.
    But she did not understand.
    They were abandoning her
    Replacing her
    With this new baby
    And she would have none of it
    So
    When Mommy finally came home
    With this new baby;
    She bit him
    On his little baby thumb.

  81. Diane says:

    Debra, I’m sorry about your mother-in-law.

  82. Carla Cherry says:

    April 19

    Thirty-eight years ago
    my father held up five fingers
    when asked how many children
    he wanted
    and my mother
    held her hands to her face
    in feigned surprise.
    In their wedding album
    they are standing still
    downcast eyes
    hands locked.

    Today
    my sister is 34
    I am 36

    I would have baked
    my parents a cake
    to celebrate
    but since Daddy
    is no longer here

    I didn’t see the point.

    I hope when I awake tomorrow
    I will be able to smile
    when I think of Daddy
    holding me as I took my first steps
    or holding my hand
    on our way home to see
    my newborn baby sister.

  83. Diane says:

    It’s amazing any of us make it through childhood! Bonnie, Drano?? Mike, the toddler terror! And Robin, your poem is NOT pathetic. It’s a great description.
    I have a lot of early memories, so it’s hard to find something I’ve been told but don’t remember…the only one is kind of silly:

    General Hospital

    I have emphysema in my foot
    and amyocardia in my arm
    on my toe there is a cataract
    the transfusion caused me harm.

    If no one helps me soon, I’ll die
    you know I’ve got a rare disease
    from the condition in my eye
    so someone come and help me please!

    It’s in my ear
    it’s in my toe
    I mean, it’s here
    Oh, I don’t know!

    They tell me that when I was three
    I was exposed and caught it all
    I caught it all from the TV
    watching "General Hospital"!

    (Now I get to go back and enter my posts for the previous two days…I admire those of you who post every day on time!)

  84. Khara House says:

    :hello … goodbye:

    an old swing set
    with two old friends
    hello

    feet pressed skyward
    reaching to a heaven unknown
    goodbye

    playtime laughter
    gaining heights and holding hands
    hello.

    fog-lost memories
    back pressed soft to solid ground
    goodbye.

    swings forgotten—
    farmhouse distant, left behind
    hello …

    friends forever—
    remembrance in a pendulum swing
    … goodbye

  85. Jolanta Laurinaitis says:

    Nightmares I don’t remember

    You say that
    I kick and toss
    I grind and sliently scream
    I moan and cry
    As the pictures run
    Through my dreams
    Hurt, pain, loss
    Chasing, running
    Fighting, sinking
    And gasp awake!
    I see your eyes
    Filled with concern
    As you wake me from
    My nightmare

  86. Judy Stewart says:

    Day 19 stories from the past!

    Once again the mind goes blank
    to find a stash of memories
    Not that there are none
    but who to ask to get the one
    the one to make into a poem
    A poem to tell the world of something
    I might have done when I was young,
    or asleep or drunk! Oh my!
    I have to phone some one
    to dig up the past on me!

    This is just a first attempt to stall for time!
    I will try to get another one done!

  87. Virginia Snowden says:

    4/19/08 –

    Once Upon A Time

    Once upon a time, my sister was all that was on my mind
    Ever where she went I just had to be
    Everything that she was I wanted to achieve
    On this special we kids went outside to play
    It was a bright and shiny happy day
    Suddenly this boy made my big sister cry
    Mad it made me and so I gave him an angry sigh
    I chased this boy up and down the street
    With this huge stick much bigger than me
    From that day forth everyone knew
    Don’t mess with Catherine or you would have to mess with Jenny to.

  88. Great poems today as usual, sorry I have not said so today, but my mother in law is dying and they are only giving her little time. Next week is her 73rd birthday.
    Debra

  89. Robin says:

    i struggle through
    knowing only darkness
    but craving light

    my lungs cry out
    for air
    my heart for mother

    bright lights
    noise and bustle
    stun me

    but then I breathe
    my cry is triumphant
    the nurse carries me

    mother is crying
    i am crying
    i must sleep

    nurses hold me
    feed me
    and sing me, halfheartedly, to sleep

    who are these crying people
    who hold me?
    love me?

    they don’t even know me?
    they are taking me home
    relieved to have their family.

    thank you God
    for giving me this family
    and making me a part of it.

    did you treat my mother half as well?

    Oh Gosh…is this pathetic or what?!

  90. Judy Stewart says:

    I think I am going to write yesterdays poem and think about todays!
    Poem for day 18 using a phrase

    Hello, are you out there?
    hello, are you out there?

    There is no connection

    Hello, how are you?
    Hello, how are you?

    There is no connection

    Good bye, I don’t want to talk to you!
    Good bye, I dont want to talk to you!

    You are only and echo in a canyon
    You are only and echo in a canyon!

  91. Michelle H. says:

    Sleep-walking

    When I was in college
    And sleeping in the nude
    I decided to get up and go
    To class stark naked

    My roommate
    Stopped me at the door
    Led me back to my bed
    And for this, she has
    My everlasting gratitude!

    April 19, 2008
    © Michelle H.
    (This is a true story!! I’m so thankful she was awake and stopped me – I was completely mortified when I heard about it the next morning!!)

  92. This one took me several attempts to get out, but here it is!

    Riding the Wind

    Maybe it was anger at being replaced
    as the baby of the family,
    or the fact that my mother was away
    for the first time ever,
    or because I just didn’t like the neighbor girl.
    I’ll never know the reason—
    I was only three—
    but whatever compelled me
    sent me flying out of the village
    on my Hot Wheels ® tricycle,
    straight to the plant
    where my dad was in a meeting.
    When the clerk announced
    to that room of men,
    that some toddler was out front,
    screaming for her daddy,
    my dad smiled and said,
    “Bet you that’s my Sara!”

  93. Liza says:

    A Playmate

    I was just visiting
    while my parents had fun.
    I didn’t want to be there,
    so maybe that’s why I did it.

    An act of rebellion
    at such a young age,
    which must have been
    when I was toddler.

    I can imagine myself
    stomping my feet
    anxious to go home
    to my lovely room.

    Instead I was stuck here
    in this little boy’s room
    passing the time
    with his boring games.

    Being the self-absorbed
    toddler that I’m sure is the norm,
    I picked up a can of powder
    with an impish grin on my face.

    I decided to create some snow,
    or maybe a mess for his parents,
    then again maybe it was a sure fire
    way for me to finally go home.

    I tossed the poder all over
    and on top of this little boy’s head.
    He must have cried for his parents
    since they saw my beautiful creation.

    I’m told it was all quite a mess
    that had them all in giggles.
    I feel that wasn’ entirely the case
    since I never met him again.

  94. maeve63 says:

    My brain is absent today.
    Memories come and go but short term loss
    well that’s another story;
    to know you can’t recall the very thing you were
    in the middle of saying, gad.
    Your own, tell you what you were suppose
    to do that day. Creating an insecurity unfelt
    since the first lunch line.
    Even the cat feels the need to remind you that
    it’s time to eat.

  95. M J Dills says:

    On a late summer day
    Just before the wind whispers autumn
    In delicate lace
    Pink chiffon
    The photo is black and white
    So how could I know
    Unless having been told
    The little girl
    In the green grass
    Gleeful
    Arms spread wide
    Grin stretched from cheek to cheek
    A white cake
    On a crystal pedestal
    I have accomplished
    Once full year
    Of a rich life

  96. Rodney C. Walmer says:

    Iain, the other cd is titled Argus, the cover blew me away, so I ordered it. Have not listened to it yet though.

    Rod.

  97. Kateri Woody says:

    "Worst Poem I’ve Written in Years"

    I once told her
    that I loved her;
    that she made me feel
    naughty and nice things
    that I hadn’t remembered
    ever feeling in many
    many years.

    But I don’t know
    whether I told her,
    that flouncy, bouncy
    tart of a woman
    before or after I
    tried to kill her
    via amusement park rocket;
    or if it was I
    who said it at all.

  98. Kevin says:

    I don’t recall
    the way the lasso
    roped the new TV,
    the way the coiled rope
    slashed across
    the black and white screen.
    I don’t recall
    asking pretty please
    if I could lasso
    the surly beast
    and take it capture
    in our game.
    I don’t recall
    the busy reply,
    the nod, the ‘sure’
    you gave me
    from the other room.
    You came to life
    when we ran on past
    with TV dragging behind,
    A crazy bull
    of sparks and light.
    I don’t recall
    the way you screamed
    and died a death
    of devastation
    as the damage was done.
    I don’t recall
    the laughter later,
    when you blamed yourself
    for the fallen beast,
    as it sat a cowboy conquest
    upon the darkened curb.

  99. Deb Hill says:

    April 19, day 19

    Taking Out Loud

    Many moments I don’t remember,
    from deep within my sleep
    I’m told I could wake the dead and bring
    children to my feet
    The children call it crazy, but
    all have fallen prey
    Even children grown and on their own
    I call them too they say
    The ones at home do wake with a start
    and hurry to my bed
    Till the truth of their discovery,
    starts the shaking of their heads
    Poor old tired Momma is just
    dreaming under her spread.

  100. Sarah says:

    Vocabulary

    I was smaller than most two-year-olds,
    no hair but a long wisp at the nape,
    dark blue eyes lost in a little face.
    The painting was nothing special,
    a simple, bland landscape–
    one or two trees, a field.
    But something about it touched me.
    I pointed at it and spoke.
    My mother was shocked that I had
    even heard the word somewhere,
    let alone knew how to say it.
    She didn’t think anyone would
    believe that her toddler spoke
    a perfectly intelligible complete sentence:
    "Oh, Mom, that is gorgeous!"

  101. Nancy says:

    Remember When Jeannie

    An Anglo-Saxon trait passed down from
    tribe to tribe, now every family honors
    the collective memory, the modern scop.

    We call ours "Remember When Jeannie."
    The stories we forgot to record
    in our baby books, she holds in her
    steel trap mind.
    "Remember when you let Debbie iron your hair?"
    She asks if I remember when she first learned to read
    and figured out that the sign on my bathroom door
    said, "Keep Out! And that means you, stupid!"
    She says she sad and cried because I had called her stupid.

    No I don’t remember, I’m ashamed to say
    that so many things I didn’t write down
    because I thought I’d never forget,
    Thank God she didn’t .
    My babies’ first words, the high school
    heartbreaks I’ve long forgotten
    that made such an impression
    on my sister, nine years younger.

    Remember When Jeannie, I hope someone else
    is remembering for you.

  102. Bruce Niedt says:

    Cigarette Machine

    My mother and grandmother loved to tell stories
    of my precocity, how I could read as early as three –
    or so they claimed. They said they realized this
    when I’d go with them to the cigarette machine
    and pick out each brand – Winstons, Chesterfield Kings,
    Camels, Pall Malls. Maybe it was just pattern recognition –
    the Pall Mall package, for example, was almost solid red –
    but they claimed it was proof of early genius..

    No doubt, I’d even help them get their favorites –
    they slipped coins in the slot and I pulled
    the glass-knobbed lever that released the package
    with a "ker-chunk" to the bottom tray. Maybe I made
    faces in the mirror – all cigarette machines had mirrors,
    I’m not sure why. They were everywhere – in the diner,
    the bus station, the office, the bowling alley. It was cool
    and sexy to smoke – the crewcut man with the skinny tie,
    the platinum blonde in shirtwaist and pearls, sharing
    a cigarette break. Even doctors smoked on TV.

    My grandmother died of lung cancer
    about eight years ago, a smoker almost to the end.
    My mother died not long after. If only I had the power
    to see the future then, instead of the power of early reading,
    I’d stop their hands before the coins went down
    and the Pall Malls or Winstons came out.
    Instead, I went on reading like some prodigy.
    I never quite lived up to that.

  103. Carol Brian says:

    Past and Present

    I call my older sister, figuring she’d know.
    “Tell me a story about myself I’ve never heard.”
    She’s helping her son with homework.
    “When you were two and I was ten
    I got mad at mom and ran away with you.”
    “Why’d you take me?”
    “Didn’t want to leave you with them. I liked you.”
    She tells her son she’ll help him in a minute.
    “So I got some graham crackers and a diaper
    and propped you up in the back of the wagon.
    Mom knew. I went all the way to the stop sign
    and around the corner. Far enough
    so mom couldn’t see.”
    “Why’d you come back?”
    “I realized I couldn’t take care of both of us.
    Besides I’d made my point.” She laughs.
    In the background I hear her son say,
    “I’m getting out the graham crackers.”

    Carol Brian

  104. Linda says:

    Memory Forsaken
    (For the Cousin Never Known)

    The photo black and white
    sepia-stained at the crimped corner,
    me laughing, snug on Auntie’s hip
    a bag of taters and her, not twenty,
    bouffant hair, pursed lips and puppy-sad eyes,
    evoke dreamy deja-vues of distant toddler-hood
    in her mother’s house: the creaking staircase;

    packing boxes of books – Honey Bunch
    and Bobbsey Twins – closet cached
    under summer-hot eaves; the cuckoo clock
    that magically played the Batman theme;
    the sun slanting into the dormered room
    each morning; cider-tinged orchards
    and shiny buckeyes to collect; chipmunks skittering

    over lichen-lacquered stone walls;
    the cool dank cellar of glittering glass,
    jars of relish and ‘maters hiding half-full bottles
    of gin; the scent of sadness creeping round corners
    hushed and still; Auntie weeping, always weeping,
    for a daughter she will never know,
    holding me instead. Holding me.


    This poem is pretty rough but for me a pretty powerful one. Today’s prompt elicited in me two reactions: a desire to remember my grandmother’s house and another to reflect on the decision of my now-deceased Aunt to give up a daughter born out of wedlock. This is one of those family secrets that not even her legitimate children know. The two disparate ideas came together when I gazed at a photo propped on my desk of my Aunt holding me on her hip at this time (I was about 14 months old). Even though I have kept this photo by my desk for over a year, for the first time I realized it was taken in my grandmother’s kitchen. This will definitely be plumbed more in May.

    Beautiful, heart-aching poems today. I am always humbled here by your talent… Peace, Linda

  105. Jeanette J. McAdoo says:

    SINGING

    A friend of mine and I were talking on the phone,
    To another friend of ours so together we were three.
    Was quiet for a while I felt like I was alone,
    But then I was told I went on a singing spree.

    I couldn’t believe what I heard didn’t think it true,
    Never again was I told of such an act again.
    It could have happened I suppose although I never knew,
    It’s been so very long ago I can barely remember when.

  106. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Last one… I’m off to bed…

    OK, so maybe there’s this one thing…

    My grandmother to whom I was devoted
    Owned a Mink coat which I hated
    But she didn’t know better
    Not back then
    She was poor
    And it was her one treasure

    And so, Ok! Maybe there’s this one thing
    There’s a photo of me
    With a monkey, in a store
    Big London department store
    Maybe Selfridges? Don’t know

    Anyway, me, monkey, cute!
    I’ve got short pants and an anorak
    Blue, quilted. Don’t remember monkey
    And the photo is black and white

    But that anorak was blue
    And the monkey and me were
    Both very, very cute
    But, and here it comes

    I am so appalled that a store kept
    Wild animals for such a vain
    Marketing gimmick, it sickens me
    But it was the sixties and like grandma

    They didn’t know any better…

  107. halfmoon_mollie says:

    they have pictures of me
    with a green lollipop
    almost as big as my head
    it’s almost the same color
    as my eyes, a kind of hazel
    and it was sticky. The photo
    faded with time (it’s been
    some fifty years) shows
    a big eyed child, wooden
    lolly stick clutched in her
    hand, green goo around
    her mouth and in her hair
    and on her pink flannel shirt
    She is insufferably cute

    I remember the shirt
    it must have been a favorite
    but no memory of the moment
    when my mother must have
    told me to smile my green
    sticky smile

  108. A.C. Leming says:

    crap, ignore the double "medical" opinion, and forgive me my wine induced carelessness….and thanks for all that honesty out there today…it’s been a doozey reading some of the poems today (hell, every day!)

    a

  109. Robin Morris says:

    In which I am born

    Even her doctor said it was indigestion:
    No one just became pregnant
    for the first time at 38.

    The in-laws wondered
    why she was keeping it secret
    when she did not know herself.

    After the little miracle is brought back from the hospital
    any friend who does not visit or send congratulations
    will never be forgiven.

    Needing help with formula, bathing,
    She hires a chain-smoking woman
    with long red fingernails.

    I wonder if I loved her.

  110. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Hey, Lori! Thanks for that. I noticed a few people today who have said the same about their early days… maybe a poet thang, I don’t know…

    I should not say in public but the last piece I posted is perhaps My (for me) best in years… The thing yesterday, the ramble, don’t live there any more but used to.. gave me the creeps to read it back.

    Thanks agin for the flattery, I like your work too!

  111. Sally DiUlus says:

    PAD Challenge Day 19 Poetic Asides
    From Robert Lee Brewer: prompt – you need to write a poem about a moment (or moments) you can’t remember yourself that are about yourself.

    “Someone else’s story about you that you wouldn’t know to tell” poem, shared by my Mother.
    April 19, 2008

    "UP ONE MORE TIME"

    Clinking silverware against the plates
    Swirls of dinner party conversation
    Must have sparked her curiosity,
    Do not get out of bed
    Again!
    Four times I told
    My tot of three,
    Stay in bed!
    I went in to check on her
    One last time
    But I couldn’t get in her bedroom.
    The door was closed
    And wouldn’t budge open even when I pushed on it.
    Not wanting to interrupt the flow
    Of conversation in the dining room
    I pushed on that darn door until
    It opened a snippet, big enough for tiny me
    To get in
    There, in her pajamas, lying on her blanket,
    With her stuffed dog, ‘Gawky’ — she was too young
    To be able to say Doggie –
    Right against the crack of the door,
    She lay sound asleep
    So, I took a photograph,
    Because she looked so funny
    And I knew someday we would laugh about this.
    When I picked her up and put her into her bed,
    She never even woke up.
    Sally DiUlus sdiulus@cefe.org

  112. Lori says:

    Iain,

    I felt similiarly when reading this prompt. The memories I can’t remember aren’t pleasant or humorous or would hurt too many people to share in poetry form. They are not where I am anymore or who I am anymore. But I realized the blessing in this prompt is to realize that life has changed and it is different, and that’s good.

    Yours have been some of my favorite poems this month- I say cheerfully insane is a great place to be!

  113. Lori says:

    Concussions

    I fell on my head,
    twice I am told,
    climbing from a crib
    and jumping off the fridge.
    I believe, I thought
    I was Superman.

    Some things never change.

  114. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Yeah, I know, its mad… I just read it back. But don’t worry I am cheerfully insane & hope to remain so..

  115. Susan M. Bell says:

    (OK, I’ve gone back and forth with this. I’ve written two different poems and then combined them into this one. It still feels unfinished to me, but I think I need to step away from it and work on it more some time down the road.)

    Fuzzy Memories

    Today I am asked to write a poem about a time in my life
    that I can’t remember. A time others remember for me. I
    look back and wonder how I am going to do this. I didn’t
    grow up with my brothers or sister, and we’re not in touch
    now, so there’s no asking them. I’ve moved more times than
    I can count, and have left many friends behind, so there’s no
    help there either. I sit in front of the computer and think

    back to a time many years ago when my parents were still
    married, and there was a semblance of family in our house.
    There is the story about the time my father was working on
    the roof of our garage. He thinks I was about 3. He heard a
    noise behind him, turned around and there I was. I obviously
    wasn’t scared of heights back then. He was the one scared;
    scared that if he said anything, I would be startled and
    tumble off the roof. He calmly picked me up and carried me
    down the ladder. I have no memory of this. I also have almost

    no memory of a night over 15 years later, a night I would rather
    forget. My last clear vision of that night is of a second tequila
    shot, which should have been my last. I was told later on that I
    was chasing the shots with beer before the night was over. I hate
    beer. I woke up the next morning in a bed that wasn’t mine,
    with someone whose name I couldn’t recall, with vague

    memories of laughter when he was too drunk the night before
    to do much of anything except pass out. There are fuzzy bits
    and pieces of that night floating around in my head, but they
    remain distant, feeling more like a dream than the drunken
    reality of a hot summer night nearly 20 years ago. Then there
    is the hot summer night when I fell in love with the other half

    of my soul. He remembers it differently than I do. I remember
    long hot kisses and being seduced as we parked near the little
    league baseball diamond under a crescent moon. He remembers
    long hot kisses and me seducing him instead. Either way, the
    moon is the same, and here we are almost 17 years later,
    remembering things the way we want to.

  116. Iain D. Kemp says:

    As it comes (free writing in the post box)

    We’ll be leaving this town in the morning
    Tomorrow we’ll be able to see…

    When I was a baby my mum put scotch in my milk
    so I wud shut the fuck up and sleep and it worked

    When I was eighteen I drank so much malt whisky
    it made me sick, now I can’t touch the stuff
    But I know what’s good and what’s not…

    Me? I drink rum. Seven year old Cuban with coke
    Its the best there is
    Watch me join the Circus watch me steal the show
    There ain’t no easy money, ain’t no easy road

    Life can be sung in a thousand lyrics, if you like the band
    Sometimes you have to write your own
    Ten years ago my life changed, not beter, not worse just elsewhere and as it goes, thats good enuff for me

    It makes me want to try and understand,
    Everybody needs a helping hand
    Those that need me may not read this but
    thats OK cos they know, they know…

    And so do I…

    Goodnight sweet prince for thou art but a frog in drag.

    Way to cool to be real. And thats(more or less) the truth.

  117. Sara McNulty says:

    A Moment in Time

    Three years old and riding on a
    Subway with my mother. Cane seats worn
    And shredding, women complaining of runs
    In their nylons which catch on stray strips

    They tell me I was a `pincher’ in my
    Toddler years and Mom never knew
    When it would happen or who the
    Victim(s) would be or how they would take it

    Mom and I sit in seats facing others, men
    All wearing hats and reading newspapers
    But then, a group of nuns in full habit sit down
    “Who are those funny ladies?” I yell

    I had never seen a nun before, and
    Demanded an explanation. Impatient with
    Mom’s apologies to the women in black and white,
    I launch out of my seat, over to the nuns and pinch their knees.

  118. Sheryl Kay Oder says:

    This is about a dream I remember clearly. What I did not know was I managed to reach out and scratch my husband’s nose. He had to tell me about that. As the poem title states, the evidence was there.

    This is my favorite kind of poem to write—sheer silliness.

    The Evidence

    I remember the dream quite clearly.
    I thought he had loved me so dearly.

    He told me I was not exciting,
    an equal response inviting.

    I said neither was he so hot,
    but more than a retort he got.

    I do not remember my reaching,
    A lesson for him to be teaching.

    But soon he did me awaken.
    My actions had left him so shaken.

    He nose had a streak rather red,
    For I had wounded him in bed.

    Oh, what would he tell people tomorrow?
    It was such embarrassment and sorrow.

    Sheryl Kay Oder

    Now would be as good a time as any to say although it would be fun to continue this after this month, I cannot continue to do something every day. The poem below, a poetry class exercise I once wrote will explain, I am sure.

    In This House

    In this house the cobwebs
    are creeping out the windows,
    to meet the climbing ivy.

    Books are piled so high
    an avalanche could occur.

    The poet, in quiet contemplation,
    unaware of impending domestic doom,
    sweeps the extra words from the page
    cleaning up the meter of his lines.

    Sheryl Kay Oder

  119. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Rod, the live album is basically the concert I wrote about. Glad you like it, I’m listening to Wishbone IV right now. Its 01:33 here & whisky time!!

  120. Ang says:

    On the Bus

    Blonde hair, blue eyes
    In a sea of brown
    She didn’t know
    She was the minority
    She didn’t know
    It wasn’t nice to say
    She’d heard it said often
    In her three and a half years

    She was riding to Grandma’s
    They were riding to freedom
    "Mama, what are all those niggers doin’ on the bus?"

    Forty years later she heard the story
    For the first time
    But this time
    She knew why.

  121. Rodney C. Walmer says:

    Iain, that was an interesting poem. So far they have only sent me two of the four cd’s I had ordered. Have only listened to the live one so far, it’s pretty good stuff. I am surprised I had never heard of them before. I find them very talented artists. I thank you for turning me on to them.

    Rod.

  122. Iain D. Kemp says:

    OMG… Beth, thank you, todays prompt has tortured me me but now I can go to bed thinking of a 6 tr old wagging her finger at a tortoise and saying: bite me & I’ll bite yur scaly ass!! I am crying at the image.Thanks, I needed that.. MWAH!

  123. Rodney C. Walmer says:

    Untitled 1001\

    He sat there
    and watched the cars go by
    he was waiting
    for what he knew not
    just debating
    though why
    he had forgot. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 4/19/08 Inspired by nothing in particular. This poem has no title.

  124. Omavi Ndoto says:

    "No, Really, I Didn’t Think I Could Fly"

    Something always told me something
    Was extremely wrong with that girl
    Never did believe that lie about sisterly love
    Even back then she loved me but never liked me
    Played with me but always whooped me
    Even now I don’t know if it’s just jealousy
    Or maybe she just wants to see how far she can push me

    But something always told me she wasn’t screwed on right
    Sitting at the second story of our great-grandmothers house
    Enjoying a beautiful day as great-grandpa harassed the chickens
    And great-grandma had a chew and something strong to drink

    Looking out the window, laughing and playing
    Begging great-grandpa to twist that chicken’s neck again
    Hiding and giggling
    At the woman’s menacing scowl
    Knowing if she had to get up from her chair
    It would be the end of us

    Then all of the sudden, I think she lost her mind
    Or at least that’s what I hope
    But while falling through the air
    I could only hope that this was not my end of time

    Thank god for great-grandpa hands always so strong
    As he scooped me from the air, keeping me from harm
    And many times I am thankful that that day is one
    My memory forgot
    But always leave it up to the family
    To always bring it up

  125. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Beth: LOL

  126. Beth Browne says:

    Wow, this was a tough one.

    Here is my effort:

    Banana Shoes

    I am six years old in the picture,
    sitting astride a tortoise,
    twice my size.
    I guess it was a petting zoo
    and I am grinning with delight.
    My mom says that after she snapped
    the picture,
    with the old Polaroid camera,
    the tortoise caught sight of my yellow
    sneakers and thinking it was a tasty
    treat, tried to take a bite.
    I don’t remember any of this
    but the creature’s head was at least
    as big as mine,
    her mouth much wider
    and I guess I should be glad
    I still have both feet.

  127. Iain D. Kemp says:

    I’ve never faced my childhood nor shall I
    But in 19 days I’ve never seen more honesty
    Or bearing of the soul and now I feel guilty
    cos I can’t do the same, not this time
    Not for this prompt. I’ve moved on
    In my life and I cannot go back
    For once (and I hope for all) I write and feel
    and think for me and the future and looking back
    is not for now but whence I came and I pray (in my own way)
    that tomorrow Robert Lee gives me the muse that I can use
    To tell you who I am…
    Although I am am small and not worthy but sometimes
    quite funny…
    Though I say it myself.

  128. A.C. Leming says:

    Early Stoic

    Missing his own child
    the fly-in Doctor played
    on the floor with me.

    Running his hands over
    my shoulders, he turned
    to my parents and asked,

    “When did she break her
    collarbone?” “She never
    broke her collarbone,”

    came the confused reply.
    “Oh, yes she did.” His
    confident medical medical

    opinion opened their
    eyes to my bizarre
    slow development – I

    didn’t roll over, sit up or
    start to crawl on time. The
    apprehension of rearing

    a ‘special child’ in the Bush
    with no real special education
    laid to rest. Spurred on by

    by sibling rivalry, I barely
    beat my younger sister to
    her hands and knees, pain

    forgotten as I raced to
    discover the new and
    ambulatory world around me.

  129. satia says:

    How I Never Met My Father

    He knocks uninvited
    The father I have never known
    And my mother does not invite him
    Pass the fortress of her threshold
    Tells him to go away
    Not even accepting the gifts
    He carries to charm me,
    His anonymous daughter.

    He protests that
    He’s my father and he wants
    To get to know me now
    On my second birthday
    But she won’t let him enter
    Our home or lives
    And, turned away, accuses her
    Of being a bitch.

  130. Alfred J Bruey says:

    Memories (#19)

    It was back in 1954 that
    I got my Nobel Prize in Chemistry
    which was rather strange because
    I knew nothing about Chemistry
    and then I received the Nobel
    Peace Prize for 1962 and I
    can’t remember that but I
    think that’s what my mother
    told me but maybe she told me
    that Linus Pauling won those
    two prizes. I can’t really
    remember what she told me.

  131. Naked in the River

    It is one of those things you can’t forget.
    I remember that I was around twelve
    and with some neighbor friends I went to swim,
    a nearby brook was an everyday thrill
    where here and there was a pool with good depth.
    I dove in after all my clothes I left
    on a cleaned area of the river bank,
    it was like we always did in the past
    thinking that everything was cool and safe.

    While in the water we saw these two girls,
    they were our neighbors and also school friends.

    They came to us with some smiles on their faces,
    with everything around they were playing…
    They said that our clothes were way too dirty
    and that someone need to take care of them.
    They took all our clothes and left us out there
    with nothing but the air to come back home,
    the walk towards home was about a mile long
    with some green plantain leaves around us as belts.
    They left us there naked, with no regrets.

  132. Lyn Sedwick says:

    Ice Skating

    When I was 3, I’m told, I was so intent
    On learning to ice skate that I accosted
    Total strangers on the ice skating rink
    In Washington Park in Milwaukee,
    And asked them to “help me skate,”
    Or so my parents say. Incredible now
    To think that my parents would allow
    Strangers to hold my hand and take me around
    The rink, and incredible that strangers did this,
    But to me most incredible that I was
    So extroverted, something that I don’t think
    Made it to my conscious personality.

    Lyn Sedwick

  133. Jane Penland Hoover says:

    At Two

    My father sailing in
    Japanese deep waters
    Had left us
    At his parent’s house

    Each night my mother
    Coming late to bed
    Thinking her small girl
    Sleeping
    My mother sobbed
    Stuffed pain into her pillow
    For her fear for him
    And all whose names
    She typed that day
    Western Union telegrams
    To each family
    Abbreviated by this news

    My mother says
    “You can’t remember
    You were only two.”

    And yet I think I hear
    A family whispering
    Words of scripture
    Their voices singing prayer
    “Care for Sailors
    Tossing on blue seas.”
    Remember
    My mother slipping in
    Close enough
    I stretch my too short arm
    Longing for us all
    I think

    ©Jane Penland Hoover
    April 19, 2008

  134. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Hey, Rod how you getting on with the Ash? If you’re a country boy I figure either ya do o’ ya don’t???

  135. patti williams says:

    Linda – loved it! That could have been me!
    Kimberly – thank you. That’s what it really feels like even now, just bits and pieces I’ve got to deal with.

  136. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Sooo…I thought about this for a long time & just so you don’t all think I’m either dark or funny. This the day I was born. I have no input & for the ONLY time the pain was just mty mothers…

    Poem time now…

    Day_19_ The day I was born.

    The day I was born Blackburn won the cup
    They beat Spurs 2-1, it’s in the Almanac
    My father stayed at home and washed the net
    Curtains which it turned out were held
    Together by coal dust

    Just like me he never saw the match
    But just like me he remembers the result
    By half time he had those curtains washed
    I had arrived and no match could be lost
    He had won; he had a son, 1-0 to DBK

    I only wish the rest of my childhood could have been so sweet…

  137. Kimberly K says:

    Patty,

    bits and pieces.
    that repetition is very strong.
    thanks,
    k

  138. Kimberly K says:

    my perfect world
    ruined.
    from center
    of the universe
    those that once
    orbited
    my sunny smile
    are over there
    always with
    her
    she cries
    she demands
    everyone
    coos
    smiles
    laughs
    at her
    even
    my grandmother
    my best friend
    holds her

    "Please, gram?"
    I ask
    "Anything"
    she smiles.
    "Please gram
    put her back
    in Mommy’s
    tummy.

  139. patti williams says:

    I’m posting another – not as happy as the first!

    Grandpa

    There are bits and pieces of memory
    Hands groping
    Touching a little girl
    That was me.
    There are bits and pieces
    That still today
    Torture the woman
    That is me.
    The bits and pieces
    He left behind
    Are still mine
    Even though he is dead.

  140. Linda Brown says:

    Retribution

    My forty year old son
    reminds me of the time
    after supper
    I threw the dishes
    and broke most every one
    because I was angry
    at his father
    over something
    he did/didn’t do
    three years before
    I divorced him
    and the reason
    he remembers
    after all this time
    is because he still
    thinks it’s funny
    that my only comment
    was “At least
    they were dirty.”

  141. Linda Brown says:

    I seem to stay a day behind! both are here.
    First one is true also – death of 38-year-old after battle with cancer.

    Funeral Home Visitation

    Chris’ open casket,
    paying my respects
    -there is no connection-
    A roomful of flowers that reminds
    me of death
    -there is no connection-
    Standing in line wondering what to say,
    my husband by my side
    -there is no connection-
    Chris’ young wife weeping,
    Greeting, hugging,
    -there is no connection-
    The years of chemo, stem
    cell transplant,
    -there is no connection-
    Her own widowed mother saying
    “A mother never wants this for her child”
    -there is no connection-
    Chris’ mother, looking brave,
    “He fought till the very end”
    -there is no connection-
    Wondering what we’ll do when we get home,
    my denial, over and over
    -there is no connection-

    ————————–

  142. Too soon

    Just one of those times
    when all goes amiss.
    From what I’ve been told,
    it happened like this.
    I’d just spent a month
    confined to my home
    and from cabin fever
    depressed I had grown.
    On my first night out
    I decided to drink,
    unfortunately
    I just didn’t think
    of the antibiotics
    that I had been on
    about a week before,
    if even that long.
    It started just fine,
    the first pint or two.
    I’d started to forget
    what I had been through.
    Then all of a sudden,
    around pint number four,
    I’d turned much more pale
    than I’d been before.
    I said ‘I don’t feel well",
    though that was quite clear
    and obviously
    it wasn’t just the beer.
    I sat for a while
    thinking that it might pass.
    Returning, of course,
    to draining my glass.
    But it only got worse
    so I went to the phone
    in order to call
    to get a ride home.
    By morning it seemed
    that it had gone away.
    The illness had passed
    and I felt ok,
    but I’d learned a lesson
    that I’ll always recall.
    Antibiotics
    don’t go with alcohol.

  143. Connie says:

    Humble Beginnings

    What Mom remembers is that
    on the day of my birth,
    since I was the fourth child,
    I came very suddenly and
    she barely made it the fourteen miles
    to the hospital.
    She didn’t have time to
    wash up the hand-me-downs so
    she had to bring me home in
    a tattered sweater.
    She always felt bad about that.

    Dad remembers that I was born
    on the first day of squirrel season,
    and he kept falling off a stump
    from being so sleepy
    from staying up all night.

    When my children were born
    I tried to tell them more interesting
    stories about their births.

  144. Shannon Rayne says:

    The Recipe

    You tell me
    I recite recipes
    in my sleep.

    Last night
    I was out of tomatoes.

    You asked
    crushed? or chopped?

    I replied
    get out of the kitched.

  145. Linda Hofke says:

    No one ever talks about a certain memory of me as a child. I’ll have to email by brothers and sister or call my parents to get some dirt. Either it is because I am the younger or I was a very behaved (or boring) kid. Anyway, instead I wrote about the memory everyone talks about in my family and in the neighborhood where I grew up. If possible, I will post one about myself at a later time.

    A Drive Down Memory Lane

    As I wait
    I wonder if it drives him crazy
    that at each neighborhood picnic
    someone mentions the day
    he managed to release the handbrake
    of the old station wagon
    Dad had parked on the hill
    outside our house.

    Perhaps he wanted to play Speed Racer,
    or maybe he was simply unaware
    of the result his action would bring.
    He certainly couldn’t know
    the detoured course he travelled,
    unable to see beyond the steering wheel
    he clutched in his tiny hands,
    coasting downward,
    off the street,
    and in the direction of
    Mr. Nieman’s tree.

    And as he pulls up,
    my permit gripped in my hand,
    I am eager for my next lesson,
    thinking how ironic it is
    that my big brother is the one
    teaching me to drive,
    but I trust he won’t steer me wrong.
    Afterall, he’s been driving
    since he was 4.

  146. Mario Jaime says:

    Friends All Along

    My Mami has been telling me
    Of the boy that I used to be
    I would get up at four A.M.
    And watched the stars as they all gleam
    Not only that, I’d speak to them
    And laugh and cry and talk with them
    She never knew why I’d do that
    A three year old ask the stars "What?"

    And now that I’m a little older
    About this anecdote, I wonder
    What did I used to ramble about
    And go to the window and look out?
    I was practicing my making friends
    Then why am I so scared of the end
    Scared that even then I’ll be lonely?
    The stars will always be friends to me.

    (And yesterday’s prompt, because I completely forgot it.)

    Disappointing

    Erin was just a sad little orphan
    Foster home to foster home, an orphan
    She couldn’t wait to get away from them
    Then she met a widowed man. She loved him
    He taught Erin everything she would need
    Her mind became Eden with not one weed

    Against all odds, she became successful
    For the old man, she was always thankful
    She wanted a test, was he her father?
    The letter arrived a few weeks later
    Read to herself, with anticipation
    She looked up, said "There is no connection"

  147. Maria Jacketti says:

    When I Try to Remember

    most of this life,
    only a wash of grey paint,
    anoints the canvas,
    waves of the dark Atlantic
    capable of swallowing the world,
    turning even the greatest whale
    into a gumdrop.

    And it seems that I am
    only born this moment
    with the potential of chipping
    away to the graffiti beneath
    the monotonous cover-up;
    swimming below the sludge,
    archeologist of this life,
    and perhaps more.

    Maria
    Jacketti

  148. The Last Time I Leaned out a Window

    It was one of those New York days
    when steam rises from the sidewalk.
    Warm air, oppressive as a wool blanket,
    drifts through the open window.

    I hear barking in the courtyard
    six floors below. I climb
    on the sill, lean out the window,
    stare at the snarling dogs.

    Large hands pull me back,
    turn me over a cotton-clad knee
    and, for the first and last time,
    spank me.

  149. Karen says:

    4-19-08

    Bookbaby

    I see myself, looking into my head,
    From the story my mother told me.
    How I sat in the wooden playpen and turned the pages
    Of Mom’s favorite magazine.
    I don’t know how it got into my hands
    The first time,
    But she vows I never tore them once.
    Instead, the toddler I was
    Gazed at the leaves of those fragile books
    Apparently enthralled
    And wanting nothing more than to read,
    Before I ever knew what the letters spelled.
    She said I was reading words at four,
    already knew my alphabet.
    I guess at that tender age
    I assumed everyone knew how to—
    Read, that is.
    No one is surprised at this playpen anecdote.
    Not if they know me.
    Books, words, writing—they are as essential to me
    As breathing.

  150. Earl Parsons says:

    I Seem To Remember

    I seem to remember
    Not so far in my past
    When America was the greatest
    And Americans were proud
    To be called Americans
    Because we were patriotic
    And we stood together
    Against the odds
    And the world
    And the naysayers within

    I seem to remember
    When in our public school
    Education was expected
    And teachers actually taught
    From unbiased textbooks
    And acquired knowledge
    Not bent by politics
    Or personal stupidity
    And they cared for their students
    And each other

    I seem to remember
    A day when our military
    Was respected by us all
    And feared by the enemy
    Because they were powerful
    And strong
    And supported
    And victorious in all they did

    I seem to remember
    When God was our Authority
    When the flag was our symbol
    And the Bible our guide
    A day when we loved each other
    And were willing do die for freedom
    Because without it, we’re nothing

    I seem to remember
    The America our forefathers envisioned
    Unspoiled, undefeated, and united
    Hard-working men and women
    With hands together for freedom’s cause
    A force to be reckoned with
    Unmovable, and unshakable
    America at its best

    I seem to remember
    A once great nation called America
    Where has she gone?

  151. Rodney C. Walmer says:

    I certainly hope this fits the prompt

    The Fall

    I must have been about ten
    so long ago, to remember
    those details again
    I remember climbing the tree
    looking out as far as I could see
    I know I even went up higher
    so fearless, I had to be admired
    and that is all,
    I don’t remember the fall
    just waking in the hospital
    a huge cast on my leg
    it was broken the doctor said
    Mom said no game this weekend
    I knew she meant it,
    no matter how much I would beg
    I would have to get it through my head
    that I would laid up in bed
    for at least two weeks
    all because of that dumb old tree
    Now my team would lose the game
    but, in reality
    the only person I had to blame
    was me. . .

    ©Rodney C. Walmer 4/19/08 Poetry Prompt #19 based a true story of when I was ten, and the
    only bone I had broken until I was 49, but that’s another story.

  152. Wow! I cringed when I saw this prompt, but you all have been posting some really poignant work. My shout out especially to Ginger, MJBarz (goodness!), Patti and Heather.

    I had a hard time remembering something that I didn’t actually remember, but I came up with this one:

    In the ’60s

    Jack LaLanne came into our living room
    on the black and white screen,
    a picture of fitness, biceps flexed
    to bursting through the tight tee shirt.
    Sometimes, he brought out Whitey,
    the big dog (white), so I watched,
    trying to be a patient girl
    with no dog of her own.
    I don’t remember much of the exercises
    a housewife did in that decade,
    but my mother says when she tried
    to follow along, lie down to sit up
    or circle her legs through the bicycle.
    I’d see her down on the floor
    and I’d start to cry.

    Robert, thanks for making me stretch this month.

  153. Sara V,
    You made me laugh.. and think of my own kids and grandson
    Debra

  154. SaraV says:

    Water Please

    It happened in a restaurant
    Chinese I think it was
    We were eating with the
    Company President’s son
    I had publicly declared
    My absolute intent
    To be on my best behavior
    With the son of the president
    Unfortunately for me
    My evil friend was there
    He knew just how to rattle
    My corporate savoi faire
    Throughout the meal he taunted
    About topics known to gall
    And finally in frustration
    I gave a famed signal
    Not the one you’re thinking of
    Though fingers are involved
    I put my thumb to my nose
    And quick as a wink
    The waiter dashed over
    And filled all our drinks
    Everyone at our table
    Laughed themselve silly
    And thus I proved that even
    With best intents I can’t
    Be a lady
    This story would be better
    If I could remember
    That hilarious day and time
    But perhaps in my embarrasment
    It’s been deleted from my mind

  155. Vanessa O'Dwyer says:

    The Angel

    When I was a little girl
    I received a birthday angel.
    So proud I was of my little gift
    A February sash across her breast,
    A violet in her hand, forever smiling
    And turning on the spot when wound;
    A Happy Birthday song she would play.

    I showed my mother this little gift
    At which she made a frown and said,
    “You broke my angel;
    I want you to know,”
    She told me with eyes cast over.
    “And what is worse is
    That you threw mine
    Out of anger and spite – -
    During a tantrum,
    When you were two.”

    I did not remember doing this.
    I never remembered the act.
    I offered to get her a new angel,
    But she told me it wasn’t the same.
    I told her I was sorry,
    But for her that wasn’t the point.

    For she knew by telling this story,
    A story I’d never forget,
    That she would have created
    This remorseful regret
    Every time I saw my angel
    Over an act
    I was told
    I had done;
    But an act
    I’ve Never
    Remembered.

  156. Joe says:

    High Jinx

    My high school prom
    was a night to remember
    for everyone else but me.

    A pint of vodka
    in fifteen minutes,
    I guess I must have been thirsty.
    Needless to say, the rest of the night
    turned out a tad blurry.

    Running through fountains;
    taking swipes at the crowd
    you’d think I was Muhammad Ali.
    Bodyguards are what my friends
    actually turned out to be.

    When the night was done
    We’d had our fun,
    so off to the restaurant we went.

    As they went in to eat,
    they laid me in the back seat.
    Two doors wide open; glazed eyes
    staring at pavement.

  157. patti williams says:

    Heather – don’t know what to say – what a tragedy.

  158. Night Terrors

    When I was a little girl,
    One night I awoke
    On the kitchen table
    Beside the salt and pepper shakers.

    My mother tells me
    I used to dive bomb
    Out of my crib,
    That she could not build
    High enough walls to cage me.

    If anyone nears my eye
    With a finger or brush,
    I immediately recoil and tear.

    My mother tells me I ran
    Directly into her extended finger
    Around the age of three.
    I retell this forgotten story
    As my mother stabbed me in the eye.

    My father made hamburger
    Of my fist as I placed my hand
    In greased pan. Sometimes I wake
    With heated palms. I would later dream
    That my sister was cooking our mother
    And our mother was still talking to us.

    But the oddest of all memories
    Is a white dress hovering
    In the linen pantry mirror,
    And my mother asking me
    Why I was in the closet that night.

  159. Bonnie says:

    Sorry that I fell behind on my submissions. I am a nurse and I have been working a lot of overtime. Hopefully I will get caught up this week on the days I’ve missed. I was getting discouraged and tempted to quit, but I am determined to have 30 poems submitted by the end of this month.

    Drinking Drano

    Under the sink
    In easy reach
    Of little hands and a curious mind
    Sat a can with colorful writing
    That was all too easy to find
    "Drano" said the label
    Though the name I could not read
    With a warning saying to not ingest
    But I gave the warning no heed
    They say I opened the can up
    And drank the contents down
    Though I can’t remember the odor
    Or the taste of the liquid I had found
    I don’t recall the anguish
    I caused my mom and dad
    Or the ride to the doctor
    To treat the injuries that I had

  160. Heather says:

    The Pool

    It has been mentioned several times
    Throughout my life
    That I have failed
    Left her to die

    Each year the trek was made
    Whether want or dismay
    Packed into an impossible space
    Windows sealed
    Smoke billowing into
    Tender lungs

    Fourteen hours seemed like days
    Silent stretches of sandy white
    Blistering heat
    Eager feet racing towards
    The unknown

    Our stop was always the same
    Some clever name
    Depicting scenic wants

    Splendor came in the form
    Of water clear and blue
    Confined by blinding shades of manmade materials

    All those miles
    To choose an experience
    Available anywhere

    Habit dictated each day’s events
    Carnival rides
    Cotton candy
    Shirley Temples
    Swimming
    Sunburns

    I’ve been told that on the last day
    I failed
    Left her to die

    Just the two of us
    Age three and five
    Unattended
    In a pool

    Truth be told
    I never noticed her absence

    Alarm set in as clothed adults
    Jumped in
    Her lifeless body was retrieved from the bottom
    Of our summer splendor

    Flashing lights
    Chaos
    Crying

    After some time
    The uniformed men were able to
    Pump her back into
    Being
    And I was grateful

    To this day
    I am asked
    How I could have missed her
    Slipping away
    And did I push her
    Into the deepest part of
    The pool

  161. I Have the Picture and Sweater to Prove It

    "Stop it, you’re hurting
    my daddy" they say I cried at
    Aunt Dodie, Mom and others
    being playful in the snow.
    My daddy, tall in his
    khaki Air Force slacks
    a cap on his head stretched his
    long sweatery (with reindeer!)
    arm out to hold the
    hand of his bundled-up, weeping
    toddler daughter.
    I must have calmed down, because
    he is grinning
    and we are both looking gleefully
    at Aunty, Mommy … whomever it
    was who put down her snowballs
    long enough to
    pick up her camera
    and capture a "memory."

  162. Iain D. Kemp says:

    Oh! Now I’ve had to go and write something silly, just to cheer myself up!

    Rabbit Hunting

    Spot the black Labrador sat quite quiet
    And still, awaiting his Master’s word
    For he daresn’t pick up any kill
    ‘Til he’s got the nod.
    The farmer sighed and scratched his head
    He patted his young son’s back
    But not a twitch or sign did he give
    To patient old Spot.
    The three of them kept staring at
    The bloody tangled mess of flesh
    And bone that lay there still
    But not a word was said
    ‘Til finally the farmer sighed once more
    And to his son did say, with typical Norfolk
    Wit: I don’t know Jim lad, we’ll make
    A farmer of you yet, if you can learn to shoot rabbits
    The way you shoot your foot!

  163. patti williams says:

    Thank you Heather! Let’s see what you got!

  164. Matthew says:

    I Swear You Did It

    Groggy
    Up from bed
    Where is it?
    The door
    The door opens
    and the barn door opens
    and it splashes
    upon the
    tile?
    The toilet?
    I don’t know what I’m doing,
    this is the bathroom, right?
    Bah
    To bed again.

  165. Linda Hofke,

    Thank you
    I had so many to write about, but I wanted to write this one because, this is how I have been feeling lately.
    Debra

  166. Iain D. Kemp says:

    I nearly didn’t do this today at all. I was terrified when I saw the prompt.

    Mirror Writing

    Mirror mirror on the wall
    Why do you keep looking at me like that?
    Its alright for you, you can be anyone you like
    I have to be me
    And it’s just not fair!

    But if you place the mirror on the floor
    And slide him along with you, he becomes
    A magic trapdoor to a new and wondrous land
    All you have to do is step through
    Like Alice
    And everything will we different
    Better
    And the grown ups will be gone

    Writing is a funny thing it can say
    So much that everyone else can share
    Sometimes it’s a simple thing like
    A name
    My name
    Written in black felt-tip on a coat hanger for school
    Written by the other me
    The one in the mirror. I know it was him
    Because the only way to read it is to hold it up
    So he can see.

    I’m sorry this is as close as I can get to any detail in my early life. No one knows why I wrote my name in mirror writing. I never did it again. The coat hanger was found a couple of years ago in a house move and I was told about it. I never consciously remember my childhood, most of it is just blackness and the rest is too painful.

  167. Essa Bostone says:

    this is the second try. I wonder if there are more than two poets posting if the latest one doesn’t get kicked out to try later. grrr

    Anyway, Robert…I love that three-year-old wit. No wondering how he became the guy who prompts us to evolve from where we came to be who we are now. Very very cool!
    Dan – Honest I did not murder my muse…I was just musing about it is all.

    and now my latest eruption written under duress in regressive hyponotic therapy yep, you guessed it, administered my muse…

    Late Slowpoke (and how she got that way)

    My mother always called me
    SLOW
    She said
    Must have been,
    You didn’t want to be born
    You were late
    And then
    Your labor clocked in hours
    Was thirty-six!
    Not easy labor
    Not rhythmic
    But unbelievably hard and
    Screaming labor
    The “Why-the-hell-did-I-let-him-do-this-to-me!”
    Kind of labor
    And worse
    They had to push me back up
    Tried to be breach
    (Always going the wrong way slow – that’s me)
    and almost strangled my little self with my own cord
    You’d think a middle child
    Would give her mother less of a dance birthing her
    Than the first baby, but no.
    Wise woman in spite of the alcohol,
    My mother once said:
    “Here disgraced, make the best of it”
    and “I’ve been thrown out of better places”
    Not that there’s a better place than
    your own mother’s womb
    but
    I’ve often wondered if there’s a reason why
    They called me slow in school
    Why I was ALWAYS late
    Why I always tried to do things my own way
    The British have a saying
    “Keep on as you mean to go” (hmmmm)
    Well I’m here and make no apologies
    Stopping to smell the roses, or coffee
    Or whatever
    Preferring process over goals
    However way you slice it
    Life’s a great ride even,
    Especially as Mom said,
    “you’ll be late for your own funeral!”
    .

  168. Heather says:

    Patti, that is fantastic!!!! Cheers to you and your writing. You make a girl feel like she was there!!!!

  169. patti williams says:

    Had plenty of material for this one! Cheers!

    The Arts Festival

    Oh the fun we had!
    At least that’s what she told me.
    Two friends, doing the town,
    Celebrating life
    Cheering to everything
    The good, the bad and the ugly.
    A feat of this magnitude
    Required quite a few toasts
    At quite a few places,
    But not so much food,
    ‘Cause we were just so thirsty
    From all that talking!
    And that is why
    When the phone rang the next day
    And she asked me how I liked my new shirt
    I had to ask, “What new shirt?”
    It was a nice surprise though
    To find the shopping bag on the couch,
    See the shirt for the first/second time,
    Smile at the great deal I got.
    Of course we had to get together again,
    We had to say cheers to the shirt
    And cheers to what a great day we had
    And cheers to the mix up with the elevator
    Because the brick wall I was waiting in front of
    never did open its doors for me.

    Just two friends, having fun cheering to having fun,
    And we still laugh today.

  170. Susan M. Bell says:

    Robert – Love that little memory. Kids say such great stuff.
    I am having a bit of trouble with this one as my brothers and sister all left home by the time I was about 7, and we don’t speak. As for friends, I have moved so many times in my life, I’ve also lost touch with many friends. But, two things come to mind, so I will see what I can come up with.

    This has been a great exercise. I’ve written more in the past 19 days than I have in months. Thanks.

  171. Linda Hofke says:

    Robert, I will never look at a tree the same way again. Very cute. Also, do we have to write about ourselves? I have a great retold memory of my older brother when he was 3 or 4.

    Debra Elliot, very touching.

    TaunaLen, very clever. Reminds me of the time I spilled Elmers glue all over our carpet. I didn’t get in trouble because my sister cleaned it up. But, mine was an accident!!

    Will try to post a poem later as I have been sick all day. Will write after a nap.

  172. Four lives before age six

    I recall reaching
    For the orange cup.
    But don’t remember
    How the bleach burned
    Going down my throat.

    I see the storm door
    In my mind’s eye.
    But don’t remember
    Going through it
    arm first.

    And I see the pavement
    Pass inches below
    My nose,
    But don’t know how
    The car door opened.

    And I don’t remember
    Falling from the
    Second-story balcony.
    But still feel the cool grass
    Beneath my broken shoulder

  173. nettie fudge says:

    ON STAGE

    Lights dim. The sanctuary came alive
    with young children’s murmuring and
    scurrying around the makeshift stage.

    A voice announced the planned program.
    Baton tapped to quiet the excited bunch.
    Parents prayed for their own to shush up.

    Rows of cherubs lined three or four high.
    The smallest youngsters stood in front.
    The chords of Jesus Loves Me rang out.

    My parents said my hands fidgeted, playing
    with the hem of my new frilly dress. At stanzas
    end, I had bunched the hem almost to my chest.

  174. Darla Smith says:

    Bike Accident

    I can’t recall much of my childhood,
    I’ve blocked those years from my mind.
    What I do know about those days,
    are the stories my parents told me.
    They said I took my bike one day,
    and rode it straight up a steep hill.
    But before I reached the very top,
    I came back down the hill backwards.
    I slammed into a very tall tree,
    and split the side of my left foot open.
    If you look closely at my foot today,
    you will see the tiny white scar.

  175. Don Swearingen says:

    The Mysticism of the Murder

    I am here on the point above the lake
    Where people chanting chants and burning
    Incense, are denying this is a wake.
    It is, instead, an attempt at earning
    Back the favor of The Muse.
    They are here to toss flowers from the cliff
    To call her back to the ranks of the living.
    "We’d throw the strangler, that evil stiff,
    But all we have are flowers we are giving,"
    Said a shivering acolyte. "We cannot excuse
    The evil deed," she said. "But we can try
    To bring her back from the dead
    Because she really couldn’t die.
    She is immortal, she must have fled
    To sanctuary, where the hues
    And sounds are nicer." There! Blues
    And reds and yellow blooms
    Are floating down to the dirt
    Below, symbolic brooms
    To sweep and clear the hurt
    Away. Dan Blather. Pueblo Eyes News.

  176. Rox says:

    Into The Night

    Safe home, safe neighborhood,
    No history of violence or abuse -
    At forty-five I’m still afraid.
    Can’t sleep with a closet door open,
    The door to my room open,
    Having an arm or a leg
    Hanging casually over the edge of the bed,
    But the windows are thrown wide
    Almost every night of the year.

    Mom told me why, in my twenties.

    Family camping and fishing all the time,
    A child of three, unafraid
    Amidst a clutch of other toddlers
    Laughing and chasing bats by starlight
    In happy abandon farther from the rest.
    Teenage cousin Tommy thinks it’s funny
    To hide and wait behind the oak;
    Grabbing and scaring the child who
    Never saw him before or after.

    Sometimes knowing never helps.

  177. I love today’s prompt challenge, I could have gone a lot of ways with this one, like the day I was chased by a bull, but instead I decided to use this prompt to write a poem about the day I was adopted.
    So here is my prompt challenge for the 19th.

    Memories of the Past

    The story of my past
    that I do not remember,
    is the year I turned three
    in December..
    It was the day I officially
    became a Gray,
    they send my real mother
    away.
    I was told this story
    as a child,
    how my mother
    was too wild.
    They send her on a bus,
    so she could not bother
    us.
    The adoption became final
    on that fateful day,
    the day my mother
    went away.
    They bought her a bus
    ticket and sent her to
    the beauty parlor,
    so I didn’t have to live in squalor.
    The memory is not very clear,
    only what I hear….
    of how my mother sold
    me for a bus ticket to
    Florida.

  178. TaunaLen says:

    oh how I hated worksheets
    at least that’s what I’m told
    bored with busy work

    I really don’t remember
    but my first grade teacher
    and my parents recall

    the day I decided to fight
    back against the insult
    of workbook assignments

    pulling out the elmer’s
    I squirted liberally
    pasting pages back to back

    now instead of four
    I only had two dreaded
    worksheet pages to do

    How clever I was
    I don’t even remember
    whether I was punished

    but I wish I had some elmer’s
    to get me out of the work
    I don’t want to do today

    TLS, April 2008

  179. Ginger G says:

    Baby

    I can only imagine that the screaming
    was driving them crazy
    hours of pacing back and forth
    passing the baby from one set of arms to another
    rocking and singing
    bouncing and tickling
    nothing worked
    they watched the clock and waited
    not so patiently
    and at midnight
    when my grandfather walked into the house
    my mother and her sisters placed me into his arms
    their hair (and their nerves) disheveled
    clothes wrinkled and covered in spittle
    and I nestled into veteran arms
    a content and finally quiet baby.

  180. Kevin says:

    "Where’s the behind of this tree?" ~~ your three-year old self KILLS me!

    I’m gonna think about this one and come back later. Thanks for the morning laugh. I have to share that one!

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